Inspiration


GUEST BLOG FLOW 4/4

Tomorrow this years second edition of Flow’s ‘Book for Paper Lovers’ will be available! I made 12 coloring pages for this edition. I started out making a long list of all the things and creatures that make me smile. Then I looked for the best combinations, to finally draw in indian ink.You can order the book here.

This is the fourth and last guest blog I wrote earlier for the Flow Magazine online.

“TO PLANT A GARDEN IS TO BELIEVE IN TOMORROW” – Audrey Hepburn

Nature is my source of inspiration. And I would like to tell you about it in the hope that, like a small seed that is planted, good things will come of it. So pour yourself a nice cup of tea before you take a seat and read on, because there’s a lot to say about nature!

Whenever I travel, I always love to go to the botanical gardens of the city I am visiting. These places, which in most cases were designed and built a long time ago, are wonderfully peaceful refuges within a bustling metropolis. But more than anything, it is the diversity of the plants that impresses me most. The most beautiful botanical garden I have ever seen is in Copenhagen, but the ones in Amsterdam, Leiden and Utrecht are also great places to admire a huge variety of plants.
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I created this plant-inspired print after studying the plants in Amsterdam’s Hortus Botanicus, and it is available to buy on Etsy.

German plant photographer Karl Blossfeldt managed to capture the diversity and beauty of plants like no one else. When you see his pictures, you can immediately see why architects such as Antoni Gaudí drew so much inspiration from nature. The shell-formed stairways, and the ceilings of the Sagrada Família are visibly copied from the world of plants.
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It is important for me to surround myself with flowers and plants. It makes you feel like you are being nice to yourself, to your home and to nature. And it doesn’t have to be an expensive treat either – you can often buy just two or three tall, elegant blooms or even pick yourself a wild bouquet from the roadside. You can also adopt unwanted plants that people have left out on the street, or get them through an online marketplace. And how about taking cuttings from the plants you already own – have you ever tried that?

Without plants, we would be nowhere. They purify the air that we breathe, and much of our food comes from their fruit, seeds, leaves and roots. By taking good care of plants, we are also taking good care of the world and ourselves.

I am a great advocate of locally-sourced and chemical-free food, and therefore also a big fan of guerrilla gardening. Starting a garden in the middle of a boring grey urban environment, together with people from the neighborhood, has such a big impact. Planting something together, and watching these things grow, makes people feel more connected to each other and nurtures a greater sense of respect for everything that grows and blossoms around us. These are two people who have really taken the lead in this area:

– The ultra-cool Urban Graffiti man Ron Finley from South Central LA. If you haven’t seen this yet, check out his TED talk: Ron Finley’s TED talk on Guerilla Gardening.
– Pam Warhurst, the brain behind “Incredible Edible,” and a feisty lady who has – with the help of its inhabitants – transformed the English town of Todmorden into a paradise (you may well need to look beyond her English sternness, but she is, in my opinion, at least as cool as Ron Finley). Pam talks about the ‘Power of small actions’, something I believe in passionately, too:

http://www.ted.com/talks/pam_warhurst_how_we_can_eat_our_landscapes
http://www.incredible-edible-todmorden.co.uk/
And this, dear readers, was my last blog post. I hope I have been able to surprise and inspire you by telling you about the things that bring me joy. And a big thanks to Flow for letting me share them with you here!

For anyone who lives in or is visiting Amsterdam, you’ll be able to see my work at my TIME TO LIVE exhibition, which is being held at the Friday Next concept store until 30 November 2014.
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The photo of plants (above right) is by photographer Laura Dart, and I found it on the site van Kinfolk.
Nature on my website: Valescavanwaveren.com/botanics.
Nature on Pinterest: Pinterest.com/valescavanwaveren/garden and
Pinterest.com/valescavanwaveren/nature.

 
 

GUEST BLOG FLOW 3/4

Here you can read the Third guest blog I wrote earlier for the Flow Magazine online.

Hello Flow blog readers,

Picture this: a bathroom where a shampoo from L’Oreal is lined up next to a Kneipp shower gel, that’s flanked by a bottle of Andrélon conditioner… I get kind of annoyed by all the different logos and colors clashing with each other. A feeling that is even more enhanced by the fact that I think the bathroom should be a little sanctuary of peace and quiet, where you can gather your thoughts and energy for the day to come. So I decided to create my own packaging and make bottles that would be more in tune with each other, without any distracting logos. If you, too, would like to create a more serene setting in your bathroom, here’s a DIY project for you.

DIY Showerproducts

What do you need:
– Small plastic bottles (recycle old drink ones)
– White acrylic paint (can also be spray paint or white water-based varnish)
– Large paintbrush for the base coat (a small paint roller gives a flatter finish)
– Small paintbrush (for details)
– Self-hardening or Air Dry Clay
– Wooden cocktail stick
– Thread
– Colored acrylic paint
– Plant mister with water

This is what you do:
1. Soak the labels off the bottles (use a scouring pad for stubborn bits if necessary).
2. Using the clay, make letters for the various products: G for shower gel; B for bath foam; S for shampoo; C for conditioner… Use the cocktail stick to poke out the centres of the letter B.
3. As the clay dries, spritz the letters with a plant mister every now and then to stop the clay from cracking.
4. Prick a hole in the top of each letter and put the thread through the hole.
5. Paint the clay letters in colors of your choice.
6. Paint a base coat on to the bottles. (I picked white varnish and used a small paint roller to get a neater effect than a brush can achieve.)
7. Next, use the colored acrylic to paint a cute face or simple patterns like lines, crosses, large polka dots, small dots, diamonds or triangles.
8. Hang the clay letter around the neck of the bottle to identify which bottle holds which product.
9. If you still have a pump from a hand soap or other bottle, use this to close your painted bottle, otherwise just put its own top back on.
10. Bathe away!

DIY shower products instructions

Next week will already be my last guest blog here! I’m going to write about my sources of inspiration: beautiful plants and flowers, and more. Meanwhile, you can also find me at:

Shop: Etsy.com/shop/valescavanwaveren

Instagram: Instagram.com/valescavanwaveren

Pinterest: Pinterest.com/valescawaveren/

Until next week!

Valesca

 
 

GUEST BLOG FLOW 2/4

Here you can read the second guest blog I wrote earlier for the Flow Magazine online.

Hello dear Flow blog readers,
The illustrations that I make for magazines tell a story. They are actually meant as a solution to a communication problem. You need to tell the reader what the text is about in a picture. Again and again I love puzzling my way to the best solution and to get the readers involved.

ceramicshangers

I started drawing and creating long ago simply because I enjoyed it. Once it becomes your work something changes. And that’s why I got to a place where I wanted to make something in a new way again. Something for myself that doesn’t have to be communicative or necessarily beautiful, and not ready at a specific time. A time for discovery without deadlines.

I am very glad that I started a ceramics course at the local ceramics center Keramiek Centrum Amsterdam. I started by making little hangers with faces, because I wanted to make something cheerful. Then I began making small pots, vases and cups.

Working with clay and slowly creating something is a wonderfully meditative thing for me. You are holding an object in your hands and for a few hours that is the only thing you are doing. It is a great way to calm down. Sometimes I work on one project for a few months. It has to dry a long time before it can go in the oven and it has to be fired several times. The moment one of your objects comes out of the oven is always a surprise.

ceramicssteps

I go to my class every Friday. It’s really fun. It’s nice to be making things with the other people in class, sometimes silently, sometimes accompanied by good or crazy conversations.

Here are a few urls showing my ceramics and those of others:

Valescavanwaveren.com/ceramics

Etsy.com/nl/shop/valescavanwaveren

Society6.com/valescavanwaveren

Pinterest.com/valescawaveren/ceramics (fantastic ceramic pins to gain inspiration from)

Keramiek-centrum.nl (there is a waiting list, but if you live near Amsterdam…?)

Next week:
Do you also get so annoyed with all the different bottles and brands in your bathroom (shower gel, shampoo, conditioner)? I have a solution…

Until then!

Valesca

 
 

GUEST BLOG FLOW 1/4

driewieler
Since our little 3-headed family is struggling with autumn flu at the moment, I thought I make it a bit easy on myself for now, by conveniently reposting the guest posts I did for Flow Magazine last september.

Flow Magazine posted an English version om my text on the International Flow site. Thank you Flow!

So here I am, ‘copy-pasting’ my earlier post for you to read… Easy does it.
Take care folks!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Hello dear Flow blog readers,

My name is Valesca van Waveren and I work as a fulltime illustrator in my own studio in Amsterdam. In my guest blogs I will give you a glimpse into my life and show you what inspires me. I find it a great honor that Flow has asked me to do this and I hope to be able to bring you fun surprises in the next four posts, and to inspire you. At my site Valescavanwaveren.com you can see the things I make and my own blog every week.

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In the past seven years I have been making illustrations for various magazines, including Flow, VPRO Gids, Vrij Nederland, Opzij, Margriet More, Libelle and Jamie Magazine. As well as illustrations for assignments, I make my own work, and two years ago I discovered the joy of working with ceramics, which gives me all kinds of new possibilities.

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Sometimes I work in watercolor and pencil, other times I make line drawings with ink, or I work with clay. While I can work out my designs in all kinds of different ways, the main ingredients are always time, love and attention. I love the imperfections that are inherent to handmade work. It shows a kind of vulnerability so that it is easier to make contact with the object when you look at it.

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I really like drawing objects. Only when you draw something do you really see how it’s put together. Especially things with buttons and knobs, like old cameras or typewriters, are great to draw. For Libelle Blos (out 4 September) I have been drawing illustrations of old board games. It’s a lovely assignment, because I love the colors they used to use, the worn down corners on the old boxes, and the old-style typography.

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Many of the things and people who inspire me can be seen on Pinterest (valescawaveren) and Instagram (valescavanwaveren).

My next post will be about my love for ceramics and the process of working with clay. How it changes from being a lump of clay to a ceramics hanger or little pot.

Until next week,
Valesca

 
 

Figs and Pools

pools
And we’re back!
I hope you have enjoyed my guest posts on ceramics in the meanwhile at flow magazine.

We have spend some lovely eight days on Crete. It was the first really relaxed holiday together with our son Levi. He is now three years old, and boy, what a change! No more crying on the plane: YES! Playing with sand (not eating it), and making plans together: “Let’s go to the dinosaur park mum!” And what about distilling the milk bottle, bringing milk powder from home, spoons, pacifiers etc.: no need anymore.

We had such a good time. Levi learned how to swim (with ‘bandjes’ on off course). Our apartment complex inhabited around fifty people was run by a really nice and guest free family. And the Garden… Absolutely beautiful. It was filled with fresh figs, banana’s, pomegranates, grapes and flowers.

Greece unfortunately might not be so fruitful economically speaking at the moment, but boy: what an abundance of nature and kindness. Thank you Crete for sharing your overwhelming beauty.

figs

 
 

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