Elsy Menko – Country – Artist

The language of the birds

Hendrik Nicolaas Werkman (29 April 1882-10 April 1945) was an experimental Dutch artist, typographer and printer. In May 1940, soon after the German invasion of the Netherlands, he started a clandestine publishing house, De Blauwe Schuit (“the blue barge”), which ran forty publications, all designed and illustrated by Werkman.

In 1941 he first read Martin Buber’s “Legend of the Baalshem” containing twenty stories about the founder of the chassidic faith and was captivated by their meditative atmosphere and richness of images. He was inspired to start work on illustrating the stories. In 1942 he published two series of each ten stories and their illustrations to great acclaim. They would turn out to be his most important publications. “The language of the birds” is one of these chassidic legends.

On 13 March 1945, the Gestapo arrested Werkman, executing him by firing squad along with nine other prisoners in the forest near Bakkeveen on April 10th, three days before the city of Groningen was liberated.

Werkman’s works can be found in the collections of the most important museums of the Netherlands.

Source: National Library of the Netherlands

Moda grunge fabrics, machine piecing, hand and machine stitching. I have added the flowers as an ode to his life.

Original art:

  1. Thank you for the narrative and introduction to Hendrik Werkman. Wonderful design and work.

  2. carolinehiggs

    A great introduction to the work of Hendrik Werkman. Great choice of fabrics and it is beautifully stitched. Great!

  3. quilterpaola

    Excellent presentation of the Artist. Good choice of fabrics and stitching. You have reproduced his style very well. Bravo

  4. Your interpretation of Hendrik Werkman’s art onto fabric is spot on. The flowers and quilting add depth and a nice touch to your composition. Well done.

  5. Thanks for introducing us to this new (to me) artist. Beautiful execution of his art!

  6. Esy dear, a very interesting story, very touching. You did a beautiful job to transfer the story to your quilt. love the colorfulness of the flowers.

  7. There is something touching that recalls the universe of Chagall in the work of Hendrick Werlman. I did not know this painter and it is really a discovery ! your interpretation of his work is perfect !

  8. This is a great translation of the artist’s work into fabric. The quilting and stitching add depth to the design.

  9. Maryte Collard

    I like your piece more than original. Texture makes the difference! Very touching story, thank you.

  10. I love Werkman’s work and your interpretation in fabric is beautiful. I find your square format even nicer as the original size. The flowers are a colourful addition to the piece. Well done.

  11. joanbrailsford

    I did not know of Werkman, but the story is very moving. You have made a beautiful representatiomn of his work. Well done

  12. Such an interesting story and introduction to a new-to-me artist. The addition of the cluster of flowers add a touch of movement and realism to the composition.

  13. A great way to honor Werkman. So nice how you added the flowers to bring an ode to his life and work. Now you made it yours.

  14. studiociboulette

    I love Werkman’s work and your textile interpretation is beautiful. Wonderful stitching and details. Bravo

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