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"craft" Category


Waterman


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Waterman

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I have chosen the Waterman Brooch from the series, combining a postcard of a Bruce Weber image with the diamond ring of the commissioner. Bakker bought the image as a postcard from a secondhand store in New Orleans, then embellished it with white gold and diamonds that resemble water droplets flowing from the bucket down the model’s muscular back. The movement and elegance in the original image was heightened by the placement of the gemstones. Bakker eventually created two additional brooches using the same image; one is in the collection of the Stedelijk Museum ’s-Hertogenbosch, the other in a private collection.

Gijs Bakker (1942) is a Dutch jewerly and industrial-designer, educated at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and the Konstfack Skolan in Stockholm. Over the years, he has taught at various European art academies and worked on numerous commercial collaborations, creating everything from furniture through jewelry to public spaces. In 1985, Bakker began to use easily available and recognizable images of popular figures for his Sports figure series.

Passing by these items in the museum has made me doubtful about if it’s serious or some sort of joke ending up in the kitschy result. I’ve found this contradictional impression interesting enough to deal with it a bit further.

But what is jewellery’s role in our modern and future lives?

In the late 1960s, Gijs Bakker and Emmy Van Leersum, created a furor with their avant-garde jewelry and clothing that fused fashion, design, and art. They were the first to make minimal jewelry out of unorthodox materials, such as aluminum and plexiglas. The pair set of a real revolution in jewelry design. Bakker and Van Leersum’s breakthrough came in 1967 when they presented their vision of a total concept of fashion and jewelry with a spectacular show at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. It was a provocation after which jewelery totally changed,especially on the subject of the concept of beauty and functionality.

 

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The most famous item of jewelry featured in the show is undoubtedly Bakker’s Stovepipe Necklace (with matching bracelet), now an icon of Dutch design. Bakker was the first designer to create a piece of jewelry of such audacity and on such a scale. It was a provocation.

 

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Afterwards his role in dutch jewelry design became really important in Holland, it changed the view on jewelry.

 

In 1993 he founded Droog Design, a Dutch collective of designers, products and information, together with design critic and historian Renny Ramakers. Together with Ramakers, Bakker was the selector and art director of all products within Droog. Droog works with independent designers to design and realize products, projects, exhibitions and events. During the Milan Furniture Fair in 1993, the duo presented a selection of sober designs made of industrial materials and found objects. The presentation was titled ‘Droog Design’, because of the simplicity and dry humor of the objects. The Droog collection is curated by Renny Ramakers and consists of around 200 products by more than a hundred designers. New designs are often developed and presented in relation with exhibitions “Saved by Droog” is an element of Droog design that buys up stock and transforms it into something completely new with a distinct voice and purpose. It’s more than sustainable design; it’s a “reflection of the designer’s creativity.

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droog design [x]

In current design projects Bakker investigates the relation between craft and design. Since 2009, he is exploring this theme in his role as creative director for HAN Gallery, formerly known as Yii in Taiwan.His new series ‘Go for Gold’ emphasizes the importance of gold in the competitive world of sports, business and politics. By laser-welding gold on titanium or by laser-cutting gold under titanium, the brooches literally go for gold.

 

 „I am watching football in the same way as I am watching ballet”

 

The Sport figures series used copies of images from various newspapers of athletes in track along with contrasting, valuable materials like gold for example – to emphasize and highlight a particular moment. The practice of this clash of substances ends up in a playful tension that comes from having precious gems combined with an everyday object, bringing focus (or questioning) the borderline between „cheap” and „expensive” materials.

Does the use of valuable material makes something a jewelry (as the commissioner ask for it) or does it become a design piece driven by the vision of the maker himself?

Since he was fluently shifting through content, character, and medium it makes it hard to categorize the Sports figure series. Visual references from sports, automotive, and history are imbued with a trademark postmodern stance: sarcastic, ironic, and unsubtly nonconforming.

All of the works demonstrate his unconventional relationship with his discipline, as Bakker once admitted, „I dislike jewelry. I dislike the behavior of jewelry buying ladies. I dislike ladies jewelry. jewelry shops depress me. if jewelry is only decorative, I lose interest. I like jewelry because it is absolutely superfluous. I like jewelry because it is never a prior functional. I like jewelry because like clothes, it is closest to our body and says something about the wearer. a painting is hung on the wall and can be ignored. a piece of jewelry is worn and creates an impression.”

 

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For the first look the Waterman seemed for me like objects what you find in shops selling useless stuff for tourist, ranging the weirdest combinations of taste and culture.  Yet Bakker’s main approach was driven by the concept over the final product. So instead of the craftmanship’s usual categories, he tried to focus on the driving thought behind the piece, which in this case was the clash of materials, a surprising marriage between the every dayness of the paper cut picture and the stones. For me, this piece is still about the beauty itself (like all jewellery), just inviting a rather unusual form of it, at least within this field. But picking athletes somehow still tells about the beauty, so this piece becomes a celebration of the natural born beauty, combined and emphasized by the diamonds, which becomes a secondary tool for this purpose rather then the main „attraction” or message of the work. Like if it would pass it’s shine to the photo itself.

Yet I think that next to all the importance of conceptual approach, the visual and applied design principle shouldn’t be left behind too much, especially in an originally and historically applied discipline like jewellery. I feel that it’s just not the right tool or way to mediate such a message. Let’s be honest, a jewel is made for wearing, but who would walk around in a piece like Waterman?

 

MODEL SCULPTURE & DRAGONS


Sunday, January 11, 2015

A model is initially an object whose purpose is either to represent the real world or to be translated into the real world, in short the model can be a copy of reality or reality a copy of the model. The main difference is in terms of scale. Usually the model is a miniature of reality. But what more can it be? When we look at a toy car and a car, what do we see? Is the toy car just a replica of the car in a tiny scale? It is hard to analyze such a thing but I think that there is a huge difference triggered by (but not exclusively) the change of scale. When the toy car is made, it has no longer the same purpose as the car does. A child playing with it might as well imagine it just as real as the car and drive it around with his fingers, or see it in a whole new world, making it fly away, fist-fight and dance Rock n’ Roll. The new scale for things sometimes creates a new meaning for them above representation, a new reality even if they are seemingly the same object in different sizes.

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sketch model of van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam by Gerrit Rietveld [object: SM]

In 1963-1964, the furniture designer and architect Gerrit Rietveld (1888-1964) designs the Amsterdam Van Gogh Museum. In 1964 the architect dies before the project is finished. The building is completed by his partners  J. Van Dillen and J. Van Tricht, and the construction was concluded in 1973. The model exposed in the design collection of the Stedelijk was produced by Gerrit Rietveld in those first two years. It is a sketchy model made of wood, paper, cardboard and glass. The final building is close but does not respect this concept, with a unified color of brick and very little white (from front).
I present this piece for multiple reasons. First, because in my personal taste, I prefer this version from the finished one. Rich in contrast between black and white rectangles overlapping each other, the building has the balanced complexity of the Rietveld style although the shapes which compose it stay simple and limited (only colors: white, black and blue) which gives sobriety to the building. When we look at the final museum’s front view, the unity in brick color makes the building lose its striking composition at first sight, for the overlapping rectangles melt into each other. The second reason why I chose this model is because of the way it was made, without any connection to the building itself. I see in between the other models of the museum [x], well built, detailed and clean; something of a stain. On a dirty piece of wood on which we can see quick pencil sketches for the display, an irregular, clumsy, and worn little building is erected. The colors are simply indicated by a rapid and un-precise use of color pencils ( blue and black). The materials used are cheap, and if we try we might not even find one horizontal or vertical line. And yet it is beautiful, marrying complexity and simplicity in form and color, with a rich diversity of cheap materials. Its cheapness gives it a poetic and rough authentic aspect, we see that it was handmade.

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James Castle

This may remind us of James Castle’s sown cardboard sculptures, which are made of scrap which gives them strength, or Bill Traylor’s choice (and no choice) of using cheap surfaces like cardboard for his paintings.

Bill Traylor blue man with suitcase                                                               James Castle

 

 

The model is in addition to this, very close to the final version. That sketchy but precise model shows the talent of Gerrit Rietveld as an architect, like the lines of a great draftsman. Its clumsiness along with the use of paper, lightly put together and slight curved, gives a feeling of fragility and tenderness which contrasts with the strongly built shapes of Rietveld’s buildings or the roughness of the materials.
I love this model because –to me– it is not a model anymore but a sculpture that contrasts with what we usually see, giving a new idea of his work and of what a model can be, even though it was not intended to become a piece of art. A model can be seen in ways that exceed its limits as a technical object.

A perfect embodiment of this idea is seen in the Tim Burton film Beetlejuice. The movie takes place in a small town and specifically in a house on top of a hill overlooking the town. In the opening scene (link here and here for the end with spider) a fake areal shot of the town is taken on a model of the town one of the main characters has built. We are tricked into believing that we are flying over a forest to finally overlook the whole town, then fly over and across it all the way to the house on top of the hill. Although it is possible to see that the scene is really shot on a model, the illusion is strong, and we are astonished to see a real spider (this time) which seems to be the size of a hippo, climb over the roof and be picked up by a real (gigantic) hand. What this illusion does is it gives life to the model, it gives it a new reality, and this is proved later on in the movie when we discover that the model has an “inhabitant”. When the protagonists are changed to the scale of the model, (in this scene) they come to its graveyard to dig up the main antagonist, Beetlejuice. In this case, the change of scale from real world to model is more than representation, the real world and the model are entangled, mingled into each other, whilst the two are different, the real world and the new world of the model. The model can open a whole new world for our imagination to create, a transcendental realm full of fire, wonder, and dragons.

Form follows fact


Monday, December 1, 2014

Cow chair was made in 1997 as a graduation project by the dutch designer Niels van Eijk. It is made from a single untreated cowhide which is stretched while soaking wet around a pre-consisting chair. It is left on the chair for a week until it has dried into a solid form. The idea was born when the designer looked down at his shoes and noticed how perfectly they were shaped around his feet. If this was possible, cowhide must have the quality to take on other forms, he thought, such as the shape of a chair. Van Eijk claims he is not a man of many words, he focuses on material and methods, which is clear in the case of the Cow chair. Despite that I think this chair is filled with relevant messages and comments on how we make and consume the objects surrounding us. It redefines the conventional use of familiar materials, It has strong relation to the discussion of using local recourses and it puts our attitude towards using animal products in context.

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cow chair by Niels van Eijk 

The Cow chair does not try to conceal the single material used in its making. It almost looks like a newly skinned hide, having been laid on a chair at the tannery, waiting for further processing. Even the name of it has a very direct purpose, you are supposed to know that this chair was made of cowhide.
Normally, leather products have undergone such an intense working process that they do not remind us of they’re origin as much as the Cow chair does. As people of modern society, specially in the western world, have managed to distance ourselves from the source of the products we use that when we are exposed to the real thing a feeling of surprise or even repulsion arises. Sitting in a Chesterfield eating a fillet somehow feels more comfortable to most people than snacking on pigs ears and feeling the familiar texture of a cow behind your back.
Since 1997 several designers have experimented with the use of untreated leather or familiar animal body parts and taken the familiarity of they’re origin even further than Van Eijk. The artist Nandipha Mntambo uses the same method of stretching leather to form hides around her body as sculpture material. By leaving the hides unshaven she achieves feminine, yet animal like objects. She wants to address the things we demand of the female body, and how we want to change it, shape it, shave it bare.

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mirror image by Nandipha Mntambo • precious skin by Viktoria Ledig

Viktoria Ledig, a Swedish designer, used the tail, head and ears among other parts of the cow that otherwise would have been thrown away to make a line of products called precious skin. She tanned the body parts with a method that kept all the characteristics of the skin, so the final products had obvious wrinkles and blemishes along with a pale yellowish colour not so different from a humans skin. When describing the reason behind the project she asserts the following:
Leather is dead animal skin. This is perhaps the raw reason behind the human fascination with it. It is beautiful, precious and grotesque at the same time. We sometimes forget that touching leather is to handle a former living being’s hide.

The project and other similar ones for example Rachel Freire´s nipple dresses have caused a strong negative reaction, a louder outrage than is heard every time a designer puts out a more conventional product made from animal products.
When Jan van Eijk later formed a studio with his wife and co-designer Van der Lubbe, they designed a product with a more deliberate intention of discussing use of animal products. They used mole rats that had been killed on golf courses in order to make the experience of golf playing more comfortable. The product was a pair of loafers made from the whole body of the rat, hair, tail, nose and feet still attached. I think this work is a great example of putting our claim on nature into context. Although the making of these loafers used material that otherwise would have gone to waste, wearing them is an uncanny reminder of the animals fate. In the same way removal of an unwelcome animal only for increasing human leisure seems unnecessary or even cruel but it can easily be hushed or forgotten.

 

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leather football shoes by Adias • mole shoes by Van Eijk and van der Lubbe

The method Van Eijk used to mould the leather is very inspiring. The finished object is not soft and smooth but hard solid enough to stand on its own as well as supporting  a human being. I think it invites us to discover endless ways of using hide to construct objects. It isn´t too different from the way many nations made their first books, or the way old drums and other instruments are constructed.

By stretching the hide with water there is no need to use toxic chemicals to preserve the material and prevent it from rotting. This is on the other hand unavoidable when tanning leather, even if it is done in the most eco-friendly way. So in fact using the hide as done with the Cow chair and the other things mentioned above makes far much more sense than using it to make soft articles such as shoes and clothing.

 

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Making of prototype 1 by Garðar Eyjólfsson

Garðar Eyjólfsson uses a similar method of shaping leather while making lamps by pouring hot water over it. Instead of selling the lamp around the world he shares the way of shaping the lamp shade with a video. By using such a simple method and sharing it on the web he makes it possible for people everywhere to make use of it. He transports an idea, not a material, and therefor makes it possible to produce the lamp in different places with local materials. I see that same quality in the Cow chair as well.

In the times where our consumption of material is unsustainable and our sources do not renew themselves fast enough it becomes a part of the designers job to go out of his way to source new solutions. Contemporary experiments with bioplastics, biomimicry and new ways of recycling are a important part of this process. But I think it is equally important to reinvestigate our old materials, our old methods, just as Jan van Eijk did while designing the Cow chair. How can we use them or parts of them to create things in a better way than we are doing now?

Stedelijk Design Show 2015 /Relevant Highlights


Monday, December 1, 2014

 

16 Rietveld Basic Year students visited the Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum to examine the items in the permanent survey of the design collection.

Does the Stedelijk exhibit all these design items simply because they are in their depot.

Do the collection criteria still have any significance today.

Do these design items have any relevance for us, our life or work,now? Is it possible to make a clear statement about that.

If you click on the image a caption will appear –just as a in a real museum– presenting information and a personal reflection on why that item is considered relevant. You can review the whole exhibition in pop-up mode.

 

click on images to visit the exhibit

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minding material


Monday, December 1, 2014

The exhibition The Future of Fashion Is Now [museum Boymans van Beuningen until January 2015] showed us an inspiring assortment of progressive designers with their newest techniques.

One of the many designers who participated in this exhibition was Iris van Herpen, who graduated at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Artez in Arnhem, the Netherlands. During her study she did an internship at Alexander McQueen in London and Claudy Jongstra in Amsterdam. Later, she began designing shoes for United Nude. An intriguing aspect is that she sees herself as a combination of a fashion designer and designer.
Iris van Herpen describes her own work as fashion where norms have no value and are being discarded. For her, fashion is a combination of craftsmanship and innovative techniques. It’s those techniques that really fascinate me in her work. Personally, I got really intrigued by the unique combination of materials and the technique with magnets she used to create the metal dress with, in collaboration with Jolan Van der Wiel.
On the other hand, the idea of using unusual materials such as wood and synthetics for 3D printing and laser cutting which eventually can be transformed into –wearable or non wearable– fashion, was a true eye opener for me.

 

Inspired by this project, I have pictured my own body in a plastic vacuum. Since this wasn’t possible with the vacuum machine that is available in school because of its size, I did thorough research on the internet in order to be able to build my own vacuum machine with the help of my father. Firstly, I made a mold out of plaster so that I could ‘pull’ vacuum from a see-through body. The heat got spread by a heater. In this way, only a small surface could be heated and I had no control of how the pvc plate would react to this. The consequence was that the pvc was about to burst or left air bubbles behind.

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In the beginning I was quite disappointed because it didn’t go the way I expected it to. On the other hand, these little imperfections in the body actually do give some added value to the work. Having control over  your material can be handy, but as soon as you lose this, interesting and unique things can happen. This reminded me of the magnets that have a will of their own in the project of Iris van Herpen en Jolan van der Wiel.

 

Her growing metal dress from immediately had an impact on me when I saw it from a small distance. The dress presented in the museum was one of her latest experiments. The 3D printed dress lay in a bath and grows with the help of fluoride liquid and magnets. To develop this dress she asked Jolan van der Wiel, a product designer, for help. Because of her urge to constantly apply new techniques, she frequently works together with other artists who specialize in the handling of these certain techniques. Jolan tries to forget the mundane things in his studio and to trust and make use of his imagination. Just like Iris van Herpen, he is fascinated by the working of different instruments that offer him a platform to his fantasy.

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One of the instruments he uses are magnets. He creates a mixture of synthetic and metal that transforms by the help of magnets in order to create his own, unique chairs. The magnet grabbed Iris van Herpen’s attention, what resulted in a collaboration. Together, they developed a way to transform metal by using magnets so shoes and garments could be made from this. They used the same technique as Johan van der Wiel (graduated from Rietveld Academy’s

Designlab in 2011) did to design his chairs [x]. JvW_black-gravity-stool They made a basis mold, the form of the dress or shoe, and ornamented this with the synthetic magnet mixture. Subsequently, when the mold is solid, the magnets continue to do their job. They determine how the form eventually will look like. The attracted force designs the shape and after that the plastic hardens whereby the form stays permanent. In this way, thousands of divergent forms can originate and every product has a truly unique aspect.

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They practiced this technique in real life situation in the Boijmans museum. Underneath the 3D printed dress, different magnets are hidden. Above the dress, the fluoride liquid drops down, falling on the dress. Through the magnets, the liquid sticks which makes the dress grow layer by layer. Therefore the name ‘growing dress’.

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Furthermore, without the fluoride liquid, the dress is made out of synthetic that is 3D printed. This is a technique that we continually see coming back in her designs. A 3D printer is a device that creates arbitrary three-dimensional objects based on digital drawings. The material that is used builds up layer per layer, such as the Ferro fluid process. With this technique, Iris van Herpen is able to accomplish sculptures that are impossible to make by hand.

 

Next to the 3D printer she also makes use of a lasercut machine. This machine makes it possible to cut or engrave different patterns out of different materials. These patterns are being outlined on a computer program like Illustrator and Autocat. I recently used this technique as well. The only thing is that you need to have good knowledge of material. Is the material elastic, is it going to melt because of the heat?

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The laser cut literally cuts the pattern or the figures with a cropped laser. On the basis of the material you coordinate the data for the machine. How deep does the radius have to go? How fast? Is it supposed to go slower somewhere, for example in turns? I personally experienced this when doing material research for the making of my bodysuits. Some materials work a lot better than expected, others are being destroyed completely by the heat. Now I know that table foil is a perfect material to cut and ribbed cardboard is completely useless, while I expected the opposite.

 

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Iris van Herpen and Rem D. Koolhaas, the face behind United Nude, both agree that the border between fashion and design is tremendously vague. Together, they try to make the impossible possible as not everything has to be easy. One of the first shoes they developed together is the ‘Iris van Herpen x United Nude 2.0’, a limited edition made out of patent leather. The big secret of the weirdly formed shoe is the balance between the heel that is curved to the front and the gravity. This shoe was a big challenge for the both of them, but also for the wearer. United Nude was founded with the idea of breaking the conventional rules of designing shoes. The rules don’t have to be broken, they just tried to simply ignore the rules. The higher the heel, the bigger the challenge.
Speaking of challenges, Iris doesn’t only pushes boundaries in the shoe world but also in the fashion world. Here, we also see that she applies techniques that are being used in the design world. She wants to experiment with material and shapes.
This is something I also try to do myself, processing unusual materials while keeping the pure visible. In photography, I try to apply as few Photoshop techniques as possible. In my opinion, Photoshop is only there to corrugate, like for example the contrast, a disrupting line or adapting a color. Thus, I made a triptych in which material is central. In front of the camera, someone held table foil, which actually did all the work for the photo. I could have Photoshopped a nice little effect, but for me it’s all about experimenting with different materials.

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Iris van Herpen doesn’t like following the rules blindly and decently too, that’s why she doesn’t think wearability is important for fashion. Because of this reason, she is able to use materials like synthetic, metal and wood, that can be transformed and cut through the help of her favorite techniques, namely 3D printing and laser cutting.

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Just like Iris, I like working with unusual materials, and that’s why her work has a definite impact on me. She inspired me to dare to use different materials and techniques and made me step out of my comfort zone. So the main difference between all the other shown designer pieces is that the Ferrofluiddress is not at all a static object but it is a growing piece of art. Iris isn’t only a traditional designer who only works in fashion, but an artist who converts her experimentation into wearable sculptures.

 

“I find beauty in the continual shaping of chaos, which clearly embodies the primordial power of nature’s performance”
–Iris van Herpen–

 

There is no future, we create the past.


Monday, December 1, 2014

3 During the visit at the Boijmans Van Beuningen’s, between all the dresses who can melt and the one who construct themselves there where an UFO. Three little canvas on the wall of a red room , hidden by a giant costume referencing to the solar system. These three pictures were the work of Phyllis Galembo, the sample of an all life research about the ritual costumes and masks in Africa and the African Diaspora. This work was specially interesting not by the subject or the strong visual effect who drop out of these images but because it’s presented in the exhibition -The future of fashion is now- How can we related the future of fashion and a research about traditional costumes in Africa, who exist from centuries? We can relate this question with the work of Pablo Picasso who has been influenced with the first exhibition of african’s sculptures and masks in France and revolution the art history, but now is it still accurate? What is interesting about these traditional costumes is that they construct a bridge through the past and the future, pieces of art who travel between the ages, but the future of our own civilization is to look back in the past of other’s one or to build our own, now.

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Phyllis Galembo is an American artist, fine art photographer. Her work is now related from more than twenty-five years at the African masquerade and ritual clothing. her first travel to africa was in Nigeria in 1985 since she travel through the west and central africa and regularly to Haiti. She document with simple and sober portraits these ritual clothing/art pieces without adding any meanings, keeping them in there own environment. This is a really important part of her work because these costumes are already meaningful in a lot of different themes (religious ceremonies, secret society, rituals, spiritual meanings…) An other big part of her work is to create a relation with the members of the different tribes and then be able to be in contact with these sacred objects. Here we find another interesting relation with the exhibition at the Boijmans Van Beuningen’s. The relation between the creation of a new area for the fashion designer’s and the work of Phyllis, who don’t create a new idea of fashion but put in the podium an ancestral art. The attention of the spectator is fixed on the clothing on the pictures relate to the meaning of the exhibition and not the pictures themselves who are the work of the artist. The projector should’t be pointed on the creator of these art pieces, or is it the collaboration with the photographer who make them important for this theme -The future of fashion is now-

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These pictures were presented in the section “The (re)definition of the human figure”. It was the topic who interested me the most in the exhibition and also the one that disappointed me the most. The theme is so large and for me unxploited at all. Only the work of Pyuupiru (Tokio) “Mercurius” and the “Akata Masquerade” from the american photographer was relevant, even if my only wants was to see in real the costumes on the pictures.
The african traditional masquerade costumes are for me a door for a mystical world and also a question about the definition of the human being. These costumes are more than a redefinition of the human figure but a way to escape totally this human aspect, physically and spiritually. And maybe lead us to this question, why i was interested by this part of the exhibition, What is it to be human, Just a concept, are we just animals or is it something spiritual that we should be aware of, or search for?

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Textile writer Tania Candiani


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

 

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Tania Candiani, Woman, Mexican, 1974, Textile, Language, Artist …

 

Tania Candiani was part of the exhibition“ The future of fashion is now”, in Rotterdam. In this show, designers and artists try to show some different and new ways to see to the fashion world.

Tania Candiani exposes a big roll of fabric joined with some clothes and dresses. The finality of this work is an installation with fabrics, thread, metal hooks, sound and video. This work was showed almost at the end of the exhibition, a space that, according to me, didn’t support it as much as it could have. Therefore, all my attention wasn’t driven towards the installation as a whole, but only on this big role of fabric.

The title “ La Constancia Dormida “, which stands for Constancia Asleep, makes me think of the collections of stories, including Constancia, y otras novelas para vírgenes (1989; Constancia and Other Stories for Virgins) by the Mexican novelist and short story writer Carlos Fuentes. The theme of these stories, which is about the people and culture from Mexico City, is maybe a influence in Tania’s work.

The role of fabric, that I mentioned before, was exposed on a table and stitched with text. The language used was Spanish and it was about thoughts, feelings and stories of one certain group of people or community, that were influenced by their economic, political and social environment. This context situates her work in the last of the four themes which divided the exhibition: “Fashion Activism: Community and Politics”.

Being influenced by the reaction of these people, she used them as her subject for her story-telling. The textile is then used as a narrative tool as she explains it in one of her statement: “ My research processes take as starting point language, text, the political implications of the domestic, of what is public and private, and of “the others.”

“Translate strategies amongst systems –linguistic, visual, phonic– and practices, generates equivalences and associations (…) textiles have been present in my work as tailoring, as a narrative resource and as labor, socially embedded with meaning. Tailoring as design is a contact point with architecture, where the space distribution of the plans as sewing patterns re-signifying the idea of inhabited space or the utopia of an space that could be inhabited“.

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Tania Candiani – Artslant

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Tania Candiani – Lot 88

I chose Tania’s work because I really like the simple and minimalist way she approaches two big ideas, in one hand the fashion world and in the other one, a more conceptual idea about community in a political and economical environment. Also, the way she uses textile and combines it with text gives me a big and strong feeling of nostalgia. The way she characterizes the political and human energy really fascinates me and awoke my curiosity. This feeling of nostalgia that is present in her work, makes me land back directly to my home country. This nostalgia and spirit of story telling is something that characterizes the Portuguese personality and community, bringing me even more closer to her work.

By listening to the people in different environments, Tania tries to save the stories and the atmosphere into the fabric by sewing it, and giving it an individual perspective. Through this act of sewing, I see Tania’s work as a memorial where she keeps all the moments and happenings, as a saving for the future, which for me is a really beautiful act. The act of sewing, reminds me of a scar or a tattoo that Tania is stitching in the fabric. By expressing these left marks, it connects us to our individual or common marks, which originates from situations and memories that we experienced. These marks which makes us the person or the people that we became. So it’s like creating and materializing all the spirit, thoughts and feelings from a specific and certain place, time and community.

 

This way of making art reminds me also of some works, for example, Louise Bourgeois, Tracey Emin and in the traditional bordering from Portugal.

tumblr_nd2py1rbml1rotipro1_1280

Louise Bourgeois

tracy-emin-blanket1

 Tracey Emin

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3abn6dfR2k

By having this in mind, I realize that textile can be really strong, powerful and expressive as a subject or a material. It was interesting to see how her work can become, in a way fashion but still textile with a sculptural character. It questioned the fashion world and trying to find or to create this small limit between fashion and textile, becoming in the end something else. Different than the world of fashion that we know now, but still an expressive future form of fashion. This makes her piece relevant, for me, in taking part of this exhibition “ The future of fashion is now “.

 

constancia6

 

1-2-3-:^)


Saturday, April 5, 2014

ppp1

 

Jumping around through these images in Designblog,

back to essay this title ’1-2-3 Jewel’ caught my eyes.

An essay about jewelry? Cool, lets check out.

Not only its pretty graphic design and pinky pinky makes you happy, the content is really good.

For me hand made jewelry is unique, you can feel so much more than mass manufactured accessories.

And it’s always a great gift option for special occasions.

It’s so nice to read about the graduates, after spending so much time in Rietveld and staying in the Jewelry department.

What is their understandings or maybe personal relationships and reflection on jewelry.

To see how they find their own way through different approaches, experiments and observations,

finally to see where they are standing now.

 

ppp2

 

Are you an artist or a craftsman?

Are you making wearable jewelry or object for contemplation?

Does it matter? Does it not matter?

Sometimes I pass their department several times a day when I have to go to workshops,

then I start to guess how many people are working there on their table now:

Glue, hammer, burn, bang bang.

Pretty in color and form. Another jewelry is born.

 

ffff

 

Similarity


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

When i first went trough the pile of Wendingen magazines something struck me when I saw the cover of the “techniek en kunst” edition. At that point i didn’t really know what it was about that edition, but when thinking more thoroughly about it I had the feeling that I had seen it before. Going through my archive of pictures I found a poster designed by Karl Gerstner that had a lot of similarities. It left me thinking how amazing it was that something that was designed an odd thirty years later had a lot of the same qualities. The cover of the Wendingen magazine was designed by Wim Gispen, one of my favorite Dutch industrial designers. Before this discovery I only knew Gispen for his famous chairs, lamps and interior architecture in general. Unaware of the fact that graphic design at that time was not really labeled a profession, designers also did graphic design on the side. Though you can see that the cover designed by Gispen is an early design and not really modern any more it still has some modern qualities.

TechniekKunstWendingen karl-gerstner2

The use of shapes, circles, overprints and probably a grid in my opinion is quite modern. I think it fits in the same style of work as the early Swiss style of graphic desgin. That is why it reminded me of the work of Karl Gerstner a Swiss graphic designer that was part of the Swiss style. A movement that I am a big fan of because of their simple use of shape and subliminal use of color. Because Gispen is more linked to “de Stijl” movement I would have never expected that he designed the cover for the Wendingen Magazine but overall I am quite happy that I picked this copy because of the insight it gave me in early graphic design and the progression it went through over the years.

Wendingen 9-2 1928 Rijksacademie Amsterdam

The ideas & steps behind making ‘Haphazard’.


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Analyze a book which is interesting because of its design.
So the book needs to be interesting, apart from the content. I discovered that it is almost impossible just to take a book because of adesign however interesting it may be. The content and design are often so closely connected to each other.

With this book it was different.

The first reason why I took it: the cover.

I had really no idea what the book was all about and I also didn't understand the title. No, I just took this book because of the cover. Between all these 'regular' books, there was this one book with a cover made of cardboard. Cardboard? That seems interesting to me.

René Put [x], the graphic designer of Haphazard, told me that you can not ignore the cover.

‘When you see a book, it starts with the cover.’

‘As a graphic designer, you have to deal with a lot of choices by designing a book. The content and form are in my opinion connected with each other. The content always plays a role. Which material is used by the artist? Which ideas the artist wants to tell with the book?’

cover Haphazard

The manner of binding confused me when I opened the book. The way it is bound, on the right side, gives you the idea that half of the book doesn't need to be seen. That it is a secret, hidden.

‘As a designer I’m always looking for inspiration. Once I had seen an Indian account book, this is a long flat book. The idea of having this pile of papers, folding it into a new object, fitted well with the work of Ellert. Ellert is always looking for the border between 2D and 3D objects.’

‘Someone in Den Haag bounded the book. He made four dummy’s for us. We were really content with the last one, the one as it is now.’

‘They call this a Japanese way of binding. But actually a Japanese binding is different because there are more whole in the cover. There are just two holes in this book cover. Afterwards the book is bound by hand in a system which keeps the pages all together.’

‘This is maybe a funny fact to know. The whole research for the book cover, took the most time but cost also the most money because bookbinding is a handicraft.’

binding Haphazard

I have the idea that there's a link between the paper which is chosen and the work of the artist. The artist, Ellert Haitjema, is working with natural materials and material he has found in the streets. This paper looks like recycled paper. Not glossy, it has a more natural look.

‘It’s always a search to find the right paper. Here we’ve chosen for uncoated paper. In this case it was necessary because not all the pictures were in a good quality. To compensate this problem, it’s always a good idea to use this paper because the effect of the bad quality is less. The pictures become also more an unity when they are from different sizes/qualities, all printed on the same soft paper.’

Haphardize_0034

‘This quality of this picture was not really well. That’s why I doubted to publish this one. In the end, we changed it a lot to get it how it is now. There were to many good arguments to place the photo.’

 

Isn't it a pity that some pictures on the middle of the page, are folded?

‘The pages are turned and that’s also why they get folded. In this example you can see why, on purpose, we’ve placed some photos in the middle of the page. By folding there will be another image then by seeing the photo on the whole page.’

Band 2 Haphazard band 1 Haphazard

‘The cover and the papers inside the book are folded. What we wanted to create when the book is lying on the table, is that the cardboard will end on the first page inside the book. By folding the book, the paper will move, by moving the paper you get a nice cutting edge.’

snede achterkant Haphazard

‘At the last moment I thought of adding something to the cutting edge, it needed to become an experience in itself for the book. We decided to add five colors of grey, so called PMS colors or Pantone colors. These five different colors are printed on the back of the papers inside the book. Now you can see a nice variation of colors in different grey tones which are an experience for the book in itself.’

grijs verloop achterkant Haphazard

‘This book needed to be an object in itself. Just as the objects which are shown within the book.’

‘The good thing about the picture on the back of the book cover is that it shows how the function of this book changed by using it to carry a plate of glass.’

‘The idea for a photo like this (on the back of the book) occurred while we were designing the book: the book needs to be shown as an object itself. This photo for the cover was a bright idea, thereby the whole book design was completed.’

achterkant Haphazard

What I wondered about, when I took this book out of all the other 'normal' books, was; how is someone making a book like this?

For instance, when you're a graphic designer, what kind of steps do you make during the process of designing such a special book. At first, I thought there was no direct link between the design and content of the book because from the design you couldn't get an idea of the content.

In the end, I know better. When you take a closer look, you see that there's a link, off course, but a subtile one. Graphic Designer René Put let me see what is all necessary by making a book. Which choices need to be taken and which ideas are behind all these steps.

‘In my opinion, you can always go back to the book when it is a good book.’

 

Rietveld library catalog no: hai 4

I get excited by old stuff.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

 

an old and very shiny little bowl to drink from.

wear a simular creation on top of your head.

a cup with a lid.

another hair accessory from horn, gold and diamonds. fancy stuff. this is a ring. with something like a lock inside. if you do not read dutch you can only emagine what it is for. it looks mechanical. porcelain parrot. no purpose.

a glass model of a big and powerful canon!

for making coffee. made from silver and bone. this is a shiny container for sugar. these are for storing liquid.

i do not know what this is. but i know i like it. someone was ment to drink from this. h 38,0cm × b 61,0cm seal ring. nice. very very old.

this is a porcelain monkey holding a snuff box.

this is for serving gravy. lots of it. this is a cup for something. another knife for food. even older than the first.

this is a tiny eg that can open. and close. finger ring. from back when diamonds where a little rougher. this is a jar with dead stuff from the ocean.

 

Old things are exiting because they are old. These things where made because it was possible, with the aim of perfection. carefully created with perfect skill. looking at beautiful things makes me smile. In the old days, rich people acquired these artifacts, because they could. To show off, and to create a visible distance from the people who couldn’t afford the decadent lifestyle they represented. A similar trend is still present today.  Nowadays they buy overpriced modern design or old and rare stuff, but the concept is the same. Being able to surround my self with beautiful things, of which the design has no practical function, is a privilege, that I enjoy very much. Even if it is just for the time I am hanging out in a museum, or in  a fancy place of someone else. I am fascinated by old things because they are old and rare. They come from another world. One that I can never become a part of.

 

violin. most likely with a crappy sound. watch. this is a glass. it is nice.

this is jewelry. for wearing. it is also a whistle this is a wooden dog. for no purpose.

9 bottles for expensive liquid. in a box that fit!

pocket watch. a whole lot of detail on 5cm. a mug. this, i think, is for storing cutlery.

old and thin container for liquid. pretty cabinet. very locked. this is where to put the salt for the table. there are 2 of them. some one had 2 of these.

birds cage. for tiny bird.

old, heavy and shiny. for tea and coffee. this container is either for soup or potatoes. it is 1 piece of a very much bigger set.

really old guns in a box that fit! put hands in these. to show you dont need to use them.

a little, old, sculpture of a grotesque monster. no purpose. fancy snuff box. made of solid gold. very old and very expensive table. could possibly contain all my belongings. one in each drawer.

items from the collection of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

 

Fashion With a Gold Tread


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

2013. We eat while we walk the dog and call our grandmother at the same time. There’s no time for sitting down. You see, time is money, and definitely not worth spending on a bench in a beautiful park doing nothing – or on repairing an unraveled sweater. It’s easier (and cheaper perhaps) just to buy a new one. But can time be measured in gold? We talk a lot about time over our worn out jackets.

 

 

Perhaps a short explanation is needed.

Seven years ago, Saskia van Drimmelen gathered a few people she knew and shipped off to Bulgaria. After eight years of designing clothes for the fashion elite in Paris, she had decided to quit her own (and at that point quite successful) brand, in search of a more fulfilling way of making clothes. In a book about Bulgarian crafts, she had found pictures of needlepoint lace unlike anything she had ever seen before – and so the treasure hunt begun. What started as a research on old fashioned and nearly forgotten techniques, became what today is known as Painted.

They call themselves a hybrid fashion collective. Many people stand behind the name Painted, but in the front seats you find Saskia together with theater director (and also Bulgaria explorer) Margreet Sweerts.
Their latest project is called Golden Joinery. Inspired by an old Japanese tradition where broken ceramics are repaired with golden paint, Saskia and Margreet invite you to repair your ragged clothes with a golden thread. They organize workshops where you can bring your beloved but broken sweater, jacket, dress or pair of jeans, and together you make it as good as – or perhaps even better than – new. And this is the frame of our conversation.

 

 

Painted is doing something different. In lack of a better name – perhaps combined with peoples need to categorize everything – Painted and their series of clothes are often referred to as slow fashion. Saskia and Margreet rather (if they really have to give it a name) call it slow clothes. Though many of the ideas behind their brand is compatible with the slow fashion thinking (like the sustainability and the anti buy and throw away mentality) Painted is still doing something different.

They work in the periphery of the fashion world, far away from catwalks, collections and trends (when they were asked to open the Amsterdam International Fashion Week, their answer was a YES with a big BUT – resulting in a room where models practised their tightrope skills, while the audience could walk around and watch).

Painted means spending time on making the clothes. Most of their garments are developed over years, and a normal procedure could be this: One starts making, lets say, a dress. Then leaves it to rest for a while, until somebody else finds the inspiration to continue. The garment grows in the hands of different people, until it’s finished. Nothing is planned or designed to the end, it becomes while it’s being made. All the contributors have something to say, and every piece is different from another.

 

 

I asked Saskia and Margreet what they thought making something by hand added to a clothing, and they answered with returning the question; What do I think making something by hand adds to a clothing? I was not capable of giving a straight answer at the time being –  and I’m not sure I am today either. But I know it adds something. Something of value, whatever that means. I know for instance that buying sweaters on a fleamarket and only afterwards realizing that it has been made by somebody’s hands, makes the scoop three times as good. This is of course a quite subjective way of thinking. Perhaps my idea of an old, gray haired and slightly chubby woman, sitting in a rocking chair knitting (I know this is the case only one out of twenty times) makes the sweater even warmer. Or maybe it’s the idea of somebody spending their time doing it that warms?

By the end of our talk, Margreet draws a scenario; If your house was burning, and you could only save what you could carry in your arms – what would it be (and now let’s look beyond computers and smartphones)? After the workshop, thinking about what I would have saved, I realize that this might be what Saskia and Margreet are trying to create in their clothes. A value that goes beyond money. Not just another really beautiful dress – but a garment with something close to affection.

I like to think that time invested in an out dying technique (let’s say a Bulgarian needlepoint lace) or in repairing an unraveled sweater makes it more worth than the machine produced alternative. I mean, time is after all money. Maybe we just haven’t learned to recognise the currency yet.

www.paintedseries.com

 

 

Epilog
After attending their workshop, and becoming a part of their secret, golden brand, Margreet and Saskia asked me to add a song to their playlist, a song about something broken or golden. Not that it really has anything to do with anything, but it’s about a broken heart and I felt like it belonged here as well.

Christopher Owens – A Broken Heart

 

Empty wallet – NO WASTE


Monday, May 27, 2013

“The Sea Chair”

When I first saw the Sea Chair I immediately reacted on the aesthetics – it’s imperfections, hints of craftsmanship, and it’s strange plastic molding. The plastic resembled, though not clearly, marble stone. Soon after I found out of it’s relation to the Great Pacific Patch [x].
The Great Pacific patch is a floating soup of plastic debris covering an area one and a half time the size of USA and is trapped in the currents of the North Pacific Gyre. Many organizations have tried to clean it but it has been deemed as “the worlds largest dump” – feared impossible to defeat.

The plastic debris releases chemical additives and plasticizers into the ocean and finds is way into the food we eat. The fishes and seabirds mistake the plastic for food, as you can see on the picture above showing a Laysan albatross chick (90 % of Laysan albatross chick carcasses and regurgitated stomach contents contain plastics.)

The Sea Chair is made of plastic debris collected from this garbage patch. It is part of a project with the same name lead by design duo Studio Swine, Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves; in collaboration with Kieran Jones determined to clean this floating dump and lower the production of plastic

The overall concept is to design with sustainable systems while treating the aesthetics with the same importance. With the use of design they form the plastic waste into an aesthetically desirable object. They believe that desire is the factor for change.

The sea chair project uses craftsmanship, together with recycling and protection for the environment, as a part in the ecological cycle. Like a craftman the designer should follow the whole process of production. Studio Swine uses tools and created devices to collect and process the marine debris along the shoreline. The Nurdler is a machine, that was created while being inspired by the miners, sorting plastic from the other waste. The next step is in the Sea Press which is a furnace and hydraulic press that heats and molds the plastic into the stool.

The Nurdler

The Sea Press

The stool is just the start in Studio Swine’s environmental cause. They also want to convert fishing boats into plastic refineries, so that the fishermen would collect plastic instead of fish. They mean that this would lead to lowering the demand for new plastics and therefore also the production of new plastic. Eventually this would also mean that the fisher men could continue fishing instead of picking plastic.

The connection between chairs and the seamen comes from a tradition amongst Britain’s port towns where sailors were required to have carpentry skills for repairing wooden ships at sea and after they retire many of them would continue to make wood furniture, in this case instead of wooden chairs the fishermen would make plastic chairs.

The Sea Chair proves that Eco-design goes hand in hand with craftsmanship and collectivity. Eco-design, since the 60’s, has questioned consumerism, taking inspiration from craftsmanship before the industrial revolution when eco-design was considered a norm and goods such as furniture tended to be made locally by craftsmen using local resources. Studio Swine follows the eco-design concepts of “Do-it-yourself” and engaging the community by making the production process accessible. On their website you can access a manual and video for how to build the devices and create the stool .

Though I desire one of those sea chairs, I’m not gonna be able to make one in this short amount of time. Instead I decided to make the smallest effort in creating from recycling waste material. I was going to empty my wallet from all the “shit” I gathered when I decided to use it as my “waste” material.

So I limited my self to this source material and one tool

I intended to make jewelery or at least functional objects but I’m not a designer so it resulted in something else…

An essay concerning what I think of Design and Art and Crafts and ugly glass objects and Christien Meindertsma and her PIG05049 and her Single Sheep Sweaters.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

I find Design a difficult term. When I think of Design objects, I think of the Museum für Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt, which I, to my rather substantial displeasure, accidentally visited once during a school trip.
The building contained a few rooms filled with all sorts of glass Design objects, ranging from a little unpleasant to straight up horrible stuff. According to Wikipedia, the museum exhibits “more than 30,000 objects representing European and Asian decorative arts.” All I saw were contemporary glass lamps and mobiles and vases pretending to be all sorts of extremely valuable and expensive.
Having said all these mean things about Design, I myself completed an education in Graphic Design not that long ago. I have caught myself calling myself a Graphic Designer quite a few times.
Christien Meindertsma is also often called a Designer. In her bio a position on this matter is not being made, but in her CV the word Design appears very often. (It also says that in 2010 she was part of the show “Dutch Domestics – Design as Research” in the Museum fur Angewandte Kunst Frankfurt)


Christien is interested in raw materials. She explores these materials in thoughtful ways, making simple books and products that lay bare complex and otherwise hidden processes. If you’d like to hear her talking about her work you can follow this nice link.

I know Christien Meindertsma from her project PIG05049 (or actually from the TED talk she gave about it). For this project she spent three years researching the afterlife of the ordinary pig, and all the products that it ends up in after slaughter. All items are presented at their real scale in a book, a visual encyclopedia. Amongst some of the more unexpected products were: Ammunition, concrete, cigarettes, heart valves, brakes, chewing gum, porcelain and cosmetics.

Only recently I discovered one of her other projects, called One Sheep Sweater. It was on display in the cliché corner Eerlijk (Honest) at the Handmade show at Boijmans van Beuningen.
Christien started working on this project in 2003, when she was still studying at the Design Academy Eindhoven. In 2004, she made a collection of cardigans that were each made from the wool of one sheep.
After a few years of working with all sorts of wool and yarn manufacturers for her poofs and (Texel) ottomans, she picked up the One Sheep Sweater project again. Her goal was now to make them with a 3D knitting machine, to create an industrially made product, that would still tell a story of where it came from. She used Merino sheep from Holland and was part of the whole process from the shearing to the knitting.

I can very much relate to Christiens’ work most of the time. Though I don’t really have a particular interest in raw materials, I am very much concerned with the ways society deals with agriculture, whether it being for meat, wool, seeds, crops or other commodities. We are completely unaware of production processes and I find this very intriguing.

I think some of Christiens’ works I would call Design, for example the poofs and the ottomans and these Designy lamps that unfortunately remind me a bit of the glass Design objects that I mentioned earlier. However, the two main projects mentioned in this essay I consider to be art.
In my opinion Crafts, Design and Art are all the same things, namely words. The word Design reminds me of ugly glass objects, but that is really nobody’s fault, and it will hopefully not stay that way forever. The word Art is something I have more respect for, but I have also seen horrible stuff that was called that. With the word Crafts I mostly think of handwork, (which I use quite a lot in my own work, when I think about it now) but I also associate it with exceptional skill. And, as we all know, skills are awesome.

The words Art, Design and Crafts have different associations, but I think it’s extremely difficult to separate them from each other, if it is even possible to find out what they really mean. Some things that are considered Art can also easily be considered Craft, like some old Mannerism paintings, or more contemporary Hyperrealist paintings or sculptures. Some things that are considered Design may be considered Art. And some things that are considered Art, may by some people be considered Design.

Value is one of the main themes in Christien Meindertsma’s works. Trend forecasters tell us that, as a reaction to mass-consumerism, crafts will be valued more and more in the future. I’m hoping for this trend to develop in a large scale, for I think it has great potential to contribute to shifting our views and beliefs into less destructive and more beautiful ones.

History repeats itself.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Does this mean you make the same mistakes twice?

Do we re-live our past but in a different atmosphere?

Can we see our future in the history of time?

It is surprising how the sum of the past and the future can result in the present. As well as in the last book I’ve chosen, I have the feeling that two different time spirits come together.

The layout and especially the letters used on the cover of this book are very old fashioned; the use of soft orange dyes in a round shaped fond combined with a black and white frame. A frame which reminds me of origami class where at least six women with the age of forty-five and higher are sweating over a piece of paper trying to construct a whooping crane. But the picture of the cover doesn’t correspond to my slightly ironical conclusion at all. It is a picture of two wooden beams with beautiful shapes on the end of each beam. The shapes are perfectly opposite so that they can fit together as two pieces of a very complicated puzzle. It looks very modern, like something they use in high tech vehicles or space ships.

 

At present, the title began to dawn on me. It said: ‘The art of Japanese Joinery’, made in 1977

 

After a small peek into the content of this book, it occurred to me that it was filled only with old Japanese ways to attach two or more pieces of wood together. Not in the prefab-style we attach stuff these days, but on the most exquisite, caring and futuristic way possible. I felt for a moment so angry at our IKEA society where everything has to be cheap so you can buy a new sofa every four years, not caring about old handicrafts and their gift to make the most refined details. Details of such beauty that you have to suppress the urge to dismantle your closet only to see how it has been made.
The tender approach of something so simple as to attach two pieces of wood together reminds me of the first book I had chosen, where Nabokov describes individual letters of the alphabet in the way he experienced them.

Affection, or at least attention, for stuff we work with everyday, like the feeling of a specific letter, a symbol or a construction, is very rare these days. We don’t seem to have time to notice these small ‘gifts’ in the rush of everyday life. So next time you go to the library, go with an open mind and grab the very fist book that draws your attention. You’ll be surprised what comes out.

Rietveld Library cat.nr: 694.1


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