University of the Arts Berlin
„A forest of chimneys with long smoke banners forms the characteristic
silhouette of this town. Factory joins factory, covering whole quarters in
all districts. Locomotives drive through the streets and haul waggon after
wagon, set on trestles, in the countless factory yards. Everywhere the
sound of the weaver’s shuttle, the clatter of looms, steam puffs out, coal
dust whirls around.“
(Erwin Stein, Das Buch der Stadt Forst, 1927)
Forst is a small town in the east of Germany close to the polish border. In
the 19th and 20th century it had a flourishing textile industry and was
called the "Manchester of the East". After the Berlin wall came down in 1989 the
factories closed. People became unemployed. Young people moved away.
In 2009 most of the factories are empty ruins, if not torn down. No
steam puffs out of the chimneys anymore. No coal dust whirls around. But
one loom is clattering again in a small passament manufacturing company,
which moved there from Berlin in 2006. Specialized in the traditional craft of
trimmings, everything is made by hand and with historical machines.
In a collaboration with the manufacturer I investigated relationships between industry, craft and cultural heritage. Learning about history through learning a craft.