We got this rice paper lamp for the shop from Ikea. It was open on the bottom and the light bulb glared through. I solved the problem by searching for an interesting piece of similar paper to seal the bottom with.

The decision was easy when I remembered Annet’s wonderful letter to me when I finished work on my book. It was written on her special ‘Applause’ paper (the description is in Dutch, but the image gives the idea).
The cleverness of this product plays on a Dutch pun-  clapping is ‘Klap’ in Dutch. Coincidentally, the poppy flower is called a ‘klaproos’, ‘roos’ means ‘rose’.
How are these related?
In her ingenious concept, Annet printed the word ‘klap’ repeatedly on the paper along with images of clapping hands. The paper is specifically meant for sending someone a letter of applause for something they have accomplished, or simply a letter of appreciation.  The punchline? (and why it doesn’t translate into English), is that if you then PLANT the letter and give it water, it sprouts in ‘klaprozen’or poppies. If you look closely at the first photo, you can see that the paper is full of tiny poppy seeds.

I felt bad about cutting up the beautiful letter, but since it was meant to be planted anyway, it was ok. I should have copied it, I suppose, but the words are planted in my heart, so I don’t think I have to add more papers to my ever growing pile of memorabilia.

Also, using words and handwriting from friends in collage projects like these gives them an extra charge of love and connectedness. Every time I go in the shop, every time someone admires the lamp with its tiny books hanging down, Annet willl get a little shot of ‘applause’ right back again!!

Wage peace curtain

January 29, 2009

The news of the day and some recent deaths in the neighborhood got me down.  I couldn’t concentrate on the work at hand, so I took a  break and threw myself into a creative project that needed doing. Every so often I make a rice paper curtain for our kitchen window. They stay nice and fresh for a year or two, then bleach out from the sun and get all stained from the condensation. So when one gets ratty looking, it is time to make a new one.

The latest uses a combination of spontaneously placed, torn cut and glued (with normal office stick glue) rice papers. I’ve stamped on them and sewn on some dried leaves and stuck some feathers in between the layers. There are also two ‘windows’ cut out, in one detail you can see the house next door through one. These are overlaid with a very transparent fiber paper. The yellowish leaves in a row are actually strung on a thread and hang in front of the curtain.

After I finished the project, I noticed I felt somewhat lighter and realized I’d followed the advice of Judyth Hill’s classic poem written in the aftermath of 9/11 – ‘Wage Peace’.


Wage peace with your breath.

Breathe in firemen and rubble,

Breathe out whole buildings

and flocks of redwing blackbirds.

Breathe in terrorists and breathe out sleeping children

and freshly mown fields.

Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees.

Breathe in the fallen

and breathe out lifelong friendships intact.

Wage peace with your listening:

hearing sirens, pray loud.

Remember  your tools:

flower seeds, clothes pins, clean rivers.

Make soup.
Play music, learn the word for thank you in three languages.

Learn to knit, and make a hat.

Think of chaos as dancing raspberries,

imagine grief as the outbreath of beauty

or the gesture of fish.

Swim for the other side.

Wage peace.
Never has the world seemd so fresh and precious.

Have a cup of tea and rejoice.

Act as if armistice has already arrived

Don’t wait another minute.

          Judyth Hill


She only flew

November 26, 2008


I’ve kept an old America Style magazine from 1996. One of the works of art which touched me most was by Brian Andreas . It was a little assemblage with the words,’for a long time she flew only when she thought no one else was watching’. The words have stayed with me for these past 12 years and the oil pastel collage above is a little tribute to Andreas’ piece.  I hadn’t seen his artwork for years, and when I looked it up this evening, I noticed that even after all this time, some of his visual language had crept into my piece.  It made me smile.

I remember in my Dutch class, we had to write a short story. Mine was about a woman who flew at dawn, when she thought no one was watching.  After a long and lonely period, she eventually became aware of others like herself, hidden angels.  When I had to read the story aloud in class tears came to my eyes. I still don’t know why. Do we all have a dream to fly?

ps Since writing this post, I’ve discovered Brian’s ‘storypeople’ site. I had run across it months ago without making the connection, but now I know why I had such a good feeling about it. Makes me want to get on the next plane to Iowa. Check it out!

Quick art

October 16, 2008

Materials: iroko offcut, handmade vegetable paper, oil pastel tinting of wood, old camera filter, collage paper, silk thread. Size about 1 x 3 inches

I love doing these little assemblages at the beginning of the day, because, especially if it is a day with lots of business stuff to deal with, I get the feeling of having gotten my art time in.

They take so little time primarily because I always have these materials within hand’s reach in my studio.

I recently went through my collage scrap box and weeded out*, but still am left with a selection of rice papers, old wrapping paper scraps, scraps of handwriting and calligraphy on tea tinted (pseudo parchment) paper, postage stamps, hand stamped and rollered papers from my monoprint work, scraps of letters from friends with cherished handwriting and postmarks, my hand painted brown wrapping papers and tissue papers, etc.
In a separate hand sized plastic box I have precious scraps of hand marbled paper, beautiful cancelled stamps and other mini-treasures that would normally get discarded for being too small to keep.

In my work table drawer I have a small sewing kit with a tangle of silk and cotton embriodery threads. In a pinch I can go to another drawer and find a sampling of my hand painted silk scraps, felts, wools, and rainbow nylons from my old umbrella collection.



* (I made up little cellophane packages of extra papers, if anyone is interested in having some I can mail them easily. They cost 2.50 euros each.)