zondag 8 december 2013

My Love for Textiles and Fashion..2 Exhibitions...

Within 2 weeks I did see 2 great exhibitions I really have enjoyed.
One about Textiles in the TextielMuseum in Tilburg and the other one about Fashion in MoMu in Antwerp.

Ever since a little boy I was fascinated by textiles. My late Mother was very good in sewing and knitting. I remember her making out of a piece of fabric - which she bought a market-stall- beautiful dresses, shirts, skirts and trousers for herself. One of the highlights was a dress for the wedding of my brother in a black checked voile with flowers on it. Very difficult fabric to work with. I can see her puzzling about how to cut it because all those checks needed to be placed perfect so they were not broken at the seams. and of course she could do it and she made it even better than one you could buy in a store. 
For me she made once a Safari suit in light brown corduroy, a checked shirt with a round shaped collar.  Flared trousers with V stitching on the knees (very fashionable in the 70's) and Grandpa's shirts in typical Dutch Traditional stripes.

And she was a keen knitter too...and she learned me how to knit..

Guess somewhere in my youth my love for textiles was started. And it has developed since. Next to my Mum  the other great influence was of course my relation with Bram. He was trained as an Interior architect at the Rietveld-Academy in Amsterdam. He was more an architect than interior architect, but he had a very good sense for color and fabrics.
So, when I told him that I wanted to study Fashion Design at Art-school in Arnhem he told me to go for it.
A 5 years evening-course. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday to school form 18.30 till 9 hrs. Not always easy, but it has changed my life dramatically, and that is why I am now the person who I am. 
Coming from a family with no interest in Art or Fashion, I had to find out everything myself. Bram has always been very supportive to me.
At art-school I did find out that I am better in textiles than in fashion design. Of course I could and can make garment designs, but I am more a textile person with a love for using traditions in a modern way.

That was why the trend-presentation on fashion and lifestyle by Lidewij Edelkoort for Summer 2015 and a small seminar about textiles for the home were very interesting for me.
Both of them focused on textiles, and the way textiles can be used. 
Some of the words she used were:
Pleating, Stitching, Draping, Wrapped, Embroided, Frilled, Layered, Ribboned..etc....Linen, Handwoven...
And all under the Umbrella of the word "Gathering"

We need to come together again..work together, while positivity is at the horizon.
Summer 2015 will be perfect for a Textile Lover as I am.

The exhibition is called: "Talking Textiles".

Curated by Lidewij Edelkoort and Philip Fimmano, and on till the 26th of January 2014.
Startingpoint is the strong Digital world we are living in and the reaction of the need for textiles as storytellers in our lives. Tradition techniques who need to be saved, and modern ways to produce textiles.

There is a lot to see, but one of the things which really moved me, was the sofa designed by the Bokja Girls from Beirut. 

A sofa based on the theme "Migration" which tells stories..a sofa with memories.
Textile can keep memories alive. 

I remember a project I have done years ago with my students.
We had asked students to bring with them garments which were important for them.
One of them was Razia who came as a refugee with her family to the Netherlands.

She brought 3 garments and jewelry with her, which the family took with them when they left Afghanistan. The one in the middle was the most special to the family, because it has been the wedding-dress for the bride in many generations. Hand-embroidered with gold thread and little mirrors. In this way they kept contact with the place they were born and memories were kept alive. I remember being very moved by her story, and this is also a  good example of the power of Textiles.
I have lost contact with her...but who knows she could be find...would love to know how she is doing??
And of course I had 3 Dutch students who wanted to try on those dresses. It must have been very special for them too. 

I still have contact with them thanks to Facebook.

There are the colorful masks by Bertjan Pot..

They always make me smile and must be a joy to make.

And there was this Blackbird...wrapped in Black fabric.
Designed and made by Guus Kusters & Maarten Kolk

More from the exhibition can bee seen HERE.

But there were more Birds in the Museum..

Woven, embroided and printed..

Next to this exhibition you can also see the exhibition: 

Textile Art only made by Men...very interesting.
Very strong work, and very architectural.

Harrie Boom (1945-1995) Black Lover V, 1972

Both by Krijn Giezen (1939-2011)

The exhibition ended with more Birds....
and also by  Guus Kusters & Maarten Kolk.

Bye Bye BlackBirds...because..

In the afternoon, at a little seminar on Home textiles Lidewij told us that our home will be influenced by this theme under the name: "Nomadism". 
We will carry cushions and carpets around in our home,wrap up in blankets...sleep under linen...and no straps anymore for our sheets...so we will become nomads in our own house...

And than..off to Antwerp...to have a talk with my student Desi who is doing a training at the Koninklijk Ballet Vlaanderen were she works at the Costume atelier..and she is doing VERY WELL..so a proud teacher left after the talk..

While in Antwerp I always love to go to the MoMu..the fashion-museum which is in the same building as that Famous Fashion Academy.

And it was...

because of 50 years of Fashion Education...
How about this at the start of the exhibition....

The exhibition was a a Big Party for me..made me smile, laugh and moved me..

There are 4 different themes..Arcadia, Nirvana, Desire and Harmony/Protest in which former students show their creativity to the utmost, and to develop their own artistic signature. Next to that is the theme: Signature in which work can be seen by former students with their own label or Fashion house.

Let's do the tour..but better go there yourself..

Koji Arai 2006 (loved this!!)
Bernhard Willhelm 1998

Hideki Seo 2005 
Lluis Corujo, 2008
Sabien Devriendt, Circus, 1986

Jurgi Persoons, 1992

Serkan Sarier, 2001

Angelo Figus, 1999
Eric Verdonck,1993
Patrick Van Ommeslaeghe, 1990
And than there are the Famous Antwerp 6 + 1

An overwhelming room filled with beautiful outfits...

Those were the years when I went to Art school to study Fashion design..
I remember admiring the work from Walter, Bram bought me a hoodie from Dries...there was music playing from that time...and I felt moved by it...Memories came back..

Textiles and Fashion will always be a part of my life..starting in my childhood and still developing...Love Forever...
There is Embroidery and Knitting waiting for me downstairs...Better go there now..

zondag 1 december 2013

Stitching brings Everything Together...

How does my Brain works?
And how does my Mind works?
What is Creative Thinking?

Last week had some special moments for me, and they all had to do with the questions above.

I went to 2 Trendseminars by Lidewij Edelkoort (that Worldfamous Trendwatcher). 
One -in Amsterdam- took a day and was about Fashion and Lifestyle themes for Spring/Summer 2015. 
The other one was a little seminar about trends in home-textiles and took place at the Textielmuseum in Tilburg.
Ofcourse both were inspiring and exiting...and it took me again back into the beautiful world of textiles. The world I love so much. And I hope to have time to write a blog-post about it.

But for me the best part was the thing that happened in my mind while listening to the sentence:
"Stitching brings everything Together"
Suddenly I knew what to do......

A few Months ago I did start embroidery work with sentences from my diary when he picked me up for dinner on the 28th of January 1983 at 17.30 hrs. My diary did start of course on the day after that date.
My idea was to use lines from that diary and to embroider them in a spiral on a piece of white linen.
I did start, but for some reason I didn't continue. It has been with me in my suitcase on holiday last Summer, but I didn't do anything. Packed in a plastic bag it stayed in my dining-room, but it didn't came out.
It looked like this...

And suddenly in a flash -while hearing that sentence- I knew what was wrong and I knew what to do. 
The white fabric was wrong. There was no connection with Bram in that fabric. He didn't like white and never wore a white shirt.

And the picture of the right fabric immediately popped into my head.

I have always kept the shirt he did wear when he picked me up that evening in January. 
A striped shirt from Valentino in a very soft cotton fabric. He did wear it under a beautiful black sweater with bright blue rough stitching round his shoulder. I don't have that one anymore. Moths did do their work unfortunatley...

So it had to be that shirt..and it will be that shirt..
On Friday, late in the afternoon (after a morning suffering migraine) I did start a bit.

On the front of the shirt I will embroider fragments of my diary. Probably in 2 colors blue and maybe one word in Red.

Next to this one I have the plan to use another of his shirts on which I will embroider lines from the words I spoke at the funeral. It will probably a faded red one or pink one he loved to wear.

It will be part of my project about coming in terms with the loss of my beautiful husband.
That stitching will bring everything together for Me and Him. 

So..last week did bring it all together for me, and I will be doing embroidery the coming weeks.

zondag 17 november 2013

Thoughts on a Gardening Sunday....

For this weekend the plan was,to plant red tulip bulbs on Bram's grave on Saturday and to do some heavy gardening in our garden on Sunday. 
Yes, I still feel it is "Our garden", and for the moment it is still difficult to write "My garden".
I have never been a real gardener myself. Bram was the one in our relation who always did the garden, and I was the one who enjoyed it. He was not a man with plans for the garden. In a way, that was more or less his attitude towards life in general. Not too much planning, and see what will happen. The funny thing is that in his work he was totally the opposite. His designs really needed planning, and he was good in that.

A few years ago it was time for me to step in. Bram had no more energy to do the work after his aneurysm operation. The garden had become a mess. Everything was over grown with weeds, and our little City garden behind our historic home really needed some work to be done.
I remember a bit chilly Autumn Monday when I started working. The day before I had baked a really tasty plum cake, and between work I sat outside drinking coffee and eating cake (and wearing a warm jumper).
There was a lot of work to be done, but late in the afternoon I had a dozen garbage bags full of garden waste. The garden was cleared and winter could arrive.
I guess from that moment I really got a feeling with our garden. Going to a garden center became a joy to do. And coming home with new plants and planting them was an exiting moment.

And so I did after Bram passed away last April. I went to the garden center. Bought soil, seeds and plants and on it went, as usual. But the excitement wasn't there as in the years before. It was difficult for me to choose all by myself. I managed I can say, and this summer the garden looked good, but I didn't enjoyed it as much as I used to do. 
The plan was to do the garden in the Autumn holiday, but I didn't do it.
Leaves fell down. Autumn started..the garden became messy..
And so did the pots in the window. I have neglected them totally, so no dahlia bulbs the coming spring...

But I told myself last week that I had to do the garden this weekend. The weather will turn colder the coming weeks, so no excuse anymore. 
There is work to be done Young Man...

I took my wellies...
Brought out the usual tools..

Took a deep breath..and off I went..
I cleared out everything first...soil appeared after taking away all the leaves..

I pruned the little plum tree..

Planted Bram's red tulip bulbs round the trunk of that tree.."Strong Love" is their name..
And while doing this Bram appeared in my mind. At those moments I miss him so much. No more talking about the garden. No more connection. I feel so sad at those moments. Sad and lost in sadness.
Since a few weeks I cry each day. Not huge amounts of tears. But I feel that I realize that he will never ever come back. Ofcourse I know that with my mind....but the feeling of loss can be so overwhelming at those moments. But this feeling goes by..and I continue with whatever I am doing.

So it was back to my garden..after the coffee break and a cry..

I had to cover the Gunnera with straw and plastic to save him from the winterfrost. Bram had bought that plant because he loved it to have a big item in the garden. Not very practical, because it needs a lot of water, while the garden is in the south direction, so very sunny. Usually it was me who splashed buckets of water on it each day durung a hot summer. But the result was a plant with Huge leaves and a joy to watch.

I did cut of a piece off today (sorry Bram), and wrapped it up as a round parcel.
In spring the leaves will have so much power that sometimes the stones are pushed away.

I planted a lot of bulbs. "Red Magic" tulips, daffodils and Hyacinths, which I bought at a garden center close to the graveyard some weeks ago. When I bought them I could hear that the young man came from the region where Bram was born. So I asked him where he came from. His answer was first..close to Den Helder..his second answer was..Breezand.
Breezand, the village Bram was born. The area full of tulip fields in which his whole family had been worked. Peeling bulbs, cutting off the flowers. Bram didn't like that place very much. The distance between the very rich bulb farmers and the poor workers.
At the end of the talk it turned out that the young man was living in the same street where Bram was born. 

We also have a "devils walking stick tree" in the garden. The birds love the little black berries, so I decided to prune the tree at the beginning of Spring. Bram got this tree as a gift for his birthday from dear friends Anja & Paul in October 1992, just after  started living in this house. So it is 21 years now.

I try to cover the back wall of the house with a Tuscan Jasmine I planted last year.
This year all goes well. It doesn't grow fast, but looks healthy

The back wall is partly from Medieval times, and is now partly covered with foliage from a climber which stands in my neighbours garden.. The leaves are getting yellow now and have started falling down.. 
My neighbor on the other side is growing a grape tree and we both hope that a part of the wall will be covered the coming years.

And at the wooden fence between the 2 terraces is a Hedera growing. They grow so fast, so heavy cutting was really necessary.

I ended up with a big pile of leaves and branches..

There are the last colored leaves at the vine on the wall of the shed, where I put my bicycle...

The outcome of a day's work in the garden are a few big bags full of garden waste

On Wednesday I hope to finish everything and the waiting for Spring can begin.

It is strange. I have always loved Autumn and Winter, but now I don't like it that the days are getting shorter and the nights longer. Going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark. I can't wait for the days when the light comes back and when the tulips will blossom on his grave and in my garden.

Coming home in an empty house is every day a strange moment. No one to share, no one to talk to, and now one to laugh with. I am not a person for living my life alone.
When I met Bram my loneliness disappeared. Now the loneliness is back, but in a different way. I have grown older and had life experience sofar at my age of 55. But it is still difficult to cope with. 
In my youth I was a lonely boy, and sometimes this lonely boy knocks again at my door. When I open the door, the only thing I can do is cry. He is part of me too, and I know him well.

Last Friday I went to a little concert in a local bookstore.
Johanneke ter Stege sang a beautiful song: Before you go to sleep, and I had to think of Bram before he went to sleep..