PhD Student Leonardo Hidalgo Uribe

By bringing the scientists closer to the public, we bring science closer to the public. Leonardo Hidalgo Uribe works at Aalto ARTS, Finland.

“I came to Finland to study textiles, particularly weaving. In Colombia I did bachelors in design but it wasn’t focused in textiles. I studied weaving techniques by myself with books from the university library and by meeting weavers from different parts of Colombia. I went to do a Masters in Fashion, Clothing and Textile design in Aalto in 2018. 

In my family we are quite diverse, my father is a electronic engineer and my mother is a psychologist. My siblings chose different majors and I was the only one doing design. My parents love fashion and clothing and like to experiment with their looks a lot, so that may be an initial influence. But I started to be more interested in textiles since I travelled around Colombia. There are so many regions with different geographies, materials, aesthetics and craftspeople. So I liked a lot the idea of objects and techniques that belong to a place and some type of local knowledge. 

I was interested in dyeing when I started to do my bachelor’s thesis. I met a community of crafters in northern Colombia that work with local cotton and they dye it with different plants. I learned the basics of dyeing during that project and sourced most the dyeing materials at a big market in my hometown that gathers people and plants from all over the country. So again, this relation between color and place made me love dyes and textiles. I am happy that I had many experiences meeting crafters in Colombia and sharing our skills and knowledge. 

My background is more artistic and I’m focused in textile design practice, so I have to learn a lot of new skills during the time I am doing my PhD. I like reading, writing and mapping concepts but it requires a lot of practice. The most challenging part for me is to balance both research and artistic thinking: they are not separated but it is still hard for me to have them both as a whole in my practice. 

I like weaving, a lot! I weave samples and experiment with materials and structures in my free time. I like reading books about color history, weaving techniques and dyes. I also like to walk in the forest that is close to where I live and enjoy how it changes with the seasons. I like spending time with friends, cooking together, walking, dancing, and in during summer is incredible to spend time at a mökki [cottage].”