Pigeon Service | Christien Meindertsma

A few years ago I designed a permanent installation of linen pigeons for Texture, the museum of flax in Kortrijk, Belgium. The installation is about the homing pigeons used for espionage during the First World War, some of which were captured and held in the building that is now the museum. Each pigeon is filled with flax seeds and covered in various kinds of natural Belgian linen. One of the first prototypes of the pigeon had been made in a blue chambray-like textile, and for some time I had wished to make the pigeons in different shades but never really found a textile
that worked.

When I received the colour samples of Canvas and made a test bird, the pattern worked very well with the textile. Because the filling is just linseed, the shape comes entirely from the textile’s sturdiness and slight stretch. For Pigeon Service, birds are made in all the available shades of Canvas to create a three-dimensional colour card: small objects that individually demonstrate the quality of the textile and together show the whole range. There are enough birds in Pigeon Service that some can also wander off and sit in other places...

Each pigeon carries a small rolled-up note on the side of its tail so it can actually be used as a messenger.

Christien Meindertsma

Christien Meindertsma explores the life of products and raw materials, aiming to regain an understanding of processes that have become alien through industrialisation, and invisible in an increasingly globalised world. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art and Cooper Hewitt (New York), and the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Design Museum (London). Her Flax Chair won two Dutch Design Awards in 2016, while her book Pig 05049 won three Dutch Design Awards in 2008 and an Index award in 2009. She graduated from the Eindhoven Design Academy in 2003.