I enjoy photography. Although I dont call myself a photographer, I love to take my camera and go for a walk down the Otaki riverbed, through the nearby bush or even just around the house and garden. There is always something that catches my eyes and sometimes I spend hours to get an image how I like it. I guess it is some form of relaxation.
Over time I have noticed that I am shooting a lot of close ups, so I invested in a macro lens to be able to capture even more details and texture to inspire and inform my art.
This was when I realized that there is a whole new world to discover, well not new but hardly noticed and overlooked before. I was aware that there are lots of lichens growing where I live, able now to get much closer with the lens, revealing lichens beauty.
Lichens close up
These two images showing lichens growing on asphalt and concrete and made me thinking how I could combine textiles and concrete… watch this space!
Using a concrete as a new medium in my arts practice means I have to do some research about techniques and possibilities the new material offers, health and safety issues involved, but also finding inspirations from artists who are already work with concrete. Thanks pinterest & Co. and I found a few artists working with concrete and fibres. Marlies Hoevers is the one whos work has inspired me most; from a creative point of view as well as the visually and aesthetically appearance of her pieces. Interesting also that she identifies herself as a textile artist working with concrete. Here are some examples of her work.
I can wait to get into my studio tomorrow and start exploring.
A couple of month ago I started to experiment with other media within my art. I wanted to bring in another component to my work. My work is usually very soft, tactile, light, fragile and sometimes translucent. I was looking at opposed properties such as hard, solid, heavy and dense. Contextual practise is part of my art studies and the perfect opportunity to experiment, trying out new ways of doing and reflecting on the outcomes.
Here are some first experiments inserting flowers and petals into plaster and beeswax. It is interesting to see the decay and what is remaining of the petals, I especially like the negative space of the plaster, once the petals have been wilted and removed.
I also experimented with cement, making concrete. These samples are fairly rough and I guess not very strong. I inserted all kinds of fabrics, mostly my own left over pieces like felt or silk threads. I like the hard/soft contrast and wonder how the look will change on a bigger scale? These ones are made in ice cube molds.
I just feel most attracted to concrete and it didnt take me long to understand that I have a connection with this hard, urban, strong material . Being raised in the 70s in East Berlin, concrete was part of my every day live. The house I lived in was made out of concrete, so was my school. My playground were building sites in my neighborhood and not to forget, the Berlin Wall always omnipresent.
In the next couple of weeks I will explore more of the material, see where this path is leading to.
About 500 leaves were stitched by members of my community in June and have been represented as an art installation at Mahara Gallery in Waikanae, New Zealand. Topophilia is a collective artwork, which conveys community bonding through creative activity.
One month of stitching leaves within my community was a great experience: people met people, strangers became friends, old taught young, young inspired old, stories were told, serious themes and not so serious themes were discussed, gifts have been exchanged, tears run, some sad ones and some happy ones, and I have learnt, there is so little one can do to bring people a bit closer together in our sometimes cold and busy society. Now, the leaves are sitting and waiting to be installed at Mahara Gallery in Waikanae.
I am inviting everybody to celebrate our creative community to come and see the Leaf Installation TOPOPHILIA at Mahara Gallery in Waikanae!
Wow, what a week.
Three days at Otaki library and Paekakariki library, stitching leaves. Listen to people’s stories, talking, laughing and enjoying company. The library staff was just very supportive and even did stitch some leaves as well. Here some snippets.
Next weeks activities will be in the Waikanae library:
Tuesday, 21/6 10am – 2pm
Wednesday, 22/6 1pm – 4pm
Thursday, 23/6 9am – 12noon
See you there!
Today is the official start of Matariki, the leaf stitch activities have kicked off yesterday with a visit at the local market at the Te Horo Hall. Beautiful weather, no wind, so we could do the stitching outside!
From today on I will also post a stitched leaf from a participant each day, till the opening of the exhibition next month.
Leaf of the day 1 (Pohutukawa)
I would like to introduce the Leaf Stitch Project today. The project is part of this years Matariki celebration on the Kāpiti coast.
Matariki is the Māori name for a cluster of stars, also known as the Pleiades, arising on the southern hemisphere horizon every year. In Māori culture it indicates the beginning of the New Year, a time for people to come together, to remember the past, to reflect and to make plans for the future year to come.
Reflecting and discussions around environmental issues are an important part of the celebration of Matariki. It includes giving thanks to the land and remembering to respect and protect nature.
I am providing a space for people in the wider community to come together, connect and share time and give them the opportunity getting engaged in The Leaf Stitch Project by creating a piece of art by stitching onto a dried leaf.
The activities will be held in the four Kāpiti libraries: Ōtaki, Waikanae, Paraparaumu and Paekakariki in during the month of June. Dates and times of these stitch activities see here.
The stitched leaves will be set up in an art installation at Mahara Gallery in Waikanae in July. I will post more information closer to the date of the exhibition opening.
I am looking forward to meet you there!
I just came back from 5 day felting workshop in Wanganui, organized by Fibre Arts New Zealand. The incredibly talented Pam de Groot thought us to create thee dimensional felt objects with a range of different techniques. It was an awesome week of learning sharing and exchanging ideas with other participants.
and when I came home I just could not stop and felted a boat shaped vessel…