Friday, 31 January 2014

bits and pieces


as I don't sign the fabric pieces like I used to do the paintings, but I still wanted to 'leave my mark' I came up with the idea of making cards with bits-of-print on one side and a personal stamp with my initials on the other, together with the title and year; hence exhibit number 1 as shown above, where I had precut the cards and lain them willy-nilly on another piece of paper for the excess print so to speak; after removing the cards I was left with this: exhibit no.2 as shown below

 I quite liked the look of this, with all the cards mixed up it became a collage, two variations shown below:

so now I had a nice idea for printing and collaging, but no cards and I went the other way round: print first, cut later, much more sensible, here too I could experiment with the printing without worrying about results as the paper was going to be cut up at random for the cards: 

details of print, I liked them but was merciless and cut through until I had enough cards for all the pieces, well almost - for the ones that were sold and then a couple more

I now have a tray of signature-cards


print on one side and signature stamp* plus title plus year on the other
* it took 3 tries before I got the stamp right: first one I cut the 'S' the wrong way, second one the 'D' oh how foolish was that....third time lucky with the 'D' lying on it's side (that's the one with the star) and two leaves/feathers; the S is for Saskia, the H for my married surname van Herwaarden and the D for my maiden name van Dijk (and also my husband's first letter is D as well, so there you go)  SHD gathering leaves, feathers and other debris


new door in stairwell, giving access to central heating system(chs); you know how you can keep on putting something off until you completely forget you wanted to do it? well it was like that here in our stairwell where I'd made a curtain to hang in front of the c.h.s. as a temporary solution, temporary meaning 6 to 7 years give or take. Very often some annoying occurrence has to nudge me into action! In this case it was a horrible rattle-and-screech sound from the c.h.s., not constantly but often enough to get on my nerves.
It started weeks ago, we had been noticing more noise and less heat, not a very pleasant state of affairs in winter even though it has been a mild one, therefore the problem didn't seem too urgent.....We had a guy come to check out the central heating system and the first time he came round my husband was home and the two of them of course heard nothing, nothing annoying or disturbing that is and off he went and my husband very pleased that he had fixed the problem as there was no problem which had been confirmed by the expert. Weeks later (last thursday) again this racket, yes by now it really was too much and I rang the guy and he came round and we had coffee whilst trying to get the central heating system to make the annoying sounds whilst he was there and lo and behold: screeeeeeeeeeeeeech and now we're talking 'okay'he says 'I now know what the problem is and more importantly the solution: I'll have to change the expansion vat' at last I sighed.
A week later he returned with said vat and for him to be able to replace the old one with the new one I had to remove the curtain and several of the planks in the stairwell. After he'd fixed it and left, I felt relieved we had gotten rid of one nuisance. But still the curtain remained and as I was screwing the planks back in I said to self: now would be the perfect moment for you to go and make a door and get rid of the temporary curtain! And so it happened that I made a new door with several bits of wood we had lying about and luckily 3 hinges that were exactly right for the job;-) and the sun was out and the weather just right for sawing and screwing and getting things done out on the verandah; the top photo is of the door where I'd screwed all the bits together and even after careful measurements it wouldn't fit and I had to saw off about 2 to 3 mm, which is near impossible, but I managed to somehow saw off just enough for the door to fit........another sigh of relief; it has taken me two hours and several years of waiting for the motivation to actually do it, whew

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

another blow, sad thoughts


monday morning before we start work, our department is gathered together and are informed our colleague F's boyfriend died last Friday; he was 47, his heart had stopped beating
for a brief second we were numb and then tears and exclamations of unbelief, we are, I am filled with a sense of bewilderment, I feel beaten by all this loss; the past year has been cruel 


there was talk of ego over at Grace's and in the face of death this ego, this person that I feel I am is at once important and irrelevant; the living are individuals and once dead return to the whole 
I think a lot about F, whom I consider to be a friend as well as a colleague and although I cannot know what or how she feels, I imagine an immense sense of loss, your life partner has been pulled away from you, suddenly you find yourself alone again. 

it is hard to make things matter these days

Sunday, 26 January 2014

'I know what I'm doing' BirdBoy claims

whole again

wearing the feathered cape

he looks ready for take off


so he's up once more; he decided he was well enough to attempt another flight manoeuvre; thus it was we all sat watching - nervous and  a tad giggly - with BirdBoy running back and forth on the workbench and jumping up and down, getting the feel of lift off and finding the proper balance and what have you (I'm no expert on flight behaviour)....and then he announced he was in fact ready; we all became quiet and watched as he walked to the wall and ran to the edge of the work bench and just jumped........
                    .............
                         ....and yes! there he was up in the air: flying, he flew a short distance and managed to land softly on his feet and we all clapped and shouted hurray and yahoo!! He was thrilled, excited as we all were, so okay now, he had really flown, it had worked, the feathered cape had definitely been a great help. He is now determined to practice every day until the weather's fine and we'll all go outdoors and he'll be able to start flying in the garden (and beyond he cries!) 
The OldBirdKing is Proud; he is so delighted with the newcomer he hardly lets him out of his sight and keeps on giving him flight-advice and how exactly to flap the feathers and hold one's breath and then release and on and on, it's all a bit bewildering to be quite honest.
Me, I am just relieved BirdBoy manages to stay in one piece, 'cos it's not just flying he enjoys, oh no he'll try Anything Risky; ha, he laughs at me: don't worry Saskia, I will be fine. Off he goes to jump off something high up or clamber down, it's best if I don't watch him all the time!

Friday, 24 January 2014

meetings, greetings, a farewell and an accident

the Old Bird King was quite excited when he heard a young bird had entered the studio. In fact he was so eager to meet BirdBoy* he couldn't be bothered to get dressed properly and wrapped in his colourful blanket they had a brief chat in the morning during his coffee-break; later on he even invited him into his library (not many of us are invited there)

I have no idea what they talked about, but the Old Bird King was so impressed he caught up with me no sooner had BirdBoy wandered off on his explorations, and impressed upon me now was the time to use the feathers.....I must have looked dumbfounded for he started to explain: you know the bright blue ones I brought with me when I arrived here, the Special Feathers; oh, yes now I remembered, the bright blue ones and where were they? now that he wanted them?? I muttered something about having to finish a card for a colleague who's leaving us and we were supposed to be saying goodbye to this evening, which is where I'll be heading as soon as I've posted today's post:

......but I could not keep pretending I knew where they were, or maybe I did remember....after the opening two weeks ago I had started tidying things in the studio and found stuff and stored it in a much better place, yes no, yep wrapped up safely in a cotton kerchief...there they were....now where was BirdBoy 'cos I needed his cape to sew the feathers on to......
kaboum!

oh my a horrible thud, followed by an 'I'm perfectly okay there is nothing to worry about I'll be fine in a minute'and then nothing as he passed out and I found him lying there on the studio floor: head cracked (but not too deep) and his beak damaged, glue and wire to the rescue!

 he's on the mend, the glue is drying and meanwhile he has to rest; he's facing the BlueFeather cape and I can hear him talking about all the flying they'll do together, honestly can you believe that; it'll be a couple of hours at least before he can attempt walking let alone try flying; but he is such an optimist and so wonderfully sure of himself without being boastful, it is contagious (I bet that is what the Old Bird King likes about him, reminds him of his younger days)
look at the world and go grab all you can manage and then some More!

* Nancy has yet again come up with an excellent name

Thursday, 23 January 2014

the boy who wanted to be a bird

 it all started with the boy that wanted to be born and a fresh stick of hazelwood; the boy had a very brave soul for to become visible to us he had to endure the whittling....
  ....sawing and sanding and being held by a stranger's hand, only then could we too see the boy; but that was not enough for this soul who had become solid, the boy wanted to become a bird.....
 oh yes, a hole had to be drilled as well, to fit the arms....
 and then the painstaking whittling of the back of his skull -ouch- but then at last: the bird and boy became one and his dream of becoming a bird had come true....more or less

 he found the cape and tiny feather and insisted on wearing these, to complete the transformation
I think he looks like a soul dancer
he still needs a little help with the flying business; but as far as he is concerned: where there is a desire there is a way to fulfillment

Sunday, 19 January 2014

already there

man at work; at my request he's cutting off the front wheel axle of an old bicycle, so I will have a ready-made......in my art school days I wrote a paper on Marcel Duchamp, the artist who came up with this idea of ready mades in art, I dedicate mine (I'll have pics once it's installed!) to him in honour of his free-thinking, fun spirit 

in a bag full of embroidery threads, a gift from friend J., I found these cards with holes and threads exactly as shown here; does anyone know what they are for?
in the light of the bicycle wheel they look like ready mades as well, ha


Saturday, 18 January 2014

mixed bag

drove to Amsterdam today with our youngest, an orientation into his possible future no less; we went to two presentations at the Hogeschool Amsterdam, one on commercial economics, the other of communication and multi media design; well I for one came away full of enthusiasm and a tad thirsty, my son was thirsty, hungry and a mind filled with a slightly clearer image of a life-after-school....he still has (at least) one and a half year to go, so I know we don't have to make any important decisions right away, but kind of knowing where the boys might be heading is rather reassuring for a mum; we wandered back to the car park and stumbled upon the once infamous Waterloo-plein market selling all the usual trinkets and junk found world wide these days, in short nothing to tempt us in parting with our cash, instead we opted for food and drinks in the CoffeeCompany and sat behind bars, as seen above (actually it's a railing along the upper balcony where we were seated) enjoying the hustle and bustle of city life

once back home, still in daylight I went for a stomp in the muddy woods

...and caught the tree unawares upside down; the water by the way is reddish brown because of the iron rich clay,

later on in the studio: first new piece after the opening started thursday, it's a long strip with peony leaf-dye prints on the back and strips of dyed/printed cloth on the 'front' 
I have found several older pieces, hiding here and there, but they will have to wait till I can be bothered to rekindling those particular fires; some have even been ripped out of context and are awaiting a new life

a very sexy, silky? floral fabric

wire coathanger restyled







how some old and new bits might be reconfigured


Thursday, 16 January 2014

'een fijn mens'


this afternoon I will be attending a collegue's funeral
shortly before christmas she was diagnosed with acute leukeamia, three weeks later she died at the age of 57
this entire week in the office has been strange, all colleagues have been sad, bewildered, undone....whilst working there was always the undercurrant of a sense of loss, we have cried and talked and hugged and sat staring into nothingness

she was a very fine person, optimistic, supportive, authentic, a lovely sense of humour, mother and grandmother; she will be missed

Sunday, 12 January 2014

yet more impressions

 the silence before the storm....three maidens in better light than yesterday
also better in daylight




ah yes, the red dots, you all know what this means: sold! 10 pieces sold today; it was a pretty wonderful day, the introduction of a new logo for the so-called culturele route Gorinchem of which debankvannoppes (where my work is on display) is one of the gallery spaces, the opening of the new cultural-route year with a new committee and the opening of my own little part in it all wrapped into 5 hours....many people visited, we talked and laughed and hugged and pondered the meaning of the work (ha) for a few hours life was very good to me.
I had meant to take pics of all the folk, but forgot as it was just too busy