September 24, 2013

Living on the Edge

My dearest apologies for not blogging for so long. Spent the last two months making a new wallpaper installation, exhibiting it and relaxing from it afterwards. I put a lot of the things I filled my head with these last years into this work, but still there is so much more to tell. This makes it difficult to read and learn more about batik and other things at the moment. Yet I can't stop buying (secondhand) books. And I have to prepare for a lecture about batik and Vlisco. But first I have to write this blog, which I had scheduled for a long time.

Before I made the installation I showed at the beginning of this month (see "Little Nana's Cape"), I was learning about the migration of animals in Africa. I started to put things I learned, read and watched into a pattern on wallpaper for a new installation together with Emmy Dijkstra.
The inspiring wildlife documentary Africa helped me a lot. With a special new technique of filming, using the light of stars, they could capture events never seen before. They followed these solitude Rhinos in the African landscape. These aggressive einzelgangers, moody at best, gather at night on an open spot in the forrest. The starlightcameras (if you do not get inspired by this word, I don't know what will) show a totally different side of the rhinos. The angry beast turnes out to be a social, loving animal. They meet at night, making a snuffing sound as a welcome as theirs noses touch under the stars. My title was born, I will meet you there.

The migration of animals really had a hold on me, and still has, and when I heard of Emmy's upcoming emigration to Sweden, I realized that my migration theme for the wallpaper really fit well.
The migrating animals soon became only birds, birds that migrate from Africa to Europe.
In a secondhand shop I found a book titled With the migratory birds to Africa by the Swedish author Bengt Berg. What a synchronicity! I must be doing something right! I thought. The cover of the book is really beautiful as well and showed similarities with my wallpaper.

In this part of the wallpaper I made a stencil of the purple heron. They breed in Europe before wintering in Africa. In another great wildlife documentary these and other "Dutch" birds are followed in their hazardous migration to escape the cold. Not only the birds play an important role in this docu. The part filmed in Africa shows all these beautiful people in colorful, wax-print clothing. The sandy dry landscape highlights the colors.
Living on the Edge showed me what I wanted to make, patterns that could be worn. How to realize it, is for later, but at the moment I try to create patterns that tell stories. The material on which I put it, is paper for now. This gives me the freedom to show it in an art contexts, but I would love it if the context doesn't matter anymore. That it is just the story that needs to be shared, in ever way possible. Without an edge.

A next post will be about migrating animals, again, specifically butterflies on which I based my latest work "Little Nana's Cape".

* Screenshots from the wildlife documentary 'Living On The Edge'
and details from "I will meet you there", stencil on wallpaper
* More information on my site,, and blog together with Emmy Dijkstra, (both in Dutch)