When I was young my mom made me a coat from wool fleece, thick and warm. She was a weaver but for this coat she used the same technique as she used for making wooly carpets. For the inside lining she used a black cotton with little red flowers.
My father warned my mom not to dress me differently than the other kids at school, so I did not wear it for long, just a short while. Grin, but alas the deed was done, I loved and love the raw feel of wool which suits my being so well.
I’ve always known the coat, in a small way, co-created me, this me, a human with all those different parts of me and maker of warm silent hiding spaces, the me with flowers on the inside.
For this shot for the Global burrow project, we made a couple of years ago, a friend took me to an ancient wood in the US where we found a fallen giant, feeder of fungi and little creatures and a heart filling hiding place for bigger creatures.
The Shearer send a message the other day, that he had good wool for me, perfect for a project I am working on. Wool from people who keep sheep as pets. ‘Just go to the barn and you will know immediately which bag it is.’ =)
and now for the first time in a fair bit my hands, body and space smell as if a herd of sheep took over ;) Soft and gorgeous and alive are these fleeces with stories of the field and area they live in.
It was of a dream you know this project, where you do things, make good things and no one gets hurt. Where you become a medicine woman.. that kind of dream.
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. ;)
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.
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 artproject Ireland
Thinking about the news that is bombarding us these days, it feels important to remind myself of strength and beauty and resilience and resistance and protection.
The Global Burrows Art project.
Opening; Saturday January 21. 16.00
Caesuur Lange Noordstraat 67 | 4331 CC Middelburg. Netherlands
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
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.
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
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.’
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.
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?
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.
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.
=)) 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.
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.
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!
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.
So 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.
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
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.
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.
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. =)
‘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
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
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.
Clad in heavy warm thick felt she is what she is.
Life is, when you are able to think without them grown up restrictions, full of adventures and ideas.
Series. Restrictions aka Roly poly puddin’.