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In need of a little head-clearing R&R (away from work demands & deadlines), I popped out to visit my delightful neighbours

… and found Artis has been well and truly yarn-bombed!

If you’re in Amsterdam and fancy a bit of yarn and lemur action (and, frankly, who wouldn’t) the knitting remains in place at Artis until 16 March.

please look after me

While clearing out a cupboard for packing/moving I came across two of these creatures (knitted, and blogged, a couple of years ago). They made the move from London to Amsterdam (almost) two years ago, but I thought that it was now time to set them free, to let them find their own ways in the world. I attached a little tag (a la Paddington Bear) to each one and bright & early this morning, before the hordes of summer tourists would be up and about, I hopped on my bike and took them to the Vondelpark (surely one of Amsterdam’s loveliest parks!). It was a beautiful day, with no rain forecast, so a perfect day for setting creatures free and bidding them farewell.

draw the line

First, find a quiet spot off the early-morning-bicycle-commuter-beaten-track…

find a quiet spot

Then set creature no. 1 free in a majestic old tree leaning precariously over a lake. (Make sure he’s just visible to the observant passer-by, so increasing the chances that he might find a nice new home somewhere)…

set free in a tree

Wish him luck, and wave goodbye…

set free in a tree

Back on the bike in search of quiet spot number 2.

This will do nicely…

find another quiet spot...

It’s already inhabited, but that’s no bad thing…

already inhabited

Set creature no.2 free in the grass at the base of another beautiful tree near the water…

set free in the grass

set free in the grass

Bid him farewell.

Ride away, don’t look back…

ride away, don't look back

Take a load off…

take a load off

And raise a cup of green tea to their future happy adventures…

a cup of green tea

draw the line

I hope they find nice new homes, or simply enjoy roaming freely in the Vondelpark. Tonight’s full moon should light the way well for their first night of adventuring…

thank you

I have been on holiday for the past couple of weeks and have mostly been staying clear of the computer. I’ve been happily immersed in…

… a couple of great exhibitions

Watanabe Seitei “Crow & Ginkgo Leaves”

Japanese Illustrated Books from the 17th – 20th Century – sadly this exhibition ended yesterday (6 January) so I am too late to urge anyone in the vicinity to go and see it, but it included some incredibly beautiful work. I particularly liked Watanabe Seitei‘s “Crow & Ginkgo Leaves” (1916) – such bold framing/cropping of the subject juxtaposed with masterfully delicate draftsmanship! (As is so often the case the web image above doesn’t really do the original justice).

Barcelona 1900 – a look at some of the art, design and architecture that emerged in Barcelona during its rapid, sometimes turbulent, transformation at the end of the 19th Century.  As a confirmed Gaudi fan I enjoyed seeing his beautiful oak and ash chairs and doorframes designed for Casa Batlló, and there were plenty of other ‘Modernista‘ gems to discover. The exhibition is on at the Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam) until 20 January.

… some simple knitting

Manos del Uruguay yarn… and snowflakes

I’ve quickly come to realise that Amsterdam is colder than London in the winter and greater neck protection is required! For expediency (and due to a lack of skillz!) I have kept this scarf simple. I’m generally not one for following patterns and have allowed the colour and texture of the yarn to dictate the ‘design’. This yarn is a nicely soft (good for neck proximity!) blend of Merino and Corriedale wools and is hand spun & dyed by members of the Manos del Uruguay cooperative. (Manos del Uruguay is a non-profit organisation comprised of more than 400 artisans in cooperatives scattered throughout the countryside of Uruguay. The organisation’s mission is to bring economic and social opportunities to rural women).

Next time I have to ride my bike in an Amsterdam snow ‘flurry’ I’ll hopefully be better equipped!

… a mural painting

Mural painting WIP 

Still a ‘work-in-progress’ – I will upload some pics when it’s done. (The basic design was inspired by my wintery tree papercutting endeavours in December).

… a pile of good books & a few Dutch language lessons

Good books… 

In fact, I’ve been so relaxed these past two weeks I’ve worn out my favourite pair of pyjamas and have reluctantly had to set them free…

Pyjama bears fly free and head North…

And so to 2008…

I have a shelf crammed with notebooks full of half-formed (and some, frankly, ill-formed) project ideas but I’ve struggled to know where or how to begin for the longest time. In 2008 I’m going to try to worry less about the why’s and wherefore’s and simply start…

It’s been mighty quiet around here recently as blog updates have taken a backseat to catching up on work – I have wanted to post about Miranda-Jane for weeks and weeks but spare moments have been few and far between. Just before I left London I saw her on Jezze’s blog and rushed over to etsy to snap her up, supplied a still unfamiliar address for delivery, and hoped we’d both arrive safely at our new home.

Miranda-Jane... already speaking Dutch!

We did.

Being from sunny Southern Africa (Cape Town, in fact), and therefore accustomed to much hotter climes, she’s very pleased she brought her socks with her as Amsterdam turns chillier and chillier. She also arrived wearing two of Jezze‘s beautiful handmade button badges – an unexpected and delightful added extra. Thanks Jezze!

Miranda-Jane is a very charming companion and a pleasure to have around. 

Here she is (toasty in socks) trying to persuade me to delve into my crochet bag and get back to work on the Erika Knight throw I started ages ago and have all but abandoned over these past few busy months…

Miranda-Jane, handmade by Jezze

Ugly doll 

This little guy started life as a couple of balls of Japanese Noro ‘Silk Mountain‘ yarn. When I saw it on the shelf in the shop (Loop, I think) I was drawn straight to it – it was beautiful: incandescent, multi-faceted, sublime, colours reminiscent of the majesty and beauty of the Scottish Highlands in early autumn. I immediately loved it, bought two balls (as far as the budget would stretch), and couldn’t wait to get it home to turn it in to a beautiful creature.

I worked to my own very basic ‘pattern’ (having made a couple of critters previously in the same unstructured way which had worked well enough) but I hadn’t progressed very far before realising I loved the ‘Silk Mountain’ a whole lot less when knitted up, and that I also found the sensation of knitting with it, of it running through my fingers (knobbly and textured as it is), vaguely unpleasant.

 Noro ‘Silk Mountain’ knitted texture

The embryo of this creature was quickly dubbed “the ugly doll” in my mind, and he sat neglected and forlorn for a very long time, growing only a few rows at a time, the ever-present threat of being ripped and unravelled and turned back into balls hanging dark and heavy over his (as yet to be created) head.

After weeks and weeks I found (by some miracle) that I had completed all of the parts and all he needed to be ‘born’ was a face (and a good stuffing). Having had such a rocky relationship with him from the start I didn’t think too long or hard about his face – I chose some translucent turquoise buttons shot through with a watery grey (from Cloth House in Soho) for his eyes and almost unconsciously embroidered him a line of tears. He’s a sad little fella. I guess I would be sad too if my parents had called me ugly all my life!

Here he is with some chums (not everyone hates him!) – the original ‘prototype’ on the right, and the second in the ‘series’ on the left. (Showing both sides of their schizophrenic personalities).

Creatures

I should like to clarify that I am in no way disparaging Noro’s ‘Silk Mountain’ yarn. I guess this is more about how ‘making stuff’ will always have unexpected, and sometimes ugly, results regardless of how beautiful or fine the raw materials are. This won’t always be a bad thing…

some of my work, available on etsy
support worldwide wild cat conservation

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Psychokinetic cat...
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#amsterdam #ndsm #streetart #graffiti #telekinesis #cat #black #white #texture #the_vandal_cat #art by @mineki_
- A month has passed since we had to say goodbye to our beautiful, gentle Gira. I still hear the clickety-clack of his claws on the wooden floors. From the corner of my eye I think I glimpse the tip of a silver tail rounding a doorframe. I hear his peeps and purrs and calls for breakfast in the murmurings of the central heating coming on at 6am. I mistake a castoff garment on the bed for a curled-up, contented cat. And for a brief moment my heart soars… and then breaks all over again.
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#house_of_shadows #phantoms #void #loss #grief #yearning #rip #gira #best_fur_buddy #cat #shadows
- Eerie glow in my late night studio...
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#screenprinting #silkscreen #serigraph #zeefdruk #screen_printing #printmaking #handmade #permasetaqua #ink #GID #glow_in_the_dark #phosphorescent #birch #trees #eerie #forest #thetreeshaveeyes #black #green #pattern
- I’m having a gargantuan sale in my Etsy shop (link in bio) – 20% off everything, including this limited edition, seven screen silkscreen print made a few years ago and entitled “The Sleeping City”.
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And yes, that is Gira perched in the only lit window keeping watch over the sleeping city and communing with a thylacine-headed ghost-dragon...
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Swipe/scroll right (or is it left?!) to see the whole image and go grab a bargain at www.etsy.com/shop/sakurasnow (sale runs until 1 December 2017)
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#handmade #screenprinting #silkscreen #serigraph #zeefdruk #screen_printing #printmaking #ink #blue #cat #gira #amsterdam #canal_house #gables #grachtenpand #gevel #pattern #thylacine #dragon #dream #fabriano_tiziano
- WARNING: when you’ve turned the music W-A-Y up - to drown out the noise in your head - and you’re singing along at the top of your lungs… printing missteps may result #misregistration #understatement #wrongwayround #allbacktofront #theupsidedown #shithappens #screenprinting #silkscreen #serigraph #zeefdruk #screen_printing #printmaking #handmade #mistakes #ink #pattern #music RIP Gira Lunar Mare
30 March 2012 – 7 November 2017

Moon Gazer, Sun Seeker, Shape Shifter, Silver Rocket, Constant Companion, Curator of Cuddles, Purveyor of Purrs, Dimension Hopper, Bug Squasher, Cardboard Killer, Spinnende Aap, Invisible Scratch Pickle, Best Fur Buddy, Finest of Felines

#gira #rip #heartbreak #studiomate #best_fur_buddy #grey #cat #kitten #catsofinstagram #takentoosoon #fuckcancer #gonebutneverforgotten

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