April 2020

- Variations of Art -

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My friend Monika is a fabric artist. Her images are large scale, colourful and very decorative. While my watercolours are almost always created 'pleinair' outdoors in nature, Monika sews and quilts her works on the sewing machine at home. In her studio the fabrics are piling up – well ordered by colour and quality. They are in one colour or with different prints and Monika keeps track of which fabrics harmonise well with each other and which are suitable for which motif. Her themes are manifold and she develops a different concept for each one. Whether  "Klingsor's last summer," "Love Parade”, or "Interfaces,": time and again I am surprised how she is able to express her thoughts and feelings with fabric – controlled and accurate, freewheeling and high-spirited at the same time. She once explained it to me: "When I'm not sewing, I think about sewing. I just like to express myself with fabric. It relaxes me and I don't have to travel the world like you do."

Monika loves to joke around at work, and I enjoy the time on her comfortable lime green couch while the rest of her apartment sinks into a colourful fabric rush. In her corridor there is always an oversized wooden board covered with fabric. Pinned to it with needles are the many small squares, triangles and rectangles made of colourful printed or plain cotton. On the monitor of her computer you can see the designs of the different plates, which when put together will form the big quilt. On the wooden table the cutting board with centimetre and millimetre dimensions, the scissors and several other tools. "I really don't know how you always manage to put all these pieces together on the sewing machine in such a way that the fabric doesn't curl and the seams meet each other." – "It's no great feat. If you enjoyed it, you'd learn quickly." – "I prefer to stick to my watercolours," I reply and watch with interest the large tree in front of her house, with the first green leaves shimmering on the tips of its branches. Small red tulips and yellow daffodils shine in the window box on the balcony. On the round wooden table a blue ceramic jug, an open book, her reading glasses. "Instead of sewing, I'd rather come and paint," I say. For this view from her window is really charming and inspiring for me. Monika reacts amused: "See, Marion. Berlin also has beautiful motifs. You don't even have to look into the distance, just look out of the window." The fun of being creative connects Monika and me – and the desire for the next creative project as soon as one is finished. The very next day I am sitting on her lime green couch again and painting the view out of the now wide-open balcony door into the beautiful Berlin inner courtyard while Monika is sewing, and her machine happily rattles and teases –

both the fabric and me.

 

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