Sunday, 30 June 2013

Wolrd of Manga

Maybe it´s the Summer season, but I see great exhibitions popping up around me. Or maybe it's because the actual Summer weather is falling behind a bit this year giving us lots of rain and way less than the average temperature. Museums are weather proof and I love visiting them every now and then. Especially taking a sketchbook with me, get inspired and learn from the great masters up on the walls. Yesterday, it were mainly Japanese artists that blew my mind at The World Of Manga exhibition at the Wereldmuseum (World Museum) in Rotterdam.

The museum is housed in the former gather place of the Royal Yacht club from prince Hendrik in the 19th century. 
It's a wonderful building inside and out. With an awesome view on the Erasmus bridge (and in my case a Holland America Liner cruise ship). 

Like I wrote before, I used to draw a lot. I've had a what I call my manga-period somewhere between 2003 and 2009. I looked up an oldie from 2008. 
For those of you who are not familiar with Manga and Anime (that's cool by the way, you're not the only one), to cut it short, its Japanese graphic story telling (manga) and animation (anime).
At some point I went back to more realistic, mainly portrait drawing. But the manga and anime have always kept a little place in my heart. Love watching the classic Spirited Away for example.

The exhibit World of Manga opened just this week. Although, I'm familiar with the style, I've learned so much from the exhibition on the roots of this art style. Characters and stories leading back to Buddhist and Japanese tradition for example. But what struck me most and never noticed before, is how much emotion is put in every drawing. I didn't bring in my camera or my mobile phone, just my sketchbook. I feel like making pictures of artworks in a museum is not doing justice to the amount of work that the artists put in their pieces. But I took my notes. Three artists made quite an impression and I've included links to their official websites, so that you can check them out.
Shiho Enta with the illustrations she's done for the Pillow Book (an at least 1000 year old book by author and court lady Sei Shonagon). Fuzichoco with her colourful, detailed work that are stories on their own and have beautiful fitting titles. There was one work of her titled 'Nostalgia looking for her mother' in which a girl is shown, in a second hand shop, because her mother has turned into a second hand object. She's hoping to find her mother this way. Shinkichi Tajiri put his person experience into designing his machines.
After I long and slow stroll through the exhibit, I continued to the permanent exhibition of the museum. 

Brought in a classic museum way in many glass cabinets I entered the world of Oceanian, Tibetan, Japanese and Chinese (religious) culture. Loved the wood carved masks in all different shapes and sizes.
sketch of a mask (item no. 123 at the Indonisia part of The Collection at Wereldmuseum. I plan on inkting and colouring (see the notes on colour).
As you can imagine with the museum visiting and a drawing bug at my hands, the crochet side is a little quiet. But I when a friend of mine asked me to make a little gift, I did. I worked up the free amigurumi pattern Konijntje Pluis by Stip&Haak. Although I made two little adjustments, a pompom tail and stitched eyes (baby safe) and added a little bow.

I leave you with a little love and the trailer of Wolf Children, a new anime directed by Mamoru Hosada

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Let's talk bags

Some women like shoes, some like clothes and if you know me, you'd now I like bags. A lot. Maybe a bit too much. Since I have so many, I decided I'd swop the bags I already have a little more often... Somehow I managed to get myself two new bags this week...Now, let me explain this to you.
Impulse buy

I went out for my lunch break this week and I could not resist this off white bag from Sacha.I have to admit, the price tag of over 50% discount helped with that. In my defense I also like to mention this was a complete impulse buy. I actually went in search of a pair of ballerina flats (I left a worn out pair in London) that I did not find.

Ok, that's the part I spent money. The second bag did not come with such ease. I worked for that one. I crochet one. After I completely unraveled this first bag I made (it was too small, bulky and not really what I expected) ...

I came up with this bag: 
I would give you the advice, if in doubt on a chrochet project, let it sit for a few days or so and if you're still not sure, unravel. You might get something better back for it. I'd say I did for sure. I love this bag already.

Materials used:
  • red/cream striped zpagetti/textile yarn from Hoooked. 
  • grey Zpagetti/textile yarn I picked up at Blokker a while ago
  • two belts I bought on sale at V&D
  • four rings I cut off an old bag that I threw out, because it was old and broken. 
  • old scarf I never wear anyway
I did not follow a pattern really. I wrote just wrote along the first four rows. Which were not really rows, but rounds really. But at least I can give you the starting chain and help start off, because once you've got yourself a bottom, it's fairly simple.
1. Chain 28
2. Double Crochet (US term) in the 4th chain from the hook. Double Crochet in every chain, 4 DCs in the last chain. Proceed on the other side of the chain and three DCs in the last chain. Slip stitch in the top three chain.
4. repeat two rows with Single Crochet and don't forget to decrease in at the last four stiches.
5. Switch to the main colour of the bag and DC around.

I'm not exactly sure of this description though. But my mom asked me to make one for her too, so I hope to come up with a proper pattern in time...

Lining the bag was quite a challenge and all thanks go to my mom and her sewing machine. I'm new to machine sewing. As in, I had my first try on one side of sewing the lining for this bag. The scarf fabric was not the best material to start of with though...
After a little inside bag was made, I pinned and hand stitched it to the bag. 
Attaching the belts was fun. I tried different ways and ended up with this, more or less by accident.
Lots of space inside.
Take care and have a wonderful week!

Thursday, 13 June 2013

A new love and an old passion

You know those moments that you completely are unaware of time passing by? I've had a few the past few months. The good and a little bad, in terms of boredom caused by a bad bruised foot. The funny thing is, it happend during a great friends and dinner night, which is now marks peculiar happy memory. 

Well, the foot kept me on a couch or sitting on my bed the past six weeks or so. Which has led to watching too much missed episodes of master chef and attempting amigurumi crochet. It's my new addiction.

For my very first attempt I caught the very needed detailed and clear pattern of  an elephant by Jam made (on the right). 
On the left is a little friend. It's an adjusted pattern (working on a written pattern for you!) of Winston the Elephant pattern by Echtstudio. The funny thing is, I'm Dutch but I had to translate the pattern since I learned how to crochet with English terms. I have to admit I feel a little awkard about that.

I've been busy trying different patterns and collecting  and pinning. At the moment there are three crochetprojects on my hooks. First is a lace scarf via a Japanese pattern I found. Following that pattern goes well, although I had a few hicups, since I can't read any of the japanese writings that might include tips, tricks and some guidance. It's a fun pattern to follow and to figure out.

The second is my very first attempt on designing my own amigurumi pattern for a globe. It's starting to get somewhere. Hope I can share it with you in the near future!

And today I started on tackling another technique. Tunesian crochet. I've been waiting to try for a while and 
yesterday I got myself a standard tunesian hook of 3.5mm. Casting on the stitches was a little of a pain, but after that it's been a lot of fun!

When my hands ar not glued to a crochet hook, it won't take long before I grab a pencil. Drawing has been a great passion for a long time. But with all new things to learn on the handwork side, drawing has been a little quiet. Only my gallery on DeviantArt reminds me at times I used to draw a crazy lot just a few years ago.
I went to London last weekend and decided to bring a little sketchbook and watercolourkit with me. I had a great time on a six hour or so, bus ride from Utrecht to London and back. My best sketching moment was at the British Library. I made the pencil sketches of the sketch you see above. Of course there's no way I could watercolour right at the spot. So I noted the colours with pencil and added colour on the bus ride home. I would absolutely reccommend to visit, if only just to check the beautiful exhibition in the Sir John Ritblat Gallery (free enrtance). Mozart next to John Lennon, Jane Austen's writing desk, Bible's next to Korans and Japanese scrolls next to biological drawings in the book of Fishes by John Ray. It's a travel through time, culture and religion. 

Talking about London and art. I would also recommend you to visit the lovely, light and inspirational Slanchogled shop at 66 Chalk Farm Road. Loved walking around picked up a travel friendly waterbrush you see on the picture above, a kneeded ereaser and a issue of Simply Crochet (awesome magazine too. Should find a place that sells it here in Holland). And if you wonder what that weird name is doing there, the shops businesscard explained it to me. It is the Bulgarian word for sunflower, literally meaning 'looking towards the sun.'

I leave you with another new friend: classical music. It has become a great soundtrack on my crochet evenings. At the moment I would recommend Ludovico Einaudi. His music is used on movie soundtracks such as the beautiful and touching French movie Intouchables).