Just because.

A couple of years ago, when it hit the shelves, I bought the book ‘Dip’, Wild swims from the borderlands by Andrew F. Peters.  The book became part of a still growing number of books on my own shelves about wild swimming, hiking and bicycling, predominantly in the UK as the English print the most gorgeous books on all things and nature. Mostly about things of what they say is typically English. ;)

..Many of us Dutchies are not so proud of  country and heritage, it feels we lost that somehow and also, those who are, they are not so verbal about it.

But anyways, about the book.. or perhaps not about the book at all really.. more about us waterrats who stand by the side of the water and feel this longing, that thirst to get in, into the sea, ocean, pool, river. Who dares to step into the things that make us happier or healthier, freezing cold or just bloody content or who steps back. (Logic dear Watson..)

Then the other day I took that conscious step into water, out of the life filled with herbal study books and a barn with pooh smelling gorgeous wool. I bicycled to the water and stepped in, not to play or cool off but just to be in that water.

And I felt the cold around me and the soft little non stinging jellyfish bobbing against my skin, saw the anemones and crabs under water, seaweeds greens, browns, reds, tasted the salt. ..I saw the sky from the water’s perspective.

So now, almost every day, I take different routes to the water’s edge and swim for a wee while, or just float. Or to use Andrew Peter’s word, I dip. =)

x

think the content of the blog might be changing. ;)

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To be a plant witch.

Cut plants and herbs with care, those that are abundant now. Or use food, outer leaves of cabbage, cuttings of the berries, nettle o and dandelion! they are in flower now.

And I bicycle over small roads through fields and fields of them.  Yellow lions teeth. And I make more samples and more samples, plant dye samples. With acv without, with ashes and without, with heat, with Father Sun and it makes me feel like a proper witch stirring in that hot cauldron and watch, whisper and care for fermenting  bottles with plant dyes.

Purple fingers, brown stains, feathers, bones and dreams, so many dreams in those pots.

I sometimes wonder if it is enough to only make samples and love them and never make anything else with them than little flags or scarves to bind the wild hair and knot together dreads of young women.

and perhaps it is.=)

or perhaps its because of those screaming monsters. ;)

#plantdye

https://www.instagram.com/100andtwo/

Elder and art.

We’ve done illegal stuff the other day. good illegal stuff. To benefit others and all- kinda herbal illegal stuff.

I grew good strong little Elder-plants from cuttings we took last year, (we all know it is a hazardous job to cut from an Elder, they just do not like it when you mess with them, so rest assured we asked for permission first.) Elder with its fragrant flowers and medicinal deep purple berries.

Those cuttings became plants, young and strong and as Elders are historically important plants, tales are told about them, and you find them around farms and grave-yards as they are known for their protective qualitites, we * planted them around our town…as one does with Elder.

Secretely. on a sunday morning.

and it was ever so good.

Silently and secretly.. even though they suddenly wrote about it in the newspaper. (..)

In coming exhibit which runs from april 29 (details to come)  I am going to bring a dozen Elder, as Multiples, as artists do on an exhibit, numbered multiples, and if you acquire such a piece  and live in town, I’ll come and plant it for you and tell you a story about this plant. It’s all part of the deal, the art deal.. or the ‘I really dig Elder’-deal.. or if Elder appears in your dreams and you crave them, or if you need Elder for you health.  Just know, Elder ‘s got your back.

* We =  Anna, that girl who lives in the UK, was here to do illegal things with me.

Pine after a storm.

The woods, the trees, dropped branches, dropped themselves during the storm and I gathered again. Old branches.

Though young growth is best I am grateful for these and use some for medicine, some for food, some for scent, some for dye. And the house now smells as if it has been visited by different wise sisters. =)  Wood essence, wood joy, wood life, wood force, wood strength. And in my mind now, I can hear the trees’ laughter and hear them stretch their limbs, shake off, bend, turn, enjoy wind while they let go of rigidity, old wounds, hoary rigor and dusty layers and reaffirm their place, dug their toes deeper in the earth and find a new fresh grip with their roots.

It is said that a pine grew near the well in the Nemeton of Barenton and when Merlin climbed that tree he received all his wisdom and talents there, which is nice to remember next time you go to France and find yourself high up in a pine tree.

Fragile.

Once you allow yourself to think about things differently the rest somehow follows.

Life is fragile, that thought.. life is fragile, popped up and refuses to leave me. When I throw away things that hold memories and trust my brain to remember what it needs to.  And I want to live this fragile, amazing life and be me, and make safe burrows in the woods.

And sometimes it is both, strong and fragile. As when I look at where we live now, this downsized home and living community. When I look at art or study, people, validity, love.

Being strong, accepting fragility.. that thought.


Global burrow art project

global burrow artproject Ireland

global burrow artproject Ireland

A bubble a day.

Today was a bubble kind of day, a good day in which I mended the holes in my love’s felted house boots, made big jars full of sauerkraut and focussed on study .

I’ve been thinking lots about bubbles lately and where focus lies and how to best do what I do best and make those necessary positive vibe waves. I do believe in them vibes.

For now, I hope whoever reads this has a steady flow of bubbles in her or his life. Stay sane, stay afloat, stay strong my friend, you can do this.  x

Elis Vermeulen 100andtwo

Elis Vermeulen 100andtwo

Pose the question.

Opening;  Saturday January 21. 16.00
Caesuur Lange Noordstraat 67 | 4331 CC Middelburg. Netherlands

 illegal 1 | 21/01/’17 – 05/03/’17
Elis Vermeulen | Ko de Jonge
leon riekwell | Núria Bofarull
You are cordially invited to the opening of the first of a series of exhibits for “Pose the question”  or as we would say in our native tongue;  Stel de stad een vraag.

In this year long project ‘Pose a question’, more than 25 makers from the Netherlands and abroad pose a series of questions to the city that are normally not, or are no longer being, asked. Every maker has formulated his or her own question and way of questioning.

Work in progress.  Saturday January 21. 16.00
Caesuur Lange Noordstraat 67 | 4331 CC Middelburg.  Netherlands

 

Drastic measures.

I  got home after a giving the last of a series of ayurvedic massages and while I was cutting up my kale for lunch and was thinking about getting my books out and just study for a couple of days and thinking about how giving massages sort of feels the same as making felt, the way you move and how you feel what is there beneath your hands,  I cut my thumb.

roly poly-6

Actually cut a piece right off and thus sort of granted myself more then just a couple of days time to study, which is not bad… so I tell myself anyway while I clean the dressing and use herbs on the outside and herbs on the inside to aid in the healing proces.

And it brings me back to the power of the Ayurvastra, healing in cloth, in a whole different way, a very very practical way.. and I think this weekend might be a good one for drastic wrapping measures. ;)

have a good one and do take care with sharp objects ok? x

 

Full moon.


moon1

It is late but still the 16th of October. The night of the full moon and the promised blanket, from last post, is done and should arrive somewhere on this globe by next month. Other blankets, thick hairy and full of air to cover beds, givers of healing dreams to deep sleepers, are by now stacked neatly on shelves in a gorgeous store and new ones, those to hold and cover you or me, felted carefully and treated with herbal love will be ready sometime this month.

No words seem to fit properly these days as I learned so much I did not yet process and there is so much more I know I need or would like to know and understand.  About how memory is stored in our heart space, about freedom, about how certain herbs adapt themselves to your needs, about how hollow and disconnected we grown ups can be from ourselves and that there are ways of caring to connect you or me to our inner core again and I realise the importance of it. I heard the word marma in a class and read the word mudra and the name Octillo for the first time in my life and I once more learned that life is never confined.

Perhaps I will just shout and whisper at the same time or mumble or howl, ‘take good care of yourself, you are precious.’

elisv.nl

I see you.

One of my favorite girls in this world and I talked about this plan for a give away I’ve been carrying with me since I first laid my hands on the wool for the precious blankets I wrote about in the previous post, and she gave me the words I needed to write about this Give Away. ‘You are here, and I am here too.’

Some time ago a beautiful one send me the link to this song ‘Bitter earth’. .. go ahead, click and listen.. I’ll wait.

..Sometimes we are overwhelmed by this world, us sensitive folk and we hide, under blankets or in the arms of waiting friends. At the same time we might need or even hunger for souls to show you; ‘But while a voice within me cries, I’m sure someone may answer my call, and this bitter earth may not be so bitter after all.’

And there is also this song by Rising Appalachia.

Also, a bit back I wrote this post about baby blankets and this one about healing in cloth, which to me seemed like two paralel soft winding tracks finding each other through woods and over green hills. I was silenced during the proces and this silent feeling is still here. Those baby blankets I made were packed and send on their ways but that was not the end of the story, not just because I slowly kept walking that track.

Lots of things happen in a life time.. or a week. And when one expecting momma received her blanket parcel, she told me that they had choosen to buy all their baby things 2nd hand as they are worried about the toxicity of the used dyes in affordable baby clothes and hoped the toxicity would be less in 2nd hand clothes. She cried when she saw her gift and then she laughed with tears in her eyes and told me it was just because of the hormones she was so emotional =)  The other blanket arrived just in time to be wrapped around a newborn. His aunt told me how they talked about how this precious boy is surrounded and wrapped in love while they watched him sleep.

This give away is a special one to me, and I am taking this step with care and the knowledge of who I am and the love I am surrounded by. I somehow feel ancient doing this.. an ancient momma.

I am offering to an expecting mom, a handmade baby blanket, made specifically for you and your wee one due. I will use the softest wool I have and will felt the blanket without soap while I breathe love and care into the work. I will then gather herbs, I’ll fold them in the blanket, ask them to do their work and when that is done, when it is all done, I’ll send it to you.

So, if you are, or know, an expecting momma who could do with something warm and safe, something without any signs of ‘highstreetness’ (when you are familiar with my work you know what I mean ) if you hunger for a blanket made with love for your baby due, just go to my 100andtwo instagram page, click to follow the instagram page  (if you have not already) leave a message there, perhaps about who you are or why you’d like this blanket, in the give away post and repost that message before the moon is in her first quarter, October 9, so I have enough time to finish the work before full moon and will send this secret parcel before November.

ps, ..all this following and reposting might seem a bit mweh.. but it makes sense really doesn’t it, to say hi, shake hands, smile, be that community. =) xhealing in cloth

Two.

It is the fall equinox already, harvest time here on this side of the equator.  Bit by bit we bring in what we’ve grown or what we’ve learned and we start testing, start making work.

After I went over and over the thoughts of ‘Healing in cloth’ (See post)  it was time to get more understanding by watching my hands work and seeing and understanding without words.For the first time in ages I took out soft, soft wool and I thanked the sheep and went to work and made blankets for babies due and used the knowledge handed to me a long time ago by a Russian teacher and used no soap whilst felting this precious work, though it makes work hard.

And then I gathered my herbs, soft ones, sacred ones and protecting ones and I folded them into the felted cloth and asked them to do their work and left them to it.

And now it is done, the blankets are rolled up the way I roll up any blanket I make and they are packed now and I am silenced by this process of looking and smelling and asking myself, is this it.. is it good, is it enough.

It is exactly the way I’ve always worked, it’s my hands, my mind, my hunger for imperfection but at the same time it is really not, it is small and delicate for one. =) But my hands know. And in my mind I bless those babies.

I smile knowing the colours of the blankets will fade in time and the smell of the herbs will be replaced by the smell of a little human, but I also know the wool has a perfect memory and the herbs will be imprinted forever. Deep magic.

Caring in cloth

Healing in cloth.

In the world of herbal study it is easy to wander away from the most well known roads of natural healing, the herbal western way, the Ayurvedic way or the ancient Chinese wisdom as there are more, so many more ways. It just blows my mind and I keep saying I need another lifetime to learn the basics of it all.

And as I was wondering about when disease or trauma or memory is set into our cells and genes, gets imprinted, and when care can be carried by an object as simple as a post-card or something a dear friend or your father treasured and gave you, can herbal medicine be in fact imprinted in ‘the cells’ of a cloth so it can care or heal or correct an inbalance?

Curcuma longa

I mean there are so many different carriers of medicine. There are medicine bags that contain stones and plant medicine, there are smells that relieve you from anxiety, there is the warmth of a persons body that comforts us, wisdom in the written words of love, there is healing in water, there is health in a good meal, redemption in a smile, gratitude in a gift, knowledge in seeing.

medicine

And I believe it can. Cloth can act as a carrier for medicine. As it, the cloth, can be literally imprinted with the plants colour or shape, smell and thus, in my view, take on its medicine. And this imprint will change the cloth forever and it will cover you or me and give us that medicine to help us gather ourselves, balance us, heal us in the most gentle of ways. Ahimsa.Golden curcuma longa

=)) It made me laugh as when I realised that generations before me probably knew all of this and it just took me a while to tap into it, it would be good to search for evidence.  In less then a minute I found posts and videos on the subject of cloth as a carrier for medicine. And it has a name. Ayurvastra.  grin. I love it when things make you laugh.

x

Water.

The herbal studies are sweeping me off my feet , the beauty of nature and her food and medicinal care, but when one of my girls asked questions about plant dyes I added my dye books to the stack of books on my desk to see if and how we could work with it.

There are things I love about plant dye and reasons why it never got a proper hold of me.  =) that said, I am curious to where my path leads me in this.

India Flint is a formidable artist, so much knowledge and wisdom about plant dyes and garments and such a good eye, so when she writes about how to treat cellulose cloth before a plant dye bath you just do as she tells you to.  And me being who I am, so impressed by nature and wisdom, shapes and movement already, took my washed cotton to the sea and let it flow and could hardly stop looking. pure magic and love.

I am a story teller in an image. My work is a translation of the things I think.’

Those who follow me on instagram will know I’ve been studying and roaming Northern lands and then southern lands and finally arrived home where I found that German magazine on the doormat with that piece they asked me to write.

The photos looked amazing and the translation to German worked and things were great, they only took out that part of the piece which was important to me as during my time off from work my view on my work shifted.. or rather is shifting in not a minor way.  So, for those interested in those thoughts about my working future, here goes, and if anyone is interested in the whole bit and not just about me doubting where I am heading, just let me know. ;)

‘I also did a lot of cooking what I always seem to do when I let life slow down a bit. this cooking, being interested in food steered me quite naturally to a deeper serious concern about food, animal welfare and different global issues. We have a mainly plant based diet in our home and the concerns made me rethink materials in my work and the way I work. Something I have not completely figured out, the sourcing and which materials I want or can use and how this will change my practise. It is such a sensitive subject these or any materials you are used to work with. But that said, making work, art, like life is an on-going learning process innit? Things change and I’ve always felt the need to find new ways and answers anyway.’

ps, on our travels we camped out on a small island with sheep and one of those sheep kinda took a liking to us strangers and she came up to us a couple of times to smell or breath and we hers.. did you ever smell a sheeps’ breath? and doesn’t it smell of flowers?

Where ever you are, have a truly lovely day!

hat sculptures

Everyone.

Everyone has more sides right? you might not just be the faithful companion to your elderly mom but also a kickass sister playing the banjo. Or perhaps you are a purebred dog-lover but also a fairy godmother and completely in your zone jumping out of a plane or as a federal judge.

I’ve used felt as a way to express my thoughts, a medium. I love the material, the smell, the grease, the pooh, the work, but ‘ve always known, I am not a felter.   Felters are an amazing and different breed of people.

pull watermerk-3So I am me and a student again, I am unruly and a kinda free thinker and more, more genes and chromosomes and views and things.

I also sort of got tired some time ago from working hard and seeing realities and I had little to share as I was taking naps and reading things like Planetary herbology and Landmarks and I studied and travelled and got my hands in the soil and learned more about how we treat fellow beings, animals, life, mother earth and about global messy things. And my vision on my work shifted some more and I had little to say till I had a request from the German magazine Filzfun to write about me and my work. I am not really a writer.. or a talker, but still I said ‘Thank you’, and ‘How kind.’ And I felt grateful and it was fun.white-5

The magazine will be out soon, they translated my down to earth english also in German, so no excuses there for not reading the article. =))

So why the long story about having more sides?     It just filled my mind and perhaps it makes sense to you today when you jump out of your plane or kiss your love or inhale deeply the scent of Lavender to calm your nerves.  =)

Wherever you are, have a really gorgeous day. x

Elis

The other day. (about Retreating motion)

The piece Retreating motion came up in and between things about work a couple of times these weeks . It is one of the pieces I’ve made I am still attached to but I never wrote about this installation on this blog. Strange right?

In short, To build this installation I hired an old steel plate factory in an old harbour and hung the 16 Retreating shapes with about 6 km of string. Building took about 3 weeks and that space, the work, the flow.. oh man.. sometimes time travel seems ‘most desirable.’ =)

Anyway, today some shots of this installation. I will safe a short video about this piece for next time.

first shot =) checking out the building.

checking the building

Retreating motion

building retreating motion

Retreating motion:Wave :Elis Vermeulen 2012