This is a short text I wrote back in 2017 when I was making the printed silk on the image for a skirt.
My eyes are barely open, like a zombie from its tomb I wake up from my bed. The birds outside are already singing the most beautiful spring songs, to charm their other half, to move on. It is a bittersweet joy to hear them, as I still left a part of my soul under the ‘Parisien’ sky, in the arms of two coffee brown eyes. It is far too early for anything to do; now the upcoming couple of hours is about anything but creative creation. It is the waking up time for my soul, getting back to this awful, grey, and rainy ‘Gentse’ reality. Coffee, than tea, than some food. I cannot even enjoy yet the taste of them, as I vaguely staring out of my window, running through my Paris Sunday as it was just a scene from a French art movie, just like the one five years ago. The movie scene, that got me so far, that I can stare vaguely out of my window, in Gent.
Memories swirling in my mind and I catch one, that piece of silk I painted after that night. I was bored on my medical plants lesson, so I started to draw differently shaped flowers on a brownish grey piece of paper, and colour them with my bright Stabilo markers. It was like a spring garden, fresh and joyful. No wonder I chose once the path of horticulture, I adore flowers; the beauty they add to life, the scent they share when they distillate, and mix into a bottle of fine perfume. Some scents soak into our memories, some into our clothes, like mine into the silk scarf I painted based on this pattern later on this year; it fused the times and memories.
I was so happy, full of life after the awakening from a two months living coma when I drew those flowers. I started to paint again on silk back then, it was passionate, it was carefree as I stretched the fabric on the frame and drew every little detail one by one, and then filled it with the spreading colours. Unbroken concentration, the air filled with my creative passion, love and hope that I will see him again, and I am so thankful that he triggered my inner self to show itself. It caught the eye of someone else, he held me in chains to drag me here, and forced the insanity out of me. So exciting how five years quickly passed by, through trouble and joy, and I had that same kind of jittery excitement filled with a much deeper meaning, in a more mature, yet a more painfully playfully passionate way when I stretched an outclass larger piece of silk on the printing table.
Silk. Silk is The Material in my eyes. Silk is a quality, silk is energy, silk is luxury, silk is majestic. It is the most superior, the finest; the most beautiful material for textile mankind can steal and kill for with such a selfish, infatuated way as we do. The story of Silk by Baricco shows how far a man can go for it, and how it takes his mind away, the journey to Japan, the forbidden sakura of the isles, and again a women waiting home with an understanding and caring heart. Silk is like sable fur, inimitable. It is the femme fatale of the threads. It charms you, seduces you and stabs you; she lets your heart bleed, while its longing for her beauty. She is the most beautiful if she has her raw edges, its natural curves, woven into a silk dupion.
What else could create a better gown that that? I look at my research book and admire the Sárközi women’s skirt. It was all Lyon silk, it was all to emphasise their majestic and proud virtue, the hard work, the fortune, and foreshadow the often unfortunate future of their life. I perceive the energy via the old photos of the brides. They are glowing in their black gown decorated richly with red. They sometimes were called the brides of the devil. In the matter of fact they were. They had to face in an early stage of their life the stupidity, the inequality of our present days, a century earlier. I can perceive the pain and proud that meant to be a Sárközi bride. It is the greatest limitation of female creative energy, it is the greatest suffer a woman can receive as a task for life. Arranged marriages, only children, no more only one, early death via the attempt to abort the second. It is only the beginning. Lovers, cheating, divorce, the entire household work, including the whitewash of the house, was for the women.
She was judged by the villagers, the way she dressed, the way she did her duty, and on her hand work, on her wovens, as well. Their hands must have been hurt, as mine hurt sometimes of all the waving, sewing, painting and lifting. The colour of my skin changes from its pale complexion to a blue, dead hue. It seems like embroidery sewn on the hand, like Eliza Bennette has done it. Embroidery on the hand, embroidery on the pinner. Every stich a teardrop for the love they had to give up for their traditions. The Sárközi woman was judged how much she could swallow, how much pain she could endure, her duty and its pain was never done. I can relate to them. I am the lover in the story, yet a daughter of a swallowing woman. I think that no theme could talk to me so clearly as the one I chose to create my painfully inversed red piece. The green of envy, the blue of the bride, and it will one day become a skirt as well to ornament a wedding of our modern times.
I first had to cook my potion to dye the pale gold silk to a bright, sharp, edgy green. Like the eyes of Jolene. So I started to play with some textiles, to figure out my representative print and the colours. I was just taping and printing, and dying, and printing. It is all comes from my guts. I live for the moment to reach the end. I try, I see, I analyse, I retry. Sometimes it stuck for days, and nothing comes through. I linger in the moments, trying to break through, and it burns, it hurts if it cannot explode. If the flow is stuck I look back at my notes, at my inspirational pictures, and analyse them over and over again. Until I find that perfect motive, that perfect texture I need for my completion. It is like the Libertango of Piazzolla, as all the ideas swirling in my head, having the constant rhythm that cannot stop me from thinking, and finding a solution, and just like the soft violin, my love to what I create embraces all that colourful imagination of mine and narrows it down to a soft and dinamic melody. Nobody can stop me. These times I am possessed of the process. I want to reach ‘le petit mort’ of creation. It is like the most passionate intercourse with a man but you are more interested in the story and the structure of the silk bed sheet than him. I touch my materials like I touch his skin, like I kiss him softly on his neck.
During these times, mad precision overpowers my soul and I am able to pipette a few tenth millilitres. It is the gentlest stroke on the back of my love. 0,4ml of blue in the rays of a summery glow, and Jolene will conquer your soul. As my water warms up, I just pour the colours in, and see how every drop of poison green ink are mixing in, whirling and whirling in smoky colour clouds, until the bottom of my shiny pot disappears. It is a game of patience, as cooking is a difficult process it requires care and devotion. Stirring my silk every now and then to reach an even surface is my main goal at the infatuated tranquillity and meditation of dyeing. I could do so much other things, but it is a kind of calm rush that doesn’t let me. I need to be there, I need it now, and as the water boils slowly the energy in me boils with it. But that is only the pre-play, the deep eye contact, the moment lost in his eyes, the moment that feels like eternity, and I wish it would never be gone.
When the meal is cooked, it needs to dry, but I am unable to wait. My excitement is greater than my patience at that time. I want it. I need it. Now. I lost my mind by then. I want to stretch the edges, I want it to break down all walls, tear the fabric and let it lay on my temple of joy. I want that uplifting orgasm that moves me foreword, to reach for a new one, and then another one. It is the most deadly intercourse with my creativity, it can drive me over everything, I do not care anymore about anything. Like a tank I drive over my own boundaries, I break down the fortress I built with a lot of effort. I go insane, and nothing can stop me. I become the rebellious bird of love and for a while I’m impossible to be tamed. I push every needle with deep joy of the pain in my thumb to stretch my flag of female freedom. It is already so numb from the boiling adrenaline that I cannot feel it anymore. I look at that glow, adore it. I take it in with every breath, and like starting a bondage session, just slowly tape the lines I need. It creates that diamond pattern that the proud Sárközi collar creates in the neck of the condemned bride, so heavy like a chain, like a leash. I place each and every piece carefully to its right place, so it covers no matter how hard the paint will penetrate.
The screen is on the cloth, this is the point of no return; the first motive has already drunk itself into the matter, a tattoo on the skin of my lover. The only way is straight forward, the blood mixed with the ink, it is under the skin. From now on till the end, it is just doing, without really thinking. I live from now on with my piece. I feel its every wish, its every breath; I caress it, I look for its erogenous zones, and try to excite it to glow, and glow more. I search on where I should kiss its body with the same motive over and over again. The eternal ocean of green craze slowly filled with that deep ‘Paris bleu’, the colour that represented the death, and the early days was worn instead of black, the colour of the damned brides’ dress. But my silk is so plane! It doesn’t pop. My screen is damaged; I need to stop. It has to be set up again. But I want my pleasure back, I want to continue. I’m not there yet!
It is a weekend to go, as the atelier is closed. I miss her, I miss him. I have sleepless nights to come, my bed is so cold. It is the white raw cotton of my sheets covering my body. I miss the softness, I miss the caress. When she will be ready, she will be my second skin covering my lap, flying with the breeze of the summer wind, I hope first finds me again in Paris. Ah, summertime, when the living is easy, when in the heat we lose our silks to give more place to our real skin. What an organ it is! It is the greatest of all. It senses all sort of things, it has its own memory. It forms to our own history; it remembers every touch from mom to our first loves uncertain strokes, till the heavy wounds of our falls. It perpetuates the lines on a face, the cicatrices on my knees, an unpleasant look of a beast. It protects us from all deadly disease. I can’t sleep, I want to finish my second skin, I want to cover my tired soul under a veil, so it can heal. Sleepless nights come again and again. The orange streetlight reaches my bed. I wish it would be the early Monday sun to push me out of my depressed death.
I need a tint; it’s all too dark and vicious. It needs some light to shine and be able to love again. I need to lighten that blue; it will give the shine I want. I stir it and stir it to make it lighter, adding more and more white. No lesser colour can be created like this, than the Parisian sky. Under the sky of Paris… under the sky of Paris… everybody should have their own history. Let us see how the daylight and the night sky works together! As the paint lays on the envy is creates the brilliance of the ocean, and forgets its jealousy, and rewards me with a smile. I keep on printing, I am already exhausted, another whole day of work, but my adrenaline doesn’t let me stop. I’m almost there; I feel it inside, I’m close to my completion. It’s almost there, just one more kiss, just one more, just one more, more, more, more, more… Ah it’s done. I let my soul enjoy the moment. I just look at the piece; I admire its unique beauty while I clean my tools leisurely. It’s time to release the ropes, and let it rest. The tape hurts its body as I slowly take it off, it bristle its threads, but it makes it more beautiful, as the uncovered skin shows. I let it lose from the tension of the pins. Rest, my baby, rest, and I hold it as close as those wild brown eyes do, but I know, I will betray him, as I already wear a new silk baby under my heart, and it will be the second part of my new skin.