When you consider asking questions have a good look at this page first.
Or have a look at my recent book New Potatoes, for details check the news page.
In the past I have received several questions.
I have divided them into normal, difficult (to answer) and stupid questions.
I collect images and texts that intrigue, move or amaze me.
Anything can inspire me.
Most important are: folk art (especially samplers), daily news, cats
and scraps of textiles. For images, go to : my inspiration
How did you learn to stitch?
My mother taught me.
Is all your embroidery done by hand?
What material do you use?
I stitch on a good quality of fine linen ( 22 threads to a cm. )
and use any kind of threads as long as these are colourfast.
For instance: cotton, silk, rayon, metal and synthetic threads.
I do not use a hoop or a frame.
Do you use a mixture of materials along with your threads?
Yes, I use tiny bits of other materials, like lace or cloth.
The main technique is hand embroidery.
What embroidery technique do you use?
I use mainly cross stitch and couching.
For a close look at the stitching go to the cats page in the gallery section.
There you will find some details of my work.
How do you get the linen in the colour of your choice?
I dye the white linen. (Sometimes even tie and dye). Advise: buy a qood quality of dye and just go by the prescription.
How do you create your designs? Do you plan it on paper first?
I never plan ahead and just start to stitch on a piece of cloth.
I choose designs from anything I come across and adjust the colours and composition during the process of stitching. Anything can inspire me. Most important are: folk art (especially samplers), daily news, cats and scraps of textiles. Have a look at : my inspiration.
How long does it take to make embroidery?
Too long, usually 4 to 6 months, some times more. I never count the hours.
Who designed your website?
Sharon Boggon (from http://inaminuteago.com), from Canberra, Australia is my website mother. In 2004 she suggested that I urgently needed to be visible on the WWW. So she offered to design the first website for me. After several years I felt the need for a bit of change so I invited Marja van Putten (from www.arttrust.nl ), Amsterdam, Netherlands to make some updates and improvements. The simple sketches on this website are my own design.
Who's the handsome feller in your arms on your home page? A Main Coon?
She is my sweet cat Vosje II, a Norwegian Forest cat.
Like Maine Coons, Norwegian Forest Cats are an intelligent, robust and playful breed. They enjoy the outdoors, are well suited to cold conditions and are great hunters. They also appreciate the company of humans and other pets (all acccording to Wikipedia and my own experience ).
Was it difficult to produce a new book?
Yes and no.For information go to my contribution to the SDA newsblog , see: www.surfacedesign.org/newsblog/sda-members-in-print-how-i-self-published-my-new-book-new-potatoes
en in het Nederlands, zie een andere weblog: http://jegensentevens.nl/2012/03/een-eigen-boek-wie-wil-dat-niet
Where can I buy your work?
A part of my work is for sale and a part is not. I treasure the idea that not everything in life
is for sale. On the shop page you will find the work that is now FOR SALE.
Maybe it is a good idea to start with buying my book. For inquiries contact me.
Why not use a machine to speed up your stitching?
I do not like machines. Besides I believe the slow process of hand stitching leads to a different result.
Would you consider designing an image on a computer program and / or letting a digital sewing machine stitch it out for you?
Maybe, I will in the future.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Everywhere! I collect images and texts that intrigue, move or amaze me.
Anything can inspire me. Most important are: folk art (especially samplers), cats, daily news and scraps of textiles. I am influenced mostly by my parents and the way I was brought up.
I love folk art (especially Dutch samplers), Pop art, grafitti and contemporary art (after 1980).
My 11 students are wondering how you select the titles for your work?
Me too! Titles come while working. It is often a matter of intuition.
What comes first - the title or the artwork?
Is the sense of touch (of textiles) is important to you whilst working?
I am not quite certain about that. I do like the touch and looks of textiles a lot. But textile is not my only medium.
How do you call your work?
Embroidery! Or Art! Or both! It all depends if you want to refer to the technique or to the function.
What would you consider your personal ambition in life to be?
I do not have a specific ambition. Like most people I would like to stay happy and healthy etc.
You state that you do not feel the need to theorize about your work.
I understand you do not claim any particular themes in your work and your work can be understood as a reaction to the world around you. Do you see your way of working as more intuitive than logical
and with a link to the subconscious?
My work is indeed more intuitive than logical. I use bits of information (texts and images) that I come across. From the world and local news as well as from a letters and emails I receive. Those texts can inspire me through the meaning or the mere sound of it or as a metaphor or whatever. I like this information to be combined in different ways often out of the original context. It is a reflection of the world around me.
What artists do you admire?
I like the Pop art movement, graffiti and the Fluxus movement and I am interested in contemporary art (after 1990). Sometimes an inspiring work stays on my mind for many years, like the project Nerhagan from 1994 by Finn Aage Andersen and Wenche Kvalstad Eckhoff from Norway. They preserved an old farm by protecting the outside with old and new pieces of wood and inside they covered the floor with potatoes. When the potatoes shoot out, the floor had a beautiful ‘carpet’ of purple sprouts. Another example is a video by Snezana Skoko from Serbia (1995). It shows a performance of a group of woman in a cellar in Belgrade tearing pieces of cloth apart.
Do you think textiles are related to art? If not then do you think it is a genre in its own? Does it matter to you?
This matter is much discussed in textile magazines. There is no common opinion on this issue. For me textile is a medium. Any medium can be used to make a piece of art. If a work is art or not, is to be decided by the maker (usually the artist). If a work is a good or interesting piece of art is decided by you (the viewer)!
For instance: an urinal was just a normal household utensil until it was selected by Marcel Duchamps in 1917. Marcel turned it upside down and added his signature and named it Fountain. At that moment the very same object became a piece of art. Nowadays it is even considered the most influential piece of art of all time.
Do you work free lance or for a company?
The art I do is free lance. Sometimes I teach workshops or give lectures etc.
I used to work for the Dutch government as a policymaker.
But now I am free and enjoying a pension.
Where can I find pictures of your work?
There are several pictures of my work on this website. Go to the the gallery pages and the shop pages.
Do you dye your linen before or after stitching?
Think twice! What do you expect?
Where do you find the material you use?
I buy threads all-over the world and on the internet. I have over 2000 colours which I store neatly on colour. The linen is always the same and comes from a German factory. Sometimes I receive leftover textiles, scraps of lace or threads.
Do you have any suggestions on how to make machine stitching look just as good as hand stitching?
Sorry, I cannot help you. Please contact an artist who does the kind of machine stitching you are looking for.
Do you think location has an effect on a career?
No, I doubt it. There is internet and travelling is easy. Most important is the quality of the work and the effort one put in the PR.
How do you advertise your work?
I am not sure I understand this question right.
I try to use as many opportunities as I can. It is a lot of work and investment!
What virtues would you say one needs to get recognized within the industry?
I do not know. I advise you ask this question to industries.
How old were you when you made that work (referring to one of my cat drawings )?
I made that work when I was 45 years old. When seeing my work some people think I stay a teenager.
How do you manage to keep your cat out of your thread box?
You cannot manage a cat so you have to manage your thread box.
What is your reason for having a website?
I have no specific plans with the website. The main goal is to be visible on the Internet and to inform you.
On a sunny Greek island a lady saw me stitching:
"O, so n n i i c c e e ! !", she screamed. "Are you making this for your baby?"
I just looked up to see who was talking
She noticed my grey hair: "for your grandchild?"
No, not really
Is it for the table?
No, for the wall.
I am a student and having to write a paper on . . . artistic eastern eggs . . . I would be incredibly grateful if you could take the time to answer some questions. I have attached a list of questions. Will you please . . . . . ?
Hello darling student, can you be so kind to read all information on this website first? That saves a lot of time for both of us. Please understand that I receive emails from students every week. Just answering all your emails would cost an a lot of time. In general you can find answers on this website or in my new book (I'll apreciate if you advise your school to buy it for the library).
Veel gestelde vragen over borduurwerk
Alles kan me inspireren. Ik ben het meest beïnvloed door de opvoeding van mijn ouders. Ik houd van volkskunst (vooral merklappen), kitten, vreemde items in het nieuws en restjes textiel. Ik verzamel plaatjes en teksten, die me intrigeren, verbazen en ontroeren. Mijn werk is eigenlijk een mengsel van grafische kwaliteiten, inhoud en een beetje kattenkwaad. Ga voor plaatjes naar: my inspiration
Ik krijg vaak vragen van studenten uit Engeland en daarom zijn deze alleen in het Engels weergeven. Mocht u echter ook een vraag hebben, stuur u dan een email aan mij.