Welcome back! I’ve missed you. Thanks for taking the time to check out BillyRocksPhilly to see what is happening in my niche of the cyber world.
As you can see, this post is not about rock. Waaaaah!! Instead, it’s about Vlisco and African-inspired designs for textiles. Of course! I was at the Perelman Building of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and there was an amazing exhibit displaying these textiles.
It turns out that a lot of what we think are African patterns were actually designed in Haarlem, The Netherlands by a company named Vlisco. They used this cool wax process for producing the printed fabrics. And amazingly, the company is still in business, and you can go to their website and buy (at remarkably affordable prices, please sponsor me Vlisco) their latest line of cloth sporting African designs.
Anyway, because it was a museum collection, the pieces selected for exhibition were exquisite. But they also had western-inspired motifs where those western references tied into the local African culture that was the target market. For example, the Mercedes-Benz three-pronged star emblem is incorporated into certain designs because the truly successful African women who marketed the textiles locally all drove Benzes. (Remarkably like Main Line doctors and such, don’t you think? They stich you up with resulting Mercedes scar patterns as they fantasize about being able to afford the new E class.) Look at the pictures and you'll see the V8 label from American automobiles of the 60s, psychedelic patterns, King Kong, spiffy shoes, swallows, love bombs and other fun things.
I didn’t really think that I would like the exhibit that much, and ended up spending quite a bit of time in there. The textiles have really vibrant patterns, and were just fascinating in person. And to bring it back to the rock ‘n roll thing, don’t you think that they helped to inspire some rock cover art from the 60s and 70s? They sure look like some of the stuff that still sits in my ancient album collection. So there’s the rock hook: all art eventually grabs inspiration from all over the globe, and artists beget artists. Or some bullshit like that.
I’ll be back with more rock soon. There will be another live show review in your future. But be careful sliding too close to the edge of the seat – I’m a little busy, and may not get the review up until early next week. Until then, keep on truckin’.
My name is Bill, and I live in the greater Philadelphia area. I love music, and I have a lot of opinions. This site is primarily focused on music, but sometimes I get off track. I hope you enjoy.