Seeing art in small things

Art is everywhere, even in everyday objects. The exhibition currently on at the TU Delft library highlights the art found in some of these objects. Called Clothes-Pegs, the exhibition takes an artistic look at clothes pegs, those little pins you use to hang drying clothes.

Set in a 12-meter long glass display cabinet, the “wasknijpers” (Dutch for clothes pegs) on display range from early one-piece wooden designs to the more modern, utility-based designs. The collection has been put together by curator Wendeline Dijkman, who started picking up pegs on her travels.

Among the older pieces of the collection is a miniature travelling set, with beautifully carved clothes-pegs set in a leather case. There are old wooden pegs from England, Germany and other countries. A faded old packet of pegs (priced at 24 for 49 cents) proudly calls itself ‘Lifetime Clips’. There’s a Made-in-Japan miniature travel set which has pegs and some string as well.

Among the newer designs are toy-shaped pegs, alien-inspired pegs, chopsticks designed like pegs and the newest model, a set that was made using a 3D printer.

“It will be really interesting for students to see how even the smallest object keeps evolving over time. An idea is never stagnant.  Not just in terms of product design but its utility, aesthetically and the material used as well,” says Marion Vredeling, Programme Manager of the Library Learning Centre.

The exhibition has a series of videos being screened on-site. Some talk about the history of clothes-pegs and others are quirky user-generated content. “Clothes-peg also became an eco-friendly symbol, encouraging people to dry their clothes naturally rather than in dryer,” says Vredeling. While wooden pegs date back to the 17th century, early models of the contemporary peg trace back to the 1850s. According to an article in The New York Times, from 1852 to 1887 the US patent office issued 146 separate patents for clothespins.

The exhibition also draws on the Clothespin Movement, which encourages people to use clothes pegs as a way to make a message go viral. “The Clothespin Movement is dedicated to planting seeds of hope, love and encouragement in creative ways. Take any message, write it on a clothespin, and clip it onto someone or something,” says the explanatory note about the movement. TU Delft’s exhibition takes this idea forward and each visitor is given a clothes-peg with the message: “See art in small things”.

For more information:

To read about the Clothespin Movement:

Vredeling will also host a talk on the exhibition at the on-going ZomerTent on July 23 from 1 to 3pm. You can register for it here:

Editor Redactie

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