Monday, April 04, 2016

in Marian Bijlenga's studio

Last May, I had the privilege of visiting dutch artist Marian Bijlenga in her studio in Amsterdam.
I was there with other members of the European Textile Network who attended the Leiden conference in 2015.
Marian Bijlenga creates serene, contemplative drawings from small elements.  The little parts that make up the larger whole are similar but never identical.  The artist takes her inspiration from nature, the curves and movement of leaves on the trees, the swirling motion of water, the fungus that grows on rocks and trees.
Marian was very generous and showed us her methods of working, her walls of inspiration, her collection of art, and the loft where her children would sleep when they were little.
a wall in Bijlenga's studio

a wall in Bijlenga's studio
She has had this studio for 30 years.  There are two buildings close together with 120 artists working in them.  Above you can see a glimpse of her wall of postcards  that she calls her 'brain'.

Her materials are dyed horsehair, cotton thread.  She can manipulate the horsehair into circles and other shapes.
These she sews into a water soluble fabric which is then washed away.  Her technique gives the pieces a look of fragile transparency, but they are actually quite strong.  The cast shadow on the wall is part of the work.  A video of this process is here.

Every two years, Bijlenga creates small spiral bound albums that record her recent work as well as the exhibitions and her sources of inspiration.  These are personal records.
 She makes small samples of 3 inch squares and puts them together as an archive.  
Her newest book of sixty miniatures has just been published.
Marian Bijlenga doesn't do commissions.  She works alone and rarely teaches.
Although her work keeps evolving, it remains true to her personal aesthetic.
I plan to write more about her work and will indicate that article with a link here.


Mo Crow said...

wonderful work!

Carrie said...

Wow, I am very envious. I love her aesthetic and have never seen her work first hand.

Karen said...

Thank you thank you thank you!! Marian Bijlenga is one of my art heroes and my current modular work is inspired by her own. I look forward to reading your article!

over the rainbow said...

I LOVE this. I think it's the mechanics her work that appeals to me. I'm drawn to her process as much as the end result. Not to mention that she does this work for herself.

patricia spangler said...

must re-read. what amazing work

Jennifer said...

I keep coming back to this post and marveling that you were in Marian Bijlenga's studio and were able to speak with her. I'd have probably been totally speechless...only able to gape and gasp and make a complete fool of myself.

I discovered her work at SOFA NY one year and fell in love with it. BrownGrotta (which is nearby) represents Marian and her work is always in their exhibitions.

Lucky you!!! I'm going back for another look...