Besides cycling, cooking a decent meal and making plenty of selfies, I have one other activity: creating art.
Besides leading an active lifestyle, being surrounded by a quiet vastness of nature and heavenly solitude, I lack one thing: entrepreneurship.
I would like you to have a look at what I made from findings along the road and I invite you to lighten my load.
Embroidering, a bit of a dull occupation, you might say. Yeah, it kind of is, but it really settles the mind. There is some excitement involved too, as I have to keep my eyes open to fabrics along the road, and to cut hairs from dead animals, collect lava stones, even a petrified shell is among my treasures. I visit local handicraft stores and try to transform nature into designs. Then, the evenings and mornings are a contemplating luxury where I will work on my little dingy piece of fabric. Touched by dirty, sooty and oily hands. Not to mention the animal smells and smoky odor of my camp fire. What I said: arty.
Made on the road in Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina. I used hemp cotton from Nepal (which I brought with me back home) on which I embroidered lama wool found in Argentina, deer tail hair and wild skunk pig -peccary- hairs from Paraguay. The closing cord is braided from my own old sun-faded blouse, as well as the lining of the pouch. Measurements (closed): 20 x 12.5 centimeter/ 7.87 x 4.92 inch.
Made on the road in Argentina and Chile. The strongly faded seam in the pouch is from a short lying in the desert. My eyes immediately were attracted to the purple, so picked it up despite its faded parts. It took me three different trials before I came with the globe as design to fill up with skunk peccary hairs. The inside of the pouch is made from a black T-shirt which I found along the road and has a long draw string with a lava stone attached to both ends. The inside pouch is double the size as the outside, to fold your stuff into. I thought it a nice, different way of safe keeping your USB sticks. Measurements: 13 x 8,5 x 2 centimeter/5.12 x 3.35 x 0.79 inch.
Made on the road in Peru and Chile. I used hemp cotton from Nepal again and embroidered it with regular thread but in an ancient native design I’ve seen in a museum in Peru. The lining is made from my own legging I cycled in for a few years. The bottom is made from a curtain I found along the road. The green draw string is thread from a small town in the semi desert in Paraguay. Measurements: 15 x 14 centimeter/ 5.91 x 5.51 inch.
Made on the road in Chile and Argentina. Created from my own broken pair of trousers. The orange lining is from a T-shirt I found along the road on Ruta 40 in Argentina. This pouch would work nice to keep your money, and a smaller smart phone. It is embroidered in- and outside with the pattern of a shell I found in the Atacama desert of Chile. It has a macramé cord to close the pouch. Measurements (closed): 13,5 x 8.5 centimeter/5.31 x 3.35 inch.
Stash your Cash
Made on the road in Chile. Created from my own old and broken pair of trousers and a found short along the desert road in Atacama. Made for safekeeping your credit-cards and some cash in your bra. The longer drawstring may be knotted on your bra, so you won’t lose it. That’s how I secure my money and so do many women all over the world. Measurements: 11 x 7 centimeter/ 4.33 x 2.76 inch.
Each evening and morning, sitting at a camp fire or close to my stove, I am happily embroidering away. It’s a very pleasant way to start and finish the day and take in the nature I’m surrounded with.
I would love to spend more time embroidering, but cycling, finding water, making photo’s and continue to the next town for food supplies have me occupied in a slow but steady and pleasant regime.
When all elements come and fit together -enough water, shade or sunlight, wood or enough fuel, plenty of food, dry weather and an exceptional good camp spot- I am taking my time to finish a design and let the creative spirit sprout.
I have started to pick up textile from the roadside, this brings me what I want, and sometimes even more: I found a brand new jacket with tags attached. My wish to keep the fabrics natural isn’t a necessity anymore, though I try to use natural fabrics for the exterior.
Sometimes what I see in a museum inspires me, but usually the nature does its work on my designs. I use stones, animals hairs, cactus needles, a petrified shell, and a stone with gold is given to me which I will use as well. The threads I buy, and luckily in every country women like handwork, and I can find well stocked shops where ever I cycle through.
The usefulness of the little pouches is questionable, but going back in time, one find this is what the women did exactly back then: making time-consuming and extremely fine, beautiful adorned handmade pouches. In time they would fall apart, beads would come loose, threads would break and dirt attached so that the pouch looks more like an antique, once used item. Some traditional ethnic folks still makes them, I wonder who and where, but I am one of them.