It’s been a while since my last post so it’s about time I give you an update! The summer has passed like a storm, and meanwhile I’m back at college finishing my master’s degree this semester, while continuing with my liberal arts degree at Sint Lucas in the 2nd semester.

So I’m a bit late with my Master’s but I hope I can get it done now. I have to redo a couple of courses and finish writing that thesis… That wasn’t the plan, mind you; I was hoping to be finished by September. But the summer proved to be quite much.

Perhaps it was to be expected: moving to my new house, renovating it, working on a lecture on my thesis and all the little and big things that come with moving into a new place didn’t give me much of a break (although I had help on many levels from some truly awesome people! 🙂 ). And hardly had I moved in or we heard about my dad’s accident and hospital stay, so mom and I dropped everything and took care of things in Antwerp. He’s fine now although some things have changed (I’ll talk about that some other time).

And so I’ve been catapulted into a new school year, a little exhausted but equally positive that everything will work out this year. If I stay mindful of the traps of burnout, things will be alright. I was in worse shape last year, after three years of intense studying and having combined two studies the year before. I’ve been doing pretty well in my studies, but I’m an idiot for not seeing that it would become too much. Or at least I knew I was playing with fire, having had energy issues before, but this was such a wonderful chance and I wouldn’t want to miss it for the world. So I took that chance, and I’m not looking back.

Still I tumbled into an episode of burnout a year ago. Exhaustion, inertia and big emotions: it’s a mess. Literally and figuratively! But it helped me realise I had to change the way I handled things (thanks to a wonderful therapist) and have been working on them since, one of which was the place I lived in. As much as I had loved living in the cute little house in Ghent, I had grown too big for it over the years (a bit like Alice!). So the hunt for a new place was on, and with mom’s help we found it the day before my birthday! I wasn’t planning at all to move to a small town like Ronse (my mom lives here), but when we visited it we knew it was “the one”.  I’ll gush about it next time, with all the proper pictures and renovation stories! No worries. So I scheduled to move after the exams in June and that’s how that roller coaster of a summer started…

And now you know what I’ve been up to.

I long to get back on the blogging horse properly, sharing some hopefully inspiring things, books and people, and keeping you updated on my projects and adventures… But I’m learning to take it a day at a time, so I won’t make any promises I can’t keep. I’ll do what I can and thank you for understanding!

Sint Lucas Gent – 1Ba Keramiek & Glas

jury 2013
Open day @ Sint Lucas, our studio’s tape & the restorer’s blue screen

So here’s what I’ve been doing in my year-long absence of this blog (and pretty much all of social media). As you may have noticed before, I have a thing for glass. And since 2010 I went back to college to pursue a degree in Art studies. Meanwhile I kept working in the studio whenever I could, which meant almost only in the holidays or the summer recess. My intention to get a college degree is to be able to find (part-time) work that I could combine with a studio practice, and I’m happy to say that I almost have that degree (a Ba to start with).

Of course college is hard work on its own, and I went a bit nuts from time to time because I couldn’t work in the studio. I wondered why I hadn’t chosen art college instead! So in my 2nd year in college I was able to finish the majority of my Ba courses, and in a wild but equally lucid moment I set out to the Open Day of St Lucas here in Ghent, the only college in Belgium (as far as I know) that offers a glass and ceramics degree. I’m seriously crazy about glass and I live in this city, so why not check it out?

I wandered in just to get some information, maybe talk to the teachers, and check out the studios. I wandered out again with the assignment for the entrance examination and lifted spirits after a wonderful talk with the ceramics teacher, Anne Ausloos. A couple of days later I realized I was actually going to do the entrance examination, and panic set in. (I always panic. I find it reassuring… 😉 ) But the examination was almost 2 weeks after my college exams, so nothing would come in the way of my college work. So I thought, why not? If I don’t do this, I will regret it and always wonder what if…

So I did it. Then I got accepted. And I panicked again! 😀

That was last summer. So this past school year I’ve been combining both colleges and live to tell the tale… It was crazy as I had foreseen, and I pushed myself a bit too far in the effort but I’m also a bit proud that it worked. At least I think I’d be -I’m still stunned I survived it… I certainly reached my limits in what I can do, so I look forward to trying to simplify my life again. Now I’m working on the last bits of my Ba, and then I’ll evaluate and see how I’m going to plan next (school)year.

So now you know why I dropped off the earth for a bit… Next time I’ll show you some of the glass and ceramics adventures I’ve had, and maybe tell you about this Art Nouveau glass artist I’m researching, Georges Despret. I can’t promise to get into a blogging routine just yet, but I’ll make an effort to post again this month!

K&G13 exhibibtion

Hey there –

Wondering if you still remember me -it’s been more than a year!

I invite you to the studio exhibition of Glass and Ceramics at Sint Lucas Ghent! It’s from June 21 to 23.

This is just a little heads-up for some of the things i’ve been doing since the last post on this blog, which was in May 2012! It’s been quite a ride… and still is, so I have to leave you with this short note while I go back to my exam preparations for college.

I’ll give you a real update in July!

sketchbook project & etsy & aarghh

Boekentoren
No, the blog hasn’t been forgotten or misplaced, but as for a change this year I have been a wee bit busy, going back to college, volunteering at the Sint Lucas library and all. But it’s been great, so far! Lots of work: class, researching in the little specialist libraries all over the Blandijn next to that pretty Boekentoren (right >>). Now the deadlines for papers are coming up, and exams in January it has its share of the stressies, but… ooh it feels good to be back. So long I don’t flunk, of course. Argh! See? Stress.

I will feel better after January’s exams so I know if my study method works. The subjects aren’t too hard, but I fear my brains being rusty. LOL. We’ll see. Wish me luck!

The Sketchbook Project: 2011That means I haven’t been back at the studio, but I’ve done some little things here at home, in Ghent. Like the Sketchbook Project! An initiative by Art house coop in Brooklyn NY. The goal was to fill a moleskine sketchbook, working in a theme you could choose from a list. 
I’m quite self-conscious about my drawing and painting abilities, so I thought it would be good for me to participate and see what happened. Drawing didn’t work out, so I painted. And cut. And then I drilled. And sawed, stamped, painted some more, sewed, and was done with it. I had such a great time! Nothing like drastically altering a once pristine sketchbook.  😉 It has become a little freak… 
My theme was Night time stories and I used a quote by Breton, from his first Surrealist Manifesto, about the poet Saint-Pol-Roux leaving a placard outside his door whenever he went to sleep. The placard said: “the poet works”.

DSC_5134 

DSC_4980

17

torturing the poor thing:
sketchbook project WiP

:::: see the whole project on flickr.

The sketchbook is being sent back to Brooklyn where it will go on a tour in the US!  The neat library system (each sketchbook has a barcode) will keep all artists up to date of how many times their sketchbook has been borrowed.

And in other news, I’m back on Etsy! You can find some of the creations of last summer:

“lunar essence”
lunar essence

“green goddess”
green goddess

“a delicate balance” earrings

a delicate balance

And the website & blog have received their yearly dusting. I even went as far as to add a webpage about me/my creations. It’s not an artist statement really, but it’s a start.

De Napjesdrager: inspired by trees

(also check the work-in-progress @ flickr)


Ingredients for a fused glass panel of a face made of leaves:

++ tree leaves drenched in sunlight

Napjesdragers

Napjesdragers

Napjesdragers

Napjesdragers

++ my mother’s well-used and worn 1960 ed. Geïllustreerde flora van Nederland, an extensive field guide to recognizing plants and trees. Her book has dried leaves and strings as bookmarks and when I was young we used it to press leaves and flowers!

Napjesdrager

DBNL has the 2nd edition of 1909 online! The b/w illustrations are the same of the 19th ed. I love those drawings, although they’re very clear, they’re not technically perfect. It makes me yearn for a time without internets and computers and easy digital photography where everyone had to be able to draw to a certain extent…

This edition speaks of the Cupuliferae, de Napjesdragersfamilie. A tree family that included oaks, beeches, chestnuts, birches, hazels and alders. It’s an obsolete term, nowadays this family is split up in Fagaceae (Beech, oak, chestnut) and the Betulaceae (birch, hazel, alder,…). Napjedragersfamilie is still used to describe the Fagaceae and the cups that hold the seeds of these trees, and I fell in love with the word napje. It’s also rather archaic. I remember it mostly from fairy tales and Breughel paintings and the nursery rhyme of the Bibelebontse Berg, where people (and bears) ate from wooden bowls.

++ Tree lore, green men and Tales of the mythic forest

sint-baafabdij

While this fellow is not exactly a green man, heads covered in foliage can be found on medieval cathedrals and churches, much like this Mr. crankyface in the Sint-Baafsabdij in Gent. They’re said to be remnants of pagan, Celtic lore and are among others connected with tale the Robin Hood.

++ gorgeous transparent & translucent glass colors:

pencil box

I took this picture when I started to prepare this project months ago, in the meantime a couple more colors joined the palette, like Vetrofond Tapenade and Cosmic Storm and some ambers and browns.

red + green

The effetre dark and light grass green (I tend to call them glass green 😉 ) are my favorite colors. Just as plain and simple as they are, they remind me of summer and of the sun shining through trees and that just makes me happy. Years ago a friend gave me a gorgeous Henry Dean vase in this color. I also used it a lot on Nur der Mensch:

Nur der Mensch...

So now you know a little bit more… are you ready to meet the Napjesdrager? 😉

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edit: whoops, typo. There’s a beech on the beach. Silly me!

“there’s still life in this lady yet!”

– Lestat, dancing with a corpse (Interview with a vampire, from back when they didn’t have to sparkle and just could be delightfully evil) (oh, and this cute snippet: Lestat angrily playing a bit of a Haydn sonata -how come the bad guys always have such a great taste in music? :-p )

snails & rose petals

Yes, I’m here! My full time library job and the daily commuting to Antwerp has kept me pretty damn busy since March so everything else had to be postponed (or canceled like library school… :-/ ) for the time being. But it definitely is an enriching experience. And since my contract ends in July I’m gearing up on my new art projects -I’ll introduce them in separate posts.

Meanwhile I haven’t yet told you about my internship at the Sint-Lucas Library back in February-March. It is part of the Hogeschool voor Wetenschap & Kunst with its art and architecture department situated in Ghent. It’s the only (Flemish) art college still having a glass program, by the way…

Sint-Lucasbibliotheek Gent

Working in this library (with a nice glass section) felt like being a kid in a candystore! The main library users were art school students and staff, and I loved to observe how most of them used (or rather didn’t use) the catalogue and went for their gut feeling and let themselves be inspired by what they found in the stacks (that’s how I like to work as well, even for academic purposes – sort of a combination of classical search strategies & intuition/association).
The library also has a neat blog, a librarything with the new acquisitions and a flickr page, and you can like it on FB.

I haven’t had much studio time in the past 3 months, but I did manage to snap some kitties, critters and flowers…

Assepoes & the weathered bench

I do love this portrait of Assepoes on the weathered bench though.

And those pretty poppies… check out the original sizes of the garden photos on flickr, and download them if you like!

macro poppy!

design museum Gent


I haven’t had any studio time since February, since the silver necklace with the sprouty cabuchons and let me tell you, I’m starting to lose it! An eye that doesn’t stop twitching, occasional mouth foaming and snarling… I stocked up on extra chocolate and strawberries to keep myself from becoming a danger to society. But I don’t know what will happen when I run out…

Although I have to practice my patience a little longer, library school exams come first and the renovations in our home & studio in Ronse are nearly done…in less than a month it’ll be all good again. And meanwhile I’ve been mentally preparing all those nagging, needy ideas, so when I’m able to set myself free in the studio it’ll be quite the sight! 😉

So last Sunday my friend Jessy met up in Ghent -she has a knack with organic and natural elements, turning them into her “Pure Creations”, take a look at her Dawanda and blog! And if you happen to be in Kontich on Saturday, she’ll be there at the Meifeest markt. 😉

We hadn’t seen each other in ages it seemed, so there was a lot of catching up to do over cappuccino, Moroccan food and my very favorite shop Phulkari. Which is in the same street as the Design Museum! The weather was a little too chilly to enjoy outside, so we decided to take a look at all the pretties and let ourselves be inspired

Spring cleaning

Some days I’m just no good. I’m absent-minded, asocial, clumsy, thoughts turned inward and just can’t seem to get started even though my to-do list is huge…

It frustrates me initially and I try to fight it, but that doesn’t help a thing. I just don’t get anything done. Eventually I give up and accept that I’m having one of those days again. Until I realize I have been working all along, the internal clockwork has been busy sweeping, dusting and rearranging old thoughts and ideas.

The morning after feels like this view (from the 6th floor of the public library in Ghent) and I feel ready to tackle whatever comes my way.