Saturday, 29 June 2013

not quite there

whilst weeding, let me rephrase that, whilst making-space-for-other-plants, I uncovered this small bird skeleton, I have left it there as moving would just disturb it too much and lots of tiny spiders came crawling out, I guess I ruined dinner. 

 same kitchen window as yesterday from the outside looking in and at self, looking inward; reflection
after several wicking sessions this is what the jacket looks like now, I think it needs more detailing, stitches I guess, maybe real feathers or stichted feathers or...... not sure right now

  humming bird stencil plus flour-resist paste resulting in an image of Ghost Bird, unexpected yet welcome

Friday, 28 June 2013


kitchen window facing north

now that I know gout weed tastes good I am able to appreciate the flower as well, or rather I already liked the flower but dreaded having this plant in the garden as everyone kept telling me what a horrible weed it is; in fact, many plants in our garden grow profusely and have spread all over and in stead of trying to get rid of them, I have succumbed to letting them find their own equilibrium; that way I can concentrate on finding mine......oh my, hormones are a-raging along with stomache cramps and all the greens in the world cannot soothe me today, distraction is what's needed: picked up M. - she always manages to cheer me up - and she unrolled her linen blouse, the one that's been soaking up the juices since last Saturday:

a subtle sandy shade with white tie dye circles and blue black bean marks, now all we need is a warm summer so she can actually get to wear it  

 a tiny universe 

Thursday, 27 June 2013

chasing windmills

I was in town today, Gorinchem I know how impossible that must sound; this is on the outskirts of town facing south towards the river Merwede, which runs west (right in pic) to the North Sea. It was built as a fortress town, this central part is in fact an island. It's origins go as far back as the year 1000 a.d. when it started life as a fishing settlement on the banks of the river Linge, which at that point runs into the Merwede; the Linge is the river alongside which 'our' dike is situated, one could get to Gorinchem from our house, not by road but by boat. 

facing west, moving away from the town

fresh bundles with peony leaves gone in today, have no idea if the leaves themselves will leave an imprint; will see, I just liked their shape; the dye is the old one, still smelly, less gory after filtering out debris

this one came out of that same dark dye and has been in there since last Saturday I think, the cloth was folded double and wrapped around a tin can, secured with elastic bands; unfolded it is symmetrical in pattern, with two sides: light and dark; whilst unfolding I immediately noticed a human figure, winged or perhaps carrying a cape; does anyone else see her/him?

By the way, with new 'bible' in hand I have started inspecting the flora in the garden: all those plants and flowers waiting to be seen in a new light, admired and 
devoured....The home made salads have become an even greater feast, will try making smoothies with garden ingredients with the boys this weekend, I hope to get them enthusiastic about eating 'wild' as well.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

humming bird

quick post before I leave for the office: more flour-resist dye results, a humming bird (from a stencil) very clear on the left just a hint of wing tip of the right; I pasted two humming birds, rolled up the fabric around a copper pipe, with various leaves folded in, bound the bundle with cotton string; it was in the Saturday dye pot; why one took and the other didn't.....more research is needed

Sunday, 23 June 2013

plants formerly known as weeds

a different part of the jacket wicking after having been washed, ironed, not satisfied with results in top half, fresh flour-resist with humming-bird stencil; old dye topped up with tea dregs to add a bit of warmth, will see in a couple of days what the next stage looks like

experimented some more with the flour-resisit with friend M.  yesterday, she also did some black-bean-tie-dye on a linen shirt; the dye consists mainly of sorrel and comfrey with tea leaves added and tartaric acid, used rainwater as fluid (the rainwater we didn't need to flush the loo) 

flour-resist results from 'old bucket of dye' the one I initially used for the jacket wicking
fresh pan on the go, comfrey, sorrel, nettles, tea leaves plus tea and rainwater

flour-resist lizard from yesterday's trial, all the other cloths are still in the pan

visited friends J.&N. today and came away with this Fantastic Book: Eating and Drinking with Wild Plants by Laurette van Slobbe

I'm thrilled, not only is our garden full of plants (formerly known as weeds) I can dye with, many of them and more can be eaten as well!!!!oooohhhhh this is great news for the lazy gardner that I am, also I like slugs and snails and the normal gardenplants  you go out and buy 
often get eaten by the critters and now I truly don't have to worry about them anymore not that I did really, I admire their tenacity and strength in numbers, plus they are a food source for all the birds

this book is particularly easy to use as it has this flip-over page-continued on back- with images of which (part of the) plants you can use for a certain purpose, and when best to collect them!! The book has recipes for each month, a chapter on cheesemaking (Grace!) teas and the practice of drying the herbs, oh my word I am delighted

Saturday, 22 June 2013

summer solstice

water running through the emergency piping into house via outdoors tap

Well, serves me right for moaning about the rain yesterday. All that heavenly water falling from the skies…..

What happened was at the end of the afternoon , I turned on the tap and nothing, no water; I had noticed a drop in the pressure earlier on, but hadn’t given it too much thought as ‘they’ are working on the water pipes in the dike and have been doing so this past week. Wednesday morning they cut through a power cable whilst digging and they sorted that out soon enough….This afternoon was nothing new, the same drop in pressure had occurred the day before, by six o’clock things had returned to normal, barring the gaping holes dug up by the wayside on the dike. To all intents and purposes they are reinforcing the water pipes along the dike to protect the dike. The men doing the actual reinforcing aren’t from the water company (a privatised firm named Vitens), but a private contracter hired not by the water company (as became clear to me in the phone conversation later on) so I can only assume the Hoogheemraadschap = Dutch water board, a public body charged with managing the dikes in Holland, hired the contractor. From what I had gleaned on my daily walk past these fellows their job was to improve the quality of the water pipes, especially where they connect and veer off towards the houses, so they're less likely to burst and flood the dike, compromising it's strength; important work, of the utmost importance. One would think, a task one would only embark upon equipped with the right information. Suffice to say, after what has happened these past few days, I'm not entirely sure the dikes are more secure. 

Back to yesterday, Friday evening no water! Summer Solstice, the longest day, the longest day indeed……. What to do, I went over to the neighbours on either side of our house; they both had water. They did mention another neighbor having been cut off during the day, but that had been remedied by ‘them’.
I decided to ring the water company, a very kind lady told me not to worry, she totally got that we couldn’t live without water and we would be helped before the weekend actually started. She contacted a service guy, whilst we were on the phone and informed me he had one visit near to us (the main watertap had been broken off by a watermeterman…..) As soon as he was done there he would visit us. I was kind of assured by this prompt response on the phone.
However, I also decided it might be worth my while to see if I could get in touch with somebody from the workforce who had done the actual digging, my reasoning being they would know what they’d done, but shouldn’t have. Anyway, whoever got here first could help me out. I found a phone number on one of the contractor’s road sign warning posts, spoke to the guy responsible for our part of Holland (the Middle) and he promised me he would get in touch with the men who had been here today.
In the meanwhile I filled a couple of bottles with drinking water from the neighbours' outdoors tap, collected rainwater in buckets for flushing the toilet and waited impatiently.
Long story short: a young man from the water company showed up, already dressed for an evening at home: football shorts, slippers and t-shirt. We shook hands, he checked the mains in our cellar, definitely no water; he followed me up the dike, where he inspected the waterworks,  muttered something about the shambles they’d left behind and discovered what the problem was. More importantly, he knew exactly how he was going to fix it. He needed emergency plastic waterpiping and as he didn’t have enough in his van, he drove off to a supply point nearby, after having reassured me he would be back and I’d have water the same evening, no matter what madam. A very capable young man.
Whilst he was off in search of piping, I got a phone call from the contracter, who had tried contacting one of the guys who’d been here to come and sort out my problem, the problem they had created. None of them were answering their phone on a Friday evening, duh. He apologized and blamed the maps they had been given and I was like, yes I understand you were misinformed, but you went ahead anyway, after having cut off someone else's water supply and you didn't think to check before you did it again! I still haven’t got any water thanks to you and now someone else is going to have to fix it, no thanks to you. And if I may give you a piece of advice: next time you realize the maps aren’t to be trusted, ask somebody who does have the correct information! They will be back on Monday, we are forewarned.

All’s well that ends well: before I knew it, the water company guy (who had achieved super-hero-status in my mind by now) showed up at my studio door: he had connected the emergency piping, problem solved madam, could you please check the taps indoors for pressure. Yes: water gushed forth, cool clear clean drinkable showerable flushable* water from my taps!
I offered him something to drink, we had coffee and  a chat together; we shook hands and off he went into the sunset.

That, in a nut shell, was my summer solstice!

note to self:

I must remember to email the water company singing his praises.

* what a waste

one of the gaping holes along the dike

emergency piping snaking it's way through the back garden up towards the dike

even one of  the warning sign posts has given up

Friday, 21 June 2013

slight changes

I have added a couple of 'prints' to the top half of the wicking-project-jacket:  I pressed the bag of cloth wrapped around the black beans  against the jacket leaving blue-grey markings, f.e. on right front shoulder (left in pic), on the back a flour-resist bird stencil; on the left breast (right in pic) another smudged stencil flour-resist print; in the bucket a tin can wrapped with black-bean-dyed cloth has been added, to add more colour to that bit of fabric and maybe the can itself will add to the wicking results as well; tea leaves are continously chucked in, as I make a fresh pots of tea - also adds much needed heat, it is Pouring with Rain over here and too cold for this longest of days!!! 

as you may be able to see, the dye is rising pretty fast

after advice from a class memeber over at Jude's I 've added stitching to the window/moon/dream catcher

Thursday, 20 June 2013

wicking and gathering

a very white jacket to be white no more! I find it impossible to keep white clothing white and so into the dyeing pot for another wicking experiment; the first one the 'Jack Sparrow shirt' made in Jude's Contemporary Boro 2 class was a success, I love wearing it and when worn there is always someone asking about it, sorry if this sounds like bragging, but it's just the way it is.

the gathering of a new piece, working title mr Fox;
I just love the black fringe along this cream fact I like this cape-thing so much in itself and you don't notice the black against the fox anyway, so I've changed the piece a bit and the cape will go to a gang member


Are thoughts, emotions, feelings real? Are they meaningful?  Meaningless? Are we just trying to find words for what cannot be expressed?

Is the deep rooted longing for ‘communication’, for communion, (one of) the reason we made up words, to be able to come as close as possible to the person next to us, when sex is not an option,  where physical contact is not permitted. When trying to offer comfort a thousand words offer nothing, whereas one hug conveys the message in an instant.

Words aren’t real, they are not what they represent, always a pale construct of an object in the physical world; a drawing of a table is not a table. The symbol is not the object. Only a table is a table, an apple an apple, an atom an atom.

Understanding the world around me is no easy feat. My imagination and intelligence are limited. With every  single thing I have come to understand, I understand even less of all that is. I know nothing, I could see everything if my eyes were truly open.

All that is, is in me and I am nothing really

from dye bowl in top picture to the results; the plant stencil pattern is another flour-resist experiment; the dye is the one used several times before, we've just had our two days-of-summer (I hope not!) with extreme temperatures, so the dying was fast and intense: the cloth went in tuesday evening and came out his thursday morning; the dye itself is very smelly!
The fabric wrapped around the black beans is still soaking. I've used the remaining dye plus the dregs found in a bucket (walnut and leaves?) for another wicking experiment: a WhiteJacket has gone in! more pics later

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Little Bird has left

Interview with Little Bird, before he starts his travels

Saskia: why did you decide to travel?

Little Bird: I’ve always dreamed of traveling, sailing the oceans, visiting far off shores, flying over moonlit seas. Meeting people I would never meet here.
Sometimes the dreams seemed more real than the life I led. In those dreams I heard the moaning waves, beating against the forlorn wrecks of sunken ships; I even fancied myself a pirate´s parrot. I would study pictures of palm trees on sandy beaches, a swaying  hammock, imagine the warm breeze ruffling my feathers.

S: sounds very romantic, I’m sure, but have you thought about the reality of it all?

LB: but of course, I speak several languages, not very well but as you know I’m not shy of making mistakes; I’ve been working this past year, saving a bit of money to keep me afloat for the first few weeks, months even if I’m careful; I’ll have to find a way of managing but I’m confident I will be able to make a living out there in the big world. I look forward to meeting foreign people and birds, I even look forward to having to rely on the kindness of strangers at times.....

S; How do you feel right now?

LB:  I feel alone in a world full of possibilities, large and small. 

S: are you taking anything with you?

LB: I have but a few belongings, travel light is my motto.

S: do you think you will ever return?

LB: ......honestly, I have no idea, I haven’t thought about that.

S: do you have anything to add?

LB: yes, I’m excited and slightly anxious at the thought of leaving everyone and everything I know behind, but the overwhelming sensation is that of looking forward to the journey ahead.

S: I, well we all do, wish you well and hope you’ll stay in touch somehow.

LB: thank you all, it has been rather wonderful here, but it’s time to go before I change my mind.
He chuckles, looks over his shoulder at us one last time and flies away from all that he has known.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

weekend life

our walk yesterday evening, grasses galore, I collected a bunch with many different varieties, the colours are amazingly, beautifully soft, ranging from pink to purple, creams, light greens, silvers and golds
all of a sudden you can hardly see the water for all the surrounding vegetation, summer is almost upon us

the flour-resist results, a surpise to me; beforehand I had imagined the flour markings would stay white, then realising my faulty reasoning as the 'back side' would of course catch some of  the dye; however even more surprising to me: the flour lines are the darkest.
 the fabric was in the old comfrey/sorrel/nettle/black bean dye from last weekend; I used ready-made stencils for crisp lines and speed, now that I know more or less what to expect I can of course do more research into and experimenting with this cheap and easy technique.

a view, amongst other things, of 'the island' underneath the studio lean-to: the branch has sprouted, I have no idea what if anything became of the larvae; I dare not stir the waters, I have been topping up the fluids; looking through the window you can see honeysuckle and ivy growing around the entrance to the garden

looking at studio plus lean-to, as you can see we are surrounded by greens; the tree branches top left and right are two plum varieties (opal and reine claude) in the raised bed mint and ruigklokje or nettle-leaved bellflower; the sweet pea has established itself snugly up against the studio, it refuses to grow elsewhere in the garden; in far back left in pic are hazel-trees, up above the row of poplars in the street