May 20, 2013

In May all birds lay an egg *

Joepie, my new Vlisco!

A clear line starts to form in the Vlisco's I purchased. My last one, the nest filled with eggs on a great greenish-blue colored pattern of birds in branches from the 'Jeu De Couleurs' collection (see previous post 'The day that you knew was coming is finally here '), seems to be an extreme bold one, but is it?
So far I only have Vlisco's with birds, eggs and nests... and I do love birds, and I love having them build nests in my garden, but I do not long for a nest of my own. So when I first spotted this Vlisco online, I was wondering if I could wear it. What hidden message could be given to it?
That birds, nests or eggs could have many meanings, is clearly found in the Vlisco's I own, 'Happy Family' and 'Moms know best', but also in the works I made.
In my collaboration with artist Emmy Dijkstra bird nests are found in three of the paper installations***.
The first one, 'Copying the Moon', an installation of wallpaper forming the background for Emmy's paper dress, is filled with weaver birds building their moon-shaped nests. Our inspiration was a quote from a book about South-American Indians: "Do you know there is a place on earth where people and animals, water and trees, plants, stars and the moon live together? Where men gives a soul to everything that surrounds them, where everything is visible, touchable and tangible?"
For our ceremonial hut, a hut made of paper, I made a piece that didn't make the final selection, but is now hanging at home. The inspiration for this installation were the ceremonial huts made on New Guinea by the Papua. In my paper 'panels' I chose to work with symbols for fertility, nature and gender, common in tribal art, but in a way they represent the opposite.

Creating your own symbols and patterns gives you the freedom to give (a new) meaning to them. But even if the meaning is the same, by repeating a symbol you can make peace with its meaning.

But what meaning could be given to the Vlisco that is my newest addition to my small collection? It's a new design by Vlisco and I wonder how it did on the African market. My first thoughts were that it was an appropriate fabric for springtime, Easter Chic. The title of this blogpost "In May all birds lay an egg" (Dutch phrase "In mei leggen alle vogels een ei"), doesn't mean anything other then that birds start their breeding season in May, it's a weather proverb. So you can easily use this Vlisco to celebrate spring.
Another meaning could be: Nest egg. You have or need some savings for the future. Poultry farmers formerly placed a porcelain or other fake egg in a hen's nest to encourage it to lay more eggs, from this came the proverb; nest egg. Saving money is making money ****. In Africa women collect Vlisco's, and other textiles, as a form of savings account. Buying a Vlisco is considered an investment.
So this Vlisco could be my literal nest egg for a rainy day.
Emmy's paper dress with my wallpaper 'Copying the Moon' during our forrest exhibition
Paper 'panel' at home
Detail from 'View on the Linie', stencil swan on nest first used for tree-carpet 'A walk around the Pond'
Detail from Vlisco expressing the African proverb 'Only a good mother knows what her childeren will eat'
Detail from Pagi-Sore Batik, c. 1950 by Liem Siek Hien**

* Dutch phrase; "In mei leggen alle vogels een ei"

** Pagi-Sore batik by Liem Siek Hien from Greg Roberts collection, photo from his blog North Coast Javanese Batik, You can find more photos of this beautiful batik in the post 'A Pekalongan Batik Made in the kudus style'

*** For more about my collaboration with Emmy Dijkstra visit our blog

**** From Free Dictionary

1 comment:

  1. Vrijdag was ik met 2 quiltvriendinnen(alledrie vliscofans) in Helmond,eerst naar de kleine tentoonstelling "merklappen",kunstenaars maakten een ontwerp en borduursters borduurden dit ontwerp(boeiend om de resultaten van die samenwerking te zien),en daarna op naar de vliscowinkel waar wij natuurlijk niet met lege handen buiten gingen.Omdat wij alledrie quilten deelden we de 6 yards-lappen (5 zeer mooie)
    Helaas heb je een budjet waaraan je je wil houden maar anders...............
    Mien B.Deurne