Depression and gobelin weaving

This morning this video of The Getty Center about The Art of Tapestry showed up on my Facebook news feed. It's a fabulous video about the immense and timeconsuming process of making a tapestry, from designing the image, coloring the wool, warping the loom to the actual weaving. Have a look, I guarantee you'll feel less stressful afterwards. Maybe that's why in the 1970s Amsterdam had a project of gobelin weaving for psychiatric patients...

In 1977 my mother was trying to recover from a severe and ongoing depression. She participated in the weaving project at Sociale Werkplaats De Blauwbrug. There is not much that I can find online and I doubt my mother kept any photos from that period, but I do remember the huge loom we had in our kitchen and my mother sitting behind it. To me it looked incredibly complicated what she was doing, but she seemed to be in her element.

Photo by Kors van Bennekom

Photo by Kors van Bennekom

Sometimes she took me to the studio, where more people like her were working. Young as I was, I was told there was something wrong with them, but all I remember is a group of very friendly and even happy people working together on huge tapestries.

Photo by Kors van Bennekom

Photo by Kors van Bennekom

My mother gave up weaving when my stepfather had a heart attack and he needed her to nurse him. She just didn't have the time to warp the loom and weave the wool anymore. It is such a shame that he didn't see she needed that time to heal herself. She never fully recovered from her depression the way she could have.

Anyway, that's all water under the bridge now. I am happy I bumped into the video today that made me search for the gobelin project and that allowed me to actually find my mother on the internet. My beautiful and talented mama...

Two angels at my table

A few days before I had to take down my art show at Sugarfactory, I received a message on Facebook from someone I didn't know. Eli West, a fellow fiber artist from America found me on Instagram and wanted to interview me for the new blog he is writing together with his colleague Hannah Crawford. Eli and Hannah were coming to Amsterdam on their grand tour of Europe in search of fiber arts and artists. How very exciting!

We met at Sugarfactory where I showed them my work and they asked me a lot of questions that are still resonating inside of me. What an amazing honor to be asked about my work, ideas and process.  It gave a whole new dimension to my own idea of myself. Thank you guys!

After the interview we said goodbye and I thought that was that. But it felt weird not knowing anything about them, so I invited them to tea at my house a few days later. This time I got to ask questions, which I won't share here, except that it felt like I had always known them. 

The next day my husband Greg was having the premiere of his comedy show How to be Frisian at the Rozentheater and they - thank goodness - came along and laughed really loud - like Americans do - in a room full of Dutchmen who smile really hard, but don't make a whole lot of noise.

Within 7 days we had seen each other 3 times and now they were off to Paris. A part of me wished I could have sneeked off with them. I can't wait to hear more about their adventures in fiber Europe and about the community they are planning to gather through their blog, which you can read here.

Meeting Eli and Hannah was magical and I am so very very thankful.