Legato :: Puur Anders
le•ga•to :: in a manner that is smooth and connected
by Jenny Doh
She has seen the bird fly in the air, the flower bloom with color, the cloud float from here to there, and her son slumber peacefully in the night. She values nature. She values humankind. She seeks to reveal stories through these values that are pure, clean, minimal, and uncomplicated.
JD :: Why leaves and flowers? How come they have become the forms you use to tell stories and make your art?
PA :: I always get inspired by things you can find everywhere. In the garden, on the street or in the woods. I’m always looking for beautiful simple things. I like the variety in leaves and flowers. Take for example an Oak leaf. I bought a great book last year, The Book of Leaves by Allen J. Coombes and I was surprised to see so many Oak trees. Even in one tree you can find so many different leaves. Different veins, holes in it, curls … I love to discover these perfect gifts from nature. JD :: One memory that leaves trigger for me is childhood. Memories of playing with them, jumping on a pile of them. Tell me your childhood memories that involve leaves.
PA :: We didn’t live in the neighbourhood of woods, so for me it was great when we went for a hike in the woods. So many trees, so many colours especially in Fall. These trips with my family were special. We didn’t go every weekend.
JD :: You explain that PUUR ANDERS means pure and different in Dutch. A very appropriate name because I do think that your art evokes feelings of purity and uniqueness. Tell me a bit more about your views on things that are pure and things that are different and unique.
PA :: Did you ever see a small flower growing between the paving stones? Or a parrot having little ones in a tree right in the middle of the city? Or a summer storm cloud come to you above a mountain landscape? I found that quite pure and unique. I can go on for a long time with examples. I believe that you can find pure things just around the corner. Therefore they are unique.
JD :: It's hard to stay pure, or to stay true to one's heart, isn't it? What do you think is the secret to doing so?
PA :: It is always hard to find out whenever you listen to your heart or your head. For me it is a constant struggle to stay pure, but being creative, doing the things that I love and especially being a mum made me much more competent. When I get carried away by ideas or somebody else enthusiastic advices I found out that my body gives me signs, mostly a tense feelings in my throat or pain in my shoulders. I’ve experienced in the past that ignoring these signs will always make you sick.
JD :: The images that you frequently use ... they look like vintage photos and so the stories you tell about them are imagined ones, right? Tell me how that process comes together. Do you see the story right away or does it take time?
PA :: Sometimes I fantasize a story right away, but mostly it does take time. I have a notebook for taking notes. Inspiration comes from pictures I collect in magazines and from the internet, not only from vintage photos. I regularly take a look in my collection when I need inspiration.
JD :: When you do custom pieces, you are working with photos that potentially come with a story already being explained to you by the customer. Does this affect your process in different ways?
PA :: Sometimes an amazing picture comes by, but it doesn’t affect me in the process. I give every picture a lot of attention. For example I always check that there are no leaf veins through somebody’s face. This means that I have to do a custom order sometimes again and again. I’m a perfectionist.
JD :: Aside from your current Hidden Memories collection, you had two other collections that don't involve images. They appear to be either crochet or braids or knots ... tell me a little bit about how those collections came to be and how it naturally segued for you into Hidden Memories.
PA :: Hidden Memories is the third part of the overall story "Abandoned by Nature". It starts with the last woman on earth. She is abandoned by Mother Nature because of the mess by human kind. This is part 1, which includes the dark and rubber jewelry items. They look like fierce flowers.
In part 2 Flora takes care of the woman. She believes in her goodness. With the love and care of Flora the woman changes and eventually a evolution takes place. This collection is called The Evolution. I made soft crocheted flower necklaces for this part.
Hidden Memories tells the story of the child which is the product of the evolution. She was raised by Mother Nature and finds hidden places in the woods with human ruins. She can't figure it out why these places mean so much to her. Flora sees her struggle. This is your origin, she says. Learn from your human side and cherish your two mothers in your heart. I combined nature and vintage photos together to leaves.
JD :: Tell me a bit about your background ... where did you grow up? Where did you go to school? What was family life like? Who is in your immediate family now?
PA :: I grew up in a small village in The Netherlands in a warm and safe family. I’m the youngest and I differ quite a lot with my two brothers. They were teenagers when I was born. My father worked at a sugar factory in our village and my mum was at home. They were always there for me. Nowadays, I have a family of my own. My son is 2 years old. It feels great being a mum.
black and white
not too much
JD :: When you need nourishment, what is your favorite food or meal that gives you comfort and nourishment?
PA :: I like Italian food, like self made pasta’s and pizza’s. I love pasta with a Dutch touch, like pasta with "boerenkool" or "Witlof". And don’t forget fudge brownies. I can’t resist them when I’m drinking coffee in the city.
JD :: You state that you desire to tell stories about the relationship between nature and humankind. In general, how do you think that relationship has been in the past, how it is currently, and how it might become in the future?
PA :: Somehow we took nature for granted. The relationship wasn’t of the same value. But we are part of nature. We are all energy. Things are changing. The number of people who have respect for nature is growing. The balance will recover one day. I hope soon.
JD :: Minimalist seems to be an appropriate way to also describe your work. Do you agree with that? Tell me how you feel about aesthetics that are minimal, versus the opposite.
PA :: I have to admit I never thought at that way about my work, but it is true that I like a minimal and pure style. I love the things just as they are. I admire people who make things with lots of colours or photograph their object in a busy surrounding. I can’t do it. I’ve tried, but it feels so wrong.
JD :: Finish this sentence: "Nature has taught me that ..."
PA :: you can find beauty everywhere, even at those places which are full of buildings or garbage.
JD :: Tell me some of your rituals. When you get up, what's the first thing you do. During the day, what is it that you always do, and before you go to bed, what's the last thing you do?
PA :: When I get up, I check if my son is already awake. Mostly we watch Sesamestreet on my bed together before we go downstairs for breakfast. During the day I definitely have to go outside, even when it rains. I need fresh air and need to feel the wind and the sun. We do some shopping by bike or walk a bit in the neighbourhood. Before I go to bed, I’m having a smile on my face watching my son sleeping. Pure love.