Textiles are one of my favourite materials to work with. No surprise there is a long standing connection with the TextielMuseum in Tilburg. They acquired a complete overview of my work from my very first exhibition. Not long after several of these pieces became part of an exhibition on 20 years of self producing designers in the Netherlands. During one of my visits I was introduced to one of the first textile printers in the Netherlands in the TextielLab and I loved it at first sight! I wanted to show its full potential, so I designed a print of a field of daisies for a tablecloth with matching plates.
This was easier said then done… You see, the romantic image of what we have in our minds can be completely different from reality. Fact is that a field of daisies up close looks like a mess you never want to eat from. It took two professional photographers and three daisy fields to get a good basic shot of the right kind of grass [recently cut and and lusciously green]. I inserted the daisies myself to get a nice and even pattern. It took a while to transform this picture into a 1.45 m x 1.45 m size where the print would look natural and realistic in its perspective. To me the end result was totally worth it! I created an image where every inch of the design is different and looks all natural. The flower free border emphasizes the opposite.
Then I started on the plates. Again I created an image in which all daisies are left complete. The first plates where done in a silkscreen print on differently shaped plates. We stretched it to the maximum, but we did not get far enough. After a visit at Koninklijke Tichelaar in Makkum and a technical talk with Thomas Eyck I was pointed in the right direction. Luckily Solke Pasveer just started with a new technique, prints on transfers with ceramic ink that came from a printer in the United Kingdom. And in the end I also found the perfect plate.
If you think this made things easy, think again… Although both items could now be printed they differed in basic material and type of ink. The first 15 or so tests did not create a match, both in the colours of the original image and with each other. I can say that this project drove a lot of people close to madness but with a little magic on my part I created synchronicity between the two prints and LIFE IS A PICNIC was born. TextielMuseum requested an English title because the design is also part of their international ‘Dutch Souvenir’ project. I loved the title so much that I retitled all my existing Dutch titles like ‘Waterweg’, ‘Laplamp’, ‘Ligt’ and ‘Pannenlap’. That is when the LIFE IS GREAT Collection saw the light too. Also one of my Paper Presents was inspired by this fine design.