As a child I had a friend who let her hair grow. It fascinated me even then, how the hair in two thick braids became longer and longer. Each month it grew another “segment”. 
My sister-in-law Ester had a long braid when I first met her. About 25 years ago it was cut off and she kept it since. I once asked her if I could exhibit it, because for years I have had the idea to fill a VITRINE with braiding, basketry and other forms of plaiting. This VITRINE was completed without her braid since I didn’t dare ask her to go looking for the braid, knowing that this would not be easy to find after all these years.
This summer I found a book at a French flea market: “Artisanat, de tradition en Amérique” by the American author Robert Shaw. A whole chapter is devoted to vannerie, or basketry. From Native American baskets to contemporary baskets by Ida Pearl Davis and her daughter Thelma Hibdon from Tennessee. 
About a week ago, I was in France again, where I saw two brothers from the Cevennes, making baskets at a market. I could not resist buying two. The smaller one is on display in the VITRINE. It was amazing to see how skilled these men were, but also how time consuming this craft is and that you need to have very strong arms. My oldest rattan object is a small purse that comes from Sarawak, Borneo. The advantage of these objects is that they are often utensils. That makes it easier to continue buying them. My excuse is that they are useful since you can always store something in them 
Since there were people, there was basketry. Scientists believe the craft of basketry was developed about 12,000 years ago, but I think that it is probably much older. Since collected food in could be easily carried in baskets, it seems to have made it possible to have meals in groups, away from where the food was collected. This probably stimulated the development of communication and language. Actually, it was not until the early 20th century that scientists became interested in basketry. In the journals of Captain Cook, who travelled three times to the Cook Islands (later named after him) in the 18th century, he describes thousands of different shapes for all sorts of functions, but he did not bring any basket back to England. 
I read that some monkeys can braid. 
At primary school I was allowed to try it once, the first and last time. Around the corner from where I live is a shop that exclusively sells basketry and wicker objects. Everything comes from Asia where they still master this craft. A huge advantage of braiding is that it never weighs a lot. Everything that is now on show in the VITRINE, I was able to bring with one bike trip. This morning I woke up somewhat encumbered. I realized I had forgotten a very nice green bag. I just took it out of my closet, where it was hidden in the back. I was actually relieved to discover that it was indeed a bag from Madagascar, with a bamboo handle and a raffia lining, but with a woven textile exterior. 
When I show a collection in VITRINE, I want it to be as complete as possible, but at the same time it remains a composition. 
Once I am happy with the composition I find it impossible to add anything else.

vertaling_V48_files/stukje%20VITRINE%2030.docx