March 29, 2013

Cutting Loose

Letting go, start again. The new works by Cécile Verwaaijen shown in a solo exhibition at IDFX (Markendaalseweg 36, Breda, NL) are made with this motivator. Strong, raw diamonds these new works of art are. Sometimes miles away from her previous works, yet her signature and the refinement in them is easily recognizable.
I interviewed Cécile Verwaaijen last year about her new found direction in her work. We talked about the inspiration she found in dutch samplers, her background and her love for South America. Her new works are personal and at the same time represent an almost feministic ideology. It made me proud to be an artist and a woman. Thank you for that! And thank you for the great works. Looking forward to seeing what's next.

You have to go see these works, so I'm only going to show some (details) of the works. Koen made them for me during the opening with his phone.
This Easter weekend will be your last chance to do see them, so stop looking for eggs and go see some art!

Detail from '¿Dónde están los 60 milliones de artistas muertos?', 2012 *

Detail of 'Reindeer composition with yellow stipes' (based on Mondriaan), 2013 *

'Female studies on Mondriaan', 2012/2013 *

'I am my sisters mestizo', embroided handmade dress, 2012/2013 *

During the opening Cécile was wearing a wonderful, 'power-women' skirt. She made it herself and I loved all the details in it. Army and leopard print, some pieces of wax block fabrics and different ornaments like lucky dolls and little swords. I asked her if I could also share this on my blog and I could. So enjoy!

Detail skirt

Detail skirt

Detail skirt

* All works made by Cécile Verwaaijen,
** Interview with artist Cécile Verwaaijen on De reis naar Batik

March 26, 2013

Batik Chic on the Pasar Malam

I went to the Pasar Malam last week in Den Haag to see the beautiful products of Batik Chic. And beautiful they are!
The lovely Dhanti Hajdenborg represents Batik Chic in the Netherlands (and Europe). It was really nice to meet her and to hear more about Batik Chic and their designer Novita Yunus.
I really like their products. I knew their collection only from Facebook, on which it always looks fantastic with photoshoots on great locations and with beautiful models. It was great to see the real deal.
The Batik Chic products are of great quality. Bags of Batik Tulis (made with canting) with leather, woven Kalimantan style clutches, Kebaya-like blouses with big lace flowers. I added a lot of things to my wish-list that day!
The search for designs with a heritage base and a new, young feel makes Batik Chic unique. Of course there are more Batik bags made in indonesia, but I think it really important that Batik Chic puts heritage first. They not only use Batik, which is specially made for Batik Chic, they also use other textile arts from Indonesia.
I bought the Batik Chic 'heritage slippers', see first picture. The 'Ulap Doyo' slippers are made of wild orchid. It looks like rough linen. They made a collection also with bags were the textile is used colored and uncolored. In 2012 Novita Yunus won a UNESCO award for her 'Ulap Doyo' slippers design (Award of excellence for handicrafts).

Dhanti had a special surprise for me in store. I'm now the proud owner of a lovely green, Batik Tulis clutch by Batik Chic (see picture above). What a wonderful gift! Thank you so much Novita and Dhanti! And keep up the good work, ladies!

BC cluthes of Batik with lace and woven

BC Batik bags, want!

BC bags of woven wild orchid

Sarong with modern Kebaya by Batik Chic

Dhanti shows how to wear the BC bolero to a customer

Me & Dhanti

More about Batik Chic in my post 'Think globally, bag locally'

March 24, 2013

Fairy wiser

On the 14th of March I had a truly magical day at the Efteling (fairy tale theme park in Kaatsheuvel). They organized a symposium to celebrated that 200 years ago the first fairy tale book "Kinder- und Hausmärchen" by the brothers Grimm was published.
When I arrived at the Efteling everything was covered with a little layer of snow, making it a Winterwonderland. The symposium was held in a special room in the Fata Morgana. The ceiling was a sparkling sky full of stars.
It was so much fun being in a room full of Efteling & fairy tale fans. Without shame we could plunge in the world of magic and at the same time learn some pretty interesting and grown up stuff. The day made me fairy wiser!

In 1812 the first edition of "Kinder- und Hausmärchen" was published in Germany. The brothers Grimm gathered 200 fairytales and legends. Ludwig Ludwig Emil Grimm, the younger brother of the Brothers Grimm, was the first illustrator for the collection of fairy tales compiled by his brothers (Kinder- und Hausmärchen, 2nd edition 1819-1822; the first edition of 1812 had not contained illustrations).*
It was surprising to learn that these first editions weren't a success. Wilhelm Grimm already adjusted the stories to make them more 'bedtime story-proof'. Mothers became stepmothers. And references to sexuality were written out. He also added more emotions to the characters then found in the 'original' written down versions.**

Despite of this adaptations the Dutch translation from 1820 was received as an ill-written, child-unfriendly book with 'sickening illustrations'.*** In the Dutch edition not many so called 'magical fairy tales' were in it. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White didn't make the selection. These stories are now the most popular and well-known fairy tales together with Little Red Riding Hood.
Hans Christian Andersen stories like Little Mermaid (from 1836) had more success. It took until 1857 for the Grimm fairytales to become popular. The Grimm brothers got more famous themselves, they published the book when they were in their twenties and after that they made some groundbreaking grammatical, linguistic works and had some political influence. There fame grew and the Grimm fairy tales became the legends they are today.

I learned a lot that day about the stories and their history during the symposium. Also it gave me new insights to continue my search. Ever since I'm reading about Batik Belanda, I'm fascinated by the fairytale batiks. I'm still looking for the original illustration on which they based these batiks. They started to make this batiks around 1850. At the end of the 19th century the fairy tales Batiks, especially Little Red Riding Hood, were very high fashion. This was in sync with the popularity of fairytales in Europe. The first fairy tale designs were made by Carolina Josephina von Franquemont who started her Batikworkshop in 1845 nearby Semarang.
More about this very interesting subject read my post 'Little Red Riding Hood, where are you going?'.

We not only got a lot of interesting lectures, we also were guests at the revealing of the statue of the brothers Grimm. When we left the Fata Morgana, heading towards the Fairy tale-forrest, it was snowing. The sun broke through like magic at the moment the statue was revealed!

The day ended at the nice water spectacle 'Aquanura'. I didn't had the opportunity to see it before, at my previous visit to the Efteling they were still building it. To experience it a little for yourself flip fast through the last three!

Little Red Riding Hood, her wolf and other fairy tale characters accompanied us during the day


Three fun facts I discovered during the symposium to conclude this post:
In Germany there was a tradition that young women wore a red hood to show that they were not married.
In the original story by Grimm Little Red Riding Hood is not wearing a basket, but is carrying the gifts for her Grandmother under her apron.
And last but not least Cinderella's slipper was made out of gold.

The End.

* From Wikipedia
** from the lecture by Harlinda Lox, Vice-chairman Europäische Märchengesellschaft
*** from the lecture by Vanessa Joosen, autor of 'Wit als sneeuw, zwart als inkt'

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March 16, 2013

Crochet creatures and colorful felt at the Breda's Museum

'Dumb Question #1: When Do You Get Your Ideas?' by Linda Barlow

Yesterday I was at the opening of Cécile Verwaaijen's exhibition 'Cutting Loose' at IDFX in Breda. I interviewed her last year about her new found direction in her work (see blogpost 'Interview with artist Cécile Verwaaijen'). She made really beautiful, strong, striking new works. Inspiring and a real must-see!
More about this exhibition 'Cutting Loose' on her website

The best thing is there is even more strong textile art being exhibited in Breda at the moment. Last weekend three textile exhibitions started at the Breda's Museum!

First some pictures of quilts from the European Art Quilts VII. I went with a pretty traditional idea in mind and I was surprised to find such mature, artful textile works. The works are displayed lovely and you can enjoy them from a distance and up close. The details are fantastic. Sometimes it looks more made by sewing machine then by hand, but it's still really amazing what they can create.

Detail from 'In Town' by Brigitte Kopp

'Love, Not War' by Bente Vold Klausen

Detail from 'Love, Not War' by Bente Vold Klausen

'Waiting For The First Snow' by Irina Fomina

On the first floor of the Brada's Museum two artist from Breda show their textile art. First: Miek Vlamings.

Yet another surprise. I'm usually not so fond of felt art. For me, most of the time, it looks blurry and has a high hobby-feel to it. Not the works of Miek Vlamings. They have a strong clarity in them. It doesn't look accidental, she knows her material and what she wants to show. Maybe the making process itself is experimental, but this sculptures look like they have been created intentionally.
In the informational brochure from the museum Miek Vlamings tells a little about how she went from graphic designer to artist. She also mentions natural dyeing with herbs and other sources from nature. A really interesting subject, unfortunately they only put the titles in the brochure and not the materials. This extra information would have been the cherry on the cake!

Second: Johanna Schweizer.

I have know Johanna for a while now and I'm always enjoying her artworks very much. Last year we were on holiday together and she was making some little skulls in the backseat of the car. It's wonderful to see how with something as sweetly as crochet, strong sculptures are being created.
Johanna's work is full of symbolism and refers to old, magical, voodoo-like characters. Ghosts from her past combined with epic, historical figures.
Here are some sneak previews of her crochet creatures. Enjoy, but make sure to enjoy them in real life!

The textile exhibitions at the Breda's Museum are till the 5th of May. Cécile Verwaaijen's 'Cutting Loose' is open till the first of April at IDFX, Markendaalseweg 36 in Breda.

* All pictures made by me, if you copy them, please do not forget to mention the artists names, thnx!

March 10, 2013

It's all in the details

Today I visited four exhibitions. In the StadsGalerij Breda they are making a sandmandala for the Tibet Art Expo. On sunday they going to dance it away. I made some pictures today and hope to visit it more times this week, so soon a photo-report on my blog!
In the Breda's Museum three textiel-exhibitions started this weekend. I missed the opening, but I heard it was really busy, so today I could take my time for every object. I only post some sneak previews of it later on my blog this week, because you really have to see it for yourself!

In the hall of the Breda's Museum I stumbled on this Chinese wallpaper. I had already seen it in december, but I didn't had my camera with me. I liked it very much then, and love it even more now.
It's all in the details; a sandmandala, Johanna Schweizers crocheted creatures, Miek Vlamings sculptures of felt and paper, the art quilts, that turned out to be really arty instead of quilty, and this chinese wallpaper.
It's like a puzzle with hidden stories. And so much detail especially in the faces, hair and clothing. I didn't see it that clear the first time, maybe after seeing all those lovely details in the other artworks, I noticed them better in the wallpaper.

This 18 century Chinese wallpaper is from a house in Breda. When they demolish the building in 1961 the Breda's Museum preserved the wallpaper. In 1993 the wallpaper was restored.
Chinese wallpaper was really popular in the 18 century in the Netherlands. Many homes of wealthy people were decorated with it. Because it was an interior trend, many trends followed after it. Today only three rooms are left with this kind of traditional 18 century Chinese wallpaper.
The trend of Chinese decoration in the house started around 1725. The VOC brought tea, silk and porcelain* to our harbors. Just like the porcelain, orders were placed for wallpaper. The style was adapted to please the customers. It had to be typical Chinese, but through the eyes of a foreigner. So hand fans, paper umbrella's, small trees (bonsai) and screens are well represented on products made for the Dutch.
In this particular example you almost find them all. The edging are filled with a bamboo labyrinth-pattern. A horizon is added which in traditional Chinese art isn't custom. It was probably added in Breda. Chinese wallpaper was shipped in sheets to Europe, there they put them together. They kind of made there own story of the loose fragments. So this makes it even more an interpretation of what we thought China was.

If you are in the Breda's Museum to visit the textiel-exhibitions (!), also enjoy the wallpaper. Find the man who is walking this dog and where is the lady pointing at?

* For more about Chinese porcelain, see blogpost 'A quest in Delft part II'