February 27, 2013

Being busy with Butterflies

At the moment I'm preparing a project about butterflies, birds and animalfriendly gardening. I'm making an exhibition for which I made a new work on paper based on the work 'Walk around the Pond'. For this work I used my 'making sense by making maps' theory, you can read more about it in the previous post 'Making sense by making maps'.

Preparing an exhibition leaves little time to read about things like Batik or in the beautiful new book 'Merk- en stoplappen uit het Burgerweeshuis Amsterdam' by Berthi Smith about sampler or visiting exhibitions. I promise to make it up to you. And I know I can keep my promise, because there are many wonderful and interesting exhibitions going to start in march. Which I'm hoping to visit all!

'How far we will get I don’t know' is the titel of Emmy Dijkstra's exhibition at Dynamo Expo in Enschede (NL). The exhibition opened last Sunday and is till 22th of march.
The titel is from a book about the dutch explorer Alexandrine Tinne ( 1835-1869). She wrote this particular sentence in one of her letters. Emmy's work is about travelers, nomads and wanderers who search their way in live.
Sometimes they have to cross oceans, deserts maybe, to find their destination or they find it much closer to the place they already are.
I have the great honer of working together with Emmy and at the moment we are making new work and looking for a place to show it. Her exhibition in Enschede shows her New York Scenes series and stencil prints.

More on www.emmydijkstra.nl

On friday 15 march at 20h Cécile Verwaaijen exhibition 'Cutting Loose' opens at IDFX in Breda (NL). Last year I interviewed Cécile about her new work inspired on dutch samplers (see post 'Interview with artist Cécile Verwaaijen'). Now she will exhibited these works for the very first time! I'm really looking forward to this. She is an inspiring artist and it is very brave to start a new direction in your work.

More on www.cecileverwaaijen.nl

From 10 march till 5 may there are three textiel-exhibitions at the Breda's Museum. Two of the exhibitions are by artists from Breda, Johanna Schweizer (crocheted creatures, like the green man on the image above) and Miek Vlamings (sculptures of felt and paper). The other exhibition is with work of the European Art Quilts VII.

More on www.breda-museum.org

Last but not least, 'Boek & Beeld' (Book and image), a group-exhibition full of selfmade artistsbooks at the Grafisch Atelier Den Bosch from 9 march till 14 april. Letterpress artist Marja Scholtens from Breda will show her wonderful selfmade books (see photo above). I followed a workshop making an ex-libris at her studio (see 'Ex-Libris' on www.sabinebolk.nl) and I saw some of her beautifully made books that day. Also my dear friend Emmy Dijkstra is invited to show her water-colored journals.

More on www.gadenbosch.nl

Make sure to visit the exhibitions for yourself if possible, if not, no worries, I will visit them for you :)!

February 19, 2013

Synchronicity part V

I made some synchronicity posts in 2009. For example that Batikday is celebrated on my birthday, that I named my little ricebird batik and that this is a brand in Indonesia, that me and Emmy Dijkstra both returned from a journey inspired by patterns on fabrics (see label 'Synchronicity').

It's not that I didn't had moment of synchronicity ("Wow, what a coincidence!"), but this one was a really big one.
Last week I visited my grandparents in Uden. My grandfather was showing his book-collection about birds in his study, because I'm doing a project in march about birds, butterflies and other garden residents. On his desk and windowsill are photos of the family. My parents at their wedding, me in various ages, a young aunt and uncles and my grandmother on different sunny places around the globe.
I surely saw them before, but now this one photo looked so familiar. I asked my grandfather how many times they visited Indonesia. He told me 9 times, they planned a 10th time, but they had to cancel it. I asked if that photo of my grandmother was also in Indonesia, because it looked a lot like the hotel I was in. Yes, he said, that was in Puri Artha. No way, I was at Puri Artha the first days in Indonesia. I took a picture of myself the evening I arrived (see post 'First night'), I will look it up for you...

February 10, 2013

China Light

Today Chinese New Year starts. Chinese New Year is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. In China, it is also known as the Spring Festival, the literal translation of the modern Chinese name. To celebrate Chinese New Year a lot of decorations cover the streets. Lanterns, dragons and other magical symbols are used to welcome the coming spring.
Today also Carnaval started in Brabant (NL). The Dutch decorate mostly themselves, in funny outfits resembling famous people (Beatrix and her son are very popular this year). Most symbols and rituals got lost, but having fun and drinking beer remains.

Friday me and Koen went to see China Light in Rotterdam. The park surrounding the Euromast was turned into a fairytale landscape. I really had to suppress the feeling of just running towards it with my arms fluttering.
Over 40 Chinese artists made these wonderful light objects. A great combination of tradition, kitsch and beauty.

Here some pictures by me & Koen, tried not make it a spoiler, but a glimpse with some extra symbolic-intel! Happy New Year!
Red is the predominant colour used in New Year celebrations. Red is the emblem of joy, and this colour also symbolizes virtue, truth and sincerity. On the Chinese opera stage, a painted red face usually denotes a sacred or loyal personage and sometimes a great emperor. Candies, cakes, decorations and many things associated with the New Year and its ceremonies are coloured red. The sound of the Chinese word for “red” is “hong” in Mandarin which also means “prosperous.” Therefore, red is an auspicious colour and has an auspicious sound.*

2013 is the year of the black Snake begins on February 10th shortly after the New moon in Aquarius, the humanitarian of the zodiac. This 2013 year of Snake is meant for steady progress and attention to detail. Focus and discipline will be necessary for you to achieve what you set out to create. The Snake is the sixth sign of the Chinese Zodiac, which consists of 12 Animal Signs. It is the enigmatic, intuitive, introspective, refined and collected of the Animals Signs. Ancient Chinese wisdom says a Snake in the house is a good omen because it means that your family will not starve.**

2012 was the year of the Dragon. The dragon has been an important part of China for over 8.000 years and symbolizing good fortune. Together with a phoenix it symbolizes the hope for a good life.
Butterflies are a popular symbol in the visual and literary Chinese art. These butterflies chase away the winter chill and make us feel as though spring is already here.
Both butterflies and ducks are popular symbols for marriage. In Batiks inspired by or made for Chinese often show a pond with ducks and swans swimming and butterflies flying above. They form a emblem of felicity and the joys of married life bringing bounty and prosperity.***
"In Chinese, 'ten thousand elephants' is pronounced the same as the word 'everything'. So the elephants in this light object stand for everything that is fresh and new, bringing good luck"...I'm really fond of this light object, but looking at the explanation text doesn't really feels fitting. A proverb of an elephant in a china shop comes in mind. This object truly shows craftsmanship but is also bound by tradition. For me this one symbolizes the longing for freedom.

Thursday 14 February is the last day of China Light Rotterdam, so make sure to visit it! More information on www.chinalightrotterdam.nl/en

* From Wikipedia
** More about The year of the snake on www.hanban.com
*** From the book 'Fabric of Enchanment'

February 2, 2013

Let's get digital

Monday Vlisco will launch a new campaign named "Jeu de Couleurs", jippie! In the first preview on Facebook there is a hint that more electronics patterns are going to be add to the Vlisco collection. With everyone touching their phones in public, it's not strange that electronic devices are getting also popular to wear as a pattern.
In 1905 they thought different about modern designs. Apparently a line of Wax Block Prints was introduced in Indonesia and wasn't received well. The products had prints on them of locomotives, ponds with swans and upside down lanterns. Maybe to modern then, but love to see one of those patterns today on the streets****.

The screens of the laptop patterned Vlisco show a real classic. The Alphabet ABC pattern is worn by people to indicate that they went to school and know how to read and write. They also attach importance to a good education for their children, and they set aside money to provide for it***. If the laptop print will hold the same meaning as the ABC I don't know, but I do like that they updated the design to make it more now.
Vlisco's Alphabet ABC
The impact of the new technology on daily life is exemplified in this Ipod-pattern. It was immensely popular in Nigeria***

This trend of putting electronic devices on cloth is not just found in the Wax Block Prints by Vlisco. Even in the traditional kentecloth mobile phones are woven.
Kente cloth has its origin with the Ashanti Kingdom, and was adopted by the people of Ghana and many other West African counties. It is a royal and sacred cloth worn only in times of extreme importance and was the cloth of kings. Over time, the use of kente became more widespread. However, its importance has remained and it is held in high esteem in the Akan family and the entire country of Ghana**.
Although the Ewe (pronounced "Ev-ay") are not as well known outside Ghana as the Ashanti they also weave many of the cloths known worldwide as kente. In fact many collectors regards Ewe textiles as the highest expression of African weaving artistry. Ewe people live around the Volta delta area of south eastern Ghana and across the international border in Togo. Ewe weavers work primarily for sale through markets and to fill orders from important local men and women. Today Ewe weavers are concentrated around two towns, Kpetoe and Agbozume, with the latter the site of a large cloth market which draws buyers from throughout Ghana as well as neighbouring countries*.

Looking forward to the new Vlisco campaign, hope new classics will be born and that they also made some computer illiterate designs!
Ewe Kente cloth with mobile phone motifs, woven by Chapuchi Bobbo Ahiagble *
Ewe Kente cloth with mobile phone motifs, woven by Chapuchi Bobbo Ahiagble *

* From Adire African Textiles . Great blog about Adire Kente Cloth!
** From Wikipedia
*** From Vlisco Stories
**** From 'Javaanse Katoentjes' by Rens Heringa in the book 'Katoendruk in Nederland'
***** See post 'Leaving a mark' for more about kentecloth and Vlisco