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

Shed skin.

It feels as if this is a time, a year of change instead of only silence.  A time to shed skin, decode and let life bring answers. It feels as being warned to wait,  to figure things out and gather momentum. As if I am waiting for the universe to suddenly laugh and shout.. or whisper ‘ Now! Now is the time, go!’ =)

time piece.

I know..

Yes it’s been silent over here. No stories nor shots made it all the way here, not because there are no lovely shots, things are shifting and I am learning, but no work shots suitable for this space. Life shots yes, learning shots yes, silent shots.. yep, food shots.. herm yes, grin, but not over here.

If you are into instagram with its endless amount of positive vibes you might like to hop over there, for those other shots. =)

take care you, see you soon. x

done-18(one of the last shots taken in the studio this year.)

Stone.

Just a short one. Hope you are doing fine this summer or winter.

I’m still reading lots and learning, still with me boots on and kinda doing my best to loose my way, wether I am at home or not, and finding the best places. And as good let’s-get-lost-travels are not set in stone, after some questions I started work on ‘smaller scale’ pieces.  Also pieces fitted for a wall in someone’s home.

Wish I had a wall big enough, I am a bit in love with these actually. Monumental and strong as they feel.

@elisv.nl

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@elisv.nl

Sabbatical.

I will be away and offline for a bit, travel. ‘ will be taking care of bones, mind and soul and see things as one can do in a transition and sabbatical period.

..gosh I have been working hard and overstretched my body, hit walls, felt sick to the stomach, cried and fucked up stuff.  And also, I  was able to do so many really cool things these last years. I accomplished dreams, saw and understood the materials I worked with. And I worked with amazing people, saw potential, strength, love. I got to know beautiful friends and colleagues, strong kind people for whom I am so very grateful. Also, everyone I met along the way, thank you for whoever you are.

My work is often about care, giving care, providing safe havens. Going offline and away, learning new skills, taking care of mind body and soul is also part of me. Feeding myself, chewing on good food.. or information, travel. Sitting at the table and talk for hours with my man, kiss him loads, meeting lovely people, learning and seeing beyond and (oh bliss..) nó deadlines..

Seems like a plan to me. =)

Series.

Elis Vermeulen

done-3

Sanity.

‘Are you seriously not staying here or could you at least look for another studio?’ someone asked when he came by and saw the amount of materials I still need to sort through. I tried explain its not the time yet for a new space bút time to leave and that looking at the huge body of my work made me wonder about my sanity (..and strength) too. I explained to him that my work just does not fold into neat little square boxes. =)

While not answering yet to strange and complicated questions about the next steps I keep getting, I enjoy this moving thing and this having to sort through things and noticing your heart jumping up, or hurting a little, when you see old pieces and deciding to move or loose them.

Detail of The Siblings

IMG_5798

Once apon a time / on my way again.


Elis Vermeulen

When I was a little girl with a pony tail (this is the once upon a time bit.) I felt, deeply, that I was not yet able to understand lots of grown up reasons.. or math.=)

The way I thought, understood things, was limited…( I still do not understand lots of ‘grown up’ reasonings but that is beside the point.) I knew there was more out there, outside of my brain, things I could not reach or understand yet and I hungered for it. Since then I long to break barriers, see more, understand more, accept more and believe that amazing and weird things are possible, that there are things, reasons, life and beauty outside of what I, or you, might think is possible.

Slaying the Jabberwocky is part of life. At some point you just have to ánd have to believe in impossible things.

These last months or a bit longer I knew I needed to reconsider my art practice. The decision to take steps forward includes giving up my studio, I do love that space but I know I need to broaden my horizon, explore, travel, breathe, learn, dream, lean forward, work and step outside of that comfy work-zone.

I will be clearing out my workspace these coming weeks, make give away/scrap/keep piles and move my stuff so things will be different and perhaps a bit silent here sometimes, but if you like, you can drop me a line and let me know how you are doing. =)

I have a couple of ‘Series’ left and after that?.. who knows… =) Grin.

x

Elis Vermeulen

Floating over far away land.

One thing about working, and especially working on these series, is that you are allowed to play. Often.

…it’s still work though.

But is perfect for if you suddenly feel the need to build a castle.. or a dragon..or play hide and seek, or make a gondola, just because you can, and float underneath a balloon over far away flowing land, over mountains and rivers and let the others know you are coming.

Series.

Elis Vermeulen

done-10

done-7

Bloody strong.

Definitely part of ‘Series’, You see it happen around you.

It was a hot day when we shot this and I held on tight to that wool when the guy behind the camera said ‘ Hold on for just another minute..’ =)

Because of the type of wool I used for this massive hand-felted piece, it sheds fibers, coarser wools often does that, and I ended up covered with hairs and fibers on my hot face and in my mouth. Grin, it was fun though.

Bloody strong-2

Bloody strong

Head first. No. 2 (series. )

So I am still thinking and working on thoughts about who we are as people and why and I (very annoying..) constantly want to ask people, ‘Where are you?’ ‘Are you happy?’ ‘What are you up to?’  ‘How do you feel? ‘How does that look like?’ ‘Need a boost or anything?’ =)

Today we shot The dive for the (series.)

 

Elis Vermeulen

Elis Vermeulen

Elis Vermeulen 2015