Creativity and Entrepreneurship: a passion intertwined - a one-day workshop led by Maija Nygren

Maija Nygren is an independent knitwear designer based in Edinburgh. Maija’s work explores childrenswear, which opens up children's participation in the process of creating their own clothing.

About

The workshop explored the creative partnership between Margaret and Bernat Klein, and their shared dedication to developing Bernat Klein Ltd. as a global textile business. On each day the small group of creative practitioners were introduced to Margaret Klein’s design development of hand-knitted garments, alongside Bernat's career as a textile designer and manufacturer, artist and colourist.

The workshops were hosted at the National Museum of Scotland on 18 and 21 of March, 2022.

Margaret Klein hand-knitted jumper, courtesy of the university of Glasgow

Dr Roslyn Chapman from the University of Glasgow presented research on Margaret Klein, which is part of a larger project 'Fleece to Fashion' led by Professor Lynn Abrams. This highly informative presentation enabled the group to understand and appreciate Margaret's legacy alongside the better-known work of Bernat Klein.

bernat klein ltd hand-knitted hats, courtesy of NMS

Margaret klein yarns for hand-knitting, courtesy of NMS

"This was followed by a presentation of my research into Bernat Klein's motivation in building his textile design career" - Maija Nygren

In preparing for the workshop I visited the Bernat Klein archive collections at Heriot-Watt University, and National Museum of Scotland. I also explored the wealth of information collected by the the Bernat Klein Foundation, largely through generous private donations.

NMS archive visit, courtesy of nms

During my visits I posed a series of research questions -

Why did Bernat Klein create a textile business?

What influenced his vision?

What was the motivation behind his textile innovations that could help to re-envision the way textiles are designed and constructed today?

couture tweed study by maija nygren, courtesy of NMS

Through my use of photography as a visual reference of Bernat Klein original pattern books, I also wanted to communicate to the group the richness, as well as the depth and the painterly qualities of some of his most iconic textiles.

As in his paintings, he invites your eye to absorb the colour and texture of the textiles - and to dive into his creative mind.

In describing my practice I was also able to pinpoint how researching the work of Bernat and Margaret Klein had inspired me to push my use of colour, yarn and pattern, in developing new design ideas.

research and development by maija nygren

"In a presentation to the group, I shared my individual creative journey, and the ‘why’ of my business - both my inspiration and its challenges."

a workshop display of hand-knitted experiments by maija nygren

On each day of the workshop we had the opportunity to discuss the unique creative practices within the groups, such as the individual motivation in building businesses, as well as a variety of common challenges.

examples of individual practice

External factors such as, time, finances, work-life balance, well as the personal meaning of success, were also topics shared amongst each group.

During the practical session the group was invited to explore colour through yarn wraps, colour threading, colour combs and colour throwing.

workshop colour exercises

These exercises were designed to encourage a spontaneous exploration of colour, to create unusual colour combinations and surprises, which can suggest unexpected colour-ways.

"We immersed ourselves in a dialogue with colour."

exploring and playing with colour ideas

Time was given to explore colour in our own practice, which we often lack opportunity to do, whilst running small creatively-based businesses.

"We questioned why we get settled with a particular colour-way and allowed ourselves to play."

maija nygren, march 2022

If you would like to host a workshop led by Maija, please contact

info@bernatkleinfoundation.org