My Celtic inspired Illusion-Fusion ‘Horses, Hares & Swans’ art card is now available at Etsy. I am still in such admiration for Iron Age Celtic artwork. It combines shape-shifting illusions with geometrical and decorative designs in a way that dazzles me. You see circles and rotating designs in which faces appear and disappear; in which animal forms materialize and disappear again. As if the viewer goes through a shamanistic consciousness changing experience. The questions and challenges surrounding Celtic art and the fun of experimenting with blending animals, shapes, and forms keeps me busy.
Talking animals. I like to show you a huge insect hotel that my family came across during one of our walks. In fact, it is so well designed, small mammals, birds, and reptiles might seek refuse in it before winter comes or before a passing storm. Being impressed by this hotel, I feel obliged to write a recommendation for my animal friends.
Set in the Dutch estate of Amelisweerd, a few km outside the Medieval town of Utrecht, this high-end hotel is your top-location where you feel pampered. Come and enjoy culinary delights, relax at whatever suites that fits you, and hibernate till you can overlook Amelisweerd’s lush green meadows again. Occasionally you will meet fellow guests with mammal, bird-like, or reptile appearances; should this lead to you feeling uncomfortable, our front desk personal will relocate you without any extra costs. We offer Royal Suites, Junior Suites, and Double Suites. Hibernating at the Insectum is all about your well-being.
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.
Artist & Author of ‘Birds, Butterflies, Fish & Botany’
(Prices vary like the Dutch weather; at the moment the price at Etsy is the best).