Thursday, 16 February 2012

Design Week 2012 is over!!!

Oh, the winter that never was! 

Valentines day has come and gone, and Design Week, 2012 was a success!  The work that I presented this year was very personal, with an emphasis on family history, home and identity.

This year, I worked on two projects, one with IMM living, titled, "Not Forkchops", which invited designers to submit work that explored the idea of cultural adaptation:

"Not Forkchops will give Canadian artists and designers the opportunity to showcase how this idea of cultural adaptation and adoption that has influenced the work that they produce in a way that is elegant, contemporary and unique.....Not forkchops encompasses the idea that we live in a country where worlds have collided, cultures of all kinds (not just ethnic based cultures), have merged, borrowing ideas from one, and adapting from another.  As a result of this amalgamation Canadians have developed beliefs, virtues, ideas, practices and visions that are uniquely Canadian."

IMM Living.

Seven designers participated in the exhibition, which was launched at "The Department" gallery, on Dundas St. West, Toronto.

I was inspired by the concept of the exhibition, and wanted to make a series of stools that had been only living in my sketch book for several months.  I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to showcase this idea, and explore these themes of identity and home.

I was interested in presenting a series of stools that reflected a personal narrative and allude to Canadas post war agricultural immigration.  In the 1950's, my grandparents, my father and his brother and sister left Holland with the promise of plentiful land to farm in Canada.  They established themselves as dairy farmers in Nova Scotia and raised 13 children in Canada.

Native Canadian wood species were used in the fabrication of these stools and the the traditional cobalt blue that characterises Dutch Delft ceramic painting is alluded to through pattern and paint application on the underside of each stool seat.  It is the idea of migration, cross cultural exchange, decorative interpretation and family history that provided the basis of this exploration and experiment.

Website, Mocoloco featured my work from this exhibition, which can be seen here:

Three different sizes were presented, a typical small milking stool, one slightly taller, and the largest version being a bar or breakfast stool.  A lot of experimentation in the studio was done to get the Delft blue colour just right.

The second exhibition that I participated in was with MADE gallery, the annual Radiant Dark show.  This year the concept was, "The Devil is in the details".  I decided to make a series of tulip vases that are based on traditional Dutch tulip vases of the 17th century.  Here's my artist statement which describes my intent for the show:

Devil in the Detail.
Radiant Dark. 2012.

Anneke van Bommel

"Tulpenmanie!" (Tulip mania) Series

Tulip mania or "Tulpenmanie", is a series of tulip vases based on the historic Dutch Delft tulip vases of the 1600's.  Delft tulip vases originated in an attempt to imitate Chinese porcelain, and resulted in a hybrid, a new version of the technique.

It is this idea of migration, cross cultural exchange, decorative interpretation and family history that provided the basis of this exploration.

Exploring themes of ornament, home, memory and family history, this series combines a "Canadian Cabin" aesthetic with the fantastical forms and silhouettes of highly ornamented Dutch tulip vases. This series explores our contemporary taboos about ornament, decorative traditions and what happens when these details are lost. 

The archetypal, cobalt blue patterns that define and characterise Delftware are removed, the traditional material (ceramic) is replaced by wood, and the forms that remain are mysterious, yet familiar totems of the past.

The first vase comes apart, allowing you to use it as three individual vases, or one very tall, elaborate vase.  This piece is based on traditional fireplace tulip vases, that were displayed, in pairs, flanking the fireplaces of the wealthy during a time, when tulips were so prohibitively expensive that only the very wealthy, and royalty could afford such blooms.  As a result, ceramicists created fanciful, elaborate forms to showcase these precious flowers.