BIO

This bio.. I just did write it because it was a request for an Open Call from the Van Abbe Museum. It was a research place and I desperately wanted to have it. So that is why it took quite some efords to put my story down. It is not complete and it is not well writen because I was in strugle with time. About the van Abbe… Unfortuantely they didn’t opend the box I did sent along with the proposal (because of corona) so it was a bit waist of time sofar. Hopefully I can use the material for something else later. … I’m sure something good will come out. It was taugh to write but also a lot of good memories came by. If I would do it again it would be as thick and heavy as the Rembrand Bible I once bought on the Spui plein book market in Amsterdam. It is nice to shew on time spent and time to come..

Maaike Gottschal
Resides in Rotterdam
Gouwstraat 56c

Born in Haarlem
In the year 1973

Let’s start this story with wonder. Because that’s what my world is all about. Wonder makes you curious. You hear, see, smell or feel something that evokes thoughts and associations, makes you act. It is the energy I live on. This year I came across a song on Spotify that brought me back 46 years in time.  The sound of the music box in my crib. That must be one of the first “designed” sensations I came across. 

I was born in Haarlem but spent my first year I living in “De Rijp” a lovely city with many little canals. I almost drowned in my first year because my curiosity for the shimmering water. The neighbor fished me out of the water just on time. 

I had a nice childhood with a lot of freedom to explore things. And I’m a curious person. There was enough to do. The mud, the open field, the horizon. I liked the emptiness of the land and the endles reed plants growing there. This was in the city of Lelystad. This is not old land. It is engineered land conceived by Engineer Lely.Here You can watch the movie on how the land is made.

We lived In a big house (Oostrandpark 93) with lots of green around it. Everything was new. The land, the house and the furniture crafted by my dad. There was open land all around our house. I spent most of my time outdoor. I remember playing farm girl and grinding the local wheat and making big soups of available plants. My first cat’s name was “Lummeltje” (lazy one). The most sweetest and easygoing cat your could think of. I carried him around in a doll’s cradle, tugged him in or dressing him up. He died young. Poisoned by the Neighbors. I still remember that my dad and my brother buried him while I was weeping in my room.

I can’t remember a time in my life without reading. I have a picture of myself in my first year in my crib. Full with many magazines and me browsing through the pages. I do remember my oldest favorite books. Nijntje on the beach. The Gingerbread Men and all the books of Little Beer (especially lIttle bear is learning to fly). My mom read them to me a thousand times.

When I was not playing outdoors with my friend Martha you could find meI sewing studio of my mom. There I gathered little scraps of fabric and made plans about what to make out of it. I still remember making my first textile work. It still is some where in my studio. It depicts a group of people with balloons. I recall all the fabrics by memory very well; the colours, their touch and their patterns. There was velours and gold brocade textile in it. Most the stitching I did on the machine but the eyes of the people were done by hand embroidery. The fabrics were selected very precise. I had my own sewing machine when I was about 7 or 8.

I remember me and my brother playing cricket in the garden on bare foot and with our underwear on our head. I remember the smell of grass. I remember my father’s giant silver kite and the sound it mate. I remember him making little sound recordings of me and my brother. It was so weird to hear your own recorded voice! I remember the yellow boat I got for my 7th birthday. I took it out for small adventures in the local waters. I remember John Lennon died.

My parents divorced when I was eight. Unfortunately we had to move. In the new house every thing was covered with pink wallpaper when we arrived.

Primary school: De Regenboog/ The Rainbow.

I always loved schools and learning. My primary school was amazing. Everyday I was waiting in front of the school for the doors to open. The day began, seated on a low stool where you could just fold your legs under, with an hour of reading. I remember that my teacher “meester Frits” read the book “The master of the black mill”. Sooooo exciting. I remember the writing exercises and the colours of the cahiers (orange, blue, red). I remember the exercises where we made drawings while listening to music.

We had 1.5 hours of manual labor 3 times a week (woodworking, metal, textile). We could organize our own teaching program at this school. Spelling was not so important. Besides school I spent my time making jewelry, reading, sewing and playing guitar. During the holidays, I went to my Grandma Louise (who was a fantastic piano player and a bobbin weaver) and my aunt Carla. They taught me how to weave, spin, braid, paint, embroider, make lace and what more.

I always liked to make a lot presents for everybody. I gave away hand made magazines to kids at school, made a lot of presents for my mom, and I composed a piece of music on my guitar for my grandma (Ola Linea). I really liked to make gifts. I was always creating, thinking, reading and if you make stuff you need a public.

I was always in love. My first love was a computer nerd and not interested I girls at all. He was always behind this computer with the rainbow colored Apple logo. So I was looking for a way of impressing him. To get any attention from the computer guy I went to the library to find a book about programming and I programmed him a Christmas card on my father’s computer.

My fathers working place was amazing. He is trained as photographer and camera man. There always were piles of photos we could use to make nice collages. There were computers, recording stuff, tape and he did build a doka in his house later on. But that was later. In Lelystad he was the director of the photo lab “Capi-Lux”, later he worked as school photographer and opened the first (?) digital printing lab in the Netherlands. 

I like to see my life as a code / print. The basics are written in our childhood. And later on all you do, see has a relation that can be traced back to former things you saw. And it is like this Bio it changes all the time. And that is ok. I used to have many master plans for my live. And I might failed on some and some I accomplished good outcome. But these days I have a different working method. Besides working on a masterplan I show my sketches these days. So that people might have an idea how things created instead of only see an end result. Also because there might be no “real” outcome here.

High School: SGL Side jobs; newspaper girl and handyman in the watersport and boat shop. 

Puberty can be a difficult period. I was laughed at for my homemade clothes. I was actually a bit of a super nerd who still played with dolls and stuffed animals. But a skilled one. I sold hand made jewelry those days and owned quite some money with it. One good thing of high school was that I met Martine who became my best friend. And later on my other good friend Saskia. They still are my best friends. When I switched to VWO things went a little better. We had some great teachers and organized an 8mm film festival. My team won the prize of best film with the self-shot and edited 8mm film “Creeps, Groins and other Filths”. 

During that time I built my own darkroom in my house to develop photos. For my final exams I got a 9 for Dutch and for Arts and Craft. For this course I did a project about Marcel Duchamp and made a construction of a luminous fluorescent perspex Greek temple. I think I had read somewhere that Greek temples used to be painted with many colors so why not make a “luminous” version for the future. I showed it with another old image projected on it. A sort a light installation where I tried to fuse different times in one image. Marcel Duchamp is still my favorite artists and many of my works inspired by him. To be honest I think of him as a textile artist. IWill tell you later why.

In my spare time I worked as a volunteer at “De Batavia”. A place where the did build a replica of this V.O.C ship. I gave guided tours about wood joints and the history of the V.O.C. I actually came there for the guys from the construction team. So nice to see them at work. During a trip through Scandinavia with the entire construction team and all the volunteers, I fell in love with one of the boys of the construction team. He was not very good with his hands as far as I can remember. He studied Economy and he was a bit of a blusterer but I liked him. He made moaning noises while eating. I liked that. Also because it annoyed my mom ;). When I was 17 I I moved out of the house. Finished High School at 18.

HKU, UvA, Gerrit Rietveld Academy.
Side jobs: Olfactometric Laboratory (Odournet), wool shop “De Afstap”

I don’t know if I want to say much about my time at the art academy. I started at the HKU on the design department. Everything was always “fine” what I did. The assignments were a bit boring and the feedback of most of the teachers not that inspiring. I left in the second year and went to university. At the UvA I studied art history. A very lonely period in my life. A few lectures a week and the rest was study time at home. I spent a lot of time in the UvA libraries. I don’t remember befriending during college. The lectures on archeology were fantastic, as were the lectures by Ernst van de Wetering. He was a researcher, Rembrand specialist and restorer at the Rijksmuseum and told about his discoveries in the laboratory. That you could “see through” all the layers of old paintings. I really liked all the hidden information that became visible un the scans and microscopes.

Anyway, I missed working with my hands. So I registered with the Gerrit Rietveld Academy and started in the second year. Maybe I should have been in the Autonomous or Textiles department. Both of them were not very popular at the time (nor were ceramics and glass). But I studied jewelry and fashion. I got my diploma in the year 2000. In retrospect, I find it strange that during this study time I did not do much with all the techniques and knowledge that I had built up in younger years. The focus was on the development of the “I” behind the artist. Not really something that interested me. They also kept nagging about Deleuze… Where was Spinoza?

Internship: Joke Robaard, Job van Bennekom, Casco.

In the time after my graduation I got to know the art, fashion and design world by doing internships. Joke Robaard, Job van Bennekom, Lisette Smits. Very nice people to work under. I worked at Job van Bennekom and his team on RE-Magazine # 8. For the production of RE-Magazine #8 we were looking at our collective past to visualize the future. Super interesting. It made a lot of sense. I did some research and co-writing for the text of the magazine, drank a lot of latte macchiato, and did the styling of a photoshoot with Niels Schumm & Anuschka Blommers. I’m a kind of a minimalist when it comes to styling it seems ;). I also remember we had a few meetings with the wonderful Alexander van Slobbe who at that time was re-inventing his old brand Orson + Bodil.

The time with Top van Bennekom was very inspiring and for the fashion Biannual I made alternative fashion magazine: Thisisnotparis#1. The book got nominated for the Dutch Design Price.

See the full publication here:https://issuu.com/thisisnotparis.com/docs/thisisnotparis

Together with Roos Gortzak and Arne Hendriks, I worked as a project manager at Casco. I got to know a lot of interesting artists there. Interesting people. Some with quite a big ego. I likeI Marti liked Guixe the most. We made a Gin-Tonic party with him GAT FOG PARTY with an agricultural farming tool; a nebulizer. You could smell and inhale the drink. Very nice. Just before working period ended at Casco I realized a personal art project there that called United by Stripes. Here you can see the introduction poster of the project. The project whas about the line as a signifier, the stripe in motion. The project had several outcomes in the vorm of autonomous work, presentations and workshops. The format of the project was playful and versatile and was there to explore the different aspects of stripes in fashion, history, sports, media and art. For Casco I created a side project with Uli Schuster about the identity of the Dutch National soccer shirt. See here some info on the project

One of the things I remember very well from the CASCO time is our (I was allowed to join Lisette Smits as a helper) our trip to Indonesia (Jogjakarta). Wow the food there and the chocolate and avocado drinks were so delicious !! And the Indonesian people and artist were really nice and funny. They were a bit joking about us Dutchies as “cheese heads”. It was painful to feel that our colonial past was still much alive for the Indonesian people. I made a nice film for Lisette. It was for her birthday or for her farewell at CASCO. The movie was called “Finding the Durian”. We were invited to Yogjakarta for a joint program (called “Fixing the Bridge” organized by Charles Esche) where artists and institutions from all over the world came together to think about better mutual cooperation in the future. I found the whole program a bit problematic (but of course it was). I also remember that Lisette had to give a presentation and that we both had to go to the bathroom very often during the preparation of this. How can you fix a bridge if you run empty all the time. Difficult. I really hope that the Van Abbemuseum selects me for the 2021 research program (Many Europes) so that I can make another attempt to repair some bridges.

After Casco, it was difficult to find really interesting work as a project manager, producer. I worked for Droog Design under Wendel ten Arve as producer and project leader of Urban Play van Scott Burnham. I had to produce 12 art / design installations for the Urban Play / Manifesta Design Biennale. The participating artist where I worked with were wonderful. One of the productions I managed was by Stefan Sagmeister

Fantastic project! As project manager and producer I had to make sure that 150,000 (?) 5 cent coins were all sprayed blue on one side (thank you: van der Ende). Then the nickels were sorted in 5 grades of copper and a beautifully designed text placed on a square in Amsterdam in a text. At least 50 volunteers participate in this project. On the night of the opening of Urban Play, all coins were swept together and taken by copper thieves. Everything recorded on surveillance images. A hard lesson. After this production I had half a burnout. This was not so much because of the workload of the 12 productions that had to be launched immediately, but more because of the Exel sheets that I had to show the boss about the progress of the projects. It was reasonable thing to ask for exel sheets but it was also a kind of undoable  for me to show the development of 12 big projects in colored blocks with letters. I drove me crazy. I think I did a great job production wise but I fail as project manager I guess. Thank got we had Wendel ten Arve there.

Besides work that I did for others, I also made work myself. I participated in BMW (BLACK MARKETS WORLDS) – The IX Baltic Triennial of International Art Center for Contemporary art Vilnius (CAC) and Institute for contemporary art London (ICA). Curators: Sofia Hernández Chong Cuy, Raimundas Malasauskas, Alexis Vaillant. I presented my work there BLACK-faded, redone. The BLACK imaginary Dictionary and made a new work together with Nascha Hagenbeek; Men in Black, the daily Invisible. It was a work that was quite critical and political. But maybe it was not presented on the right place. Because it had some institutional critique that was not ment for CAC but for the institutions of the Netherlands. The CAC is a lovely museum and the people who work there still have a warm place in my heart.

It was a great experience working with good curators and presenting work in the museum. But I was not sure if the institutionalized art world was the place I wanted to work in. Well I would have loved if there would come an intelligent question from that side but there wasn’t. That was not the way things seem to work. 

After a United by Stripes lecture I gave in the temporary Stedelijk Museum (it was in the former PTT post building) I thought it was enough. I needed a break from my own conceptual practice. 

I wanted to have some fun. And so I did. I designed a fashion collection together with Natascha Hagenbeek and we called it: “Like it, I Love it!” We had a lot of fun, did a lot of research and I did a lot of hands-on exploration with materials, colors and patterns. I re-invented a playful site of mine. 

I wanted to have some fun. And so I did. I designed a fashion collection together with Natascha Hagenbeek and we called it: “Like it, I Love it!” We had a lot of fun, did a lot of research and I did a lot of hands-on exploration with materials, colors and patterns. I re-invented a playful site of mine.

After a part of the collection was finished (we produced the collection with kids and semi professional seamstresses from Osdorp) we failed to market our collection. We didn’t even tried I guess. We were not willing to translate the collection to a commercial succes. But we did gave a lot of workshop for youngsters about fashion and creation and we made a little book.

Natascha started a big communal garden and I started to research, and make textiles.

After the fun fashion project I started working with Sara and Miriam. Together we founded ceci in 2012 as an interdisciplinary artistic project. With ceci we tried to create a working environment beyond individual trajectories and professional backgrounds (visual arts, architecture, textile, writing and teaching).

With ceci we have to take into account the existence of diverse, different and sometimes opposing or contradictory viewpoints. And we tried to translate those to art work (arrangements, exhibitions, program, books, objects, workshops a.o)

By working as a collective challenged our attitudes towards authorship. On regular base we invited artists, designers, scientists for collaborations.

It is also a difficult and nerve-racking process to work together. We worked for a year on a dinner (art program). Sometimes I couldn’t deal with endless discussions about how to progress, but I taught myself to do some manual work while listening. This made it doable.

How do Things take Shape, ceci (more..)
How do Things take Shape, ceci
78% Sweater, ceci (more info)
Destination Shirt, ceci (more info)

In the meantime It was about time for me to focus on finding a parter. It was a big wish to realize a long and deep relationship. So far most of the  relationships I had did end after 3 years. And it made me think about the why of this. The main reason was that I had a problem with expressing my own needs and wishes. I felt vulnerable there. I went into therapy to learn to express and deal better with feelings and emotions. 

On the end of the therapy I was experimenting with dating. Online dating. I got the idea from my brother. Who is quite shy like me. It seemed that with the help of these dating sites he arranged  himself a lovely women and married her. So I thought I should give it a try.

I liked it a lot… looking at all the pictures of all these guys and talking to them from a distance. But it also was unnerving. Because on the end you need to meet. And I tended to crawl under the couch when I really liked a guy. My shyness doesn’t really help here. It was also difficult for me. Digital communication at that time was feeding expectations and dreams. Projection and emotions cause unrealistic fantasies. So most things didn’t worked out.

One evening I saw a picture on the site of a beautiful handsome sweet guy sitting behind a piano in messy environment. He reminded me at my first slow dance partner.. So I told him that in a message and went to bed. The next morning I got.a reply with the question if I was up for a breakfast. I liked the directness so I said Yes, sure.

Anyway an hour or what later the guy was ringing my door. We had breakfast. He told me his story. I showed him my music collection and we kissed. We went out for a coffee and he left me flabbergasted. You know this was not normal kissing. This guy was amazing. Best kisses ever. He later told me he did won prises with it. Which didn’t surprised me.

We had more dates. And it was lovely and scary. He was like me in therapy and we were both in a time of change. times. He was reinventing him self and went out a lot. And I was working hard to get funding for my work. Anyway it was an experience for me where I opened up. And with that also a lot fear came up. Fear is a horrible guide of course. There was the moment where I went left and he went right. Don’t know really how or what. Anyway we stayed friends. For a while.

I went back to the dating sites and found another partner. I married the guy. A nice guy that did fit into my plan. But at the moments I opened up I never got much feedback. So I stopped talking. Maybe that was ok. Maybe I was finished with therapy and talking?. Life has to move on. People all have their histories so on the end it is about what works.

I don’t know about you but I think it is in our culture to be a bit modest in life. Most of the time we try to be happy with what we have. Which is maybe good. But not in the times where we live now. Or not for me at least. Because i feel it is about time to be really precise.

This new partner. He did go along with the idea’s I had. In that way he was listening quite well. And we did created a quite a good life. He gave me all the space to develop and he helped me. I tried to help him too. We were quite a good working team. But after crashing trough all my girls dreams (getting married, renovate two houses and building a company) I felt my personal life became poor. My husband laughed at me like if I was being dumb and he became angry when my answers were not precise enough. I’m not dumb. I was in my thoughts I guess (past, present and future always mix in my answers, I’m not sorry for this).

I didn’t really realized my situation. I buried my head in the sand and worked on. But the reality was that I was not having very interesting conversations (about life or work), I was not playing or having fun, I was not listening to music much, and I didn’t got much attention and hugs.

I was compensating this with a lot of weaving, dyeing, spinning threads and sewing, reading books and having conversations with my cats.

I think it was 2017 when my beloved cat Gris Gris died. He was my everything. I cried for days and nights. To deal with the pain I did weave huge amount of fluffy mohair scarves. I felt awful. Horrible. But I started with morning walks, swimming and shinto. So it was the end a new beginning. I replaced Gris with a new cat Mr. Ed. (Eduardo, named after Ed de Goeij).

I was on the phase of “what is next?” And went for my master degree on the Design Academy Eindhoven (contextual design/ there is no textile master in the Netherlands). I wanted to learn how to combine all the skills I developed in the past to create something amazing and truthful.

And that was such a weird experience! It was the beginning of live as living on a rollercoaster. My intake was was with Louise Schouwenberg and Jan Konings. Weird enough they knew my work and took me in like that. They told me: It would be an honor to have you study here but what do you want? I was totally surprised by this reply. Kind of opened my eyes. What? So easy? I told them I what I wanted to do and that I wanted to do it in a group of other students..

And I started. I had many ideas on what I wanted to work with. And I wanted to work truthful and precise. And it was so wonderful to be surrounded with so many talented and sweet people. Well ok quite some spoiled kids there but I felt at home with some of the people there. I met Chongjin, Tadeus and Piet. And they gave me the idea I was not weird and not an outsider. Or at least that there were more outsiders like me. A homecoming. Anyway It seems I felt electricity and excitement in the air.

It was a crazy time at the academy. We were all looking at each other and extremely ambitious. I took it a bit light as a game. I still remember our introduction days. In the space they call “the dirty space”. Making moulds and making a mess with clay. I had such a good laugh. 

In the first semester I mainly worked on two researches:

The first project confronted me with my self because I ended up with the question; What do we need? How to process our knowledge into something we need. This was a very difficult question. Did I was in the need of anything?

The second project confronted me with myself too. Yes you can communicate with objects, houses plants and whatever. But they mainly mirror and or shape your thoughts. 

How did I do my research? For the Kami project; playing (I moved things around in my house, turned furniture upside down, destroyed things to create new stuff or meaning, I made rearrangements), I used the house as an instrument and made sound and video recordings. I climbed the stairs up and down and walked from the cellar to the roof and back again. I rolled balls over the floor, let balls fall down the stairs. I poked the house, heated water, made a fire, flushed the toilet with a bucket. Inspected the details of the construction of the house and its decoration in detail. I cleaned the whole house. And tried to weave a new story with the information gathered. After the process I did do a lot reading and tried to understand what I did. It reminded me of creating an orchestra or a play. My own role was the conductor (weaver). I created a virtual textile. I did it alone. But slowly the notion came that it would be much more fun to do this together with others. To make it an orchestra with people instead of a solo performance.. 

I failed the first semester. I worked really hard. I was truthful. A day for my presentation I ended up in the toilet and saw myself in the mirror of the toilet roll holder. I didn’t liked what I saw. It seemed I was confronted with a lot of needs that were suppressed for years. And the house where I did my study and research. I didn’t liked it. It was cold there.

But the day of the presentation was lovely. I was really excited about my work and research. But I was also tired and lacked some distance to really understand what I had done. I told my teachers that the work reminded me of my grandmother (who was an amazing piano player and bobbin lace maker and house wife) and burst out into tears. Not so professional I guess ;). I got a “failure” as one the few students there. Very painful. Every one went for a drink and I went home alone. Came home did drink a beer and cried. One of the most lonely moments of my my life.

But the next day was just another day in life. The first thing I did after I stepped out of bed was looking out of the kitchen window and saw my husbands new Mercedes Benz car stuck in the mud. I did bursted out in laugh and found it an extremely funny start of my day. After a truck pulled the car out of the mud, we drove to Eindhoven to pick up my study work and arrived hours late on the lovely family party. Well my little niece called my husband “a poep chinees” which is not that nice I guess and should have been corrected by the parents. Of course the real outsider in the family was me. 

In the following Christmas holiday I picked up my books and found many connections between my work Duchamp, Man ray, Rietveld and Mondriaan and the time they were living in. Guess what; Marcel Duchamp was a textile artist, a weaver. Just like me!. 

The book that opened my eyes was the book by Schippers “The Bride of Marcel Duchamp”. 

The old house where I lived and was making work functioned in my work as a time machine. Pointing back to both past and future needs. And my own role was that of a virtual weaver. I felt really happy with this insight

After Christmas I did my “redo” in Eindhoven and got an “Excellent”. I started the new course semester with an assignment on icons. I picked up the threads where I left them last semester; in the toilet with my friend Marcel Duchamp, and my personal critical notion on  technology; the need of a good chair, a more comfortable sit.

It was a crazy time at the academy. I wanted to create a work with the whole department. So I started to experiment with sending out messages that could be picked up by others. Not so much text messages but compositions, instructions, hints that could be picked up, interpreted or finalized by others. It was a play. It was about reacting on each other with out speaking. A language of acts, objects, images, text, gestures. First in the our study collective space and later (or maybe that was where things started at the first) on social media (instagram and facebook). It was a kind of play hide and seek. It was a bit weird because you didn’t had a clue on who was participating and who wasn’t. Anyway things got messy. On the department at school it was such a mess. All the fast produced art works that ended up in the bin. All these wasted materials. So painful. And I had too much information in my head so I wanted to go back to my studio to process.

I went back to my studio and worked my Icon assignment. We had to pick two: I picked “The Fountain” of Marcel Duchamp and the “Up” chair of Gaetano Pesce. It felt like a perfect following up of my project of last semester (virtual weaving, technology and need of a good sit). To understand more of the work of Marcel Duchamp I reenacted some of his works; Nude Descending a Staircase, his twine, and a sketch for the Large Glass (The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even). My research for the “Up” chair: I tested all the chairs in my old house. Alined them al in a row in front of the empty landscape behind the the house made a fire. Broke an eg on the snow and left my husband and the cold farmer house. 

I showed my research to the teachers. They told me it was interesting but that is was not relating to design. I told them that I didn’t saw any problems there and speak out my need to get some guiding on working out my own research project instead of filling more school assignments. The head of the department told me that that was no option. I was really sad. Gave here my most beautiful handwoven scarf and left school. I tried to reorganize my self and moved in to my studio. Slept in the cellar in a closet for a short time where I made my own bed out of torn scarps of textile and went on with my research.

My housing condition was not so good and I had problems on concentrating on work. I moved to “Villa Rosenlust” a former ABN Amro building. But things got worse. The whole sanitary system broke down and me and my sweet friend Helly (who invited me in there) were in “problems” as I may say so. Sorry, I have to laugh if I think about it but it was not nice. You need a bit of steady ground and some comfort to make work. So some stress and fear here.

So after I lef school all research was in my studio and in real life experiences. Didn’t really knew how to do it. Just tried to stay on the rolling ball and use my intuition. And there is a lot I did learned the last 1,5 year. The goal I did set for my self: How to create high quality connections in work and life. Method; to research this on intuition and tacid knowledge without an idea of the outcome or form of it; I just followed my nose.

If you love some one you can have the feeling you want to give your life for this person. As a reward you want to own this love. That is human but problematic. There is nothing to own in this world especially not humans. All the ties you use can break on the end. Security is nothing more than a concept. I can say this now but I that is after the learning process. But good ropes can be made I guess. You even have machines for it ;).

I did set up the goal for myself to learn to love without expectations or vorm. Just give and receive. Not a bit but everything. Opening up all registers. Maybe the opening up of all registers Is something I did before but now I did it without expectations In any sense and I did it with full conscious. It was unnerving but a good thing to do.

I’m (or was) a control freak and person with a goal and ideas and I like to work towards the fulfillment of my dreams. I had to give that up for while. I gave up everything on “idea level” besides the hope that things would work out ok in the end.

Funny enough my personal and work research went along India and the Indian contacts I made. The Indian contacts I learned to know inspired me on many levels and I hope to visit this country later in my life. My European dead artist friends had an interest in India too it seems. In its philosophy and practice (o.a in Tantra which means weaving). I studied the sources, texts and images that inspired them in their development as artists (Marcel Duchamp en Piet Mondriaan). Also I did a lot of research on the lives of Agnes Martin and Simeon ten Holt. This needs explanation I know. Later more maybe.

I learned that on the end there is nothing to hold on to besides yourself, hope, time and change. And that is ok. 

And there is love. There is plenty of it. For everybody and everything. For every animal for every human being for every mountain and ugly plastic scrap you can find on the street. You don’t need much for finding inspiration besides interest and attention. You just need to learn “to read”. I have Interest in ugly things, in beautiful things, in nice people in people with problems, in the rich in the poor, the young and the old.

A simple geste: If people notice or “see” each other they say hi. In this way you can also say “hi” to an object or an animal or a mountain. And the saying “hi” you can do on all levels and in a nice way. In what you make, cook, in how you look, in how you sound. It is not to show off but how to tune in.

On my daily walk I pass a lot of windows. Behind one tof them is a very old lady. I did gave here a wave. And she waved back at me. She weaved so enthusiastically she almost fell out of her big chair. I wave every time now when I see her. We don’t know each other but we “do” see each other.

This story is I getting too long!!! I should be just an introduction on where I really want to to talk about; the development of our poetic writing and reading skills. The creation of a new and old language.

And I should start with the building of this new future loom. Who’s going to join here? The more knowledge we build in the more lovely sounds, patterns, songs and sounds it will produce …

Ok would I like to end for now with a stripy ass here. It is is my own buttocks. The photo is made for my lovely French ex when I met him again after 10 years not seeing him and it is a tribute to Picasso who said “you have to stripe your are to make good art”. What is it means is that sometimes you have to be taugh and do your homework.

The stripes come from the blinds .. Morning sunrays that peep in… I think everything starts with energy and light… In the case of the pictures it looks like a case of being touched by light. This might be the most lightest touch you can feel. Only warmth. In case of weaving and stripes. Its story started in the time we started to “write” history

The first woven stripes were created like this I think; I imagine there was a streak of light on the weaving. And the weaver saw it and wanted to reproduce it in the weaving. This was possible because more than 1 color was available. And where there is one, more will follow. Before you know it you have got the rhythm … and so on. Before you know it you will have a (form) language, a calculation system, a language to express everything.

Well I probably will weave many stripes in many colours and in many different rhythms and formations. This last years I worked together with musicians and gave loom – piano concert. Way to go I guess. One of the last amazing things I found it that complicated weaving patterns were song to memorize them. And In Lyon the seems to be a guy that still can sing weaving patterns… We did write him a letter so just let see and wait. ..

 

0 Pussy, option, opening, hole, 
I  Dick, stick, nail, pole, line
II Loom
– Thread/ line/ stripe/ sun ray / horizon/ evenaar 
= Warp
I=I Threaded loom
+ Horizon and a path, crossing, focus
.  Start
.. Direction
– Line. Trip. We are going somewhere.
– – Trip for two
| = Stick
|_ = Angle. Meeting point
|_ X 2 = Frame. 
L X 2 + 4 x 1 = Basic chair or stool
L x 2 + 4 x 1  = Modernism
Chair + Ass = Sit
Chair + Feet = Step
Chair + Feet × 2 = Stairs
Stairs + Shelve = Slide

#fireplacestories

#songsfromthetreeoflife

#designispiredmodernistthinking

#ditiswaarabrahamdemosterdhaalt

#letskeepitsimple

I would say. Let’s walk together. Of course you can also take a plain but you will not see much of the trip.

——————————————

Besides some small projects with ceci I have studied textiles for the past 7 years. I touched them, saw them, studied their techniques and colors. I have done in-depth research into the cultures that created them and the artists who were inspired by it. I studied the work of the artist like Sheila Hicks, Anni Albers, Agnes Martin, Marcel Duchamp, Piet Mondriaan, Simeon ten Holt and others. I did read about how they grew up, what they studied, what kind of material they worked with, who their friends were and what the challenges of their times were in the time they produced their important works.

For example: One of my favorite artists is Sheila Hicks. I did read many books about her work, her life, and figured out here teachers and studybooks. Sheila did a lot of fieldwork in South America. And the history of textiles there is so rich that I can write many books about that but I will just give some examples of what I did found on my way. I also ad some homework here because reading alone is not enough you have to do and try something to understand it. 

I will not include pictures of the work of Sheila Hicks. I Guess you know here work. If not visit a library; https://www.stedelijk.nl/nl/collectie/86109-irma-boom-sheila-hicks.-weaving-as-metaphor

A marvelours intervieuw of Sheila with Monique Levi-Strauss you can find here: Oral history interview with Sheila Hicks, 2004 February 3-March 11

A friend, colleague (French medieval jurist Raoul D’Harcourt she got this book: “Textiles of Ancient Peru”. It is one of the most important textile books I have seen. I will just add some pictures that are in it and some material I worked with.

This lace, netted kind of work is too complicated for me and everybody else to reproduce I guess. But it is amazing!!!!

Fig. 16 – Serge weave (2/1), in the central part the diamond shape, the crossing order is reversed. In this book I did found many technique and shapes that are apparently visible in other cultures. The “diamond” and the “angle”.

My own study work (the texile techniques here are used to create texture and space, open and closed structures). 

In this book of Ramon I did found many technique and patterns that I could relate to patterned textiles made by other cultures. The “diamond” and the “angle”, the “fret” or meander…. I did some study work on Anatolian Kilims made in the same tapestry technique. This is the most important book I used I the book Anatolian Kilims. You can find it in this list. It is full of amazing textiles and tries to describe the language behind it. Here some of own study work.

I also studied the European tapestry technique of Gobelin weaving. It took me half a year to weave this study sample. I will tell later more about the technique.

As you might know the old cultures that made these textiles had no written language. But they were extremely skilled in expressing them selves in textiles. Textile making was mainly done by women and their status was very high. Almost all textiles were woven on (in basics) a very simple and mobile back-strap loom. The back-strap loom is a simple and mobile device that is put under tension by the human body. The simple loom can create extremely complicated 24 shaft patterns. The loom and the textile on in can be wrapped up into a little bundle and be transported everywhere. I learned that weaving outside with a view on the mountains is the most amazing thing in the world.

backstraploom.jpg
weaving-outside-mexico.jpg
view-mexico.jpg
suplementary-weft.jpg

Sheila also worked a lot with ropes and knots. I think it was in a Museum in Berlin that I saw the Quipu first. It seems it is now closed nowadays. Such a shame. Quipu (also spelled khipu) are recording devices made from strings, threads in all kind of material, colour and size. Historically used by a number of cultures in the region of Andean South America. The cords stored numeric and other values encoded as knots in all kinds of configurations. So it I a sort of administration of all kind of values. Well there is a lot more to tell here but I want to keep it short. 

The rope or twisted threads is the beginning of trade. If you twist two threads into one you can create a cord that can carry heavy stuff.. The basic technique of twisting is to twist two filaments on your naked leg and rub them with your hand. I did quite some study work here by hand but these day’s I also use a lovely tool. The Magical Rope Machine. A work I made that is partly inspired by this technique is “The Whipped Cream Whisk”.

Another script less culture that inspired me is Sumba culture. Here the background of the culture and their textiles and some homework from me.

Sumba/ Ikat 

Indonesian Ikat is important inspiration for me. Two years ago I found a little book about Sumba culture. The books tells the beautiful story / myth of creation, weaving and culture. This culture which still exists and flourishes can be a an important source of inspiration not only for me but also for all cultures and existing weaving communities. It tells the story about how important it is honor creation, dead and resurrection. For me this story is not especially about a religious believe. It is about creation as such. 

Being very precise where you start and from there build upon emerging knowledge. Giving knowledge to others and taking care that precious stories are kept and told again and again (like fairytales, like good story’s at a campfire). I think the story of Indonesian ikat and the stories that are told in this ikat weaving language inspires me because of its long and rich tradition. Personally I really cherish all the knowledge I did got from my grandmother, aunt and my mother. My grandmother was an excellent piano player and a teacher in batik and bobbin lacemaking. My aunt taught me weaving, braiding, spinning and embroidery. My mom was a dressmaker, my father was a photographer and my grandpa a painter and teacher. A lot of knowledge to cherish. 

The ikat language is inspiring but foreign for me (the Dutch have no tradition with it). As a designer, weaver and researcher I hope that for this project we can exchange our different approaches and connect the existing qualities in a new way in a way that is inspiring for both partners. Also I hope to improve my own skills and knowledge to teach Dutch designers about this very inspiring technique and about how to create something beautiful and stunning that is connected to your own culture and background. 

The story of the Sumba Myth: There once was a little island. Just one of the hundreds of island in the continent we now call Indonesia. The island is there already for a really long time.. One day the earth started to spat out water and fire and all the water flowed to the sea. The land dried up and the rain didn’t came back. It was a time of chaos and the people and animals died. When the life of the island almost disappeared one of the survivors of (a snake) made a loom from the last tree on the island. He began to weave around every pool of water and every spring until there was enough land.  He restored the alternation between the dry and the wet season and created the natural order in which society could settle.

The Culture: The python is considered the lord of the land, the owner of the fertile soil. The ability of the snake to give new life derived from the fact that snakes regularly renew their skin. According to the myth, the island is a woven skin that lets trough the rainwater and protects the groundwater. In order to prevent the nourishing moisture from flowing away, both ends o the island must be tight off. This idea is expressed in a symbolic ritual act in the language of textile.

The listed number of islands in Indonesia is 17,508. All Island have their own identity and culture. That Islands are able to develop a very strong culture I learned from my research of the Japanese culture. The interesting thing about Sumba culture is that it always welcomed influences from abroad but still kept their own values, traditions and culture as standard. After visits of the Ducht queen and a study of the gifts she brought with her (o.a DMC embroidery patters as I remember) the Sumba weavers adapted some of those patterns and to please the quean the depicted here on some of the ceremonial weavings. If you have a close look on how the queen is depicted it is a bit doubtful if the wanted to honor her or just had a good lough because for them she must have looked a kind of ridicule in her western royal adornment. Anyway it was a nice way of saying hello to each other. So far as I know there are not really visible influences of the Sumba on Ducht cultural products but we will do some study work here on this topic. And if there weren’t any influences then we can give it a try now. Another question from me is: did the Dutch brought any Damask weaving with them as a gift? 

IKAT

Ikat is a pattern technique in which threads:

SUMBA COLORS

Black: Black cloth was created by dyeing old white canvases that turned dingy. The black cloth is is used to bury the dead. For this burial many layers are used on top of each other. Alternately black, white and indigo cloths are used. This alternation marks the transition from dead to rebirth. High nobility is sometimes wrapped in as many as 100 cloths. These tissues are used by the ancestors for creating new life.

Blue/ Indigo: Dyeing with indigo is seen as the dangerous task that is closely linked to the life cycle. The color change that occurs during the dye process: from yellow to green to blue when the threads come into contact with oxygen, reminds the Sumbanese of the process of dying and death, but also of new life.

Ikat: Ikat is a pattern technique in which threads of fabric of a fabric are tied at various points before they are dyed. Colored patterns are the woven with the tied and dyed threads. The societies of the east and west of the island of Sumba are obliged to make cloths with this technique. The binding of ikat yarn would stop the flow of liquid life juices within the body of the island. The people in the areas between the end points  and the center of the country are allowed to weave but not to make ikat. Tying the warp threads would impede the free circulation of the life juices/ water.

White Cloth: The west Sumbanese may not make ikat textiel, they have to weave, to constantly renew the skin of the island. “White Cloths” are woven in this area. The use  of white cloths may be linked to the idea that ancestors in Cape Sasar once landed. This is the place where the souls of the deceased go after their death. They meet their ancestors there. It is said that the deceased reside here for a while before they are reborn as an animal, plant or human being. 

Meaning of the gift: The amount and size of the gifts and the exuberance with which they are exchanged strengthens the relationship between the living and the ancestors. The exchange of goods is much more than purely economic act for the Sumbanese. A gift to an unknown person created the possibility to enter in a new relationship. For each gift, one hopes to receive a gift later. The exchange of “things” creates obligations. By entering into such network of obligations with a many partners as possible , someone builds up an extensive network of relations through which his name can ‘travel far’, that is to say known by many. Raising riches or using income exclusive for themselves, is incomprehensible and unacceptable. Such an attitude is regarded as fundamental antisocial behavior.

Exchange: in the Sumbanese system of exchange and reciprocal dependency, apart form food, woven textiles and wickerwork play an important role. Spinning, weaving, braiding, making ropes and more generally bonding and binding materials together are activities that are associated with entering into relationships, marriage or the production of life. 

Contrast: In Latoya, the years ends with a ceremony that is called” Padu”, or bitter, worn out. Old rice from which the nutrient elements have disappeared is buried. Just like the dead, the rice has to be wrapped by a several cloths before buried. The last cloth should be preferably be a Kodinese Wola Rembla, the cloth representing the house of the python. A few day later the new year is is ushered in. The spirit of the python, the rato, asked whether the year will bring prosperity. The Rato is believed, can see the python in the water, if his skin shows strongly contrast white and dark colors, this is a sign the he is healthy. This is a favorable sign. The harvests will be good. If the skin is plain or faded, this is bad sign and people, crops and animals can be struck by illness or disasters. Contrasting colors are a sign of fertility and life. The idea that the bright and contrasting colors are conductive to life is reflected in all Sumbanesian textiles. There must also be color contrast between the upper  and lower body. This is not only important  for traditional clothing but also for contemporary clothing. The lack of contrast weakens the wearer and brings bad luck. In the long run this can be fatal. 

Ok two more textile cultures to go. Japan and Europe. …

Maaike Gottschal: I’m a weaver. I like the sound of the loom. I like to place the threads very precise. Preferably by hand. Like writing a letter. The weaving combines my love for color, texture, material and space. The handwork gives me time to think and to process. To make decisions when they are at hand. Textile is a language, a very abstract one. Even before there was the written text word textile was used to express all important stuff in live. It is a language: like music. 

Textielfabrique is my Rotterdam based textile studio. In this studio you can learn the full process of creating textiles by hand. My mission is to create awareness on the extremely high potential textiles can have in our culture. In the past textile was an important medium to communicate values, believes, prestige and comfort. Also they believed to be the messengers between earth and sky. Unfortunately textiles moved down on the career ladder to products of zero value/ waste. The best thing I can do as a designer is to pass on my knowledge to others and to provide them with the right tools, knowledge and inspiration. 

Mail me for special requests, questions or to subscribe to my mailinglist:textielfabrique@gmail.com

Textielfabrique cooperates with the Textile Museum, New Institute, Kings of Indigo, Nudie Jeans, Dobotex, By Mölle, Meervilt, Fiber, Less is More and many other fun and inspiring companies and individuals.

もったいない or 勿体無い

Mottainai!

Mottainai, is the Japanese term for conveying a sense of regret regarding waste (material, energy, toughts). “Mottainai!” Roughly means “what a waste!” It is an ancient Buddhist word associated with the idea that objects have souls.


Laten we samen wat bouwen.