I love my laundry rack. It makes me want to do laundry. It is so beautiful to look at and yet holds an entire large load so it saves me money every time I use it. For years I wanted to hang my laundry outside but I really hated the ugly laundry racks that were available. When my wife Dita and I went to the Netherlands in 2011 we visited the Zuiderzee Museum in Enkhuizen. This museum is a recreation of an old seaside village. There, among other artifacts, I spotted this beautiful old laundry rack.
When we got home Dita began to design and she built me a laundry rack drawing on some of the same design details but with a very west coast look. Dita is a designer/builder who was born in Amsterdam but moved to Vancouver when she was six.
Our laundry rack is made of cedar, not a wood commonly found in Europe. But she uses oak dowels for strength and contrast. It is unfinished while the Dutch rack is painted. And it is taller and narrower, an elegant look favored by Dita. But it is very Dutch!
I love the combination of form and function in Dutch art. The Zuiderzee Museum exists on one hand, to represent or recreate a way of life now gone. But throughout the village they display modern art and commentary to take you into the realm of abstraction. When we were there in 2011 they had a show called From craftsmanship to abstraction design route. Throughout the museum they would juxtapose modern art interpretations of traditional materials next to artifacts. Or they would present artifacts in such a way to be seen as art. A fascinating way to view history and a way of making Abstract Art feel more accessible.
Just recently they installed a very interesting permanent exhibition called Monument by the British artist Clare Twomey. This piece is made up of hundreds of shards of household crockery and antique ceramic tiles cascading in a monumental way. Broken crockery seems to contradict the purpose of a museum which is to preserve artifacts for future generations. This work plays with the idea that everyday items can be elevated to museum status. But it is also a comment on our over consumption of consumer goods. The tiles come from the sizable tile collection of the Zuiderzee museum, the “D” collection rejected and yet now put to good use as Art!