Friday, 24 November 2017

middle class angst

I particularly like it rolled up into a bundle

a couple of days a month I feel down, or should I say, there are moments during certain days when I feel sadder than usual or circumstances warrant, not that I feel sad most of the time, quite the contrary, most of the time I am okay
okay with being here, noticing small stuff, catching glimpses of the big picture, aware of the continual suffering of wo/mankind, accepting more and more how this is part of A life, however unimportant I am, anyone is; this One Life we are given as a human being; that emotions are fleeting and you do not have to indulge each and every up or down, let them pass
anyway, those moments when I really feel this existential pain (no longer menstruation related as it's been a year now since I had my last period, I sense it is cyclic nonetheless) I also feel the need to express this in a material form, in actual matter, cloth for instance, and what I hope to achieve is an object that can remind me of what it was that I felt, whilst at the same time offering comfort, something along the lines: that was then, this is now, all kinds of stuff happens....and guess what, you are still here

p.s. I have more to add, and will do so later on

Thursday, 16 November 2017

what do Lin Yutang & Father John Misty have in common?

I think 'Winter's Night and Day' is an appropriate title for these 2, that go together

years ago when I was very much searching for 'answers' I read a lot (much more than I manage these days, although some would say I still read lots) and in my quest for knowledge and useful insights into life, living et cetera, I used to copy passages from the books and many articles I ploughed my way through; I had a couple of notebooks full of these all important quotes, until one day (I no longer recall what year!) I decided to pair the collection down and for now unfathomable reasons the ones I considered worth keeping landed in this metal box, together with several cut-out news paper reviews; I haven't looked into the box for years, ha!

the stuff in there is still interesting, thankfully

I like this one for today: Lin Yutang "The Importance of Living" a book I found in my grandparents' house when we were clearing it out in the late eighties
'Speaking as a Chinese, I do not think that any civilization can be called complete until it has progressed from sophistication to unsophistication and made a conscious return to simplicity of thinking and living, and I call no man wise until he has made the progress from the wisdom of knowledge to the wisdom of foolishness and become a laughing philosopher, feeling first life's tragedy and then life's comedy. For we must weep before we can laugh. Out of sadness comes the awakening and out of the awakening come the laughter of the philosopher, with kindness and tolerance to boot.'

the quote is linked, in my mind, to Father John Misty's latest album Pure Comedy. I have been listening to his music a lots these past weeks, and on Monday the husband and I attended his concert in Utrecht!
It was absolutely awesome, I took some hazy pics with my phone, we were very close to the stage and I almost shook his hand as he walked of the stage.....I know it's stupid to want to make contact like that, so I'm completely okay with the fact it didn't happen; weird how we were all their trying to make connections with him and not one another, all seated/standing so close to each other, one of modern day life's ironies

link to Pitchfork concert

ending with yet another quote,from Zorba:

'Only death knows no trouble. To be alive is to undo your belt & look for trouble.'

Monday, 13 November 2017


being at home, a work in progress

 twirling, 2 seperate small journeys, balancing each other on a thin reed (I would very much like to keep them together ánd on this delicate stalk, however I think I will have to find something sturdier) there are already so many stitches, yet so many more to go, like living life come to think of it

The dress & the windsock each have a house, a home.
I realise homes can mean many different things, depending on where you happened to land.

If you are lucky you were born into a home where you were made to feel welcome and loved, protected and safe, most of the time anyway; however there are many homes where growing up would be a pretty lonely affair, loveless, violent even; the blue-print for our lives is set, it impacts on how we dare te dream; no matter that we always have a choice once we’re all grown-up and responsible for our own actions; it is hard work this business of living a life.......we sleep, eat, watch tv, make love, relax, fight in our homes; we watch our children growing up, leaving and returning home. 
We might be bored by the humdrum familiarity of being at home, and yet, where would we be without this sense of belonging? Lost and looking for ‘a home’ I’m guessing, it took me quite a while to find one

Thursday, 26 October 2017

why stitching is good for the soul & the advantages of cycling to work

this is how SunriseSunset turned out: apart from the running stitch, I also threaded a few thin bits of wire to keep the shape I wanted and added a stray black/white feather (goose?); busy couple of days, last Sunday Fair Fashion Festival in Utrecht because a friend Marijke Bongers' eco-friendly & exquisite wedding dresses were shown on the catwalk and also Utrecht is fun on a Sunday afternoon with lots of shops and cafés open.....I'm not a big fan of spending too much time in towns these days, but do enjoy the occasional visit. Tuesday I went to the DDW 2017 (DutchDesignWeek) in Eindhoven together, again with friend D.....lovely how we can just hop into the car or onto the train and travel about so easily in Holland; just to contradict what I said before: this coming weekend we'll be in Amsterdam on 2 seperate family occasions, my sister's birthday and a small family reunion, anyway, the week after that will be much less adventuresome.
I am on my lunchbreak at the office right now and able to blog! which I was never able to do in previous about freedom Grace!

the start of a new, very light piece - I do love working with these sheer fabrics - the moon piece came from Jude, I believe it's silk

 all of the stitching was done whilst watching (out of the corner of my eye) television on BBC4* these past evenings: very meditative, as the programs are all documentaries on different skills, such as silk weaving, forging a blade and woodwork, followed by an hour in Meditations in a Monastry somewhere in the UK and to top it all off a journey in India all about the amidst the turmoil of daily life there was peace and quiet on the settee back home 
* worth checking out on BBC website
3 quotes I kind of remember
'Naturally an artisan must be patient'
'I try to consider everything I do as an act of prayer, from chopping wood to sweeping the floor'
'routine acts are good, they let the mind wander'

addendum: 'another small cycling episode'
yesterday morning as I was on my way to work, on the bike that is, I noticed several birds in the fields to my left:
a kestrel praying* above the grasses, a crow hovering in his vicinity and two white herons afoot, observing the other two birds in the air; the kestrel swooped down and up, and down and back up again, and then it probably caught a small critter, because it flew away with the crow chasing after him, in all likelihood eager to get a free meal, all the while the herons stood majestically, twisting their necks as they watched, and who knows they might have thought to them selves: if the kestrel drops his prey and the crow is too late, we might be lucky today! 

*we have the same expression in Dutch

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Dutch Indian Summer

working title 'sunrise sunset'
might stick
still have a little sewing to do: the seams fold away neatly, a couple more stitches will help keep them in place; I knew I wanted it as a hanging object, but it was only when I remembered I had wire-bracelet-leftovers I knew how!

it feels very much like an Autumn piece, soft and warm 

Saturday, 7 October 2017

grateful for what life has to offer these days

life has been chock full of everything: emotions, changes, biking, autumn harvest, flukes and unexpected things happening

Like for instance in Utrecht, where the husband and self went to an exhibit at the Future Food Raum, and we ended up in a tiny caravan just opposite from where we were heading, found ourselves amidst a gathering of youngsters who could have been our kids, having bumped into Stan who invited us to come and join him for his workshop 'the 7 keys to happiness' how could we refuse?
colourful caravans

Stan the Man on the left
lovely studio for artist-in-residence, in this case Chloé Rutzerveld, food designer

I'm glad we met Stan as the food of the future was pretty bland.....fortunately we also met up with friend L. making for a very pleasant afternoon

An emotional last September work-week at Miele (my former employer) saying goodbye to lots of folks and a final goodbye party at one of my now ex-colleagues house Saturday a week ago.
Sunday a day filled with live music as a coup le of us went on a so-called indoors tour in Gorinchem (Binnenskamers) where people with nice (i.e. large) houses open their doors and let us strangers in to enjoy several live  acts; I wany to mention Helga Buitelaar, a local artist singer-songwriter extraordinaire; 

I always love live music, say to self I should attend such events more often and so I have booked 2 tickets to Father John Misty in November! yay am so happy

my life is happening: back home from my last day in the Miele-office I received a request from a friend: would I like to exhibit together with other artists in the theatre in Gorinchem (nearest town) for the performance of choir Klink! (for 2 days in December)
yes of course I would and I instantly had ideas, small journey clothstrips  with feathers and crystal pendants suspended from the ceiling, rather theatrical and so fitting I think

more importantly I realised I feel liberated,  as if the mist in my brain has evaporated now that I have made a positive choice, a job closer to home, less pay but also more time and freedom of movement!
after months of agony about the whole outsourcing project, the sense that I was stuck and had to spend so many hours commuting.....all that has gone and I am full of energy

a glimpse of the fridge: glass bottles with milk, buttermilk, vanilla vla, from a farm very nearby where they make farmer's cheese and also sell other dairy produce, lucky us; bottle on the left is my home made kombucha, my yoga teacher gave me my first scoby. I only thought to show this as the basket in the top image was bought in this farmers shop this morning! 

meanwhile in our front garden, the sweet chestnut has been extremely generous; so far I have gathered 15 kilograms in the basket below, more are falling as I type....on the right a roedeer hindquarter, which has now been simmering since 1 pm this afternoon, after an hour's marinating. It's now 6:30 pm so the meat will have fallen off the bone, mmm looking forward to a warm dish like this as Autumn has arrived, with a glass of red wine of course

so what about my new job as receptionist/handyman? I have been there everyday this past week, not quite full-time but getting to know the ropes; I feel it's gonna be just fine for 2,5 days, I get to meet many people and make their welcome into the building a friendly experience.
It's in the Business Centre Gorinchem meaning it's close enough to cycle to, which I have done for 4 days now (skipped Thursday as the wind and rain were just too fierce) the cycling itself is an adventure:
day number 1 saw me losing my bag which I had attached the wrong way round, duh (I did manage to retrieve it and fix it the right way round)
day number 3 on the bike started off just fine, and just as I was humming a fine tune thinking how perfect all it was, it started to rain, but believe it or not, my leggings stayed dry as the breeze combined with the heat produced by the cycling made everything all right again
day number 5 on my way to work I lost an earring whilst fidgeting with my scarf, so had to stop, get off, walk back and pick up the beautiful jewel, it was Roz's ! On my return journey through the woods I lost the left pedal! ugh got off and tried to fix that....managed to cycle back home and will have to deal with that tomorrow

What amazed me most is how unfazed and relaxed I was through it all: this was the most meaningful realisation for me, how un-stressed I have become.....finally

basket overflowing

Tuesday, 12 September 2017


 sometimes it doesn't take a lot to make me happy

the 2 strips sewn together 'Jude-style'  so they fold flat effortlessly

some days that's all i need

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

time to change

Father John Misty Holy Shit

quiet weather, a hint of Autumn in the evening and early morning, pleasant nonetheless; after almost 4 weeks holiday I 'm due back in the office tomorrow; September will be strange, not least because I'll be working different days than I normally do, the weirdest part is it's going to be my last one for the firm; October sees our department moving away to a call-centre a long way away, and I'm not moving with them! Hurray, I say, as I have landed a job much closer to home, reducing my commute to a mere 15 min bicycle ride in part through the woods, cause for much relief on my part. Suddenly it all happened so fast, after months of agony (I exagerate) and not being able to make a decision concerning my future, during the holiday one thing became absolutely clear: no way was I going to travel that far 3 days a week. What then? At a party Sunday a week ago I spoke to a friend of a friend who was looking for someone to share her job with, we both wanted a part time position, she contacted her boss on Monday, he sent me an email, I replied, we set a date for the job interview, spoke with each other on Thursday early afternoon, by 4pm he rang to welcome me on board! Looking forward to a change in my career, the office part of the week that is. As the rest of my life remains much the same: walks with Django, family and studio life will most likely continue as before. A small series of watercolours came to life last night, looking back I see they are all to do with (meditating upon) change......

dancing figures, groovy moves - or so they imagine - hips thrusting back and forth, into empty space; twirling nimble limbs, whilst hands flap & clap, there's some whooping as they turn away and then towards one another, catching glimpses of each other's eye, the darting glance, are we connected yet? almost but never quite touching, groping gestures disguised as striking poses; a ritual performance lasting into the early hours, hoping encounters will entail, suddenly fearing the longing will be met, dreading the aftermath

transformation, finding one's identity, as if that's something lying about waiting to be found

dead hare

reflection 2, is that really me I see, how do others view me?

metamorphosis * the hare becoming human or was it the other way round, who knows together they could become a new being altogether

reflection 1, then again, perhaps it's a mating ritual

hare dreaming of becoming a ballerina

ran out of paper, continued on cardboard back
almost always several projects on the go, so no matter how small the workable workspace is I manage to squeeze in yet another one, a result of my tendency to have stuff lying on every available surface, so I don't forget about stuff......