M A D E I N A M S T E R DA M
M O D U LA R D E S I G N J E W E L L E RY
Hello Art by Nature readers! Fall has gone and even winter is all but passed. Recently, I started a new job as a marketing communication specialist at an IT company. I truly feel appreciated as a person and a creative here, and that really helps with my inspiration as a designer. Sadly I experienced a personal loss as well. And, I designed this edition’s cover as a way of healing. That is also the same reason we missed out on edition 12 in December. In this edition, Jackie Sleeper will show you her amazing work. I followed her on social media and tried to contact her for quite some time. Finally at ‘Cultural Sunday’ in Utrecht, we found a chance to talk. And she is just as amazing as her work! I also made contact with Jacolien de Jong who, besides being an amazing artist, gives inspiring workshops with her technique “Blueprint”. I attended one of those workshops and I must say that she truly sparked my creativity. Every year I visit the Dutch Design Week (DDW). In 2017 at the DDW I visited the stand of Merel Slootheer, who writes our wonderful column ‘Nature’s Way’. This year, I met Iris Nijenhuis, a jewelry designer. She makes little wearable puzzles using a modular system. And I also saw the work of Steven Akoun who creates work with nature’s help. One of my favourite artists is Michaël Calloux, I talked about his work and two books in earlier editions. So of course I couldn’t resist when he sent me his latest children’s book ‘Talisman’. This is a beautiful book where children get a Talisman to help inspire new adventures.
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. You can follow the magazine And share with others. Thank you and enjoy edition 11! Tessa Valk Founder, Editor-in-chief & Designer
Colophon INITIATIVE OF Tessa Valk
ADVERTISE To advertise in upcoming issues click here
COVER COLLAGE tessaontwerpt.nl
LIKE THE MAGAZINE? Support the magazine artbynaturemag.com
CONTACT firstname.lastname@example.org SPECIAL THANKS TO Jackie Sleeper • Jacolien de Jong • Merel Slootheer • Katia Plewnia Labour of Art • Iris Nijenhuis • Steven Akoun • Michaël Cailloux 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.
Nature through the eyes of 34 Naughty by nature Jackie Sleeper
n huis flu
Craft by nature 8 Leaves on my mind Jacolien de Jong
s m an s
28 PUBLI CA
M ichaël Ca
8 40 Nature's wannahaves
ON I T
5 - 26 Dutch Design Week 1 16 The earth shares its energy Steven Akoun 20 Fungal vila galore the Growing Pavilion 22 Fluent design Iris Nijenhuis
28 Publication Talismans Michaël Cailloux
s o n m y min
e n de J o coli ng a J
BY NA TU R
Nature's column 42 Nature’s Way: Flow Merel Slootheer
leaves on my mind WITH JACOLIEN DE JONG T I met Jacolien at the Cultural Sunday in Utrecht. The combination of her art and elements she takes from nature tell a story about human life. Her latest subject is the human mind which she translates with leaves from the… tree. The soft but true nature of her art is very inviting and makes you look twice.
It all started in 1979, when at the age of 19, I moved to Utrecht to be a student at the Utrecht School of the Arts where I would major in the Arts. I love to draw on paper using mixed media and regularly show my work at exhibitions. Besides being an artist I am also an entrepreneur. 26 years ago I started an organisation called “Het Schildersbedrijf’ for businesses and, for the last 10 years I have been organising creative courses for people in elderly care with 'Bureau Kwiek'. I believe that with creativity people can communicate and express their feelings in their own way. J
As an artist I become personally involved with my subject and do a lot of research as a result. Recently I have become fascinated with the human brain - especially in the mystery of how the mind works and how external stimuli helps us to recall memories. The transience we see in nature with the changing of seasons, is a beautiful metaphor to express the loss of memories.
As a child I started to collect flowers and leaves and dry them in books. I find beauty in the structure of leaves and use them in my work. As a result, I now use drawing materials together with paint, ink and organic material on paper. My visual language is influenced by old medieval painting. I feel related to the primitive and symbolic way of telling stories of times long past. I am inspired by the use of colours, paint and brushstroke of artists such as Van Gogh, as well as the visual language of surrealist painters such as Frida Kahlo, who exposes her life in her self-portraits. After 40 years Utrecht still inspires and surprises me. One of my favourite places is the Hortus, the botanic gardens of the University of Utrecht. Here you find the oldest Ginkgo Biloba tree which covers the garden with beautiful gold gingko leaves in the autumn. It also has a giant Amazonica water lily in the greenhouse.
ART BY NATURE | NATURE THROUGH THE EYES OF
"AS AN ARTIST I BECOME PERSONALLY INVOLVED WITH MY SUBJECT AND DO A LOT OF RESEARCH AS A RESULT."
Lost memories, MixedMedia with gold ink, Gingko Leaves and butterflies on bamboo paper
W O R K S H O P C YA N O TY P E
MEMORIES IN BLUE
LO O K I N G F O R A W AY T O S PA R K YO U R C R E AT I V I TY? In this workshop you will be introduced to making cyanotype prints or blueprints. A photocopy technique developed by Anna Atkins (1799-1871), the first female photographer. She used this technique to capture botanical images of seaweeds and algae. Blue print With special liquid, solid paper is turned into photo paper and made photosensitive to UV light. When the light shines on the treated paper, the characteristic cyan-blue colour is created. At the places where you place plants, flowers or other silhouettes, the paper remains white.
Light Because the sun is weak and does not shine often, we will illuminate the image with artificial UV light. In the workshop you can make botanical images of plant material, among other things. It is also possible to print photos and make collages of photos combined with leaves, lace, textiles and transparent materials. Inspiration Itâ€™s nice to bring transparent or flat material. For example, transparent paper or foil, lace, transparent textile, organza, etc. Dried plants do very well. There is also material in the studio, but you are encouraged to make your own choice of material. You can also take your inspiration from nature for your materials. If you are going to work with photos of people who are especially close to you, you can also take small objects that suit that person, and then you can print those objects with your design. The workshop Cyanotype in One day takes place in the studio of Jacolien de Jong but can also be performed in any suitable location. For more information contact Jacolien de Jong
hetschildersbedrijf.nl/ cyanotype-workshops NATURE THROUGH THE EYES OF | ART BY NATURE
archy by morecircular.com
YOUR WORK IN
ART BY NATURE MAGAZINE?
Spreading the news through social media feeds and newsletter subscribers (total 10.000) 14
ART BY NATURE | NATURE THROUGH THE EYES OF
"Let me tell your story as an artist the right way."
Interested? Feel free to contact Art director Tessa Valk for the possibilities.
For four years in a row I visited DDW one thing's for shore: I'm allway surprised what new inventions and designs there are. by SK
DDW | ART BY NATURE
the earth shares its energy WITH STEVEN AKOUN T
I came across Stevenâ€™s work whilst walking through Yksi
Expo during Dutch Design Week (DDW). This French-American designer takes advantage of the way physical items interact with energy. The semi-structured shapes, textures and colors create natural looking pieces that look like they came straight from the forest, but are actually functional everyday objects.
ART BY NATURE | DDW
Glass foam suspension lamps. Photo credit: Oscar Vinck
From left to right: 1 Flamed glass foam samples. 2 3 Light diffusion research sketches. 4 Neri Oxman and the MIT Mediated Matter Group's Aguahoja.
Light diffusion research sketches.
Explain your journey on becoming an artist I attended a study at a preparatory academy in art and design. After completing this programme I was admitted to the Fine Arts school of Rennes, where I received a Master’s degree in design in 2018. In what way did creativity play a role in your childhood? I always loved drawing. I used to be excited to go home from school just to draw stuff. Since I was 10 years old I’ve been creating things, writing stories and ‘inventing’ new products like speakers, shoes and I even invented some sort of portable tactile computer phone. It feels like I was destined to become a designer.
Who and what inspires you and in what way? I am inspired by projects that merge science and design like the ones seen at MIT’s Mediated Matter or at Tu Delft with the Re3 Glass project. I also admire designers like Silo Studio or Emile de Visscher who create new processes to make radically new types of objects. Can you take us through your creative process? My approach is quite experimental. I play with the material to discover new shapes, textures and colours. I aim to deepen my understanding of the material that I am working with to find unexplored properties and invent new possible uses. stevenakoun.com DDW | ART BY NATURE
The Growing Pavilion
fungal vila galore Walking to the â€˜Growing Pavillionâ€™ set the stage for me to be amazed. It was enormous, and nothing like what I expected from the information I researched on the DDW website. I prepared myself for the smell you would expect from a fungus based building. T
But there was nothing of the sort. Inside, other artists inspired by the same theme such as: Aniela Hoitink, Christien Meindertsma, Diana Scherer, Eric Klarenbeek, Martijn Straatman en Huis Veendam also shared their work.
Inside 'the growing pavilion'
ART BY NATURE | DDW
Societal challenges such as climate change, subsidence, CO2 emissions and the scarcity of fossil fuels require new, sustainable solutions. The call for a more biobased and circular economy is becoming ever greater and is necessary. That is why Company New Heroes and the Dutch Design Foundation, entered the experiment to build an iconic biobased pavilion for the Dutch Design Week 2019 together with other pioneers. This became â€˜The Growing Pavilionâ€™.
Layered pieces | credits: Iris Nijenhuis, Dasha Martynova, Daria Maistrenko
fluent design WITH IRIS NIJENHUIS T
I started my visit to the DDW at the
stand of my friend and designer of medical insects, Merel Slootheer. She pointed out the stand behind her, belonging to Iris Nijenhuis, and her amazing leather jewellery, at least I thought it was leather. Iris' creations look like leather, feel like leather but, instead, are a combination of scuba fabric, neoprene and the finest forms of artificial leather. Her designs are puzzles that feel like a living being. They adjust themselves to you as a person would, and truly embrace nature in all its glory. DDW | ART BY NATURE
"Natural constructions fascinate me with their ingenuity and resilience" I I graduated from the design department of the Amsterdam Fashion Institute with a collection that included fabrics and unique pieces that had emerged from my broad research and the use innovative techniques.
By experimenting with laser cutting I developed a technique in which the fabric is cut into small puzzle pieces that form the basis of the design process. This is suitable for many applications such as jewellery. But the first wearable piece was a dress I made for a museum exhibition made from about 1,400 puzzle pieces. In what way did creativity play a role in your childhood? I wasn’t an exceptionally creative child, but I did like creative subjects more than
ART BY NATURE | DDW
natural sciences. People sometimes ask me if I’m good at maths because of what I do. I wasn’t really good at that, but I do have a good spatial insight. Natural constructions fascinate me with their ingenuity and resilience.
Various inspirational natural structures from graduation project
prints on the right kind of fabrics that are suitable for my work. I'm still searching for the right partner for this. The biggest issue are that I don't need large quantities and the printable fabrics that are available today are too thin.
Who and what inspires you and in what way? Textures and fabrics intrigue me, I always want to touch everything. I’m not inspired by specific artists, or styles, but colour does play an important role. I would like to develop my own
Can you take us through your creative process? Because my technique is quite specialised, and the designs are mainly coming to life through the construction I make, they are usually not premeditated. And if they are, then it’s always a test if it really works and if the result is what I thought it would be. With some experiments I’m sure the drawing/puzzle is correct but then while making it I find out it doesn’t work. Luckily, I know my core puzzle piece very well, and because of the modular system only the baselines vary (bigger shapes puzzled into the
design to create strength and wearability), the puzzle piece is always the same in the jewellery collection. I have designed many other puzzle pieces but not everything is wearable, some shapes only create straight lines for instance. With my hexagon shape I can work more roundly.
"Creating a modular puzzle piece is not so complicated..." From left to right: 1 Iris working on a Superb necklace 2 Capture of fabric taken out of the laser cutter after cutting 3 The multi-colour surround necklace, put together piece by piece
How did you come to your the modular system? In my graduation project I was looking into biomimicry. Especially natural structures and connections that are organic but very graphic and smooth lined. Like the moire effects in a bug's eye for instance. The modular puzzle piece that I mainly use is a hexagon shape and is inspired by a honeycomb structure. Creating a modular puzzle piece is not so complicated, making it wearable into all kinds of shapes is an ongoing process which keeps on evolving.
Every year my collection keeps on expanding with new puzzled items, all from the same puzzle piece. I have worked with other shapes in the past and maybe I will develop them further in the future as well.
DDW | ART BY NATURE
TALISMANS Porte-bonheur et grigris pour petits tracas
WITH MICHAĂ‹L CAILLOUX This extraordinary playbook is unlike any other with its 14 removable lucky charms to overcome everyday problems. Repel nightmares, get good grades at school, stop a child sucking on his/her thumb, go on vacation without your parents or make a disgusting medicine taste betterâ€Ś Everything has a solution, as long as you believe in it!
'Talismans' book cover
PUBLICATION | ART BY NATURE
"M y editor Thierr y Magnier, is the one who wrote the texts about ten years ago." How did the idea for ‘Talismans’ come about? My editor Thierry Magnier, is the one who wrote the text about ten years ago. He imagined a book in which children could find lucky charms to face any problems they might encounter. He put that idea aside for a while… until last year when we were at the book fair of Geneva together and he asked me if I wanted to work on this project with him!
Did you find the idea interesting? Yes, I immediately accepted to work on this project. I thought the idea of having “talismans” for children who have overflowing imaginations was really appealing. I thought to myself, I could have fun on this as it was the first time I was going to illustrate existing texts. How did you feel when you saw the text of ‘Talismans’? I thought it was inspiring. We often have little anxieties when we’re little: nightmares, stopping a child sucking on his/her thumb, leaving without their parents… These are cases where kids need to be reassured. My role was to draw the talismans for all those situations! Removable lucky charm 'Stupidon Coulant' | When you are in love, or think you might be Extract from «Talismans » | When you are in love, or think you might be !
ART BY NATURE | PUBLICATION
text Original hand drawings for the book "Talismans"
"I first thought of all the things in nature that were considered as lucky charms, but it wasn’t enough..." Where did you look for inspiration? I looked into nature, which is my greatest source of inspiration. I first thought of all the things in Nature that were considered as lucky charms: four-leaf clovers and ladybugs for example… But it wasn’t enough and I had to look for more. I stayed focused on the heart of the problems. For example, to stop children from biting their nails, I drew bunnies’ and beavers’ teeth or in another instance the snail represents drool. When it comes to go on vacation without their parents, I drew a flying whale and airplanes that resemble flying fish to bring a smile on the children’s face and to reassure them. How did you work on this project? As always, I drew everything by hand with pens. I listed all the animals, flowers, objects and I spent more than 3 months drawing to illustrate the entire book. What is your favorite ‘Talisman’? It’s the talisman to keep a secret… I’m really talkative and could sometimes use it. Though I enjoyed drawing the fish with big ears. Nature is truly a never-ending source of inspiration for me and I don’t get tired of drawing it and distorting it. v
PUBLICATION | ART BY NATURE
naughty by nature WITH JACKIE SLEPER
After trying to get in contact with Jackie for some time, I was finally able to catch her at one of Utrecht’s ‘Cultural Sundays’. We talked for a while and I found her to be so open and honest, which also characterises her work and makes it so personaal. She made it her life task to make people aware that we need nature. In her work she wants to help provide healing to real events in the world.
My artwork is continually being inspired by nature, animals and people. Sometimes it feels like that I understand animals and nature better than humans. Animals and nature are an open book, you see when something is wrong or wright. However, humans are much more complex in their expressions and feelings. J
As a child I was stubborn, I wanted to be my own person, run wild and free. From a young age I built a little cave-like house from tree branches in our backyard. I decorated it, collected things from the street, and small objects from the house and hung them on strings from the ceiling, I would then lie down on the ground, look up, and think about what I had created. Growing up in a very religious family made me a rebel I wanted to do things differently even from a young age. Beauty played an important role in my life and it shaped me into who I am today.
ART BY NATURE | CRAFT BY NATURE
"Modestia" work in progresse
Modestia Humankind has always considered itself lord and master of the animals. This is especially the case with horses, which in almost all cases are cast in a serving role. I have always considered it objectionable that such a noble animal should be bent to the will of humans. That is why I coloured the horse blue, which to me is the colour of the divine, the universe, spirituality. The horse is humbly kneeling in front of humans. The boy on its back is holding a finger to his lips, warning us to be silent so as not to
distract the horse. It is difficult for a horse to kneel down. The white porcelain birds on the boyâ€™s body symbolise freedom. The humility displayed by the horse however is just a pretence.In its mind it has always remained free. The tail is pointing away from its hindquarters, a sign of joy and freedom. The horse in the painting has regained its freedom. With its head and tail held high, it gallops away from the humans, away into the wide world.
T he horse races along the desolate land. A land of blood and joy. Nobody will release it to live in freedom. Let us be gentle with each other. Time is standing still. I knew it would come. I know that for centuries we came only for this. The death of love for this beautiful animal. For a moment a ray of light fell on to this earthly existence. Take me, so I can live on and be free. Like roses red and living coral, we have been lifted to a divine existence. Show me, o life ofw salvation, grant me the strength to continue in this life of energy.
NATURE THROUGH THE EYES OF | ART BY NATURE
"To open my mind I work in my gardens, and I get visions there of what my work will look like." I studied at the College of Agriculture and Horticulture and after that I studied at the Academy of Visual Arts in Utrecht. I travelled a lot for my studies, and nature was always by my side. I eventually graduated in Monumental with specialities in photography, and painting. Inspiration My husband, my children and female artists such as Augusta Savage, Camille Claudel, Grete Stern, Frieda Kahlo, KĂ¤the Kollwitz, Tina Modotti, Alice Barney, Niki de Saint Phalle all inspire me. They all work from their inner soul, I feel connected whith them. They believe in their own nature and power. Also I get my inspiration off old historical pieces that I integrate into my work. No sketches My process exclusively takes place in my head. I donâ€™t sketch or do mockups before I begin. To open my mind I work in my gardens, (in France and the Netherlands) and I get visions there of what my work will look like. v
jackiesleper.com by SK
Ctenophora drawing and process
1 Madonna with child: the child has an egg in its hands. The beginning of a new freedom. A mother is central to everything that happens with children and life. I think we women should stand up and say: "No, no more war." If we can achieve that war is over. Maybe a thought that is too simple. 2 Inpiration: Alice Barney 3 Inspiration Augusta Savage a surrealist who had a difficult childhood, but who kept creating her sculptures even if she wasn't permitted to create.
NATURE THROUGH THE EYES OF | ART BY NATURE
Bird on location Metalbird started as a New Zealand based guerrilla street art project in 2009. It was inspired by stencil artist Banksy, and now it's the worldâ€™s largest art installation project. Would you want to be part of it? metalbird.com
Puzzled The puzzle features a photograph of a nautilus shell. Nautiluses are cephalopods related to octopi and squid. As the nautilus grows, it builds larger and larger chambers to live in creating a spiraling shell. The chambers contain a mixture of gas and seawater. n-e-r-v-o-u-s.com
ART BY NATURE | NATURE WANNAHAVE'S
Slymmie coat A series of fun coat hangers, which are also playful and ironic decorations. These: functional sculptures come in the shape of mushrooms and snails, giving a fairytale touch on every wall. seletti.it/shop/snail-awake/
Cook, Store & Serve Egg Holder Cook, Store & Serve Egg Holder Designed by Sarang Sheth these Egguins boil, serve and store eggs in the coolest way! This small colony of penguins will hold up to 6 eggs together in the Arctic winter of your fridge or in the hot springs of your pot. peleg-design.com/collections/new/products/egguines/
umphrey H the egg slayer Dor Carmon studio collaborated with OTOTO to design â€œHumphreyâ€? - an egg slicer. Humphrey was designed to make you smile and to create a humorous serving dish for the table, whilst preserving the quality image of the company. ototodesign.com/products/humphrey-egg-slicer
nature’s way: flow WITH MEREL SLOOTHEER I used to envy animals for going into hibernation during winter. I’ve spent a lot of gloomy days feeling down and depressed while living a ’mole life’. Getting up before sunrise, coming home after sunset and the idea of a temporary state of total inactivity seemed an alluring and more natural alternative.
Luckily I found my way through this darkness, and I actually enjoy winter now appreciating its qualities and quirks. That change didn’t happen overnight though. I had to make some adjustments in my daily routine. Small steps which would result in a larger impact. Finally I became able to welcome the seasons as they came. The most effective step was walking in nature as part of my everyday practice. I never expected to gain so much from a simple stroll. But being able to see how nature handles the elements on a daily basis really changed my perspective of how to deal with the seasons myself. Spring and autumn are my favorites, creating impressive colour pallets and gradients that I won’t even try to compete with. I love how nature is so active, generously sharing the concept of transformation and metamorphosis. Every year spring brings me buds of new hope, telling me it’s okay to start over and over again.
"Autumn knows how to address a sensitive topic..."
Autumn knows how to address a sensitive topic, showing me the beauty of transience. Both take their time gradually introducing the arrival of two more extreme siblings: summer and winter. They used to paralyze me, but I’m learning to embrace their outspoken properties. Considering them periods to slow down, contemplate and prepare. The recurrence of the seasons is the biggest reassurance in my quest of finding my natural flow. A way to be alternately happily productive, and satisfied the whole year through. According to nature it should be possible to find this flow, but until I do, I’ll just keep walking.v by SK
ART BY NATURE | COLUMN
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!
Next time Craft
Behind the scenes
Through the eyes of