Sunday, 29 September 2013

Sunday is for meditating, or something resembling a mindful attitude

the 'front': grid piece with the woven square on kitchen floor (I have to find a better title) basted with the grid lines up and down, definitely more stitching needed, but at least it's hanging together safely now
detail 'front'
white threadbeads surrounding lower half of the dark moon, there will be more of those, I will want them to 'meet''  the blue woolen verticals of running stitch, reaching up from the blanket

 detail 'back'
to begin with, as I was very much in grid-mode, I thought the woolen endings would be sewn in in straight running stitch horizontals, but when I dropped the square in the empty middle, all the threads spidered out and I saw: that is how they have to be, with a kind of movement

looking through: held up against the morning light, the banana-peel print and the flowery fabric merge, I like this effect a lot.

I woke up early, for a Sunday morning, listening in bed to the wind blowing and it dawned on me (ha) that this breeze might just be blowing the walnuts out of the trees. I decided to get up, by now it was 7:30-ish so I would probably be the first one out there gathering nuts, sounds a bit nutty I know. Tungsten was very happy to see me and after we'd both had breakfast off we went. To my dismay the harvest was rather meagre! It would seem this year is not a good walnut year, not here at least. There are of course more up there dangling temptingly, but not many on the ground. I remember other years when you'ld literally trip over them and carry bags filled to the brim back home with you. Anyway, it was a good excuse to rise early and now there's more time to enjoy the September sun while it lasts. I hope you can have a happy Sunday too, where ever you are.

p.s. have 'clamped' a few fabrics and dunked them into the walnut/black bean dye, which btw smells awful
p.p.s. have removed one of the bits of cloth and have two small suns; the other bit has gone back in, refolded and reclamped for more colour, I hope.

fruits from our own garden of eden: apples from the tree our eldest received as a eight-month old baby from two friends; whilst picking the apples I remembered one of them died a couple of years ago in a freak sailing accident, leaving behind a wife and two young daughters, I think of him and with a whoosh in my stomach startle at the frailty of life

who has an easy recipe for medlars?  I love the tree, the blossom and the fruit is strangely beautiful, but I have never used them for cooking or preserving. It was already here when we moved in so I don't feel too guilty about not using it, for the birds and insects is what I say to self

last one: I'm sitting outside on the verandah enjoying the glorious September weather, I listen to the thud-thud of sweet chestnuts as they're falling onto the light, new roof; I look up and feel so happy to be here basking in the sun in this harvest season, the heavenly fruits landing in our laps

Friday, 27 September 2013


 the walnuts are beginning to drop from their branches and I manage to collect a few every morning; the skins have found a new home in the black bean dye pot; will the blue turn a darker shade or will it all become brown I wonder? green perhaps, that would be nice
will probably do some over-dyeing on the summer/spring dyed fabric scraps to bring them too into fall, not an over-all dye, just patches with the clamping technique I saw in Jude's class

Sunday, 22 September 2013


Sooooo, I went to church today, not for the first time, but it was a first as to why I went: I went to listen to a sermon. Of course I had been in churches before, for many different reasons, as a wedding guest, attending a funeral, admiring art, listening to an organ concert, never a sermon. As you probably know by now, I am a non believer, although I do not like to define myself as such, it clarifies my position. Brought up in a non-believing-staying-away-from-churches family, I can say in retrospect however, we were surrounded by religion. A large part of my childhood years were spent in the catholic south of the Netherlands and both elementary and secondary schools I attended were of catholic denomination, albeit very ‘modern’ and non too outspoken, it was the seventies and eighties, society was moving away from obvious manifestations of faith.

Moreover, we live in a Judeo-Christian society, so much so, certain things have become as it were invisible. As I mentioned in a previous post, the sight of a church spire means home, on a very basic level, even though I hardly entered a church as a child. This is one of the reasons I wanted to read the bible in it’s entirety, as objectively as possible. What it represents and how it has influenced the world I live in, is sort of invisible and therefore unknowable, almost.

It started as an idea in the back of my mind many years ago in Art school and there it remained. Much of the art I studied in art history classes was of a religious nature. For centuries art was religious, if not felt within the artist, at least it would be produced in order to invoke upon the beholder a sense of piousness and religious feelings. My parents had given me a bible as a birthday present, at my request, but I had not managed to start reading. For twenty years the bible waited patiently on the bookshelf. A few years ago I started in earnest and plodded along on my own and after having read the Pentateuch* I put the book down and realized I was not going to finish it on my own. Enter my friends from the book reading circle: once I had suggested to them that we might read the bible together, after some giggling and mild protests, they all joined in. Better still, one of them introduced a female minister to our group and all of a sudden we had a scholar in our midst, and so the birth of our bible-class came about.

We have been reading for almost a year now and have had six sessions to date. During our last session, the minister mentioned a rather interesting retired minister would be giving a sermon this Sunday at ‘her’ church (a church in the Protestant Freethinking=vrijzinnigen corner, there are almost as many varieties on the Protestant side as there are believers, it would seem). His name is Klaas Hendrikse and he is (in)famous in our country for the publication of a manifest titled ‘believing in a god who doesn’t exist’ and a book ‘god doesn’t exist and Jesus is his son’ he is known as the atheist minister; well that is right up my street and I was intrigued and decided now was the time to actually go and listen to a proper sermon. I was disappointed. It wasn’t so much a sermon, but then I had no real comparison, as it was a lecture. He spoke of the differences between different leanings of 'vrijzinnige Protestanten' especially what it didn't mean to belong to the specific variaton of freethinking Protestantism this particular congration adhered was a bit beyond me. Afterwards I spoke to one of the regular church goers and she confirmed my thoughts, indeed this morning’s sermon had not been very inspired nor inspiring. After a morning like this, I would not have guessed people would want to turn to religion for comfort or the sharing of experiences one has no words for. Precisely those aspects which I have only recently come to accept as valid reasons for people wanting to (continue to) believe. However, after having been convinced by others his sermons are worthwhile, I am sufficiently interested to go and listen in the future, as he frequently preaches here......All the more poignant as he himself comes from a non-religious background.

Attending church on a Sunday morning is a bit like having been to a meditation class, something I am familiar with as I used to attend meditation classes on a regular basis for quite a while. One returns home and has become more quiet, literally, the need to talk has faded. This doesn’t last in my case, but still it’s nice to know I can shut up for a few hours.

I will leave you with the sound of wind and trees

Thursday, 19 September 2013

gathering thoughts

after having read a book like The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith, after watching Wonders of Life on the BBC last night, whilst studying the bible, connecting the dots, jumping over gaps in my knowledge I have come to see certain truths

everything we eat is solar energy, all be it in a round-about way, combined with carbon
all living beings contain carbon
everything living/dead is connected through carbon and the sun
we're all there in the same incredibly huge, many branched tree

I find this fascinating and I'm sure I don't understand the half of it (probably a lot less) nevertheless it is totally fascinating; for many years I've been painting trees and suns without this knowledge, now I see there is a connection, making things is an attempt at making connections with everything else, making sense of my life, how absurd

written: 11 feb 2013

reread today, sept 19 and still consider the above a valid point of view

addendum: we're watching the series Breaking Bad in mega-sessions on dvd (we had somehow missed watching it on telly) and Walter the main character, who is a chemistry teacher also mentions the carbon bit in one of the episodes, how carbon is what connects us all and I was like: yes I know this now, ha, I do. Fifty and every day, EVERY day I learn something new (remembering is the challenge these days) so maybe I re-learn every day............
I am the long-legged mosquito and he is me and we've both landed on a prickly spot;-)

Sunday, 15 September 2013

slow going

well hello there stranger! care to join up?

it is what I supposed it had to be : two slugs mating, I checked on Google images and hey there were hundreds of them 'at it'

oh those snails and slugs are just so interesting; I received a very funny and illuminating link from Nancy (thank you again Nancy) the other day, click here and off you go to the wondrous world of little-door-building by snails!

 a slow process of a different kind: the weaving of grids.
I tried to make a grid not thinking it through due to lack of weaving experience
 the warp is a single thread and of course only visible every other row of weft threads; my knowledge of the proper terminology is minimal, please bare with me 
 the idea is to integrate the woolen woven square and the cotton and linen pieces: mixed media, ha
the colours work really well as they're all plant dyed, except the blues and greens: shop bought wool
the idea sprang to mind last night as I was almost asleep: place the wool in the midst and use the loose ends to weave into the fabrics on either side; as with many plans in one's mind, the practicalities are challenging....and present new problems, such as how to attach pieces of fabric above and below, because I don't want a piece of fabric covering the whole of the back, I want to be able to look through the woven square and the whole to become a two-sided piece, oh wow it's not easy at this stage....but all of a sudden I realise how it can be done: a rectangle with a square cut out where the wool is going to go and I can sew the other bits around the frame!

Monday, 9 September 2013

'embracing what happens' is done, rainbow dots for colour with white in the middle, white light; I had thought about outlining the figure, but then looking at it again and again, no, this is what it is, how it is

a new piece, more of the grid, but here I have pulled out threads to make the grid
the dots are what connect both fabrics, there's no basting

on the grey silk/cotton only the dots are visible

Saturday, 7 September 2013

green & grey

As I was bent over in the middle of the pavement in town this afternoon, busy prizing out a grasshopper from between the tile cracks, a pink butterfly in the guise of a young girl stopped in her tracks and gazed longingly at the insect now lying in my hand. I asked her if she wanted to have a closer look, without hesitation she grabbed the huge green object and immediately tore off a leg, by accident. Her mother, for she was not walking the streets alone, warned her to be careful. To which the child replied, oh mummy, it doesn't matter, he's dead he can't feel anything anymore.
Throw it into the grass, her mother suggested, please no, I interjected, I'll take it back home with me and introduce him to some other friends of mine; she, the mother that is, must have doubted my sanity, if only for an instant.
The butterfly reluctantly returned the grasshopper and watched closely as I wrapped him in a bit of cellophane I happened to find at the bottom of my bag.
I asked her name, she all of a sudden became very shy, as children up to a certain age do when confronted with such a personal question, her mother answered in her stead. Well, bye for now Bente, take good care of yourself and I'll look after Grasshopper; we went our separate ways.

walking back home from a friend's house where I had dropped off a really nice marine-blue-almost-black cotton shirt, far too nice to cut up for sewing! and as nobody was home I hung it on the clothes line, immediately it belonged there; as I said I was walking back home on top of the dike when I noticed the church spire in the village across the river, I realised I felt comforted by this sight, how odd the atheist in me commented, like the shirt it belongs and with a sudden recognition said to self: I belong here as well after 17 years. At the bottom of the dike I picked up this half-circle pebble to mark the occasion. 

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

a hot september morning

no spider in sight

a different spider has pulled the tip of a blade of grass in a circle and made a 'hold all' of sorts, quite beautiful 

an apple star, the result of the top half having been chewed away by mice, or perhaps birds too could have pecked at it; basket bottom found in the flower bed, weather proven

Sunday, 1 September 2013

tai chi

good luck charms for the men
tomorrow Monday 2 september Duco, my husband and two of his tai chi mates are going to start teaching tai chi as a new collective! They started giving classes in January of this year in another centre, which no longer exists as such; they will continue the teachings in a different location and carry on the tradition. 
the link to their site is here; be sure to check out the video's of the set, click here and watch both Ruud and Duco make their moves.