Monday, February 16, 2015

Hortus Botanicus Leiden

Sometimes it seems that wishes are granted, and fairy tales seem to come true. This is how I could best describe what I have experienced.

The oldest botanical garden of the Netherlands is located in Leiden (Hortus botanicus Leiden) and is celebrating it's founding 425 years ago (you are reading it correctly!). -check out their site here- My attention was drawn to their notification that one of their trees had to be cut down. As you all know botanical gardens always have unique specimens of all kinds of trees and plants.

I was in a courages mood and contacted them. I complemented them on their beautiful achievement (425 years and still standing strong) and also found some extra courage to ask them what they where going to do with the branches of this special tree. I send them pictures of my handmade crochet hooks, hawthorn needles and knitting needles. I ended my mail with the note I would love to make new items from those branches.

Against all expectations they wrote back that they loved my work and told me they where going to participate in a textile craft festival. They continued that my work would be an amazing asset to the selected artists invited to exhibit and sell items in their gardens during these textile art days in may.

They mentioned there was wood left from the tree they had cut down and invited me to come and pick out what I would need to make new work from their special tree. I was blown away, this was a dream come true! We agreed on a date I would visit. I wrote back that I wished to come a bit earlier to be able to walk through their amazing gardens and ancient glass houses. They told me they where closed for the public at the moment I would visit them, and noted that they would gladly let me wander around on my own during my visit.....

The day came, and there I was.. feeling like Alice in wonderland walking in awe through these amazing gardens and glass houses filled with the most unique and beautiful plants and trees in.

After spending an hour of wandering, indulging my senses and photographing I decided it was time to start collecting the wood I would need for my project. They also recently had to trim down another unique tree so there was lot's of choice.

At the end of the day I was invited in to have a cup of tea in the library (filled with plant oriented books and archives).


I left with two bags filled with the most beautiful wood and my heart filled with the most beautiful memories of what I had experienced that day.  I can't wait to go back with bags filled with all sorts of beautiful textile oriented items to sell in may! 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

waarmaakdag, paying it forward

A short while ago I got invited to be part of a great event. It is called 'waarmaakdag' in dutch, which translates into 'make it happen-day'. Professionals from all kinds of disciplines ranging from lawyers,  social media experts, tax specialists, design specialists and lots of more interesting people are asked to share their knowledge 'pro bono' with all participants of this event. This beautiful event is organized all over the Netherlands and I was invited to help as a specialist in my field (design) on a 'make it happen-day' in Leiden (a beautiful neighboring city of where I live).

traveling through Leiden
For me it was a very interesting first participation. Wondering what to expect I traveled by the break of dawn to Leiden. I met all the other professionals before the event began. A great atmosphere was already starting as every professional introduced them selfs. So much knowledge was going to be available that day! Every professional got their own neat desk which would serve as a consulting desk for all participants with questions. This was all happening on valentines-day so it felt a little like knowledge speed-dating!
my cozy desk for the day
When the event started, all participants started to consult with their specialist of choice. I was surprised how versatile the people where that took place at my desk telling their story's and asking their questions. It was really inspiring to be able see into their lives and work. Surprisingly I only had three people at my desk that asked direct questions that concerned design. All the other participants I had a chance to help, had such different questions. I was really intrigued and curious how I could help them. I quickly discovered that I of course did not only have to answer peoples design questions. I was able to use my creativity for any challenge delivered to me. It was inspiring to notice every person that left my desk, left it with a smile and renewed energy to take on their personal challenge. And in the process I also got in touch with people that could lead to some inspirational collaborations :-)

the location itself was inspiring already
The 'waarmaakdag' in Leiden was organized by the amazing initiative called de gangmakerij,
go check them out because they do a lot more interesting things!
These 'waarmaakdagen' are organized all over the Netherlands, check out for more info!

You can imagine I left that day with a smile that wouldn't go away :-)   

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Almost there!

After working like crazy on a very succesful christmas storm, I decided to take some time to renew the technical side of my etsy shop. And because everything was sold out (so happy about that!) I am collecting wood in nature and carving away to finish new hawthorn needles and crochethooks! I also found the time to develop some new lovely products I am sure you will all love. Can't wait to show all the new items, I'll keep you all posted!