January 26, 2014

Traditional costumes in modern living

Ladies from Marken watching the coronation of Willem-Alexander 

Showing difference between mourning and daily wear (both in my eyes very colorful)

Traditional costume in Bunschoten-Spakenburg

Niesje Koekwijn is ironing her 'kraplap'

This post is about the wonderful documentary "Levende Klederdracht"(= Living Traditional Costume, English title is "Dutch Darlings") by Niek Koppen.* The docu shows the last wearers of our Dutch traditional costume. These women from Arnemuiden, Staphorst, Urk, Volendam, Bunschoten-Spakenburg, Westkapelle, Scheveningen and Marken are shown in their daily life.** It's like watching tropical birds displaying in the forest including the wildlifephotographers who are documenting the whole thing from only meters away. These women aren't being exotic, they just didn't stop wearing these costumes. Most women stopped wearing traditional costumes during the Second World War. Materials were scarce and I think this type of clothing is especially impracticable during wartime. Not only because of how it was worn, but also because you would have stand out.
Most women were happy to give up this tradition. Most men already stopped wearing it and it was therefor considered a liberating act.
The women in "Dutch Darlings" also stopped wearing it during the W.O. II, but all started again when they got liberated. They didn't feel like themselves in the modern, practical clothing. Some of the women tried it out many times, but husbands and children wouldn't recognize them in jeans and sweaters.
The documentary deals with preconceptions in a beautiful way. Of course religion played an important role in the traditional wear, but nowadays it's tradition and not believing in God that makes them choose to wear it. The ladies watching the coronation of Willem-Alexander *** on the first still, tell that they heard from this computerscreen in a museum that they (their traditional costume) are 200 years old.
In Staphorst the lovely Margje laughs when they conclude that she has many children, she answers that for Staphorst criteria she doesn't have that much. They also ask if she has a television. Of course she doesn't, "but on the internet you can see everything!", she replies.

Margje Haasjes-Hokse from Staphorst

Her dot covered cellphone covers

One day a week she dresses her daughter in the traditional costume


Margje is making a print on fabric during the interview. I found it absolutely wonderful to see the making process, so I tried to share it with you with these stills from the documentary. The quality is not that good, I have to take the pictures while playing, because otherwise a big orange "play" symbol is in the frame. 
First some background information about Staphorst and its folk art tradition. I have two books about Dutch folk art in which the focus is on how to do it yourself. In the 70s there was a folk art revival for both indigenous as foreign forms of decorating clothing, furniture and other  objects. In a book from 1965 they say the technique in Staphorst was kept secret between folk artists. In another book they claim the Staphorst dot folk art is pretty new. They first learned mural painting from a German emigrant early 1800. He was an ornamental painter in the 'bauernmalerei' tradition. After the war the abstract dot technique replaced the floral paintings. With approval from the clergy the dots were put on caps and other objects. To make these dot paintings yourself, you can best buy the paint in Staphorst (Bring your own jars). The special paint dries up like a pearl on top of the fabric. ****
They make the dots with a stamp. The stamp is a made very simple by putting nails in a piece of wood or cork. Margje in the docu inherited her stamps from her mother. I'm so happy that these stamps are still used! And I hope her youngest daughter, next to her in one of the stills, takes over this tradition of making Staphorst dot paintings. 
Margje is making a fabric for a mutch (a close-fitting linen cap). She cut it in the right shape, so she doesn't print pieces of fabric she is not going to use. The fabric is on a wooden bord and over the fabric is a grid made of wire. I found this very clever, in this way the print is symmetrical and straight. She makes a print of a vase filled with flowers. They ask her what other things she makes. She answers that cellphone covers are her best selling object, and she makes bookmarks. Have to get me one of those cellphone covers! I'm very happy that traditional costumes will find their way in modern living, thanks to Marja's cellphone covers and this great documentary by Niek Koppen!

Vase print in the grid

Next color, different stamp

Adding bright red in a tick paste like paint

The pearl like drops are clearly formed

The paint stays on top of the fabric

After the floral filled vases a pattern in between is added

Margje uses lids for the paste like paint

Every pattern is built up with plural stamps

Almost finished, on her head a finished mutch

* More information about "Levende Klederdracht" on www.selfmadefilms.nl
** You can watch the documentary on Uitzending Gemist, http://gemi.st/NPS_1227986
**** Information from "Volkskunst der Lage Landen" by Dr. TJ. W. R. de Haan (1965), "Nederlandse Volksschilderkunst" by J. Zuidema (1977) and "Volksschilderkunst" by Michel Spohr (1978)
***** You can buy "Dutch Darlings" in the webshop of Beeld en Geluid

January 11, 2014

Terima Kasih!

Photo by Koen de Wit at Liefkes Collection, A house filled with Indonesia*

2014 is going on for some days now, and unfortunately so is my cold. I'm a bit better now and had some time to think about the past year. What a wonderful year 2013 was, I had a lot of misfortune, but I also had great luck. My blog, this blog De reis naar Batik gave me totally different opportunities then my artist career and I met great people in the process!

Always looking out for patterns and batiks

I would like to start with thanks, thanks to the readers of my blog. I hope you keep reading, sharing and enjoying my blog in 2014. I will do my best to learn and share more about Batik, wax prints and other interesting stuff I enjoy, visit many lovely exhibitions (I already have a list of exhibitions I have to visit this year) and hope to receive new Batik Statements this year!
Thanks for the Batik Statements I received in 2013.** I not only received great Batik Statements, I made some myself of myself, but also of people posing for me. My Batik Statement project even let to an actual Batik Statement Fashionshow on the 21th of April during Indonesian Cultural Festival at Best.***
I would like to thank Stichting Hibiscus for letting my try-out a fashionshow for the first time, thanks to the wonderful models, thanks Rob Rosielle for lending me your mothers, madame Rosielle-Bergsma, collection and of course Batik Chic for the nice accessories!****

Try-out for Batik Statement Fashionshow, April 2013

Me and Batik from madame Rosielle-Bergsma collection, photo by Kees de Ruiter

In October I had the pleasure of giving a lecture, De reis naar Batik: making a statement, during the Najaarsdag of the Nederlandse Kostuumvereniging in Amsterdam about Batik and Vlisco.*****Thank you for inviting me! I was really happy to get the opportunity. I also enjoyed the improvisation fashionshow at the end. I dressed up three volunteers from the audience, including my brother, showing some simple ways to wear Batikcloths without sewing or cutting. A great day!

Checking the trail during the improv fashionshow

Also new for me in 2013: Workshops! It started with my project in March, a neighborhood participation project about butterflies and other animals living in my neighborhood. I helped making birdhouses and worked together with Famous Grauss making Butterfly-feeding-tables. In October and November I gave two workshops for kids. At Taman Indonesia I gave a small introduction on how Batik is made using crayons and ink. It was wonderful to see how every kid created their own batikdesign!******

Marlisa, owner of Taman Indonesia with Lonny Gerungan

In November William Kwan surprised me with the first pictures of my Pagi-Sore Batik "Difficult Time". Photo below is a sneak preview of one of the Batiks made by Ibu Maryati from Jeruk. I'm so happy with them, can't wait to hold them in my hands. Patience is key in this project and it's not for nothing about growth in difficult times. On my website, www.sabinebolk.nl, you can read more about this project. And I will keep you posted here as well!

Detail of my Pagi-Sore Batik "Difficult Time" made by Ibu Maryati

Best of wishes for 2014!

And a special thanks to:
The Textile Blog for sharing and supporting my posts!
William Kwan and Ibu Maryati for making my first real Batik!
My mother, father, brother and grandparents for all the support, feedback and cultural upbringing!
Koen de Wit, love you and thank you for being open and interested in all my interests!
Rob Rosielle for lending me the beautiful Batiks!
Ine WawoRuntu from Stichting Hibiscus for the great day in Best!
De Nederlandse Kostuumvereniging for having me at their Najaarsdag!
Marlisa for giving me a stage at Taman Indonesia for workshops, art and Batik Statements!
Kees de Ruiter for sharing the love for Batik Belanda and especially Maria Carp!
Dhanti Hajdenborg for all the wonderful Batik Chic products I could use during the fashionshow!
The Koninklijke Bibliotheek for added my photobooks De reis naar Batik and The journey to Batik to your collection!
Tubagus P Svarajati, Krisna Murti and William Kwan for their support in my quest to return to Indonesia!
Vlisco for making great collections!
And Batik, my little ricebird, for making me happy every day with his songs!

Spotted at the Station in 2013

* See blogpost "A house filled with Indonesia"
** See all the Batik Statements under te label "Batik Statement"
*** See blogpost "Batik Statement Fashionshow"
**** See blogpost "Batik Chic on the Pasar Malam"
***** See also my blogpost "Wax cloth Statements"
****** More about my workshops (in Dutch) on www.sabinebolk.nl