woensdag 31 augustus 2011

Norfolk








Memory, nature, traditional arcade fun, car boot sales and melancholy. Norfolk had it all this summer. The memorial I encountered on a walk along the coastal path. Who is Morris? Who is Charles? How were they related? Let them be themselves.
Nature in this area is stunning. Fun for the mass and car boot sales are colourful and everywhere. Even at eight in the morning. A house in Blakeney was named Cross Heart Cottage. Like the Dutch saying: every house bears its cross. Live happens at all times. So a cross in the first and the last image; it's the heart that gives value in everything.

donderdag 11 augustus 2011

Wool




Which wool do we use for our wonderful cardigans, shawls and woven fabric? Wool that is produced by hurting the sheep with chemicals, such as much of the merino that comes from Australia? Or hand shorn wool locally produced? The everlasting dilemma; how much is needed and how do we produce? The use of wool for clothing dates back 6000 years. Its insulating and absorbing qualities have made it a very useful fibre. It is also copied in synthetic fibres, but they can never be as good as real wool. Cheaper however, that is.
It takes a year for a sheep to grow a fleece. Then it is shorn off, carded so that the fibres are easier to be used. Then it is spun, and either woven into a fabric, knitted or crocheted into a garment. The craft way to do this is very time consuming. Originally this was done next to all the other work on a farm, after the industrial revolution it became possible to do all this on machines. Which made garments cheaper. Good in one way of course; more affordable for everyone.
But it has gone out of hand. The clothing industry that is. As a result wool has lost its value and is often destroyed on farms. Sheep need to be shorn, but the market price for wool is so low it is cheaper for farmers to destroy the wool rather than sell it.
Only the better brands such as Rowan have their wool from local (British) farmers. I like working with their organic wool which is also organically dyed. I'm also happy to have found some farmers from whom I can buy fleeces for spinning myself or use as a filler for my knitted collection items. So wouldn't it be good if all designers and crafters that love wool go to the farmers and collect the wool before it is thrown away? And we should reuse recycled wool as well!
The amazing sense of the utterly natural product, the many possibilities to use it, the smell, the heritage.... it's my favourite fibre.
In the previous issue of Bloom (from which the images are derived) the mohair wool was celebrated. It's rare and not easy to produce, we should not forget that. But as long as it's don fair and organic it's fine .

dinsdag 9 augustus 2011

Urban Green




While cycling around in Berlin last week we came across the most amazing patch of urban green I've ever seen. Tempelhof flughaven. Originally built in 1890, the airport functioned as 'gateway to heaven' during the division of Berlin for West Berliners to leave the city or country, it is now a wide open space. Almost unreal as far and wide the view is. The buildings are still unused so they look creepy but also radiate a prospective future. Ideas start flowing as you see them. But the landing strips, the grasses, the roads; all is to be used by Berlin citizens. And they do! They cycle, run, play, barbecue in designated areas, have a beer in the 'Biergarten', fly kites, plant their flowers in their allotments, skate and watch. What a potential! 19 Projects are selected to help develop the area, and the 2015 flower show will be held in this 21st century space. Berlin made a leading example with this area. Sustainability, community and nature are key words. Hurray.
(the last photo is by Beau Trincia from New Public Domain who also likes this area)

maandag 8 augustus 2011

The girl who silenced the world


Through the LinkedIn group NPRio+20 someone sent this short film.
A brave girl, who speaks for her generation. She reflects her fear about the future of the planet, and addresses the members of the United Nations. Uncertainty about the future is also reflected in the painting above which I saw last Saturday when I was in the Neue National Galerie in Berlin. The exhibition Modern Times with their amazing collection from 1900 till 1945. In the exhibition design is clearly shown how development in society is paralleled with development in art.
The painting is by Lotte Laserstein and dates from 1930. It's called Abend ├╝ber Potsdam.
Melancholy, uncertainty, threat and austerity we see, but also togetherness in this. Although every person is turned inwards their emotions, their arrangement as a group still portrays they are joint together.
So now watch the speech of the girl and feel the togetherness we need so desperately.