The Summer is leaving us fast in the Netherlands. The nights are cold and the Butterfly-season is ending soon.
I have a lot of ideas for new blogposts. I interviewed the inspiring artist Cécile Verwaaijen (see www.cecileverwaaijen.nl). Still learning and reading about Sand- and flowercarpets. And of course Batik. Because I'm in the middle of preparing an exhibition in the forest with artist Emmy Dijkstra, my time for writing is a bit limited.
For the forest exhibition I'm making a new work. Beginning of this year I started as a Butterfly monitor. I read this newspaper article in which they where looking for people to walk different routes in Breda, my hometown, and count Butterflies. With the collected data the environmental policy can be adapted to the needs of animals. Butterflies are a good indicator on how nature is doing.
When I read the article, I already had plans to learn more about Butterflies. I had this far fetched theory about Butterflies in Batiks. Butterflies are region-specific. Every kind flourishes with a different surrounding. The caterpillars only eat certain plants, so the eggs are laid on or nearby these plants. Butterflies are territorial and only drink from nectar-rich flowers (or in areas where they can find enough flowers on one spot). The life of most Butterflies is short, some only live for 5 days, so they have to find all the things they and their offspring need fast.
My theory was that if you can recognize the Butterfly in a Batik, you can see where the Batik is made.
Batik map of Rembang area, picture made in Lasem (Jave, Indonesia)
A Batik is a kind of map of an area or town. Specific plants, animals, activities, even typical architectural identifiable points are put on to a Batik. This way the maker and the wearer can show where they are from.
With this theory, a new idea was born. How can I capture my surrounding, communicating what I see around me, making a work about a walk without making a map. Using symbols, patterns and so on without leaning on traditional Batik layouts. Making sense by making maps.
In theory could I make a work that makes it possible to walk the exact same route as I did. How can I develop a method of walking combining my interests in temporary, conceptional art*, Batik and all other traditional Art styles I mentioned on my blog with my love for nature?
When I was little map making came natural, old drawing by me
For my fathers 50th birthday I designed the invitation. On it was a kind of comic of his daily routine. This picture below is from a school-project where me and a friend made this alternative route past public placed sculptures. We started with a map from the Tourist Office, but some sculpture where gone, we find other more interesting ones and mixed one up. There where no pictures in the informationfolder, so when we found this beautiful wooden sculpture in front of a church we though it was 'Engel' by Huub Kortekaas. The real 'Angel' was a white, abstract sculpture that was in repair that moment.
Map of sculptures in the Uden region from around 2000 by me
*Richard Long's walks and his way of communicating them