I’m listening

On a lazy sunday (which seems rare these days) I’ve been painting the walls in the hall. I decided to finish the nearly empty bucket so I wouldn’t be greeted with any more unexpected painting opportunities

So while I was busy I decided to catch up with some of my favourite podcasts. I don’t always have time to listen, but some tasks – like painting the walls, or when I’m knotting or stringing beads – are so inviting to listen to other people tell stories. I kind of miss the days of the radio plays… I remember taping a radio play about Felix Mendelssohn who wrote his first opera as a teenager and my nerdy 14-year old self thought that was so cool…and it prompted me to try some composing as well. I loved discovering composers, artists and other famous dead people and how they were as kids. It was reassuring that they were often just as awkward and weirdly obsessed with music or art or whatever their thing was.

Now I still love to discover how artists live and work or what makes them tick, and if they’re alive and well it’s a big bonus! Hehe. So I listened to The jealous curator, who has a conversation with a different artist each week. I love how relaxed the conversations are although there’s room for the more challenging aspects of creative life (like that pesky inner critic)…but that’s often exactly what appeals to me. The artists are usually new to me, mostly American or Canadian but there are some Belgians on there too (not on podcast though). It’s great to discover new artists!

There are a couple of other blogs that also feature artists: for Dutch speakers there’s the excellent blog of Hilde van Canneyt, Gesprekken met hedendaagse kunstenaars, and I also check Freunde von Freunden. In this international blog a wide range of creative professionals over the world get interviewed and pictures of their home and studio are shown, but I don’t always feel a connection with them. I guess it has to do with the more formal style of the interviews, the focus on success and confidence, and the often incredibly gorgeous interiors. I mean, they are fabulous and to some extent inspiring, but the they don’t always feel lived in.

This was so different in the On your desk photo series on author and artist Terri Windling’s blog, which consisted of just a few personal snapshots of the studio work table or the writing desk of writers and artists who visited her blog, often with glimpses in their book cases or the pinned up inspirations and their feline or canine companions… It felt way more real to me, and intimate. Our (creative) lives aren’t polished, nor should they be…

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thesis assistants
On my desk (or rather next to it), a few months ago:
my thesis assistants Assepoes and Isaura
(and Takkie, my trusty USB dog)

expo: wat weeft in mij

Wat weeft in mij
anonymous Moroccan woven headscarf

Wat weeft in mij
detail of the delicate work of Saskja Snauwaert

Wat weeft in mij
Karen Santen‘s ceramics against a Moroccan carpet

Wat weeft in mij
woven carpet by anonymous Moroccan women

Wat weeft in mij
Tinka Pittoors

Wat weeft in mij
installation; forgot to note this artist’s name

Wat weeft in mij
Wat weeft in mij
Sanne Dewolf & Christine Clinckx
Wat weeft in mij
Tamara van San

Wat weeft in mij
Wat weeft in mij
Enjoyed this wonderful exhibition at the Ververij in Ronse by women artists who weave their life into their artistic medium, whether it was weaving scarves or carpets, lace, ceramics or performance. Each medium has its own expression. The exhibition almost felt like an orchestra, with each piece adding to the sound of the whole. 

glass heroes

A few weeks ago I was in London, visiting the V&A museum. What an inspiration! The contemporary glass section featured many of my glass heroes (mainly heroines actually!) and felt so happy to finally “meet” them…I didn’t make a lot of pictures, but here’s a little glimpse of all the beauty:

lollipop
lollipop“; design by Oiva Toikka & manufactured by Nuutajärvi glassworks

V&A - Schaechter
Birdbath“a panel by Judith Schaechter (detail)

V&A
Colorbox 1-5 by Jun Kaneko

A vessel by Toots Zynsky which I forgot to take a picture of, but here’s a wonderful video of her work process:

V&A
I forgot who made this gorgeous cast glass and can’t find it on the V&A site… but look at the fantastic green hues and matte reflection! It could be a meditation piece…

And there was a Chihuly dangling in the hall…

V&A Chihuly

Not glass, but sheer poetry:

V&A
Lehti, in photo-etched brass by Maria Jauhiainen

I have some more photos at flickr. Sorry for the rather short post, but my college exams are coming up and I feel the heat…so it’s back to the books for me. Wish me luck!

Awesome.

You’re warned: this blog post contains awesomeness. And pictures! 😀

There’s no charge for awesomeness though. :-p

Sorry I’ve been away for a bit! it was just all a bit much, I guess. But not necessarily bad, just much, and I do need my time to recharge…social butterfly that I am!

Talking of which, on my holiday begin September I visited the Buttefly Garden in Knokke for the first time in my life. OMG!!! Why, oh why didn’t I visit it sooner?! It was so much fun! Go visit it, bring your pick nick and camera and let your inner child take over…

And there’s more cuteness to be had: 2 1/2 weeks ago I adopted a very fluffy white cat from this brilliant local cat rescue initiative: www.katzoektthuis.be. They’re a couple of volunteer families spread over the city of Gent, taking care of the stray cats they can catch, or at least feed them. The rescued kitties get a medical check-up and are spayed/neutered before finding their way to a new home.
So I had been surfing the net and searching the soul for months to decide whether I would get Assepoes and Shelley a playmate (you may remember I lost Sushi last year), and then in one moment when I saw Isaura’s picture I was sold…


She’s about 1 1/2 year old, very white, very fluffy and loves soft bouncy balls and commenting on all my moves. And her playfulness has a great influence on Shelley and Assepoes… 😉

And with all the piano moving and reorganizing and rocking chairs in the summer, my living room has finally become something of a room to live in!
It just needed a finishing touch, something that reflected the soul of this little house. A picture! 😀 Vocisconesse’s (siteblogshop) to be exact…

Her refined illustrations were exactly what I was looking for: They bring the outside in -the natural elements with the leaves and butterflies and organic textures- and the inside out -archetypal references, the intrigueing atmosphere… Lovelovelove them!
They hang above the (now tuned & happy) piano, at eye height. And they really love to be watched from a distance, they almost beckon you, and then you just want to discover all the tiny details with your nose to the frame!
Caduca and Sempreverde want you to unravel their story, and perhaps come away with them…
If you’re intrigued, check out Vocisconesse’s Dawanda shop and the museum of tarot in Riola (Italy), which features a tarot deck (
Tarocchi di Connessione, 22 cards of the major arcana) she’s created (you can buy it on this page, 7th from the top).

In the meantime, I’ve also discovered ITunes. Or better, the ITunes shop. Oh dear! I visited it only once, searching for a catchy tune which I had heard on the radio. It took me to a couple of results from which you could hear samples, and one intrigued me so much I ended up buying the whole album! It downloads immediately to your library, and from there on to your IPod (oh, the wonder of technology! :-p ). And so these preppy Couperin keyboard pieces have been my soundtrack for the past month! (now I want the score and play it myself… 😉 )

Journal of Mythic Arts: you will be missed!

Endicott Studio

Have you ever heard of the Endicott Studio?
Maybe not, but perhaps these names sound familiar: puppet artists Brian & Wendy Froud, authors Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, Terri Windling, illustrator Alan Lee. They all contributed to this beautiful and ever fascinating Journal of Mythic Arts issued by the Endicott Studio…of which the last issue has come out just yesterday. It’s online and free to read, watch and be enchanted by it: non-fiction (one’s an article on British forests which I love), short stories, poetry, themes and archetypes in writing, a gallery of all artists who contributed to it…

All on mythology/fairy tales/folk art and contemporary artists/writers/performers! Even though this is the last issue, it’s well worth to explore the rest of the Endicott site, blog and former issues of the Journal.

These kindred spirits have taught and inspired me for years…and you maybe as well?

The Markt van Morgen: this is how it was! Finally! :-D

bedankt dat jullie er waren, Mireille en Els (en iedereen die niet op een foto is beland… 😉 )

Thank you so much Elizabeth, for giving me this lovely opportunity to write this report! I had a lot of fun working on it. Otherwise I would have been too lazy to do it and this would just have been a couple of pictures and maybe half a paragraph…

The Markt van Morgen through the eyes of a quirky Dawandanian who’s still new at this world of art markets. And what a grand adventure it was…Two weeks later and I finally have somewhat recovered! LOL

This is an account of the day itself, so I’ll spare you the tedious details of the whole preparation & excitement that went on anticipating the market…
I’ll probably go down in history as the one jewelry designer who managed to lose the treasure box with all of her jewelry in it, only to find it back in the nick of time with the help of some wonderful neighbours who deserve statues to be erected in their honor! Or more realistically some custom made jewelry by yours truly… 😉
The day itself had its own challenges, as we had been treated to typical Belgian weather the weeks before: showers, winds, all sorts of interesting weather phenomena but the one you’d associate with the usual summer vibe: sun. But miraculously it was lovely, only that sunday! Some clouds, some generous sunny patches…brilliant! You see, we had had to make our own stands (the organization only provided tables and chairs), while I loved styling it I hadn’t found the time to design, let alone make a rain-proof stand!
Now how do you style a stand? Is there a manual?! I didn’t have much of a clue at first. It’s not just finding a practical way to show your art work but also how you want people to perceive it. How to give them an impression of who you are and what your art stands for.
I had sort of wanted people to be intrigued by the look of the bigger items than just the jewelry itself. Jewelry can be kind of abstract if taken out of context -i.e. when its not worn by real people. So I tried to create the atmosphere of my jewelry with items I could drape, hang or hook them on.
And I guess it worked! People were drawn to these “installations” and when they came closer, discovered they were covered with jewelry. (potrait by WALTERito)
I was really happy with how it all turned out -the contrast between the two long winding horns (from that quaint little shop in Antwerp), the smaller ones that carried the ring and some earrings and the pissed-off clay elephant that I had borrowed from a friend: this elephant had the most funny expression on its face (I had filled it with sweets) and on the other hand the funky ensemble of handblown (not by me) vases of different sizes & colors and huge transparant glass rods matching and contrasting the colors of the vases (the ones I use for glass beads are much thinner, these thicker rods are used for glass sculptures and presse-papiers), thanks to my fellow obsessed glass people & suppliers G & Q …even down to the jewelry boxes I had folded myself (with a little help from my KANTL colleagues…!), the little photo album I had assembled and printed (with examples of all my collections and some action photos so people could see this was indeed all handmade) and my address cards.
We arrived one hour before it started, which gave us just barely enough time to build our stand! Officially it started at 12.00h but visitors came flocking towards the market already. We had found a great spot in a corner of a building area, so we could make ourselves a little “fort” with the table. And the fence was ideal to put up all the Dawanda posters Elizabeth had sent! It was as if we had found a Wishing-Table because in no time we had it draped with the black cloths, and all horns, vases and elephants were accounted for.
And so it began. Thankfully, I wasn’t alone manning the stand as I received great help from Hilda, my mom! She went out hunting for food when we got hungry and helped out when our stand got flooded by visitors…

Now that was something I hadn’t quite anticipated: so many people! (<= this is Liesbet & me) It was both flattering to receive all that interest as it was overwhelming! Luckily I could refer them to the photo album so they could see how it all was made, and refer them to my blog and website if they wanted to know more. And I also received quite a bit of inquiries on Dawanda -both from artists and buyers. Especially younger people loved to know more, and the Dawanda flyers went flying off the table. Most people didn’t know of its existence so with a bit of luck we opened a new world for them…

However, as I had foreseen, the slightly older generation still has a lot of restraint toward buying things on the internet. If you can’t hold it in your hands, how can you be sure to get what you pay for? They’re scared off by whatever news they hear of internet scams, so I tried my best to reassure them. Dawanda isn’t some faceless company, you have direct contact with the sellers and it doesn’t always require credit cards, especially not from local sellers. They also weren’t sure how to find their way through the site and follow the buying instructions, so I may have to work on a sort of visual manual some time…
But most people were enthousiastic: a perpetual art market at your fingertips! 😉
I wasn’t the only Dawandanian there, Ella from Ella since Osix (see picture) who had her stand at the other side of the market came to say hi. She makes these gorgeous, cheerful shoulder bags from vintage textiles. I was impressed at how well she’s been presenting & marketing her art, finding different channels to sell and attracting a wide range of customers! Something I have still to learn a lot about.
Also Nadine from PandoraPearl had come all the way from Dordrecht, NL and paid a visit with her friend -she would have participated at the market if she hadn’t had such a big sale at her 4th of July sale the week before! She makes lovely wire-wrapped jewelry with all sorts of glass, semi-precious and pearl beads. Maybe she’ll be there with a stand next time.
I saw a lot of my friends back as well (I grew up in Antwerp where the market was held, but swapped it for Gent a couple of years ago). There was Mireille (who’s creating handmade stuffed dragons and Pullip dolls’ accessories which she sells on Etsy, and she’s got a jewelry shop coming up there too!) who finally got her lucky, bubbly fish necklace, I saw Liesbet and Tinne back, Jessy and her boyfriend Joris whom I handed my photocamera so he could play a little…and luckily for us we have some pictures now! Dank u Joris… 😀 You can see them in the Markt van Morgen flickr group!
We got a surprise visit from G & Q (& T & friend, but not E & E…hehe) who discovered a couple of other lampworkers/customers who were there too! And Karen en Els, my classmates from libraryschool and fellow facebook plant throwers (we seem to have a thing for the lil green patch application…LOL). And my Antwerp clan Noor with Phil, Elke and Johan with Elisabeth -we’ve all studied/lived in Leuven… I saw back people I hadn’t seen in forever, like years! So it was wonderful to see my friends and have their support. And meeting new people too: fellow glass beadmakers and Werner Vitt; a master lampworker from Brugge who founded the glass classes I followed there 2 years ago, a metalworker and a photographer, Walter who made some amazing portraits to capture the market’s atmosphere. I even spotted fashion designer Walter van Beirendonck checking out some of the stands! (not mine though -I’m by far not controversial enough for him, LOL)
So was it all a success? It certainly was a lot of superlatives for me on many levels. It was so great seeing my friends, meeting like-minded artists and finding out how people reacted to my jewelry, and pushing my own creativity to meet the art market’s deadline the weeks prior to it… I even made some sales! Hehe. But at the same time it was also quite stressful for someone like me: that said deadline of getting everything finished on time, and dealing with several people at the time for a couple of hours straight is an introvert’s nightmare! It left me dazed & frazzled by the end of the market, and I was more than happy to break it all up and go home. However, after a good night’s sleep I had returned to my normal self again, and knew that all in all it had been a wonderful experience.
Mom & happy customer -portrait by WALTERito
And now two weeks later I feel achieved and that I have really deserved my summer holidays..and guess what, the sun is finally here to stay!

I got featured in the Dawanda Shop Directory blog!

Thank you Sara! 😀

-She works with textures, both in fabric and paper, has a shop on etsy, dawanda and her own site AND manages (among others) to maintain the Dawanda Shop Directory blog all by herself and writes for DIY City Mag!

Actually, I got featured last Monday but with the loss of my jewelry I didn’t really feel like announcing this lovely news…

But now almost a week has passed and I had my final exam for library school yesterday (it went fine, thanks for asking!). I have also been creating some new necklaces and earrings last week for the”light” collection of duizendbloem…really needed to do that!

And no, the box and the jewelry is still missing and I shouldn’t hope on ever finding it or getting it back. But at least I have pictures of most, and some of them were used in Patrick’s photoshoot last sunday so at least I have something beautiful to remember them by. Luckily I’m not a materialist, although the whole thing has made me a cranky idealist. I miss them!

That said, I have an art market in a bit more of a month and I’m planning to make the best of it!

Oh, P.S. de schele Rosse is now called Jack, or even Jack the Sixth! He’s doing better, although it will take a long time before his cut will heal.

Mmmmurrini… (quick one)

See, murrini are just so much fun! 😀 I discovered Sarah Hornik has found her own murrini mania and the gorgeous beads she made with them! Check it out, it’s totally inspiring -and a bit frustrating for someone who has two weeks of exams in front of her. Waah! I want to torch right now!

In other news I’m busy doing my library school homework. What a model student I am… :-p I’m putting the links on Open Source Software on deli.cio.us by the way als er klasgenootjes geïnteresseerd zijn… :o)