I am born in 1954 and have been making tapestries since 1977. The tapestries are woven on a large handmade loom.
It normally takes about ½ a year to finish a tapestry – of course depending on the size.
Nowadays the preliminary part of the work goes on only in my head. There are a huge number of symbols, words, stories, discussions, layers in my pictures. I find a form – in my mind – of expressing this during the start-up of a new tapestry. Then I am sketching, studying all the elements of which the picture will consist. Afterwards – or meanwhile – I am doing a large sketch, one part of the picture at a time. The course of the lines in the picture is very important to me – it has to flow, dance, grab itself – infinitely. It involves a lot of gazing, thinking, evaluating and re-doing. When things seem to fall in place, I copy this sketch into the “cartoon”. I color-code this cartoon and put it behind the warp of the loom. The colors are all in my head. Before weaving, I blend the colors of yarn into “butterflies”, to be able to get the right hue, the exact world of colors that I want. The butterflies are compositions of different yarns – from about 6 till 20, amongst which for instance sowing thread. All the yarns are very thin and this way to make a composition with several colors makes it possible for me to work with sliding transitions of colors. From soft-soft till hard contrasts.
My technique is time demanding, but gives me the possibility to obtain nuances sliding into another. The sensuality of the surface is very important to me. The surface of the tapestry must appeal strongly to the senses.
I can only see 30 – 40 cm of the tapestry at a time, so it is always a magic moment when I cut off the tapestry from the loom, roll it out and see it for the very first time, as a whole.
Presently I am working with the theme “Bonfires of Internal Affairs”, autobiographic weaving’s which are colorful, symbolic and surrealistic. Pictures made in a critical period of my life. Even though the motives may be challenging and painful, the aesthetics are very important to me. Life can be a bitch – and I choose to describe it in a way which is both harmonic and awful. The pictures must not leave the viewer untouched. Many people have a hard time coping with that – but I think it’s important to be brave in your life: too see what there is to see. Even if it is terrifying. Closing your eyes to the truth comes at a big price.
Each picture is an allegory where every piece can be interpreted. My fascination of the human neurobiology is present at all times. It is important for me that you can keep on finding new aspects in my pictures. Keep on looking – some things, stories and symbols are hidden very well.
Before “Bonfires of Internal Affairs” I was working with “El lobo interior” – that too, pictures of my inner world, but combined with natures omniscient powers of healing or destroying. Knowing what must live and what must die.
Before that my theme was “the Spanish Corrida”. Here I was focusing on the movement, the choreography. Fascinated by the fusion of art and tragedy, the raw and the delicate, the joint dance of death.
In 1995 I received a scholarship (Toyota), for studying sumowrestlers in the Akibasho-tournament (Tokyo) and afterwards I made tapestries of them. My description here concentrates on the contrasts of Sumo: The coolness of the rituals versus the explosion of power in the bout. Huge, heavy bodies versus their elasticity and rapidity. Swelling forms versus the deep shadow of soft folds. For this series I invented the concept of “calligraphy of movement”.
Earlier on my motives were about the human body and before that nature versus culture. I don’t decide on when to change the theme of my pictures. It more or less “comes to me”, when I am ready. In fact, the themes attack me! At least this is how it feels.
To make many loose threads into a coherent picture – this process, I hope, will never stop in my life.