wool is my canvas

Drenthe Heath Sheep, native Dutch breed of sheep. These sheep were introduced to the Netherlands approximately 4000 Bc. There are 1200 of these sheep left in the world.

Carding, spinning, coloring, selecting, creating, felting, embroidering, stitching… are all words Dutch artist and textile designer Claudy Jongstra uses to describe her work.  Jongstra has forged a special place in the textile world.  She has formed a community,  Farm of the World,  made up of artists, students, and farmers in Huns, Friesland, Netherlands.  Farm of the World is a a cultural project “that focuses on exploring new and sustainable futures the countryside”.

Claudy Jongstra “People recognzie at once that these colors are different.”

Jongstra spoke at the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum on May 31.  I am not really interested in felting as a craft.  I went to hear Jongstra because she researches and uses natural dyes in all her work.  She propagates and grows all her own plants.

Jonstra is interested in researching and archiving knowledge of dye plants.

Madder Roots

Madder is one of the oldest dye plants.  It takes three years to grow and two years to dry. The part of plant used are the roots.  The Madder roots produce a variety of reds including orange reds, brick red, blood red and other reds.  The color depends on the soil where roots are grown, their age, the mineral content of the water , the temperature of dye pot, and how much madder is used in relation to the wool.

Claudy Jongstra.

Weld Plant


Weld and Woad plants are two staples Jongstra uses. Weld when overdyed with woad, produces a green which was supposed to have used to dye the clothes worn by Robin Hood in the 13th century.  Weld is responsible for all the outrageous yellows Jongstra uses in her work.

Garden Cafe Barnes Foundation, PA, Claudy Jongstra. “Spirited shapes lines of woven and carded wool conjure images of work form iconic artist that can be seen in galleries just around the corner.” Jongstra

Chelsea Flower Show Garden by Claudy Jongstra. ” Titled Honeysuckle Blue’ the garden is a project of Farm of the World, a cultural initiative that invites artists and designers to work together on solutions to create a sustainable relationship between the city and the countryside”.

Tableware CLAY by Claudy Jongstra.  Jongstra is expanding the use of natural dyes to the world of ceramics.

“Created for the Kapor Center for Social Impact in San Francisco, this tapestry is one of the largest the studio has created. It is inspired by the weaving togethe of people and technology for the betterment of the community as well as the rich and diverse heritage of the city expressed through its street art.” Jongstra

” Committed to the value chain of creation, she raises her own sheep, keeps bees, cultivates a botanical garden and grow their own plants for dyes. Jongstra’s oeuvre is founded on ethical values. Her work and life are inspired by stewardship, the promotion of bio-diversity and the preservation of a natural and cultural heritage”. from Farm of the World 


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