Sunday, May 21, 2017

Do you prefer cake ?

Kindling your imagination: A small road in the countryside - leading your vision beyond the horizon.
Countryside
Buying yarn has something to do with having a vision. It is an exciting and rewarding experience, mind-stretching and nerve-racking at the same time. One visualizes the existing stash, colors, textures, quantity, suitability... The very probability of actual use takes second place to desire for more. We split our personality into two, one on the outside, giving us as much positive feed as we want, and one on the inside, the reality person, reasoning, weighing the pros and cons of the potential purchase, but also soberly searching for excuses to add to a vast existing stash and so forth.
 Doesn't this wrap's shape and strong neon-line colors set your fantasy in motion?

Then there is the lure of the yarn's presentation! We perceive not just skeins, cones or hard core balls, we visually caress Hankenskeins, cakes and donut balls! See these and more in this illustration (Interweave). Various known and unknown gadgets cast their spell on us and our credit card. A Nostepinne (Wickeldorn, Ball Winder)
in various new versions, incredibly easy-to-handle Bamboo Curved Needle Sets for socks, hats and loops, a true must-have for a dedicated sock or cowl knitter... Dream on, knitters and yarn fanatics!


This wrap created itself in my hands last winter (2016-2017). The meanderings are the opposite to straight lines, back and forth they rise and fall and add peaks and valleys to the structure. Smaller glossy beads and heart-shaped buttons in green, black and purple will catch the eye when the wrap is worn and thus becoming alive. It is a gift for Hélène, our Parisian family member, and - true to proverbial expectations - a très chique and beautiful Parisienne, wearing the wrap with great aplomb (Glitzy freeform wrap / scarf for Hélène)










Photographs copyright Valerie Mader + Ute Mader


Friday, March 3, 2017

Illumination Series - sparking new ideas

Spring returns with longer hours of light - the golden wings in the beautiful leather panel by Jorge Centofanti seem to take flight again, sparking new ideas and awakening tangible ones after a long hibernation ....
Illumination Series - Tapis Lumière - Light Rug (Guadameci)
This panel within the Centofanti Illumination series encourages and inspires to resume work on my project Timbuctoo (also see: Tahir Shah) which I started the day I bought the panel in August 2010. Some things just take time.

If Guadameci is an art you are not familiar with please read about it in this article on The Art of Leather. You might be as thrilled as I was - to discover an ancient art and some of the very few artists who are still engaged in creating leather art - how lucky can one get.

Timbuctoo
Tapis Lumière

Signs of Spring

Sunday, February 26, 2017

For a Friend Across the Ocean

No other words needed - this is for a Friend living in Taos, Faith Welsh.
She is a caring human being, a most creative artist of many talents, a cat person, a designer, spinner, knitter, painter, appreciates nature and glorious landscapes, mountains, rocks and trees and plants, the skies and seas, far-away places, foreign cultures - with her posts and her work she has helped me to overcome my homesickness for our former home in the country. This friendship circle is for her. I made it in October 2014.























Thursday, June 30, 2016

Laden with Texture and Color

All colors are my favorite. Is the singular of favorite correct grammatically, visually, perceptively, sensitively? Hard to decide, but the essence of all colors certainly is. I've been gathering yarn for decades, like this lovely Austermann Fancy Mix bought many years ago. 
Count the colors !
The first Breeze wrap I made I gave to a dear friend in France, using some of my many socalled orphan yarns (only one skein available for purchase) but Jane Thornley's Breeze pattern is so versatile that I could not resist drawing on the Breeze system again, this time using my long-treasured Austermann Fancy Mix. I combined it with some dramatic black and a golden cord I bought at the Berlin Textile Art exhibition last week  - adding volume, glamor and ritzy chic. After all, this is a gift for a special lady who is a goldsmith. What a wonderful and truly precious profession!

Golden Wrap
This time I wove a golden cord - twinned with a smooth black leather thread - through the smaller CO-edge as a draw-string. Gathered into undulating waves, it turns into a lovely shoulder-hugging cowl, framing the neck in precious colors like in a Klimt painting, or Egon Schiele's Crescent of Houses (1915, Der Häuserbogen II, Leopold Museum, Vienna).
Please see the wrap "Winter Breeze" posted earlier in this blog to get an idea of the shape (triangular) and size (always depending on the person who will receive the wrap).

Please visit ARTSY if you wish to know more about  Egon Schiele or Gustav Klimt. ARTSY is an association with the mission to make works of art available for viewing and buying on the Internet.
 Egon Schiele: Crescent of Houses





Happiness is the sum of many small things

Texture plus color are difficult to describe - that is why it is a haptic and visual sensation at once. It is easy to equal such sensations to those being in a garden with a bounty of bright flowers in summer and muted ones in winter. Since I moved to Berlin, I came to appreciate even more Peter Joseph Lenné's astounding capabilities as a garden designer and architect, a master landscaper.
Sanssouci - castle and vineyards
Amonst many prestigeous positions he was a founding member of the Prussian Society for the Promotion of Horticulture in 1822, and accepted the position of Manager of the Parks Division and the Orchard Cultivation. What is so utterly amazing is the fact that he, with no help of airplanes or hot-air balloons, was able to visualize an overall parc concept, incorporating many lakes, the river Havel, a number of existing castles such as Sanssouci (the above picture is by museumsportal-berlin.de) in Potsdam, and castles to be yet designed and built. The overall concept included the Pfaueninsel (Peacock Island) - the ensemble part of the Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin (UNESCO World Heritage Site). Truly a man with a lot of foresight, patience, know-how, experience, vision and imagination, such as all great gardeners must possess.

Relocating

Le Lauragais, in the Midi, in France. Walking across vast meadows, cut once in late May and now covered with a short gruffy aftermath, again offering visual protection for field mice darting through the new growth of grass and weeds, I think of the seasons passing year after year, eternally changing, coming and going, surviving us all.

A deer feasting on fresh green grass
I see the deer stepping out of nowhere, feeding on the new grass in the coolness of the evening. A summer meadow flower smell fills the air. I feel acutely homesick for the landscape although I have not even departed yet. I miss the feeling of belonging to this place we will have called home for so long - while I am still there and departure is but a remote day away. Ambivalence might come close to our state of mind.
There are not enough words to describe the feeling of loss and how I dread the time when for inevitable reasons that loss of our paradise becomes real and inevitable. I wish....     Cut.

Salix integra ""Hakuro Nishiki"; Harlekinweide / Zierweide, Saule
Relocating, again. Physically and mentally. This time it is different, circumstances dictated the move. We are heading for a life - a different life - in a city, in Berlin, one of the largest capitals in the world, a sprawling city of more than 3.5 million people, one third of its territory covered by forests, parks, gardens, and rivers. I am discovering private and public  gardens and consider them mine for the viewing.
Bridges: scarf with drop stitch ladders connecting cables
Garden flowers, so different from the wealth and unbridled abundance of wild flowers, so colorwheel-composed and arranged and yet not conveying the same impression of nature's harmony. Tamed for a purpose. Different. Bits of nature parcelled out to alleviate concrete monotony. Showcases in most places, gardeners tending designed gardens, meadows turned weedless lawns, wild flowers replaced by suitable soil and climate-adapted flower arrangements. But still - flowers and 440.000 trees, lovely boulevards and a surprising number of smaller parks contributing to the "green lung" of Berlin.

Bridges: scarf with drop stitch ladders connecting cables
Reapproaching textile work  - it is difficult these days. The now omnipresent conflicts in the world, the wars, and flight and plight of the refugees streaming into Europe, the rising of nationalistic parties in many countries, the presently apparent political chaos caused by the nation-splitting referendum in England - all of this makes it difficult to settle down to something seemingly inanely normal such as textile crafts, I almost feel guilty sitting down with my needles and yarn and concentrate on lacy pattern with a more or less intricate repeat...

Above: An off-white scarf made of ivory-colored mohair and the finest Chinese natural silk and Moroccan embroidery silk, three cables connected by drop-stitch bridges. Just right for days in spring with a northern breeze.

Moroccan Embroidery Silk - adding hues of color to other yarns
Below: Dipping into my huge stash, the approaching summer called for an intensely colorful scarf. It is knit lengthwise. CO on a multiple of 18. Roughly following a Feather and Fan pattern. Meanderings in bright colors and crazy lacy stitch patterns, alternating needle sizes and yarn gauge. If you are uncertain about gauges, this is a good site to get acquainted with yarn calculations. Color mix: of course nature is way ahead of me, could have added a million more colors! Just follow your mood...

Glitzy freeform wrap / scarf for Hélène
Britzer Garten (Berlin)
I thought it might be interesting to introduce a number of famous Berliner personalities:
1) Journalist, writer, author, satirist: Kurt Tucholsky "The New York Times hailed him as "one of the most brilliant writers of republican Germany. He was a poet as well as a critic and was so versatile that he used five or six pen names. As Peter Panter he was an outstanding essayist who at one time wrote topical sketches in the Vossische Zeitung, which ceased to appear under the Nazi regime; as Theobald Tiger he wrote satirical poems that were frequently interpreted by popular actors in vaudeville and cabarets, and as Ignatz Wrobel he contributed regularly to the Weltbühne, an independent weekly that was one of the first publications prohibited by the Hitler government."
 
This is from a poem (1924) on travelling through places and times: 

Die Kinder lärmen auf den bunten Steinen. 
Die Sonne scheint und glitzert auf ein Haus. 
Ich sitze still und lasse mich bescheinen 
und ruh von meinem Vaterlande aus.

Children play noisily on the colorful rocks.
The sun is shining, rays glistening on a roof.
I am sitting quietly, basking in the sun
and take a rest from my fatherland