...the story as written by Sonia Ribeira from Associação Spinpark - Centro de Incubação de Base Tecnologica (Guimaraes),

Success stories

Recent testimonies of successful business networking - Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme

New entrepreneur:
Marta Pokojowczyk (Poland)

www.martapokojowczyk.pl (Start-up)
Sector of activity: Crafts, art materials and accessories

" I really couldn’t predict that this exchange would have an influence on so many levels: craft, artistic, personal and official one (business). Since now I’ve achieved things which I hadn’t expected before coming here. Helena "opened me” somehow. ” 

Host entrepreneur:
Helena Loermans (Portugal)

Company website (15 years of experience)
Sector of activity: Crafts, art materials and accessories

"Working with a young entrepreneur being an Art Historian and Painter has given me not only a deeper knowledge of art and looking at art but has also stimulated me to have a new look at light. A lesson I have learned in the exchanges is a new way of mathematical counting: 1+1=3 :) " 

Period of exchange: 08/2014 until 01/2015
Duration of exchange: 5 months 

Helena Loermans was born in the Netherlands but has been living for more than 30 years in Odemira, a small town located in the south of Portugal, where she owns a weaving studio and produces her own collection of hand woven textiles. Helen has been a host entrepreneur in the programme since 2012.

Marta Pokojowczyk is a History of Art graduate and a painter. She works with raw materials: jute, paper, soil and pigment in powder.  Marta heard about  the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme from a friend and decided to participate because she found in it an opportunity to gain knowledge of how to start your own business and how to run it.

The match between these two women was instantaneous- Marta was particularly interested in Portugal and Helena was one of the first host entrepreneurs in the Arts&Craft field that she came across in the programme. She immediately impressed by Helena’s work and the beautiful location of Helena's studio in Odemira.  Helena, herself, was also taken by Marta’s work and she felt that this could be a successful exchange.

The exchange between Marta and Helena focused on hand weaving , from the theoretic to the practical elements of the basics to explore the knowledge of the two entrepreneurs and as a result, it created new, complex textures to weave hemp and linen canvas. Helena also showed Marta that sharing your activities with the audience is an vital when you want to live from what you are doing. One of the first things that Helena asked the young entrepreneur to do was to make a blog and a Facebook business page (or other social media) about the exchange from the first moment onwards- their beautiful work can now be discovered  http://helenaloermans-erasmusprogramme.blogspot.pt and on http://martapokojowczyk.blogspot.be/

Helena and Marta also started to work on ideas of connecting weaving and painting by weaving ones own canvas. This is how Hempweavers was started-  a project which is settled between two disciplines: weaving and painting.  Hempweavers creates handwoven hemp / linen canvasses with different textures and colours.

Besides being a  successful relationship, this exchange was a dynamic and enriching experience for both entrepreneurs.

Marta learnt the basics of the craft and got familiar with 12 and 24 shafts looms. The exchange helpded her develop her own projects and also allowed her to participate in the production for Helena’s collections.On Marta’s view the wisdom shared by Helena allowed her to overcome fears and difficulties connected with the challenge of starting a new project. Helena also showed Marta that by distinguishing art and craft one creates borders that stop the flow of creativity.  Most importantly, however, Helena thought Marta that  there is no reason to wait until you start your company because you will never be sure if this is the right moment, when ,in fact, any moment is the right moment. 

Helena was happy to share her knowledge with Marta and, in return, Marta's enthusiasm and skills have been beneficial for Helena's atelier and its production. Marta’s pictures of their work also helped Helena to enrich her own website and Facebook page.  

Their joint project, Hempweavers, is also continuing beyond their exchange in the programme, with Hempweaver Marta Pokojowczyk in Wroclaw and Hempwever Helena Loermans in Odemira-  each their own business but connected by the theme and name.

For more information, please contact the local contact points involved in the exchange:

New entrepreneur's contact point:
Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (Warsaw)

Host entrepreneur's contact point:
Associação Spinpark - Centro de Incubação de Base Tecnologica (Guimaraes)

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...upcoming exhibition in Wroclaw: 'Stories of canvas weavers' by Marta Pokojowczyk

'Stories of canvas weavers'
CK Agora Wroclaw, Poland
opening 5th of March 2015 19 h
‘Stories of canvas weavers’ is a collection of tales written on the loom. Origin of this idea is settled between two disciplines: weaving and painting. The project brings out a main feature of any textile, a tangle - detail seen through a glass eye. 
Exhibited works are somehow a continuation of the project ‘the Way’ which I started three years ago. In my creation I am interested in the performative aspect of painting. While building a basis for painting interferences, I was unstitching and sewing together jute sacks. Now, instead of using ‘ready made’ textiles, I weave canvases in composed textures and colours.
Some textiles stay pure, some are interfernced by soil and pigment in powder. In others, colour is an integral part of the fabric because ‘colored’ threads were woven into the cloth while the weaving process.
This exhibition is dedicated to the project Hempweavers which is set up between Helena Loermans – a weaver and me – a painter and art historian. It has its origin in Helena Loermans ( Handwoven Textiles )atelier in Odemira, Portugal. 

...an overview of what happened in Odemira at Helena Loermans Handwoven Textiles atelier between 22-08-2014 till 23-01-2015

the start in summer 2014

first weaving on a frame...

...production in the atelier 



first trials on a loom.....

tube in linen

tube in cashmere and Climayarn....


an interview.....



'not always weaving'....

'wild weaving' in blue

monthly at Odemira market....

cashmere and Climayarn...

concentration on yellow....

'moving forward' in linen...

baby wrap for a new born....cashmere and Climayarn

men scarf

bobin winding....

start of Hemp Weavers , linen

in a social responsibility activity....

tagging canvasses....

canvas for Hemp Weavers....

'steps to freedom'....canvas in hemp and linen....
pigment interferences on handwoven canvas, by Marta Pokojowczyk, ( Hempweavers )

pigment interferences on handwoven canvas, by Marta Pokojowczyk, ( Hempweavers )

pigment interferences on handwoven canvas, by Marta Pokojowczyk, ( Hempweavers )