Hello Art by Nature readers! A lot has happened for this edition. In edition 10 and 9 I not only published on Issuu, but also with Foleon. That was a great experience and I saw there were many ways I could make our magazine more interactive. So when I found Maglr I thought that this would be the next step. So I contacted Berry van Elk, owner of Maglr to see if we could collaborate. I’m so happy that he liked the idea. For this edition I also did an edition in Maglr. It was a real eye opener and a true creative journey! Do check this version out for yourselves and let me know what you think!
world is and why we should treat it with love and respect.
My good friend in art and nature, Merel Slootheer, who also writes an amazing column within our magazine, suggested an exposition where she presented her own work. ‘An insect world’ was a great and unique showcase of talent from different artists, who in their own way, are inspired by insects.
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A very important article in this edition is the dedication to Joe Etty who sadly passed away earlier in the summer. I was introduced to his work at the first exposition of Joe, Randy Etty, and Katia Plewnia called ‘Lust for life’. Randy, his son, and Katia decided to go ahead with a scheduled exhibition sharing the results of their latest collaborations. I am always delighted when artists share their work to be presented in Art by Nature. In this edition, Jordan Kim shows her amazing talent incorporating a variety of repurposed papers and media into her work. This edition also gives Laura Hall the opportunity to share her vision of how magical the
Many thanks again to Stephen King, a lecturer in media at Middlesex University Dubai and his students for continuing to help me edit the articles for Art by Nature magazine.
And share with others. Thank you and enjoy edition 11! Tessa Valk Founder, Editor-in-chief & Designer
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CONTACT email@example.com SPECIAL THANKS TO Jordan Kim • Laura Hall Alisa • Lim A Po • Merel Slootheer • Katia Plewnia Labour of Art • Randy Etty • Maaike Krijtenburg • Sandra Westgeest • Cedric Laquieze No content may be used without permission of Art by Nature magazine. Photos of artists’ work(s) are owned by the artist (all rights reserved). All images are credited where it has been possible to identify the owner. If you find an image that is yours and you aren't credited, please let me know.
NA AFT BY 6 CR
30 Nature's wannahaves
TION 'SEL A IB I M
N' J o e E
ur e creat
ed a n
es 38 DIY
32-37 Exhibition 'Selamat Jalan' 34 Good Journey, Godspeed Randy Etty & Katia Plewnia of Labour of art 35 Nature created an artist Joe Etty (1940 – 2019)
E R Y S P EC
16 - 29 Gallery special An insect’s world 18 God's in the detail's Maaike Krijtenburg 20 insecta - pharma Merle Slootheer 22 Curious little beetles Sandra Westgeest 27 Designing new species Cedric Laquieze
l pa tc he s
Nature's column 41 Nature’s Way: Rewind Merel Slootheer
Jordan K i
Nature through the eyes of 12 Elements Alisa Lim A Po
S a nd r a W es
RE U T
Inspired by nature 10 A real flow Laura Hall
Natural patches WITH JORDAN KIM The natural world is a visual expression of the wonder that is the animating force or energy that connects us all. I believe the common link between art and nature is a desire to not just understand how the world works – but to share it. I want to explore how the biological urges, innate wisdom, and sub conscious callings pull us toward activities, people and places. When we elevate our awareness of this interconnection, nothing but empathy, kindness, and love can come from it.
What was your route on becoming an artist? I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri in a family of artists. I’ve always been very motivated, getting straight A's in school. Although my heart was in the arts, I made the responsible choice of a career in the sciences. I ended up getting degrees in biology, studio art, chemistry, and a masters in Environmental Management. I worked in the sciences for over 15 years, climbing the ladder until I was managing an organization. All the while, I was continuing to make and
ART BY NATURE | CRAFT BY NATURE
sell art on the side working at night after my son was sleeping. My art business has been steadily growing and I signed with a rep group several years ago. At one point I was licensing my work, doing commissions, teaching classes, and selling my art to wholesale, and retail markets. Needless to say, I was a bit over-extended trying to be a mom, wife, and managing two thriving businesses. So a year ago, I decided to leave my 'responsible' science career and pursue my art full time. Best. Decision. Ever.
J ordan incorporates a variety of found papers and mediums into her work. In this mixed media collage entitled, "Elephant," she has used topographic maps, magazines, and wrapping paper.
Ctenophora drawing and process
1 From left to right: Many of Jordan's collages focus on the natural world and our connection to it. In this image entitled,"October Crows". 2 Jordan teaches classes to foster an appreciation for our connection with nature. 3 Jordan's son shares her fascination with the natural world. 4 Jordan's artwork is often inspired by her many years of work in natural resource conservation. 5 In her studio, Jordan often starts with a sketch and then begins cutting paper to glue down over it.
Who and what inspires you and in what way? One of my inspirations was my grandmother who was a collage artist too. She lived fully and unapologetically as her true authentic self. I am also inspired by other creatives such as: Nikki McClure, Lisa Congdon, Kelly Rae Roberts, Leigh Standley, Andrea Scher, Katie Daisy, and I could go on. Can you take us through your creative process? I make paper collages – but not in a conventional way. People often describe my work as 'painting
"I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THE WAY COLLAGE LENDS ITSELF TO PLAYING WITH LAYERS OF MEANING AND SYMBOLISM." with paper'. As my business name, Found & Rewound, suggests, I like to use found objects (junk mail, magazines, packaging, etc.) and give them a new purpose in my artwork. My favorite subjects are simple moments and observations that inspire me – children, family, community, scenes from mother hood, gardening, and the natural world. I absolutely LOVE the way collage lends itself to playing with layers of meaning and symbolism. I love tucking hidden messages into my work with the paper I use, the words on it, or even little found objects that I find and incorporate.
These little 'love notes' are a way I try to encourage slowing down, looking deeper and seeing beyond first impressions. I see now that all my time studying the natural world was really about my fascination with our connection to it. My mission is to create work and experiences that inspire us to honor our connection to each other and the natural world. v foundandrewound.com
CRAFT BY NATURE | ART BY NATURE
A real flow WITH LAURA HALL As an independent seller, just starting up, Laura wanted to turn her love into a living. "Being a spiritual person, I believe that mother nature is alive and awake." With her art she wants to show how magical the world is and why we should treat it with love and respect. She has lived in a few places around the UK and loves to explore and take photos. In her store there are prints, canvases, pillows and more items featuring her work. She invites you to take a look!
INSPIRED BY NATURE | ART BY NATURE
ART BY NATURE | NATURE THROUGH THE EYES OF
Elements WITH ALISA LIM A PO I first was introduced to Alisaâ€™s work at the First Art Fair, at the Van Loon Gallery. Her work is so versatile and I thought it would be nice to explore her work in greater detail. The series, 'Elements', is much lighter than her previous work and presents a certain brightness. The Sun seems broken through. In this series, Lim A Po works with acrylic on various materials, such as linen, paper, aluminum, and brass and a combination of colors and shapes. Abstraction For Lim A Po, the fixededness of form is both a starting point as well as the final destination. In predetermined frameworks she develops a spatial layering in which the relationship between color and form is decisive and of great significance. Contrast and texture create layering and depth, eventually becoming one. At the same time, the work is highly abstract, with sharp lines and fragmentary imagery. The playful act between surface, highlights, and lighting gives an additional edginess to the works, which contrasts with the organic visual language that she has produced previously. Cut-outs Abstract, layered structures, and unity of form and color are likewise essential factors in Lim A Po's most recent addition - cut-outs. Using a pair of scissors, the artist meticulously works with paint and linen resulting in collages presenting studious layering of various elements. Alisa Lim A Po in her studio, Heemstede, NL.
"I often describe the technique of my work as a game of construction and demolition. And it actually is. It is a phased and repeated process. First I paint large canvases. Memories and feelings such as almost impressionist scenes, built up by many layers of color and texture. Once finish, I cut it in large pieces. It almost feels like a sin, at the same time satisfying and liberating. Cutting, which is the destruction, also means the start of something new. The next step is to cut these large painted meters of linen into hundreds of unique elements. In the studio, at home in front of the TV, in the car, on the beach in Italy I take the linen everywhere with me, because every work needs hundreds of elements."
"THEY ARE PICTURESQUE COLLAGES, SOMETIMES VERY AMORPHOUS AND ABSTRACT, SOMETIMES ALMOST IN GRAPHIC ORDER."
This multitude of different and unique shapes, carefully arranged by shape, texture, and color comes together in a fusion of the elements, when Lim A Po arranges the elements back together again. Structure, texture, and colour are of great importance. Modular Installations Her installations, “Nature of Elements” and “Alloy of Elements” consist of multiple, three-dimensional components that can be assembled in a modular fashion. "Being able to assemble in a modular way made me explore unexplored territory, and was very interesting to me. In my earlier
ummary of Summer, collage of cut outs, 2018, S acryl on linnen, 200*200cm
installation 'Clones', the modular nature of the installation proved to be fascinating." Unique compositions are created, sometimes out of reach of Lim A Po. One follows her, others follows their own feelings. "Sometimes my work develops from a perspective that I would never have expected beforehand, it is often really surprising. I am curious as an artist: why do people make decisions in the way they choose? Because people participate in the creation, I have to let go of some control. That is sometimes difficult, but that is simply the interactive nature of a combination." v
ajlimapo.nl A lloy of Elements, modular installation, 2017-2019, acryl on mirror rvs, size S-M-L, casted in liquid gloss.
From top to bodem: Alloy of Elements, 2018, No.7 size S; No.17 size L; No 21 L; Nr. 4 size M and No.34, size M. Alisa Lim A Po at work in her studio.
NATURE THROUGH THE EYES OF | ART BY NATURE
GALLERY AN INSECT WORLD
AN INSECT’S WORLD Insects in the Netherlands are not do ing well. That might seem nice, because insects can also be annoying. Yet it is something that must change, because we desperately need these critters. With this exposition we wanted to make in sects more visible and give them the at tention they deserve. It was important to not only pay attention to pollinators, but to all kinds of insects. Next to each artist we had flowers of Suzet van Roo ij, and there was a beekeeper who told about the state of insect species in the Netherlands. T Since 2017, I’ve been following Merel Slootheer with her Precious Matters company. And so I visited this exposition in Amsterdam which was organised by Maaikes Livepainting, a very talented artist who paints bees and wasps. I was so pleasantly surprised what insects can inspire us to create. Here are some of the artists I met for the first time here.
Merel and me at the exposition
GOD'S IN THE DETAIL'S WITH MAAIKE KRIJTENBURG
GALLERY AN INSECT WORLD
The organizer of the exposition An Insect World, Maaike Krijtenburg tells me nature is a subject that keeps returning in her life. During her study of “Art Therapy”, she researched the therapeutic aspects of nature, primarily for people with stress related problems. She notes: “It may be winter in your life, but that doesn’t mean it can never be summer again.” She gets inspired by her faith and believes there is no better artist then God.
On a sunny day she saw a bumblebee on a sunflower. She took pictures and started to draw the little insect and started thinking about the important role of insects in nature. By her art she wants to raise awareness about the important role that insects have in nature. Her insects are realistic even with her own interpretation. After making a lot of photos of her subject form different angles, she chooses the perfect one and starts with a sketch. Thereafter she starts using pastel; with every layer more details become visible, giving a better insight into the form of the insect. She gets inspired by the following artists she follows on Instagram: @ denisoktyabr, @zhaoyang3665, @ Izumi_kogahara and @radrabbit7. She finds their work powerful impressionable and because it is more abstract,she can augment it within her own ideas. maaikeslivepainting.nl
GALLERY SPECIAL (RE)INVENTING NATURE
GALLERY AN INSECT WORLD
THE INTRODUCTION OF A NEW CLASS
INSECTA - PHARMA WITH MEREL SLOOTHEER
The pill is at the centre, either a tablet or a capsule made from resin. The body, wings, antennae and legs are first drawn in illustrator and then laser cut from the carton in which the drugs once were packaged.
It started in 2013 as an autobiographical research project. I had already been dealing with health issues for a while by that time. I felt completely burnt-out, which resulted in a host of different physical complaints. It was out of my experience with being ill and having to take prescription drugs that I developed insecta - pharma. As my medical knowledge grew I began gathering up questions about health and medicine at an equal pace. Are certain symptoms causes or effects? Is there necessarily a difference between preventing and curing disease? Where do we draw the line when it comes to the side effects of drugs, are they inescapable or unacceptable? I soon saw that these questions cannot be answered in a clear-cut way. Oneâ€™s experiences with being on medication are personal, unique and often come with an emotional component. When you are prescribed a drug it can sometimes feel like being sentenced
to a punishment, but it can also feel life-changing in a positive sense. Taking a pill has, in many instances, become the most obvious course of action when when faced with range of issues. With insecta - pharma I try to speak to the inescapable prevalence of drugs in our society by comparing them with insects. Their omnipresence, their indispensable role in our daily lives, the ways in which they manifest themselves: their useful and beneficial traits concurrent with their negative side effects. Pills as small entities, a whole new group of insects with its own classification system. A combination of taxonomy, entomology and pharmacology. Every tablet or capsule has its own life purpose, characteristics and appearance.
Insecta - pharma
GALLERY AN INSECT WORLD
CURIOUS LITTLE BEETLES WITH SANDRA WESTGEEST Every day, Sandra makes a new discovery about insects that help provide new inspiration for her work. Beetles have taught her so much about nature.
"I PLAYED WITH DOLLS, AND I WOULD DESIGN THEIR CLOTHING."
What was your route on becoming an artist? Ever since I was a child I have been making things. I played with dolls, and I would design their clothing. I read DIY-books. I visualized making things, I am an autodidact in that way. As a child, school didn't suit me perfectly. Out of all the courses, 'Mix Academy' was the only one about art. This art school suited me and I studied there from 2002-2004 alongside my full-time job. Making proces
GALLERY AN INSECT WORLD
I never had a lot of confidence, until I decided to quit my job after 14 years as a calculator-work programmer at a maintenance company. I could never fulfilled my true potential there, but did it because I was good at it. Now, I’m doing something with my heart and soul. That gives me confidence and it shows. It also helps me to connect me with like-minded people. The ‘slow business’ arose because I had more time to look at things, and to observe the garbage around me. I started to research the different kinds of garbage and came to the conclusion that the problem of garbage will never end. One third of garbage is from myself, my neighbours’ houses and our pockets or bags, ore drop it by accident. In my opinion, the only solution is to arrange a large group of daily litter pickers who pick at least one piece per day and then spread the news that picking up dirt is 'chiq'and 'artsy'. I collected drink cans because I thought it makes a beautiful material to work with. By cutting the metal
with simple scissors I discovered a beetle. I realised that this was a perfect spirit animal for me. Beetles are often cleaners. So I challenged myself to pick up one soda can and remake it into a beetle each day during 2016. The project is called #ElkeDagEenKever. Who and what inspires you and in what way? Since I started my ‘beetle life’ I started to follow other artists on Instagram. Basson Handre makes beautiful pictures of insects. Kafka8 makes insects from metal wires. Christopher Marley’s colours and compositions inspire me. Carim Nahaboo makes interesting drawings and illustrations for ‘The Beetle
Tin beetles, cleaners of nature
Sandra picked up one soda can a day for her project #elkedageenkeverbeetle each day during 2016
GALLERY AN INSECT WORLD
Insects inspired by Andy Warhold
"AT FIRST I COPIED ANDY. NOW I MAKE MY BEETLES “ANDY-LIKE” IN MY OWN WAY."
Collector’s Handbook’. Another book that inspired me is ‘Het Wonderlijke Insectenboek’ which Bart Rossel and Medy Oberendorff designed. Last but not least I let Andy Warhol’s beetle-print ‘Happy Bug Day’ inspire me. At first I copied Andy. Now I make my beetles 'Andy-like' in my own way. Can you take us through your creative process? I never make sketches before I design a beetle. The garbage let’s the beetle arise from it. The cans have so many inspirational prints that inspire me. Those prints lead me in deciding what form to cut and what lines and dots to put on for the decorative finishing touch. Because there are so many kinds of beetles I never get bored making them.
DESIGNING NEW SPECIES WITH CEDRIC LAQUIEZE
T When I visited The Insect World exposition I saw Cedricâ€™s newly invented species. It felt like the wonders of a haute couture presentation, with their wonderful colours and and well thought out construction.
Who and what inspires you, and in what way? I get inspiration from the strangest and most random places. It can be a bird or insect obviously, but also a sentence, a book, a movie. I also love old myths and tales, and a lot of contemporary artists and illustrators inspire me. Artists like James Jean, Takashi Murakami, Jan Fabre, Les Deux Garcons, Darwin Sinke and van Tongeren. For me the most im-
portant thing about these artists is the fantasy that they put into their work. Whether illustration or sculpture, they are 'one image' stories that inspire the mind to wander. The quality of craftsmanship gives me something to aspire to match. Movies could be the 'Lord of the Rings' (I love a good fantasy movie), 'The Cell' or any fantasy movie really. Book wiseâ€Ś dark material or comedies such as 27
Army of fairies
GALLERY AN INSECT WORLD
"I TEND TO GET OBSESSED AND THINK ABOUT THE PROJECT NON-STOP..." 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' are great. I love mythology and fairytales and so obviously the works of the Brothers Grimm are also on my reading list. I have attended almost every opera performance I could and I receive a lot of inspiration from classical music, as well as theatre-design and costumes. Can you take us through your creative process? I will usually get a random idea, get very excited and try to start working on the project right away. It usually involves gathering whatever material I need, which can take up to a few weeks. I tend to get obsessed and think about the project non-stop in that time, which usually makes me consider different options on how to get it done or to present it. Cedric inspires other artist
Cedric working on a project
What was your route becoming an artist: education, working experience, anything that helped making you the artist you are today. I have been drawing painting and sculpting things since I was a kid. My father was a weaponsmith and my mother a painter so there was always an eye for creativity and objects while I was growing up. I was gifted a huge amount of plasticine clay when I was about 12 or 13 and that kickstarted my sculpting obsession, I would spend entire days in my room creating characters and worlds out of the clay that became my toys, having epic battles and making ever more complex creations. I started making my own toys which quickly covered my entire room. From that point on Iâ€™ve always been playing with the ideas of transforming objects and putting my hands on materials that can forward my imagination into the real world.v
haves by SK
Insecthouses Insect Houses (Insectenhuisjes.nl) started as a one-off art project. In a large inner garden, 61 insect houses were erected in various forms: pyramids, farms, churches, houses and mosques. insectenhuisjes.nl
Make sand cats on the beach With the Neko Cup you can make these sleepy cats on the beach or in the snow. And if you don't need it, the minimalist design is also nice for the home. eyespired.nl/zandkatten-strand
ART BY NATURE | NATURE WANNAHAVE'S
Waterproof shoes made of recycled coffee grounds #RENS is an innovative sneaker made with sustainable materials, like recycled coffee, and has qualities everyone can appreciate in a shoe. kickstarter.com
Blue bear ice pack These polar bear shaped ice blocks are available in 2 cute sizes, mom and cub. They come prefilled with non toxic fluid, ready to be placed in your freezer and await their turn to chill. designboom.com
Living Light A cross-pollination of nature, science and design. The energy crisis symbolises a need for urgent replacement systems. The collaboration between Ermi van Oers and Plant-e focuses on combining design, science and technology to create a world where plants become part of our energy system. livinglight.info
SELAMAT JALAN The ever growing synergy between designer Katia Plewnia and artist Randy Etty has already led to multiple fruitful exhibitions. Reunited again to turn the successful Joie-de-Vivre exhibitions into a Selamat-Jalan-expo-2019. In loving memory to their favourite artist: Joe Etty (1940 â€“ 2019) by SK
SELAMAT JALAN | ART BY NATURE
GOOD JOURNEY, GODSPEED RANDY ETTY & KATIA PLEWNIA OF LABOUR OF ART Saying goodbye is an art in itself and so Randy and Katia decided to make this exhibition all about Joe's art. T
Katia is a designer, crafter and owner of fashion label, Labour of Art leather goods. She creates bags that carry dreams, ideas and stories. Her ecological leather bags let you feel the story which the paintings are telling. The raw edges and floating shapes of her bags resemble the hills, a stream or clouds. Randy is Joe’s son. He has been taking art classes since 2009 with renowned artists, including at the Volksuniversiteit. He has also held the role of secretary for the Kunstgein art foundation, where he loves to interact with the artists. He has found a way of expressing himself through paintings and stone sculptures, with his father as a mentor and a guide. Joe’s works have been displayed in an ongoing exhibition, named Selamat Jalan, since June 2019. The gallery welcomed over 185 visitors in one week and succeeded in putting together a tribute to his artworks which were displayed in the major part of the Niek Waterbolk art gallery in Utrecht. Now the exhibition continues in Landgoed Zonheuvel in Doorn, within a wonderful setting in the midst of the woods, where Joe’s paintings just belong. randyetty.com labourofart.com
F rom left to right Katia's leather bag in front of Joe's work, Randy's art Photoshopped in Joe's work, Katia's leather bag in front of Randy's art.
ART BY NATURE | SELAMAT JALAN
Joe teaching his grandson Dean painting techniques. Joe's studio just how he left it.
JOE ETTY (1940 â€“ 2019) NATURE CREATED AN ARTIST Joe Etty was intrigued by arts ever since his youth. Growing up in Indonesia during wartime, he and his family were taken to and held in a Japanese internment camp. He was separated from his father, and Joe and his three brothers had to take care of themselves under the most extreme conditions.
On one of his early birthdays, he received his first box of colour pencils and discovered a way out of his harsh reality. His first sketch book was soon filled with drawings, from front to cover. The influence of the tropical environment was noticeable in his early designs. At the age of 17, he was deported by boat to The Netherlands. Separated from his family again, he endured the long journey, landing in Amsterdam on a cold winter's day in January 1957. He finally settled in Utrecht, where his passion for life helped him find his way and he was finally able to embrace the 'Dutch Life'. Together with his wife Toos, he raised three sons. Toos has been his muse for his entire life since. An interest in the Fine Arts had been running through his veins during this period, and so he started studying at Artibus (presently the HKU â€“ High School of Arts Utrecht). After his graduation he discovered more renowned artists to guide him. His style developed day by day as he gathered inspiration by travelling to exotic places. Most of all, he loved to be in his own piece of land in Utrecht, where he grew vegetables and picked fresh fruit. Balance was found in just sitting on a bench, being within the plants and trees surrounding him. After the family had moved to Nieuwegein he started a studio in his house and this is where his creativity really took off. After retirement, he joined the art group KCN
"PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD APPRECIATE HIS VISION OF NATURE CAPTURED ON WORKS OF ART, THAT WILL WITHSTAND THE TEST OF TIME." (Artist Centre Nieuwegein) where his artworks were first exhibited. He painted landscapes, portraits and made abstract works. His love for trees and flowers were vivid and clear amongst his paintings. The exhibition hall of KCN offered the space he needed to complete an enormous painting. Measuring 4.5 metres long and 2 metres high, the 'Indische kers' (nasturtium) came to life. He made a great effort to express leaves in 3D motion over linen canvases and placed blooming flowers floating
1 4 He varied his artistic techniques, for example he would use fingerpainting, or work with the palette knife. He would also painting on location, where people could interact with him.
2 Visiting his favourite museums with Toos and Randy to satisfy his need for art. 3 Joe and Randy in front of the Frangipani Painting. 5 4
His only self-portrait.
over the surface. He discovered new ways of creating, using lost treasures for example, and he built marvellous sculptures. He loved to create to the rhythm of his favourite music, preferably Elvis Presley. He was challenging himself to evolve, on his latest works of arts, he carefully applied paint to the canvass as if working on a bonsai plant. It was
like sculpting with paint. All of his techniques flowed into one painting. Blossoming trees blowing softly in the wind, thriving and flourishing. It is like a full circle, his love for nature coming to life within his works of art. In April 2019 he painted for the very last time in his beloved studio. v joeetty.nl
Joeâ€™s paintings are displayed at Art Gallery Niek Waterbolk in Utrecht and Landgoed Zonheuvel in Doorn The Netherlands.
SELAMAT JALAN | ART BY NATURE
More worldly cleverness to give you more nature-based inspiration in your life.
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ART BY NATURE | DIY
< Hairpin Table Make your ow n little sl ice of heaven. • W ood Top: th is is a pl charger purc hased here ate • Hair pin ones here.legs, get similar • Tape measur e • Drill/dril l bit • Screwdrive r • Pan head wo od screws For more information visit tatteredstyle .blogspot.co m
ith luffa < Soap w ly and looks love This soap better. works even d luffa) also calle ( h a f o o l • Whole p base • Clear soa s oap color • S ant oils oils/fragr l a i t n e s s E • mould • Bar soap n visit informatio For more m lebigger.co dreamalitt
I’m a dreamer, maker, designer, goldsmith, collector, biophile, citydweller living in Haarlem, The Netherlands. I approach the creative process as I would extensive research and translate my findings into all sorts of creations. With my work I try to make sense of things I don’t understand and question what might be considered obvious. Here's my column!
ART BY NATURE | NATURE'S COLUMN
NATURE’S WAY: REWIND WITH MEREL SLOOTHEER A couple of years ago I decided to re-watch all my favorite Disney movies. I needed some cheering up and reasoned what made me happy before will probably make me happy now. It did, partially. How could I forget that Disney made some real tearjerkers? After many years of growing up, an extra layer seemed to have been added to my beloved classics. I found some of the characters even cuter, the jokes funnier, and the artwork more impressive. But ultimately some of the storylines had a deeper impact on me. Sad parts were more relatable and so this particular animation marathon made me feel a bit melancholic. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t really mind. I love spending my time on stuff that makes me feel emotional, and leaves me with all kinds of new insights. “The circle of life” is a concept introduced to me in 1994 by The Lion King, and which inspired me to begin a deeper reflection. Procreation, birth, life, death and predation, that seems pretty straight forward right? So what exactly does this cycle contain for us, and does it actually apply to us? Animals build throughout their lives. Birds make nests, beavers make dams, rabbits dig dens, bees hives. These creations are practical and biodegradable and they’ll eventually
"HUMAN BEINGS DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY AND IT SHOWS…"
vanish. Just like their creators. Animals do not leave anything behind. Neither do plants. They sprout, grow, sometimes even disrupt our human constructions. But when they go (it might take a while) they’ll leave entirely. What’s left is traces, like roots clinging on walls, or pushing up pavement. Human beings do things differently and it shows. During our lives we produce and collect so much that we leave behind more than just memories. The way we live disrupts our surroundings so much that we’re changing it for good. Should we add this to our circle of life, and if so what would we name this extra human step? Our belongings form a giant collective monument, a legacy of stuff, traces made of trash. I can’t stop wondering, especially as a designer and maker, what do I want to leave behind? v by SK NATURE'S COLUMN | ART BY NATURE
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Nature inspires. An independent magazine dedicated to creativity inspired in any way or form by nature.