zondag 30 mei 2010

Red Thread....Ovan and...Health...and...Me

Red Thread 1,5 week ago colleagues and students from Glasgow and Puchov came to our school to work on the International Textile project: Red Thread. Since many years I am coordinating those projects for our department and it is one part of my work I really enjoy. It has given me a lot over the years Meeting up with colleagues and students from various countries adds something special to my work. And after all: Fashion is and International subject so in my opinion a Fashion department can't work with out it.
After doing Fashion projects over the last years this project focusses more on Textiles.The fabric itself and how to make a good textile project. The main aim is to set up an International Textile Brand witch sells good products designed and made by students. The 3 schools involved have all 3 their own strong points and we use each-other strength.
I have know he colleagues from the 2 other schools already for many years and over the years we all have become friends with each other. So meeting up is always a joy and next to the hard work we have lots to talk about and have loads of fun.
This meeting was about the production of cushion covers. Designs for the prints on the cushion covers were made by students from the 3 countries and than send to Glasgow. Judging there was done by a group of teachers and the designer from Timorous Beasties: Alistair McAuley. After that the designs were printed by students in Glasgow on fabric for cushion covers and tea towels.
When they were shown we all got very exited..and they all looked great!! Next to the production of the covers a logo needed to be made to sew on the cushions. With hard work we managed to finish in time and the result looks great. From everything made photos were taken at the Photo Studio in our school and soon the web site will be on air..The coming year we will work on Marketing and on developing from more products. At the final meeting we hope to open a Guerilla Store in Glasgow which really will be exiting.
Ovan.... In-between the hectic of those days I also had to go to the meeting were the winner of the Most Excellent Medium level Student in our school was presented. I did put one student Ovan Abdullah forward and to my and his surprise he was the winner!!!! and now he will go to the National Competition in September..I am very pleased for him because he really deserves it. He is born in Irak and came with his family to the Netherlands. He has become a real Dutchman but never forgets the country he came form and still has a good connection with it. For me he is an example of how to integrate without loosing your cultural background. After his training last year in Copenhagen he really progressed in his work.. So.. let's cross our fingers!!!
On Friday we visited with the Textiel Museum in Tilburg with the International Group. It is one of my favourite museums because next to Tradition it show High-Tech possibilities and in the Textile Lab artists students from all education types can work and experiment. From Marc Mulders ,a famous Dutch painter a wall tapestry is in working progress.I love his work but unfortunatley I can't afford it at the moment. I would love to go there myself to work and experiment for days.. Who knows...The textile museum offers many wonderful things from tradition as these colour full blankets from the sadly lost firm Mommers till the beautiful chairs in the restaurant from Konstatin Gricic During that visit I again discovered that my real passion lies within Textiles and not so in Fashion. From a young age Textile was the one thing I loved. My mother was really good in sewing and knitting and I guess she passed that in a way over to me.
On and On it was a really good meeting and am already looking forward to the next meting in Puchov.
Health... Over the past months Bram and me did search for a solution for his health problems and also over the past months I had to come to terms with it. Well... we got the results from the blood tests from out Ortho- Molecular Doctor and out came that there is a big lack in various Vitamins and Minerals which link to his problems.F.E. Vitamine D he really lacks. This weekend an article in the papers also showed that that is a very important vitamine. He now has to take those V & M's in a big quantity and hopefully that will work out positive for him. In about 2 weeks we have to go back and see if there are changes. Changes will go very slow we know but we hope for the best.It was really a big relief to see that something is really wrong and before we went we both had this idea what to do if nothing was found and what to do next than.
And Me: I have the feeling that the big mourning is over and feel much better than months before. Of course it is not always easy to live with someone who is always tired but : it is the way it is and I can't change that. Acceptance have come in to my mind and I keep focussing on the things we can do instead of the things we can't do any more. Small things have a huge impact on me at the moment. This Spring feels so powerful to me and last weekend I planted some herbs, flowers, tomatoes and ruccola and it felt so nice to do those little things which made me really happy. So soon I hope to harvest some salat-leaves and I am sure they will taste heavenly.I also did start a photoproject on Facebook (yes: I am sort of addicted to FB0 with the photo album "The Colour of the Day"in which I put photos from a subject I did see that day in one specific colour and here are some examples. I enjoy doing it and it keeps me focused on a thing. Love it till now..
Next to that I had a really interesting meeting last week with a friend and he came to me with a question he needed help for and he helped me to search also for answers on a question about work and my work as Artist Coach I really enjoy at the moment and with that feeling I want to do more in the future. It is not really clear at the moment but he will help me the coming months to make things more clear. This sounds not very clear while writing it down but words that came up are: Life Stories, Originality, Deconstruction,Enchantment, Visions, Authenticity and some more. I am already thinking about it but one thing already has come out of it: I am not going to study to become a Coach.. guess that competence is already available within myself.
P.s. After I did write my previous mail in which I write about the Wandsworth quilt made by prisoners I did wrote an e-mail to Fine Cell Works telling them how much I liked the quilt and the big impact it had on me. I got a very nice reply back in which was written that: "My director has seen your email, and now hopes that the men involved with making the quilt will be able to read your comments (and the comments of other people). We will of course not include your email address or surname for security reasons, but we know how much it will mean to them to know that the public seeing the exhibition are so moved by the quilt they made"

zondag 16 mei 2010

London.. Day 3 was rather special...

My last day in London started of with packing my bag (and leaving it in the hotel) and going by tube to Knightbridge. I went early (round 8.30) and discovered that it was slightly calmer than when you go round 9. Breakfast (a real good Café-latte with a freshly baked almond croissant) was taken on a terrace looking out on Harrods. I am not a real big fan of Harrods al-tough I must admit that the Food department in the basement is amazing. The plan was to visit the Quilts 1700-2010 exhibition in the V&A which is one of my favourite museums in London. I have been there many times and usually when I am in London I just go in, no matter what exhibitions there are. It is such a wonderful building with amazing collections. They have a beautiful Fashion collection really worth a visit. But I was off to see the big Quilt exhibition.
The museum opens at 10 and I was one of the first to enter and my first look -as always- was on the beautiful glass ornament made by Dale Chiully hanging in the Hall when you enter the building. After buying my ticket I immediately went to the Quilt exhibition where it was very quiet at that moment of the day. It tells the story of Quilts made round 1700 till now. It is a beautiful collection of quilts and each one tells a story. I have made 1 quilt a few years ago and Evelien and myself have Japanese fabric cut in small squares in our studio waiting to be sewn together for years. Quilts nowadays can give the feeling that is it just something you do in your free-time and is a hobby from sometimes elderly women who display them a quilt- exhibitions once a year in a church in the place they live. But that might be a prejudice of me...
But this really was different. Entering the exhibition you stepped back in time and in my imagination I could see all those Men (yes, men were doing it in the past) cutting out the fabric and sewing it by hand together to something stunningly beautiful which was kept in their families for ages. This is a Cot Cover dating round 1690-1720 and made in silk. But Quilts were not only made from exquisite fabrics as could be seen at this striped one made from leftovers from a pyjama factory in Strabane (Northern Ireland) round 1940. Even with this simple fabric I am sure the maker of it must have liked it when it was put on the bed for the first time. Perhaps a matching pyjama was worn with it.... Next to the old and antique ones there were also Quilts in our time. Tracey Emin showed her "To Meet My Past... but One Quilt for me really stood out.
Imagine: I entered a small room and a video was showed from prisoners from Wandsworth Prison who were making a Quilt together. The were telling what it meant to them. No faces were shown but hands sewing and the space they live in.Hexagons were everywhere in the prison so that was the starting-point for them. One man told that he had just heard that his son was death and that sewing this quilt gave him comfort to deal with it. It was such a moving and strong video that even writing about it now I feel tears coming up. I had to cry while watching it and it took a long while before it stopped. It is just the power of the "softness of fabric" which can heal a soul which touched me deeply. It suddenly appeared to me that I had more with fabrics all my life than with Fashion. Textiles always have helped me through difficult periods in my life. I knitted a scarf for Bram when he had his operation 2 years ago and it kept me strong. Maybe this insight might give a change and it appeared to me that the world of Fashion is nothing for me and that must be the reason why I never went in really. I always step aside from (keep on the side of it) it and getting older gives me more and more that feeling. My interest lies in the story and crafts of fabrics rather than in what is made of it. After coming out of the exhibition I bought (of-course) the catalogue and the young woman at the counter told me that lots of people where talking about this quilt and were moved by it. This quilt for me was the highlight of the exhibition because it was so much more than a nice and beautiful image. It touched my heart and I am grateful for those men who gave me this feeling and for the volunteers from Fine Cell Work who worked with them to teach them how to make this quilt.
I than really needed a coffee to calm down but strangely enough I suddenly saw Hexagon shaped tiles in the restaurant..
Because this exhibition made such a big impression on my I decided to go back to my hotel to fetch my stuff and go by train to my Knitting Friend Jon from Easyknits. While walking my way to the tube this text turned up...and it will be my Mantra for the coming months.
While sitting in the tube a rather posh woman was reading a novel from Colm Tóibín named: Brooklyn. Since I read a few novels from him which I really liked at Paddington Station I bought this novel at WH Smith. I did start reading it in the plane back home and finished it the next day. Couldn't stop reading...which is always a good sign to me. Situated in the 1950's this beautiful novel tells the story about a young Irish woman who goes to the USA due to the fact that there was no work for her to find and the States had more to offer. Moving, and the way he tells about her feelings is extraordinary. I also bought "One Day" by David Nicholls. My Scottish colleague Jax was reading it when we were in Slovakia and I have just started it but it is very funny and rather recognizable for me.
Because Bram (and me too)really likes everything from England and Scotland I promised him to take some magazines with me. He is the kind of of person who reads the articles next to the map and usually when we are driving in the UK he than suddenly tells me that the Castle on the left is from this and that family and that the garden is famous for roses etc....He is my private Touring Guide in a way.. So packed with magazines I made my way to the tube...
Jon waited for me at the railway-station and he took me to Greenwich park. It was great being out of the city and walk down the park to the river Thames. We had something to drink in the Stunning Place he will get married with Roy in November (and I am invited too) and later tea and cake in the tea-house in the park. Jon is special to me because he dyed yarn especially for me for my in September to be released sock-pattern. A few years ago I had bought some yarn form him which knitting-friends Carla and Hilly took with them for me when they visited the first I Knit Day in London. Ever since that moment I loved his yarn and 1,5 year ago we met at the I Knit Day. Ever since than we chat by computer and text regularly. So over those years we became friends not seeing each other. We had plenty to talk about - time really went fast- and later Jon took me to his home and I got a copy of the latest:The Knitter (Jon is featured in it) and a beautiful skein: "Squashed Frog". It will be kind of Funky gloves I guess for coming winter so plenty of time to knit those. On Ravelry we did start a thread: "1001 things to do with a Squashed Frog". Jon took me to the airport and we said goodbye with a BIG REAL HUG.
When I came home I had the feeling that I had been away for a week which usually is the feeling when you have spend only a few days away. Of-course I missed Bram in a way, since we have been in London twice together. But I guess the "Heavy Mourning" about the situation he and me are in is sort of over, and I have more or less come in terms with it. Speaking about Bram's health: we got the results of the tests from our new doctor. It is said that he has a lack in certain specific Vitamins and Minerals which link to his condition. He than has to take those for a month and hopefully we will see a result. We keep optimistic about it and we were glad that something was found.
The coming week will be busy with colleagues and students from Glasgow and Púchov coming to our school, but I am really looking forward to it..
P.S. One of the things I took photos of are the fabrics used on the benches in the tubes. On Facebook I have an album for it and in when I will be in Glasgow again I will do the same.. But here is one...

zaterdag 15 mei 2010

London is the place for me....Day 1 and 2..

Last week I had to go to London for 3 days. The reason I had to go was that I had to visit a 2nd year student who was doing a 20 weeks training at a bespoke tailoring firm named Antonia Pugh- Thomas So I went by plane last Tuesday and returned on Thursday. Very comfortable from Schiphol to City Airport in London. 3 Days only which sound short but when I came home I had the feeling that I had been away for a week. Schiphol for me is still a kind of magical place to go. Buying a single train ticket to the airport always means that I am not going back the same day and that I have a trip ahead. One of the things I like about Schiphol is all the Art you can see. There is even a small Rijksmuseum department over there and I always go and have a look at that small exhibition. My favourite statue is the "Two incredible sitting black Snowmen"by Tom Claassen. The look like soft toys but are made of bronze but still very tactile.
After arriving I first went by tube to the Hotel in Paddington. Not very smart, but pretty simple and basic but what can you expect for 2 nights for only 90 Pounds? I had booked a single room but opening the door I found 3 beds inside. The breakfast was horrible with buns who almost were not baked. So, no breakfast there for me but round the corner was plenty of choice for a nice coffee with a freshly baked croissant. But I don't mind as long as I have a clean bed - I even had a double bed- and a shower I am more than happy. A Paddington station I took this picture which was a nice start for yarn -hunting. I would meet my student for dinner in the evening so took the tube to Islington to go and have a look at the yarnstore Loop. Islington is a really pretty part of London with nice shops and tearooms. And so was Loop: nice and pretty and with the yarn I need for a test-knit for Stephen West. I bought some beautiful coloured Berocco yarn in a mixture from Alpaca and Wool and will cast on the scarf hopefully this weekend.
I than took the bus to Archway to visit the Selvedge store. The drive went through beautiful parts of London, some rich some looking not so rich.I passed stunning houses with green gardens while young boys and girls coming from school (and wearing their school-uniform) went on and off. I find it always nice to go top parts I do not know and to take a bus brings me a lot of pleasure.
I thought the shop was separate from the office but it was not. There were very nice women working and after I introduced myself I got the latest issue for free. I couldn't resist to buy this tape measure from East of India. I like their quotes very much which they put on their articles.
Before meeting up with my student for dinner I went for a quick visit to Covent Garden. Bought some little things at Muji(such a great articles and why isn't there a Muji in Holland??)before going in the shop from Paul Smith in Floral street where in the past I have bought some things but can't afford it any more. The staff there is really nice and the girl talking to me (after she asked me where I had bought that beautiful scarf? Knitted it myself was my answer..) told me that she was not allowed to tell me actually but... there is a Paul Smith sample sale starting tomorrow and it is all very, very cheap....so more about that later...
I had a really nice dinner with my student Eline in a pub near Kings Cross. She is living for 20 weeks in a hostel in a room with 8 people and she is having a great time and doesn't want to come back. I am really proud of her!!!!
The next morning (after founding that breakfast had to be taken out of the hotel) I went by tube to Holborn station. I was in the tube round 9 and it was horrendous. So many people waiting for the tube, so many people running for the tube and so many people in the tube. Not sure if I could handle that every day but I guess you get used to it..and I will never ever complain any more for the space I have in the train every morning.. I was a bit late for the sale so I had to wait in line for almost 45 minutes. Everybody waiting there was relaxed and friendly. The sun was shining so no problem at all.. While waiting I saw a shirt hanging with a print of roses which I saw the last time when I was in London at the Paul Smith Shop. Far too expensive but now all shirts were 25 Pounds (yes, really, no joking!!)But when I entered it was gone and I saw a young woman holding it in her hand (no problem because it was a Medium size I found out later) The atmosphere was great and every one was trying things on: pants were dropped and shirts were taken off due to no changing rooms and no mirrors at all. I found 3 shirts and a jacket and was waiting in the line to pay them when I saw that a box full of Large- shirts was opened and on top was the Rose- print shirt. Immediately I went out of the row.. and got it!!! Coming out with 4 shirts and a jacket for almost nothing made me smile almost all day.
Than, after coffee a strange thing happened.I went inside Liberty: one of my all time favourite shops and I love the original Liberty patterns so much. I took this picture which suddenly appeared on the floor in the stairway going down. But... coming out of this world of luxury and extremely priced items, it became too much for me. All those big shops, all those running people, all those greedy people wanting more and more luxury... (yes I know I also bought 4 shirts and a coat.. but I am not that big spender on clothes and luxury at all) I went away for a coffee and a sandwich in a quiet place to calm down.
In the afternoon I had an appointment at Antonia Pugh- Thomas. A nice and pretty shop with a workplace behind. It is all very luxury with very high prices and it is at the top end of bespoke tailoring. Antonia did start the stop with 200 pounds after worked for a long time at Catherine Walker who is famous for her wedding dresses. The trainee-ship is going Very Well (Antonia is very pleased with her!!) and there is even names a dress after Eline. She has learned a lot and can handle the situations very well she comes in. After saying goodbye to Antonia and Eline I went back to my hotel.
In the evening I went to the knit night at I Knit London were I met up with Tad and Emily and we had a great time. There was lots of knitting, lots of talking about politics, beautiful yarn and my "Deventer Koek" went down well. I left at 9.30 and made afterwards a stroll among the Thames before heading back to the Hotel. London by night is always special.... Day 1 and 2 were over and the next post will be about the last and special day....

woensdag 5 mei 2010

My blog is 1 year Old...or 1 year Young..

Just found out that I have my blog now for 1 year. I am not a very regular writer I did find out, but I like to write every now and than when I have a reason to it. Not sure yet what I will write now..... but let's start with something nice and positive. Almost 2 weeks ago on a Friday I mentioned to Bram that I had the idea of going to Amsterdam with him. He hadn't been there for almost 2 years due to his bad walking condition. So we went. I parked the car right in the centre next to a canal and we had a cake together at Pompadour where we used to go in the past when we mostly went to Amsterdam once in a month to look at Art and some shopping. It was a beautiful and sunny Spring day and than Amsterdam is at his most beautiful I think when all the trees are turning green with tiny leaves. It was wonderful to be together in Amsterdam. Of course we only could do a little walk together but it was a great and emotional day for the both of us. Some tears came of course, but only tears from joy this time. The strange thing is that Bram really looks good and healthy but somewhere in his body there is something wrong. The coming Friday we get the results of all blood tests from our Orthomolecular Doctor and I hope there is a result which can be cured.
For the rest I am fine. This week is holiday with things like cleaning up my workroom. It was nice to discover my desk again which was piled with papers so now I am writing this post in a cleaned out room. I am sometimes a little messy person but once in a while I get the spirit to clean out. 3 bag full of papers went out, so it was really necessary to do this. I am that kind of person who brings everything in our house (which is quite small) but doesn't take that much out of the house...And for the rest it is a little about knitting, drinking coffee etcetera.. so calm and easy. Talk about knitting. I have too many Work in Progress now but couldn't resist to cast on a Top Down sweater after I got Barbara Walker book about it. I still had this red tweed yarn in my stash which I have bought in Clifden, Ireland almost 2 years ago. It will be a simple sweater but I probably will knit some words or texts in the cuff on the inside to make it a little different. Funny to start at the top but also quite logical with the increases you have to do. Will take some time before it will be finished but I promise it will be ready before the next winter. The colour of the yarn really looks good on me I think
I got a really nice reply from my old Swiss friend Franzi about whom I wrote in my previous post. So nice to read that we share the same memories. I am really moved by this contact again and in a way it brings so much positive feelings together with it. It is interesting for me to feel that there are lines between people even when you don't have contact for years. When you get in contact again this feeling comes back. It is not with everyone I guess but with her I have this feeling. Hopefully we can meet up in real in the future. Would be nice to talk things over. Next to her story of life she also did send some photos when I was round 16 wearing a gingham shirt. I still remember that shirt and wore it for ages. It feels always sort of strange to me to see myself when I was young. I was so uncertain of myself than and had such a low self esteem at that age. But now looking at it I see a cheerful boy wit a big smile. Strange how you remember yourself from in and outside. The joy of getting older is that you grow over those things and at 51 I feel blessed with my life.
As I wrote before I am into coaching at the moment which I am really enjoying. It feels good to coach a firm after a question. Actually I am thinking about it to do a study next year about it. This Art coach is something different because it has to do with discovering creativity within oneself. Everybody whom I talk about it says to me: yes..I can imagine that is your "cup of tea". So I will search for a study and ask for a teachers scholarship if I am in time for that. The costs of those studies are really high but perhaps I can do it this way. You can ask for such a scholarship only once in your career.
Next week I will go for 3 days to London to visit a student who is doing a training over there for 20 weeks. Haven't been to London for a long time, so I am really looking forward to it. Next to that I have some free time to enjoy the city. Will probably visit the V&A because that is one of my favourite museums in London. I also will go to the knit night at I Knit London. I have never been in that shop (or Yarn Heaven) so I am very looking forward to it and probably can't resist to buy something. I might go broke one day because of this serious Yarn Addiction. Is there already a kind of AA for knitters? Maybe we have to start one: YAA = Yarn Addicted Anonymous or even worse: YAAA= Yarn Addicted Alcohol Anonymous.... And I will meet up with my knitting friend Jon from Easyknits. So looking forward to speak to him!!!! In my next post I definitely will write about my London trip :-)
That's it for now and thank you all reader for the touching comments you wrote the last year.