Georg Stage
Sail Art Project

Grethe Wittrock used a residence at the Danish Art workshops in Copenhagen to create large-scale works with an expression that is simultaneously rough and poetic. The material is discarded weather-beaten sails donated by First Officer Helle Barner Jespersen from the Danish training ship Georg Stage, which is moored at Holmen in Copenhagen in between cruises. Grethe Wittrock uses the sails as a canvas that she treats with print, perforations and dye. The maritime signal colours of neon orange and yellow are the dominating colours in the project, and patterns representing rope bindings, nautical maps and underwater seascapes are transferred by means of printing and perforation. Generally, Grethe Wittrock uses a wide range of approaches and techniques including printing, weaving, macramé, braiding, sewing – indeed, anything that can be used to express the idea and the intensity she is aiming for in the material. Wittrock’s dual goal is to shape the material in accordance with her idea while also incorporating the potential and expression of the material itself. Thus, the SAIL project is based on a piece of age-old utilitarian textile that has served in all sorts of wind and weather conditions, and which is a carrier of stories from voyages to destinations near and far. After exploring these large, unwieldy sails Grethe Wittrock reshapes them into modern textile art, thus adding yet another story. The SAIL project is a celebration of maritime Denmark and the country’s proud maritime and craft traditions, which date back more than a thousand years. The project involves a considerable amount of fieldwork to acquire the discarded sails. — Danish Art Workshops Copenhagen, Denmark 2012