The Start

Meaningful. A positive effect. Balance. Sustainability.

These few words floated through my mind when I was cycling in India, in 2014. I had come from Oman by plane, landed in Cochin and moved on my own power towards the Himalaya. Cycling in India as a woman on your own in summer is hard. Time enough to think while battling the traffic, the people, the heat, the road.

Then these feelings and thoughts came back again, and again and again.

Not only the 4 words reappeared, the need to be creative too. I am an artist -not a very commercial one, that has to be said- but having chosen to be a contemporary nomad leaves little space for creativity other than writing and making photographs.

For some time I wanted to start something. But how, and what exactly? While cycling Croatia I got a luminous idea: ‘I start now!’

I figured with starting at the beginning, the rest will unfold by itself. The seed was planted a few years ago, now all I needed was water to pour on that seed.

My eyes started to search for thrown away textile, which I would use to make something creative out of it. All I could find were a few synthetic woolen scarfs with ugly patterns. That would not do.

In the past I had taken paper and crayons with me, so I could release my creativity. That worked minimal well when I was still a backpacker, but not when I started cycling.

So I bought the only textile the tiny handiwork shop in Rijeka, Croatia had for sale; shining stiff satin. Exactly the kind of textile I would not choose. I bought 4 colors of thread, needles and a scissor. Later on I added the dirty kitchen cloth to give the piece of embroidery some support.

Now, with my newly seized piece of shiny stiff satin I would wake up as soon as the sun start rising. I’d jump out of the tent and make a fire where I prepare masala chai. A liter of spicy milky black tea would then warm my hands and slowly lit up my whole body while I started to embroider: towards a design that developed itself.


And I would find the answer to my own formed question: ‘Why do nomadic women make such detailed, intricate patterns while their life style is already so tremendously high maintained?’

It is a beautiful other form of meditation.

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