#2 Pigeon Service

Production: SECRETS OF LINEN (JOS VANNESTE), Harelbeke

Dutch designer Christien Meindertsma created a permanent installation for Texture with approximately 200 tufted pigeons which are spread all over Texture. She was inspired by the messenger and espionage pigeons that used to be locked up in the building of the Linen Thread Company (the very same building that is now called Texture) during World War I. For this project, she worked together with the family company Jos Vanneste which produces flax rugs named Secrets of Linen.

Each pigeon's plumage is made up of different types of linen. By applying the tufting technique in multiple ways, different features of the linen, such as colour and gloss, can be seen. Each bird is an experiment with various pile heights and is cut or uncut to imitate the plumage as effectively as possible. Thus, all the pigeons demonstrate beautiful samples of yarn types and tufting possibilities.


Every pigeon is made out of one piece. Mechanical sewing was impossible. Many skilled volunteers, including the ladies from the lace workshop in Kortrijk, sewed the pigeons perfectly together. The inside of the pigeons also refers to the flax: the filling is 100 % linseed. The sewing sessions took place at the raBarber summer bar on Overleie and at the Kortrijk Heritage.


The linen messenger and espionage pigeons refer to the historical story of the pigeons that stayed in the building as well as to the story of the journey of the flax fibres. The building itself was previously part of the flax route and the manufacturer of the tufted rugs and yarns, Jos Vanneste, plays an important role in today’s flax route. Each pigeon's plumage will show more information about how many kilometers the pigeon (read: the flax fibre) has travelled. One yarn has made a route from Normandy to China and back, for example, another remained closer and was harvested and processed in Belgium. One pigeon has travelled 300 km, while another flew 3000 km... The different flax yarns from spinning mills around the world tell us about the current market of producers in a globalized world.


In the museum shop, beautiful woven versions of the messenger and espionage pigeons can be purchased. The pigeon is also complemented with an envelope for you to send a secret message. It is an interesting and beautiful souvenir from your visit to Texture. The linen originates from five different regional flax weaving mills.

For sale in the shop: € 40