Maria Høgh-Mikkelsen

I have two professional missions; I am an artistic color design practitioner and I am a curious design researcher. Through a combination of methods from design, research, phenomenology and autoethnography, I aim to cross pollinate the two positions.


What craft do you work with?

I am trained as a textile designer and although I have not made a traditional textile for years, I work with textile qualities in everything I do. For several years I have investigated the properties of colour through my practice. I work with both classic, analogue handcraft methods but also with digital techniques, such as foils, laser cut leather, weaving, digital print etc. And always with the experience of colour as a focal point.

What inspires you to work with this craft?

I love to sense the world through visual, tactile and bodily experiences. I am easily seduced by a material, a ray of light, a combination of colours or the atmosphere of a space. This strong sensation motivates me to create similar experiences for others. It also drives my work because I take so much pleasure in the experience I have with the materials, colours and techniques in the making.

How do you start your creative process?

Somehow, I am always in a creative process. One process will feed a new one. I get curious about things I see, feel or hear and I get ideas on how to explore them. I love creative processes the whole way through. In the beginning of my carrier, I preferred the first half of the process because I have an ADHD brain and get so many ideas. Over the years I have learned to structure my processes and now I also take great pleasure in the parts where the ideas are manifested in thoroughly
processed materials and design. I love when everything comes together as a whole. When concepts and physical sensations are joined in a reciprocal relationship.

Your Workspace?

I need space; physical space with lots of air around me, light and clean surfaces, I cannot work in a cramped messy room. I have a big studio now with beautiful wooden walls, high ceilings and rooflight. It is spacious, inspiring and calming at the same time. I also need space in time; I need to be in flow when I work with my craft, I cannot work if I get interrupted all the time. On days where that happens, I get stressed out and grumpy. Apart from space, the only tool I am really dependent on is my sketchbook and my pen. Not because I create drawings in the sketchbook that will serve as results, but because using the sketchbook is how I process and develop all my thoughts, ideas, concepts, technical challenges etc.

Are there new techniques you would like to try?

There are so many things I would like to try. I already consider my identity as a textile designer to be broad, I am not restricted by a certain technique but by colour, material and pattern. This opens up for many other domains to explore. At the moment I am fascinated by stained glass and how we experience the colour as a transmitting and glowing phenomenon, because the light is coming through the material instead of only lighting up the material. I would also like to 3D print some of my weavings one day.

Sharing your craft and experience?

I am living my professional dream right now doing a PhD where I explore colour design practices. It gives me time to make experiments and to reflect on my practice in relation to colour theory. I sometimes struggle to unite the role of the design practitioner and the role of the design researcher. In one of many moments of resignation, feeling inadequate, not academic enough and wanting to give up the research, I had a conversation with my supervisor. I expected him to tell me to read more theory and write it up and it stressed me. But he didn’t, he told me to go to the workshop and continue my experimental work and make some thick descriptions of my practice. It worked. On a meta-level he gave me confidence in both my design practice and my approach to research through design. Now, I
often tell myself when I am uneased to go to the workshop and make.


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