Re: Thinking Hemp

Tanja Kirst

The current production of textiles has a highly environmental impact, in particular the cultivation and production of cotton for textiles in the third world, which is being transported over long distances and poses a major impact on the environment due to the large consumption of water and chemicals for the processing of cotton for textiles.

One solution could be to use hemp as a raw material for the production of sustainable textiles and it can be a serious alternative to the current cotton production. Hemp can be grown with low input of chemicals or grow ecologically in Denmark and other European countries, and has a high yield potential. At the same time, the entire plant can be utilized, as seeds and leaves can be used for food and medical use.

My master project "Re: Thinking Hemp" takes it's starting point based on research from the project "Sustainable Hemp Textiles" at The Danish Technological Institute. The project aims to produce raw textile materials from Danish cultivated hemp.

I am of the impression that today many associate hemp textiles as a rough, matte and itchy quality. From an aesthetical point of view my intention is to create a textile quality made from hemp yarns that looks and feels more appealing and delicate. I have chosen to work with light as an inspiration source, both in the woven construction and in the overall visual experience of the collection. The entire collection consists of three different methods of working with hemp covered by the sections below in "Hemp- Optical Weaving System", “Hemp- Swatches” and “Hemp as a Visual Narrative”.

Since there are no hemp suppliers in Scandinavia yet, the overall frame for the project is that all production has taken place within Europe, at the textile company Tessitura Taborelli in Como, Italy and in TextielLab in Tilburg, Holland. 

Furthermore, I see it as a great opportunity for me as a textile designer to develop and design textiles made from hemp yarns that can inspire both producers, designers and buyers to experience hemp in new ways and in that way create more interest in producing and using hemp in the textile industry.


The collection includes four panels in four different colors and patterns. The woven textiles are constructed to integrate and communicate with the light from the surroundings, in the surface of the woven hemp yarn. This is done by a shading system in the woven construction. Depending on the light incident and the visual distance to the textile, the textile will change its character.

All designs are woven with only one weft color, which minimizes the consumption of material and makes it suitable for industrial production.

Place of production: Tessitura Taborelli, Como, Italy.


The swatch collection consists of a series of experiments on how hemp can be woven in different qualities. The swatches are designed and developed with a variation of texture, density, transparency and strength.  

Place of production: TextielLab, Tilburg, Holland.  


The jacquard woven collection includes a large woven panel that can be used as a space divider and a series of compositions and patterns that can be used as interior decoration.

Each piece is designed with a positive and negative space, which makes the whole collection useable on both sides. The collection is designed and developed to tell a visual story about how hemp in a woven construction can create color transition, gradation and shades.

Place of production: TextielLab, Tilburg, Holland.

I 2017-19 satser KADK på FN’s verdensmål
Det afspejler sig i forskning, undervisning og afgangsprojekter. Dette projekt har forholdt sig til følgende FN-mål:
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