Sunday, 29 April 2012


view from our bedroom into courtyard, the olive tree is 150 years old

view from one of the rooftops 

Friday, 27 April 2012


finally I have decided which item of clothing I am going to use in Jude's Contemporary Boro 2 class, a simple white linen jacket, a blank canvas.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

spectacular skies

the weather today changed every half hour it seemed, from sun to rain to hail to wind to thunder and back again

still life

moth and cloth in a jar of water

cow parsley yellow and red bird

the top half has been dyed in a cow parsley dye this morning; the fresh cow parsley (flowers, stem and leaves) was chopped, water and tartaric acid were added, this concoction was brought to the boil , then simmered for appr. half an hour and the cotton went straight in and left to simmer for another half hour (no mordant) washed with water and soap, dried and ironed a very bright yellow.
Instructions came from an incomplete recipe from Hilde Vleugels 'Natuurlijke vezels verven met planten', as mentioned in earlier posts.

the start of a new piece

Saturday, 21 April 2012

what remains

our youngest son had his end-of-year theatre production in town this afternoon; he surprised us parents with an outstanding dance and expressive-comedic performance! We are very proud. An impression of scenic after-life.

Always dangerous for me to be in town where people throw away all sorts of interesting objects, like these bamboo blinds, useful for the verandah on sunny days (wishful thinking) the folded fire-basket, which I could use as a plant support and is decorative in itself, the tall vase was a Marjan-find (she is a friend of mine) also very nice and indeed tall. The table has been with us for a while, used to belong to friends in their living-room, the smaller table on top belonged to yet another friend who also found it 'somewhere' and I used to play with the rusty childrens's cooker on top of that, the horse is part of our childrens' rocking-horse and now serves as a display element, all worn and weathered, once discarded & now a new lease of life, I therefore placed my latest 'what was-cut-away piece' in the picture.

detail of white woven moon circle

Friday, 20 April 2012

current state of affairs

four pieces I am working on, is there a common thread (ha)?


dyeing results; the result of lots of experimenting with red wine, red cabbage, soda, soap and soymilk, heat and water. I have written the sequences as best as I could in my 'Dye-folder' for possible future reference, however it is not interesting enough to write it all here. 

Thursday, 19 April 2012

blue wedding silk

the blue silk has developed: a rusty imprint thanks to the iron sheet and the pale lines are where the fabric was folded around and exposed the sun

In Hilde Vleugels book 'Natuurlijke vezels verven met planten = Dyeing natural fibres with plants' I have found  useful information on which plants, growing in and around our garden, to use for dyeing, that is good news. (Parts of ) plants I can use especially in spring are aldercones, apple, comfrey, cow parsley, dandelions, ground ivy, nettles,  privet, sorrel and yarrow. Whew, I am so glad all these 'weeds' are growing in abundance in our garden.

goats on my mind

reading about Grace's ongoing goat-adventures and discovering Dru's blog, which is amongst many other things about goats, I remembered I had once bought goats' wool from a lady who keeps goats and spins, dyes and sells their wool. The wool has been in my possession for many years now and I have only managed to knit one spencer ( I am not a knitter, why did I buy the wool? sometimes I buy stuff not really knowing why, I guess I hoped I would become a skilled knitter through buying the wool) anyway back to today, I am into dyeing these days so I decided to try and dye the wool with nettles from the garden for a green colour and tea-leaves for a brown shade. You can see the results above. 
From left to right: tea beige, nettle grey-green and the original white, as bought. 

Tuesday, 17 April 2012


hurray: two books I ordered arrived today

The Book of Symbols from Taschen, highly recommended by Heather here; I have browsed  through it and just know it will give me many hours of pleasurable reading and lots of (re)discovering;

 The Book of  Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa; with an introduction by William Boyd, one of my favourite authors, excellent. I'll be going to Portugal in less than two weeks with my side of the family and this book will be travelling with me.

Monday, 16 April 2012

very subtle shades

after my 'beginners'luck'successes, these are decidedly less dramatic; although the fabric on the left is a good turquoise (better than the original colour, which was rather harsh) it did start off as blue, I have only managed to alter it a bit; I have learned that the fabrics need mordanting!!

and heat, and patience

Sunday, 15 April 2012

mother and child

saw two roe deer in the woods this morning, a doe and a fawn; we stared at eachother for a few moments ( 'I am not a threat' I thought unto her ) we all continued our stroll, it got me thinking about the colourful cloth I am now 'working on'; in the left-hand corner there's a giraffe, from a stencil I made years ago for the birthcard of our first son and when we were expecting our second child I designed a birthcard with two giraffes; I have made several paintings with one or two giraffes in it, symbols of our sons.
circles on the back

Once I became a mother my life changed completely, I had not known love like this (those who know me know I love my husband with a passion) motherly love is different, instinctual, there are no words, one tries to approach it with symbols, such as the letters strung together L O V E or giraffes on a cloth, sewn with all kinds of emotions and thoughts. So, on one level, this cloth has become an exploration of what I can do with needle and thread and stitching, cutting out and sewing back together, on another level it is about what I cannot otherwise express: mending, caring weaving lives together, circling around eachother and leaving breathing space to all; about motherly love, for want of a better word. 

Saturday, 14 April 2012

disappointment, promising sludge and a tiny death

went with the dog for his short morning walk and saw this tiny salamander by the roadside, could not leave it lying there

those tiny hands and feet

yesterday's dye experiments with the blue silk, the blue linen/cotton mix and the blue-and-white check were a big disappointment. Peering into the pots it looked as if nothing was happening; after washing with water and soap and ironing I could see that the dyes had not taken at all! So....the blue silk is now soaking in tea and I prerinsed the cotton/linen mix and half of the check with soap and soda, the smaller checkered half left unprepared.These 3 bits went into the old nettle mush in a pan on the gas-stove.

I went out and collected fresh nettles, rinsed them, poured them over with boiling water, blended all into this fine sludge: this mixture was added to the pan, the combination was left to cook for appr. 5 more minutes and is now resting on the windowsill covered with foil, and yes those are prayer flags in the background, maybe they will bring some good luck today!

Friday, 13 April 2012

what was cut away

what to do with the unwanted bits, the bits that were cut out; randomly placed on the piece of cotton a circle was cut out of for the colourful cloth, I see a new piece evolving


I like this 'print' so much I have immediately wrapped a piece of blue silk around the rusty iron plate; this white cotton-mix (?) has been there since April 5, just over week ago.


blue and white check wrapped round copper pipe soaking in black bean cooking water

more dyes

started yesterday: fabric (cotton-mix?) wrapped around copper pipe, soaked in black bean dye plus cooking water from green beans; the smaller bit was soaked for appr. 16 hours and then dryed and ironed, see below on the left; the larger piece has gone into a tin can for a deeper dye.

from left to right: placed in jars today, blue silk from wedding dress in black bean dye;
blue-and-white cotton check from old childrens bedlinen in nettle dye (leaves crushed in boiling water plus a piece of copper pipe)
blue cotton/linen in black bean plus tea leaves dye.

two scraps of blue silk wrapped and tied with hennep string round rusty bolt, poured over with boiling water in tin can, today.

none of the pieces of fabric have been prepared

Thursday, 12 April 2012


a newly dyed circle adds a bit of depth
plum blossom
new threads for the newly dyed fabrics

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

developing faith

another piece from the copper/black bean dye, yet again I am amazed
am also amazed at how a piece develops, almost as if it had a will of it's own; I never know from the start how it will end, every time it seems as if I am discovering as the piece reveals itself to me. I begin with a loose plan and let things happen.
The light blue on the left is the backing, a sheet I tye-died for the childrens' cot; it needs to be there because of all the circles on the front; I'm going to sew in circles around the circles on front and on back. Have just finished basting and ironing and am now going to enjoy the sunshine before I go to the office.  

Monday, 9 April 2012

happy birthday papa

today my dad turned 81


top piece was wrapped around copper pipe, dipped in ash-water with teabags for 2 days, then steeped in blackbean dye for 1 one day, washed with water and soap: beautiful turquoise; 

these two were presoaked in soy milk, one was rinsed with water, both were left to dry before being dipped in black bean dye for two days, thanks to washing with water and soap, they turned from a purple blue to a more green blue; I think the darker shade is the one that was not rinsed after soy soak. 

same as top square; wrapped around copper pipe with hennep string, soaked in ashwater and teabag dip for two days;  into black bean dye, then washed with water and soap, again turquoise, yummy.

presoaked in soda-and soap water (from Hilde's book) however I did not measure, wrung and no rinsing, wrapped around a tin can and fixed with elastic, straight into black bean dye for 1 day; washed with water and soap, light turquoise.

It would seem the copper helps turn the black bean dye a greener blue; without the blackbean dye not a lot was happening to the cloth wrapped around the copper pipes, however this may be because I did not leave the cloth dipped in long enough; I will explore this some more.
Looking at the pics from earlier works it suddenly dawned on me: (almost) everything I make is an exploration into what I can do, with paints, needle&thread,  canvas/cotton/linen, colours, composition, an idea translated into something material.