My work breathes my profound love of nature, her rhythms and the powers that work within. My incentive I find echoed in the old meaning of the word ‘nature’: ‘to be born, to live, to be’. Thus I am in search of our origin, the source.
As an artist I feel at home and have worked with different media – photography & film, music and performance, illustration, painting, writing, installation, collage and wild (pre)histoical craefts such as working with earth, plants and wool.
The symbols I use are both old and intimate. My personal descent and the stories of my grandparents are interwoven with tales told by Mugwort, Adder or the mountain herself. Contrast is important: virginity and fertility, birth and death, matter and spirit. Darkness, light and their embrace in the twilight. The work requires a certain darkness, for the light to be seen.
In my re-memebering of belonging I create archaic images steeped in myth, wilderness and the passing of time, where humans, other beasts and old gods seal their ancestral bond and enact the stories of our ancient past.
Our oldest creations were not weapons. They were threads. Weavings, cordage, felts, braids and nets, dyes of plant and bark & handspun thread made by our early ancestors – to bind harvest and home, carry fruit and children, and to wear on our bodies for warmth, protection and beauty. Creating with natural (plant or animal) fibers connects us to other animals, our Older Siblings. But the weaving and wearing of our clothing is the unique mark of the human animal, and women have been the core creators of all the colorful textile that has ever clothed the world. Did you know that the word ‘woman’ comes from ‘woven’ (wevan, weben, weven, wijf, wife)!
“For Millenia women have sat together spinning, weaving and sewing. Their tools were light and portable so they could easily tend to children and pick up quickly should they need to. They were practical and smart, and deeply creative in their ways…”
⁃Elizabeth W. Barber, Women’s Work
From the age of 5 my grandmother Smilja thaught me to spin & knit wool – to the Bosnian Serbs (as other peoples of the Balkans) sheep, goats and their wool have been an integral part of life and culture. Throughout my life, and also at the Academy of Arts (from 2007) my love for wool never seized, and I continued to learn new yet ancient ways of creating with this fiber. Natural cloth holds for me the mystery of how the whole world is spun into being by the great Mothers in stories of old, and how everything is then connected and wired in the Web of Life. It is endlessly fascinating to me that at its most intimate, this wyrd cloth has alwys been the home for the body, a space for inner dwelling – and simultaneously it is a medium for expansiveness, or a magical agency in the outer world.
For years I’ve worked with shepherds & several herds of the unique Drentse Heith sheep on different natural reservations in the Netherlands, to really get to know the beautiful and ancient animal that gives me this beautiful wool – but to also intimately befriend the Dutch landscape, my new home. Around 2014, learning to felt and working with raw shorn fleeces is where Wild Wool emerged. Inspired by archeological finds, history, mythology & folklore I started felting archaic fur clothing and garments that are strictly vegetarian. A felted collar is a majestic piece of garment, wild yet elegant, that holds an ancient power: I’ve seen pieces transform many a person in front of me. From historical markets to online stores, my collections have travelled across the globe to become part of exhibitions, other art works and many peoples magic and homes.
Meanwhile I’ve worked with and learned from some wonderful artists such as India Flint. Through art, spiritual practice, experimental archeology and histoical reenactment I’ve come to dive deeper into historical textiles and their making: from the many prehistoric ways of spinning and weaving & the ancient magic connected to this Women’s Work, to the powerful use and lore of local wild plants as thread, colorful dyes and allies. Working with wool and plant fibers – making thread and cloth and interweaving it with prayer, song & magic – is not just a craeft, but has become a spiritual practice.
Like an umbilical chord, thread connects us to our origin as a species. When I spin, felt and weave, I am in loving conversation with my foremothers.
Online Course |
Raw Fleece Felting
If you’ve always wanted to learn about the craeft of wild wool felting & how to make your own felted collar: I will teach you all about it! Through the course of a year Thomas Grootoonk and I have filmed an intimate story of the shepherd and the flock, the ancient history of wool and felting & the thread that binds sheep and (wo)mankind. You’ll learn about the qualities of the beautiful fiber, how to choose the right fleece and felt different, animal friendly wild wool pieces! Join me in this complete Masterclass to aquire the craft of wool felting – truly from the source to the end.