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.
On my desk: Hannah Green’s notebook that I use for Sashiko notes, my booklet ‘Birds, Butterflies, Fish & Botany’, my Sashiko cloth with autumn colours, and its beautiful hand dyed, multi coloured yarn, as well as my Ex Libris.
There are so many projects to work on; one life isn’t enough! Apart from that, I wish to live multiple creative lives in different times; like that of a Celtic blacksmith in the late Iron Age or of a prehistoric stone cutter. Or that of a Medieval weaver. But, who knows… I might have live these lives already. Which creative life does appeal to you, apart from your current one?
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.
Sashiko is a form of decorative reinforcement stitching from Japan that started out of practical need during the Edo era. Sashiko works with modern and traditional patterns. ‘Wind Blown Grass Motif, or Nowaki’, is one of my favourite patterns. Nowaki stands for a late autumn (fall) wind-storm in the countryside, or a typhoon, especially one that blows from the 210th to the 220th day of the year. Sashiko’s Wind in Grass is a static and repetitive pattern, yet it charms.
The last time that I enjoyed looking at the wind playing with grass was during my summer holiday. I was standing in front of a window of a holiday cottage and noticed how the wind was playing with an ochre coloured field. The light was so special because it cause waves of wind to colour the cereal field deep ochre with silvery patches. Swirling patterns kept me wondering whether the wind was sending me a message, an unidentified written message in the most elegant but quicksilver characters that were erased as soon as they were written in the tall grasses.
I liked making a ‘Wind Playing with Grass’ display that is closer to my experience in which the wind was writing a message, playing with the grass. I remembered that I tried to ‘get’ the message that the wind was writing in the grass, but of course I couldn’t. Or maybe I could. I concluded that the wind wrote, with in silvery waves, ‘Happiness’ in all possible languages in that mesmerizing field of cereals.