Man of Mander

To reconnect with nature and with the past, we recently visited a few burial mounts near Ootmarsum in Twente (NL). This is a protected archaeological site and visiting this sleepy site feels as if one enters a thin place.

Here was found the ‘Man of Mander’, a shadow figure in stone (body imprint in stone) of a person almost of 2 metres tall and having no feet. He has probably been a Stone Age hunter or farmer. As a burial gift, for the Afterlife, he carried a stone arrow head. Why his feet are missing asks for careful analysing. One explanation could be that he was encouraged by his tribal members not to dwell on Earth as a spirit, instead to journey to the After Life.

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‘Man of Mander’, a shadow in stone of a decomposed body. The Man of Mander lies as a foetus on his side; feet are missing.

This area has had its burial chambers too, or ‘hunnebedden’ in Dutch, but they have long gone. Farmers and builders were, like us, eager to re-use large stones for building a nearby church and a pigsty. This sounds grinch-worthy and it surely is, but stones have a habit of looking perfect for re-using.

Standing there, in the cold, enchanted by the place, I read a poem about the burial mounts written by Mr. B.W.A.E baron Sloet tot Olthuys (1807-1884). The poem describes how the poet stands, like we did, near the burial mounts and muses about who lies there ‘sleeping for centuries’. All the sudden the poet becomes aware of a man. The man starts asking him questions. How is to believe in one god instead of many; how it is to work for another instead as for oneself? Is the poet as free and as in harmony has he, the Stone Age hunter, feels? I loved reading this poem because of the importance of empathy and asking questions (Cognitive Archaeology). Studying the unwritten past is like looking into a mirror and seeing our modern life and conditioning reflected. Asking questions to those living in the past is making an effort to step outside oneself, which is a very difficult yet wise thing to do from time to time. 

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Artist & Author of ‘Birds, Butterflies, Fish & Botany

at @mindfuldrawing on Instagram

Portfolio at Etsy.

Ducks Embroidery Pattern Instant Download at my Etsy

I have uploaded in my Etsy shop a 15 pages embroidery pattern instant download with full-colour illustrations. This PDF, that comes with 3 different traceable pattern-drawings, offers the textile crafter inspiration and freedom to play with favourite stitches within the boundaries of the pattern.

Unless you need a stitch-by-stitch a cross-stitch pattern, this isn’t for you. This PDF offers you a possibility to select your favourite colours and experiment with new stitches. I drew this duck pattern and used it 6 times, and I highly recommend buying a stitching bible or a stitching guide to experiment with new stitches and to embellish the ducks with luxurious patterns.

This is a great pattern for freedom loving beginners who like to fill up the ducks with Running stitches or advances embroiderers who dare to use more complicated stitches. Your pattern will be available as an instant download as soon as your order is complete.

 

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This hoop project  demands a 22cm or 8 inches hoop; a light box (or a sunlit window functioning like a light box) or traceable fabric, a fabric pencil, and threads with dazzling colours for making your own Dazzling Ducks.You will receive 1 file of 15 pages with:

. The story behind this pattern;
. Main instructions, although the word inspiration covers the PdF download better;
– Three patterns in black and white  – for tracing;
– Advice about the transferring method and hoop size.

 

After having used the Duck Patterns, please, hand them over to your (grand)children as a colour page. You might get inspired by their use of wild colours all over again!
For PERSONAL use only.
Copyright remains with the designer Paula Kuitenbrouwer.
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While I am working on too many projects, our piggies are enjoying their daily catnaps in their cosy cottages. I love the human life……but I wish that I could nap so easily as they do.
Kindest greetings,
Paula

Crane Birds Work in Progress

Carefully cutting away the transfer fabric which held the original drawing of the crane birds. Next, I will be working on the Dutch landscape, which will have a low horizon. This will be a gift for my bird loving father, who had the luck of seeing a large group of crane birds flying over. An increasing number of crane birds are nesting in the Netherlands, which is great.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Artist & Author

@mindfuldrawing at Instagram

 

Mandarin & Wood Ducks Cards

 

Mandarin and Wood ducks nest in tree cavities. The female doesn’t feed her ducklings because that is too much work compared to having a nest on water level between reeds. There is another bird that doesn’t feed its young. Lapwings don’t feed their chicks but for other reasons. Lapwing chicks are born on a field that lies fallow, which means they are very vulnerable to predators. Parent lapwings use all their energy to guide and defend their chicks. Feeding would lead predators directly to the cute fluff balls.
There is another difference between lapwings and mandarin and wood ducks, apart from lapwings being meadow birds and the other two are waterfowl. Lapwings both take care for raising their young in a coordinated manner. When danger is detected one of the parents will call out orders (mainly ‘For the love of life, freeze and remain still!’) while the other parent will cleverly distract or lead the predator away from the chicks.
The male mandarin and wood duck, both being such handsome drakes, can’t do that, they wisely stay away from the mums and their ducklings. Should the extraordinary colourful daddy of the family take part in feeding the ducklings, he would draw too much attention to his reproduced and fluffy DNA. For a female mandarin duck to be married (yes, for life) to such handsome fellow comes with a price.
Paula Kuitenbrouwer
Artist & Author

instagram_PNG13.png @ mindfuldrawing

img_4951I have made a few Mandarin and Wood Duck cards, with a full colour inlay. They come in protective cellophane and a seal sticker. There are at my Etsy, but you can contact me too via the contact form. (scroll down).

 

Mandarin Duck Cards & Studio Candy

img_4848I lived some months near a duck pond in Ireland and that increased my appreciation for these capable birds. Yes, capable. We tend to think ducks are hilarious and silly, like geese, but ducks are threefold capable; they can fly long distances, dive deep, and can spend days on water. Mandarin ducks are perhaps the most loved ducks because they symbolize friendship, loyalty, and love. You send a Mandarin Duck card to somebody to invite or celebrate a long-lasting friendship, loyalty or love. Mandarin duck drawings and prints are my best selling items of my Etsy shop. It is a nice to make art that celebrates love and friendship.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Artist, Author & Expat

‘Birds, Butterflies, Fish & Botany’

P.S. The cards come with a full coloured inlay, a seal sticker, and on its backside a decent sticker that says my name and website.

P.S. I promised eye-candy? Here is a corner of my studio. It was easy to set up. Not so easy is setting up a studio exhibition of my drawings as there are too many and I prefer to keep them safely stored in my portfolio case. So, if you like to see my work, pop over to my Etsy shop or browse through my website. I remember deleting a fast amount of my work after discovering copies on other sites, still this website shows that I love to capture Nature’s beauty, mainly birds, butterflies, koi fish & botany.

 

Shapeshifting

I followed a history course on the Celts and enjoyed learning more about Celtic Art. What I highly appreciated about Celtic art is that one can find different themes in one display of art. Hidden faces, different animals, or stylized motifs, all are woven together in a complex piece of art.

For Christmas, Yule or Midwinter, I drew a stag and used his curvy antlers to add birds to the scene. Hopefully you will be able to count 34 of them.

There is nothing intrinsic Celtic about this drawing, except the idea of having animals as a theme, fusing  them, and thus showing a process of shape-shifting. Or perhaps alluding to perceiving more than one perspective?

What do you see? Antlers or birds? Are the eyes and ears of the stag eyes and ears or birds? Or both? If so, what does that tell us about our perception?

My art card comes as a printed photo on a recycle paper, with a matching envelope. Its inlay is a full colour print on creamy white. A sticker with my name and website decorates the back. The card comes with a sticker seal and a vintage post stamp, Christian, Pagan or Fine Classical Arts themed. In one of the photos you see a  lovely Glastonbury Thorn vintage post stamp.

For more go to my Etsy.

I have added 4 of these cards to my shop. They come in protective cellophane and make lovely gifts.

 

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

@ mindfuldrawing on Instagram

For the sole purpose to inspire you…

For the sole purpose of inspiring you, I like to show you what dropped in my mail box from Japan; two lovely packages with beautiful Sashiko threads. I chose these colours for representing Earth and Ocean. The earth being dressed up in autumn colours and the ocean with different hues of blue and green.

You can travel the world by car or plane but you can also travel through the world of crafts. I wrote in a former blogpost that I can’t exactly remember how I ventured into the world of Sashiko. But by dwelling in the world of Sashiko, I noticed how beautiful some Japanese hand-dyed threads are. I come across a lot of thread that I can’t order because I can’t read Japanese. However, these threads I found at the Japanese Amazon and they will soon assist me in creating a Sashiko display that is both experimental and (hopefully) decorative. Before you think, ‘Paula has traded her pen and pencils for needles’. No. Certainly not. Please, return soon for more creative updates and inspiration.

Love from Paula

P.S. Being back in the Netherlands, I designed a new, bilingual name card. I also re-activated my Etsy shop. It needs some tweaks but it shows that I am back again after a long Irish sabbatical. Visitekaartjes.jpg

 

 

Sashiko, a Creative World

What have I learned so far about Sashiko? A lot! I should preform 10x better by stepping up in neatness, using better colours, and that the backside of the fabric shouldn’t look like a migraine. I can also speed up by using a longer needle. I wish that I could buy Kazu thread but I can’t read Japanese, so I can only buy Sashiko yarn via the English version of Amazon.co.jp. Last, by posting about Sashiko, I gained some very inspiring contacts, like Watts Sashiko who has ventured into the world of Sashiko much deeper. My artist friend Sybille Tezzele Kramer spontaneously invented Sashiko. You should see her process. And Megan Williams, who makes Sashiko a creative meditation in which she remembers her beloved father. Sashiko is a world that bubbles with creativity.

Sashiko (刺し子, literally “little stabs” or “little pierce”) is a form of decorative reinforcement stitching (or functional embroidery) from Japan that started out of practical need during the Edo era (1615-1868). Traditionally used to reinforce points of wear or to repair worn places or tears with patches, making the darned piece ultimately stronger and warmer,this running stitch technique is often used for purely decorative purposes in quilting and embroidery. The white cotton thread on the traditional indigo blue cloth (said to recall snow falling around old farmhouses) gives sashiko its distinctive appearance, though decorative items sometimes use red thread.

The indigo blue fabric, beautiful pastel coloured thread, and traditional Japanese patterns captivate me. I can’t help but finding Sashiko irresistible.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Artist, Author & Expat

‘Birds, Butterflies, Fish & Botany’

Bitten by the Sashiko Bug

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Confession, followed by Action

CONFESSION

I can’t remember how it all started, but some time ago I got bitten by the Sashiko bug.

Sashiko (刺し子, literally “little stabs” or “little pierce”) is a form of decorative reinforcement stitching or functional embroidery from Japan that started out of practical need during the Edo era (1615-1868). Traditionally used to reinforce points of wear or to repair worn places or tears with patches, making the darned piece ultimately stronger and warmer, this running stitch technique is often used for purely decorative purposes in quilting and embroidery. The white cotton thread on the traditional indigo blue cloth its distinctive appearance.

Perhaps it was the traditional indigo blue fabric that caught my eye or the traditional Japanese patterns that I already loved. To cut a long story short, I ordered some Sashiko challenges and books on Amazon.co.jp and set out to discover what Sashiko was all about.

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Well, Sashiko is a long story and a world of possibilities which I eagerly liked to explore. Especially during our move from Ireland to the Netherlands, I needed a creative challenge that I could store in my backpack and pick up during moments of (relative) rest. In that aspect, Sashiko worked like a meditation for me. I started with  simple pre-printed fabrics but hadn’t Sashiko worked like a calming meditation, I would have been disappointed. To follow pre-printed patterns was too easy for me, I thought. But, be aware, Japanese crafts aren’t easy. As soon had I finished a few coasters, I noticed a mistake! Bang.. I just received a blow with the Zen stick, on my non-geometrical ego. But surely I am forgiven as I am following visual instructions with Japanese texts and I can’t read Japanese!

Sashiko with Tokyo Bowl and Sea-glass
Sashiko with Tokyo Bowl and Sea-glass

ACTION

I am stepping up my Sashiko creativity now. Next to working on a few more creative projects, I am now designing my own Sashiko composition using traditional Japanese patterns. (I will keep you posted on this). My goal is learning a lot in a short time span and then organising a Sashiko workshop. My other goal is, having lovely Sashiko table cloths that match with my indigo blue Tokyo tableware. Being Dutch, I love blue ceramics. And I can’t help but smile at the cleverness of Sashiko’s geometrical designs. Just when you think Sashiko is a no-brainer, you discover you can improve your efficiency and creativity. As I wrote, Sashiko is a world of possibilities.

I am planning to give a Sashiko workshop in January 2019. Fill in the form should you feel interested in signing up. You will receive information on my Sashiko workshop.

Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Author, Artist & Expat

‘Birds, Butterflies, Fish & Botany’

At mindfuldrawing at Instagram