to the artists, designers and craftspeople who think I call their work kitsch... this is NOT the case, it refers to my own work

Sep 30, 2007

hole in sheaf

The house we live in for 10 years now
was for sale because
the previous owner died.
He was a retired farmer,
he stopped farming some 20 years
before his departure.
In the barn and hayloft
were heaps of hay and straw left,
mostly pressed in bales.
A few weeks ago we cleared part of the barn
and under the bales we found older sheaves.
The last time I saw sheaves standing on fields
was when I was a small child.
This one, when turned over
showed a perfect round little hole.
The sheaf is still in the barn,
I couldn't throw it away
it looked so perfect.

Sep 29, 2007

sketch of new chair

now that I'm in the middle of clearing things,
I find a lot of material to make new works.
clearing means throwing away,
but I just can't help it;
I just have to make this chair.
I'm not sure about the back leg,
will probably find something more suitable
and a seat, of course

Sep 28, 2007

nutty lace

experimenting with walnut shells
boiling them makes a brown dye for
scraps of lace
for a future project

Sep 25, 2007

flowers against mines - flowers for peace

photos by Jef Ryckeboer

ceramic artist Anita Huybens is an extraordinary woman.
in the course of her life she deals with difficult and hard experiences,
but she has this almost supernatural strength and willpower
to put up very successful projects to help other people.
she is able to raise a whole 'army' of enthusiastic volunteers

with this project she raises funds for APOPO
This organisation de-mines fields in Mozambique
so that local people in the villages get back their farmlands

Why poppies?
they refer to the well known symbol of the first World War
to commemorate the fallen soldiers

this is the 6th event where these ceramic poppies are sold
a 1.000 poppies are planted in a field

each one is a unique flower

for those people who are in Belgium,
the next field is on
Sunday September 30th
in Louvain-La-Neuve at the lake
starts at 14h00
info on APOPO :
info on the flowers for peace :
all posts on the flowers against mines - flowers for peace : HERE

Sep 24, 2007

colourful crates

every time I see the piles of colourful wooden crates thrown away after a single use only, I just have to take them home. so I try to give them a second life by using them to make other objects like this small cupboard.
lately the wooden crates are gradually replaced by cardboard boxes in the shops, but I still got enough material to make many more trunks, chests of drawers or ...

Sep 22, 2007

hard core

in the box with small old tools there is this beautiful and elegant shape, I first didn't know what it was actually used for ...

... until yesterday,

I took this old oak beam which on the outside resembles a sponge because of woodworm. The beam is still quite heavy which means the core is still in good condition. The tool - I have no idea how it is called (stripper? sounds a bit awkward with the title of this post) works wonders to scrape off the soft wood .

Sep 21, 2007

moss stone

we paved this terrace about four years ago
it is on the north facing side of the house
with time, nature has added a nice touch with a luminous, poison-green moss

Sep 20, 2007

accidental collection

these items seem to pop up from everywhere
never meant to be a collection, put together, they become one
I get them from people who know I use a lot of 'found objects' in my work

Sep 19, 2007


neighbour Jan is front man of Black Velvet, a band that plays Irish music

he's assembling a new band and used the studio for a rehearsal before their first concert

Sep 18, 2007

useful match

clearing stables
sorting out material
cutting down invading bamboo
harvesting apples

the freshly cut bamboo is still green, but while drying will turn a pale brown

Sep 17, 2007

intriguing shop windows

yesterday was the last day of :
VITRINE 2007 SURFACES Flanders Fashion Institute 
Belgian and international fashion designers, photographers, graphic designers, fashion students presented their work in shop windows all over the city of Antwerp. All participants were completely free to present their work as they saw fit.

 Ronald Stoops & Michael Dans
a photographer & a painter, came up with this stunning image. a photograph of a model who has been painted black so that only a skeleton-like figure is visible; probably referring to the fact that some fashion models literally starve themselves to death.
this photo was taken directly in front of the shop window but at the wrong time of the day, the sun hits the lower part of the window and that is why the top and bottom part of the picture look different. click on the link above to get a better view of their work.

VITRINE - Flanders Fashion Institute

Sep 16, 2007

light & shadow

it's already two years ago that we poured the concrete floor in what once was the chicken coop.
the next day the sun created this nice pattern on the - still shiny - floor.
it was a magical moment, after months of blood (minor injuries), sweat (hard labour) and tears (frustration and exhaustion).

Sep 15, 2007


once made to conceal a pit, I recently rediscovered this structure I made so many years ago. it was hidden by a garden growing too wild, so it got damaged from humidity. this really has to go now. I remember that in the beginning when the plants were smaller, as the sun hit the imprisoned glass within, a strange light came out; as if a piece of an ocean wave was floating in the wooden pyramid.

Sep 14, 2007


still clearing the barn
there is all this wood that was used to support the hay in the loft or to make partitions in the chicken coop - at some point during the farming days of our house there were about 1.800 chicken.
some of the wooden planks and beams are so nice, I'll probably make furniture or try to incorporate them in some project.

Sep 13, 2007

fusion cooking

Whenever the weather allows it, we cook and eat outside, as often as possible. Breakfast, lunch, dinner ... Any kind of nice food, in many different ways.
This is a Thai dish, cooked in an Indian Balti pan standing on a Moroccan Berber fire - the one that is used for cooking tajine.
Can I call this fusion cooking? (not to be confused with fusion cuisine)

Sep 12, 2007


don't judge me too hard on this one, I'm not a graphic designer
it is only to show you how stAAApel-gek is actually written : a triple A 'piled up'. I don't have this letter on my computer and that is why in my blog I write it like AAA, but I'm not too happy with that.
The AAA's piled up refer to my madness of putting things on top of each other. Stapel meaning pile-up; gek meaning crazy. Stapelgek in one word means : mad as a ...
I know some people will have a Freudian explanation for the fact of making vertical piled-up things, but I simply think that objects take less space piled up than next to each other.
Making this logo was more a crafty business (remember I'm not a graphic d..), playing with a piece of green fabric, red paper cut outs to make the mosaic, a piece of grey leather for the grout and a piece of almost transparent yellow paper. The whole lot on the copier, and there it was. The yellow-red-green is for the Good Mood lights; the inverted colours are for the Honderdwaters (I will have to explain this name also, but I guess that you already have a clue).

Sep 10, 2007


OK, this looks a bit weird, but I don't have a black-haired child available.

So, what is this about?

Some time ago there was this request towards different artists to participate in a project to help children in Nepal who live on the streets. Artworks will be auctioned to raise funds to help schooling and housing projects for these children.

When I think of homeless people, I see people sleeping on the pavement under sheets of cardboard to protect themselves against rain and cold weather.

When I first heard about the project, the one idea that stuck in my mind was that some of these children don't have a proper home because their parents are alcoholics. Instead of giving their children love and protection and comfort, the parents spend their money and time on drinking.

I think of a patchwork quilt as a strong symbol of comfort and protection; all the time and effort that a mother puts into sewing together lots of pieces of beloved fabrics so that her child will be warm. So I created this 'patchwork quilt' with pieces cut out from cardboard boxes from spirits.

It was only after some time while putting the pieces together that there was this second thought about this work. Will these children become alcoholics because they lacked the love and warmth of a caring family?

front and back

it measures 143cm x 123cm
and as in a real patchwork quilt, this piece has two sides.

I first intended to make it twice as large to get the size of a proper blanket. The idea was that this work could be put up as a room divider. But it was really hard to get coloured cardboard and there was this deadline to get the work finished.

Sep 9, 2007


Can't spend much time in the studio these days.
These are the very first walnuts, weeks earlier than expected. And there are so many of them, the tree is huge. Anyone interested? They are for free if you pick your own.
I keep on harvesting one thing after the other, plums for jam, apples for juice, pears, well ... for eating, walnuts, hazelnuts, quinces, berries, black and white grapes, ... I'm sure I'm forgetting a few trees and shrubs here and there. And I really want to start new works in the studio, and finish a few that are waiting for some time now.

Sep 8, 2007

almost finished

Still have to finish the edges, but this piece took so long to make.
Every square consists in assembled pieces of cardboard backed with another piece of coloured cardboard; so this is a work with 2 sides. Every square was then knotted together (kind of 'hand quilted'). The explanation of the work will come after I've made more photos. I need to make some kind of set up, so that the reason for this work becomes clear.

Sep 7, 2007

beach or gipsy ?

Found this cute tray in a thrift shop, 4 ceramic pieces in a metal wire basket. But I just can't decide on which vintage tablecloth it looks best. The stripy one has a beach house look, the flowers are more gipsy style.

Sep 6, 2007

our very own

500 kg from 4 different apple trees

sorting and washing

pulp press

pressed pulp is feed for cattle

still warm from pasteurizing,
result : 345 liters of PURE applejuice
no adding of sugar, preservatives, water, aromas, ...

Sep 5, 2007

apple harvest

Harvesting apples today, we guess about 400KG.
Tomorrow we will take them to the press for juice.

Sep 4, 2007

Bogolan inspiration

For the African look in the living room, I customized an ordinary CD stand we bought in a large store. I don't like the idea of having the same furniture that is in thousands of other homes. So, either I customize the ones I buy, or I simply make my own furniture.
Bogolan or mudcloth is a technique used in Mali; the men handweave the heavy cotton cloth, the women dye the fabrics with a 'mud' made from boiled bark.
I didn't use the bogolan technique (too tedious) but I like their abtract patterns.

Sep 2, 2007

mediterranean scene

Spending the weekend near the German border. This painting hangs in the bedroom; it is signed Hans Schleicher.