07 December 2009

Winter tales

The dark days don't ask for much, just a rocking chair, a hot beverage, a purring cat and a good book...

I was lucky to find a 2nd hand copy of The armless maiden, a book I've been searching for a long time! One of the authors signed it for its previous owner, who also scribbled across the margins here and there. I don't mind at all -I love these little messages in 2nd hand books!

 When I was ten, I discovered a library book with messages in it; a previous reader had commented on the story and was reaching out to the next reader(s)... of course I didn't dare to write in a library book (yeah, like I was such an angel, LOL), but I was extremely tempted to do so! Imagine a secret circle of kids communicating through scribbles in library books... I even suspected the librarian didn't erase the notes because she silently approved of it! ;-)

What would our own books be without those little notes? It makes them ours, doesn't it? I am a fervent scribbler myself, though just in my own, deemed "work" books. And actually, the oldest piece of Dutch is one of those scribbles in a 10th century manuscript.

Also reading: The forest in folklore and mythology by Alexander Porteous and Warming the stone child, an audiobook by Clarissa Pinkola Estés on my I-pod. These are my winter tales...

13 November 2009

glassy inspiration at the British Museum

A short trip to London with visits to the British Museum, the National Gallery, The British Library, and a wonderful concert by candlelight & Fauré's Requiem in St Martin in the Fields...

Yeah, I got my cultural fix alright.  ;-)


Tiffany's Favrile glass


a brooch by Lalique

Roman glass

Roman murrine brooch

Minoan gold

DSC_3998 detail

goddess figurines -phi & psi


Cycladic statuettes

The rest of the pictures are on Flickr/London set and the label inspiration takes you to my other cultural expeditions...

07 November 2009

simplicity on aarghh.be

site 2010 screencap - simplicity!
Despite all the name changes...
This is the new look for http://www.aarghh.be/
The picture changes when you refresh the page. Can you find out how many there are? ;-)

Here are some of the old skins...it seems like ages ago!



The changelings:

blog --- http://kristienberghs.blogspot.com/
twitter --- http://twitter.com/kristienberghs
friendfeed --- http://friendfeed.com/kristienberghs
librarything --- http://www.librarything.com/catalog/kristienberghs
myglassart --- http://www.myglassart.org/kristienberghs

facebook --- http://www.facebook.com/kberghs

The ones that remain the same -because it's not possible to change the name unless I delete the account (which I won't!):

flickr --- http://www.flickr.com/photos/artemissne/
dawanda --- http://en.dawanda.com/shop/artemissne

etsy ---http://www.etsy.com/shop/aarghh

From now on I'll be updating from the new sites. If you're unsure where I'm at, start from http://www.aarghh.be and you'll be fine. Thanks!

What's in a name?

Big news: I've decided to drop artemissne as a name for my creations, and to just use my own. A big step! ;-)

Artemissne has kept me company for about 3 years, and was linked with the screen name I had adopted before: missne. Missne was an elfin character from my favorite children's book by Inger Edelfeldt -mysterious, unknown and perfect for my online life and the rediscovery of my own identity.

logo evolution
So when my creativity started leading its own life, I thought it deserved a name of its own too, a small jump to artemissne. There you had Artemis, missne, and art in it. I liked it.

I designed the logo at that time -a spiral reminding me of my love of fossils and all kinds of stones as a child, natural forms and patterns that still inspire me.

Sometimes you need to take another name to grow into your own. That's what happened, crazy as it may sound: I'm ready to use my own name for my creations. Call me a late bloomer. :-)

So practically that means I'm changing all the artemissne extensions on most websites to kristienberghs, and I apologize beforehand for the bookmark updating troubles. I'll update with a list on this blog.

Aarghh remains aarghh though, so you don't have to worry about the mothership. I don't intend to change the name of my homepage, it has been with me since I first set foot in virtual space in 2001. It refers to a castle in my favorite Monty Python film, and to the various sounds I make when either burning my fingers in the flame, touching hot glass, cutting myself on glass, sanding or sawing or filing off my fingers, nails, nose (1 occasion). That's what you'll get from playing with fire! :-p

14 September 2009

blooming scars

Glass blooms that grow from scars, cracks and knots in wood.

A reminder that (emotional) scars can be fertile ground for new life...

...unless you'd rather see it as mutant lifeforms. Zombie glass attack! :-p

more @ flickr.

10 September 2009

a goddess pendant & designing spiritual jewelry

As you probably know by now, I love designing after certain themes or concepts. One that I hold dearly is the talisvrouw series that led me to explore a feminine spirituality in bead, necklace and pendant design.

My interest in pagan and folk religion taught me how meaningful jewelry can be and how popular and widespread talismans and amulets are, whatever religion or age. Jewelry that goes beyond aesthetics and fashion and becomes magical: it protects and gives strength to the wearer (if you believe in it, that is!).

Of course the believing is optional. Aesthetic appreciation wil do just fine! ;-) I just wanted to explore the concept of spiritual jewelry with things that were meaningful to me.

The elements I wanted to use were clear from the beginning:

-A fine chain made from the tiniest gemstone beads and handmade silver beads from Thailand and Bali. I start out with a set of colors/stones and a certain fluid rhythm in which the links are arranged. Just a cluster of colors & shapes.

A chain is a symbol in itself, made up of individual links. It's being part of a greater entity, of having roots that go way back, way deep. It reminds me of a dream my favorite author and storyteller C.P. Estés had, in which she stood on the shoulders of a very old woman -she apologized and wanted to get off her and told her it should be the other way around because she was strong, but the older woman replied that it was perfect the way it was, because she was standing on the shoulders of her ancestor, and that line went all the way back to the center of the earth. Or something like that. I forgot where I've read it, but love the image.

-I choose the gems mostly for their color and form, not particularly for their symbolic properties. I'm not so sure what to think of that, although I am crazy about certain stones and less crazy about others. Some of my favorites you can find here. The Balinese and Hill Tribe Thai beads are handmade and especially the Thai beads are incredibly detailed for their very small size (1mm diameter!). They just seemed perfect for this project.

-The neolithic spiral designs were my inspiration for the glass beads that would become amulets (I also use the spiral in my logo). The spiral stands for evolution, the way it expands from the center but if you travel the other way around it could mean a journey to the self, getting to the point (literally), unraveling the truth -whatever that may be. A psychological healing process can be described as peeling layers of an onion -you seem to be confronted with the same *shit* over and over, but each time you get a little closer to the core of the issue. And it does get a bit easier each time, a little less layer to peel off.
The spiral is also a Great Goddess symbol of the neolithic (check out the tombstone at Newgrange, Ireland) and finally, it's a great design to translate on a lampworked glass bead.

The first necklace was still beaded instead of linked. Then with the Dryads (right) I made the chains a lot longer and attached the spiral bead pendant to it so you could wear it long or double. I loved the beads but wasn't entirely happy with the pendants, so the idea of creating a seperate pendant with integrated goldsmithing and lampworking techniques grew on me, and that's how the goddess pendant came to life.
A black-and-white reproduction of Minoan pottery showing the descent of the goddess became my model, and this summer the pendant became fact. I wanted to create a human figure, even as stylized as she is with a flower as her face and a curved, organic bead as her body because these "little people", dolls, saints, house gods, teddy bears are rich in symbolism as well.
They are the little helpers we can trust with our deepest secrets and fears and they tend to talk to us in dreams.

She's the first, but you can bet there are more to follow...

work in progress & results:


07 September 2009

glass + copper. No more, no less.

Two materials I've been wanting to combine for a long time. They go together so well, and I was eager to work on a project in which I could combine the techniques I had learned for each medium. Sawing out the forms in copper, sanding them, designing the murrini at the torch, arranging them and firing the little squares (the "gardens") in the kiln, and finally setting them in the panel. It took me about a month.

The grass green glass was my red thread. It's one of my favorite transparant shades -it reminds me of summer and the sun shining through leaves...it just makes me happy. So I used that in all the green murrini, but mixed the shades with other colors.

When seen from afar you can just make out the colors of the glass squares and read the quote, but as you come closer you see more colors and finally all the murrini. It is quite detailed, the squares are each 5 x 5 cm, the murrini between 1 and 7 mm each. The whole piece measures 15 x 78 cm (without the bar and the chains).

"Nur der Mensch schafft einen Garten, niemals die Natur. Sie sehen also, wie unsere Entwicklung vor der Intervention des Bewusstseins abhängt. Es gibt zwar den Faktor der Entwicklung, der Evolution in der Natur, aber sie vollzieht sich langsam, sie benötigt Millionen von Jahren."

C. G. Jung, Traumanalyse

The garden is a metaphor for our own creative process. A garden doesn't occur naturally, we create them consciously. But a garden is also a reflection of nature, so by creating one we tap into the same creative process as nature uses and connect with her within ourselves. And that brings balance.

That's why creating is so vital to us...

work in progress pictures:


09 July 2009

meanwhile, at the studio:

(click for full size)

My creativity is slowly but certainly accelerating to full speed and not a moment too soon, because there's much work to be done! My little notebook (on the bottom right side) is bursting with scribbles and sketches and the to-do lists I've made make me slightly panicky...but I'm equally happy I can finally devote my time to my art, at least for the summer vacation.

The picture shows part of the microcosmos project. I've been lampworking some glass test "nods" and making some more green cell murrini that are going to be fused on those glass squares, and I've been searching for a neat stencil font for the text on the copper plates. Of course you all know what I'm talking about. ;-) Just bear with me, it will become clear soon...

Also, I'm about 1/4 librarian now. I would be excited if it weren't for the fact that the certificate we'll get at the end of the ride isn't enough to land a job. Due to our silly Belgian education system, adult education and evening classes don't equal regular education even if it's the same level. So in fact I should get a bachelor from somewhere else...and while I love studying, I really just want to do the glass (& metal) thing. I feel like I have plenty more to tell in those media and I'm not sure if I can put my creativity on hold for some more years of full time studying...What to do?

Well, to be continued...

03 July 2009

the myth of the goddess

inspiration..., originally uploaded by artemissne.
...an inspiration for my talisman/talisvrouw series. Brilliant book!

The myth of the goddess: Evolution of an image by Jules Cashford and Anne Baring

wabi sabi: inspired by imperfection

This old plate (Boch/Belgium) is my newest find at the ViaVia in Gent. It has two missing stripes...for me, this is how it should be. Not quite finished, but you can imagine how. And worn out by time and use...

How I love this.

Years ago a friend mentioned this was actually the core of Japanese esthetics, which led me to explore the idea of Wabi Sabi (wikipedia).

Wabi Sabi for Artists, Designers & Philosophers by Leonard Koren (on amazon)

21 May 2009

a secret rose garden

...lies hidden just outside Kortrijk. It's close to my goldsmithing class at Syntra. Nobody seems to know of it -whenever I bring my picnick before going to class I have this gorgeous garden all to myself and pretend to be Lizzie Bennett or Marianne Dashwood.

The first roses are starting to bloom and I just couldn't resist...

rose garden

rose garden

rose garden

rose garden

rose garden

rose garden

rose garden

design museum Gent

I haven't had any studio time since February, since the silver necklace with the sprouty cabuchons and let me tell you, I'm starting to lose it! An eye that doesn't stop twitching, occasional mouth foaming and snarling... I stocked up on extra chocolate and strawberries to keep myself from becoming a danger to society. But I don't know what will happen when I run out...

Although I have to practice my patience a little longer, library school exams come first and the renovations in our home & studio in Ronse are nearly done...in less than a month it'll be all good again. And meanwhile I've been mentally preparing all those nagging, needy ideas, so when I'm able to set myself free in the studio it'll be quite the sight! ;-)

So last Sunday my friend Jessy met up in Ghent -she has a knack with organic and natural elements, turning them into her "Pure Creations", take a look at her Dawanda and blog! And if you happen to be in Kontich on Saturday, she'll be there at the Meifeest markt. ;-)

We hadn't seen each other in ages it seemed, so there was a lot of catching up to do over cappuccino, Moroccan food and my very favorite shop Phulkari. Which is in the same street as the Design Museum! The weather was a little too chilly to enjoy outside, so we decided to take a look at all the pretties and let ourselves be inspired...

12 May 2009

BCC's Big Read book meme

Which ones have you read?

"Apparently the BBC reckons most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here.


1) Look at the list and make those you have read bold.
2) Star (*) the ones you LOVE.
3) Italicize those you plan on reading.

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien * (but can't be bothered with the movies)
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte *
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling (first 3 only actually)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible umm...I liked the bit with the horses. Apocalypse.
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell * (yay SF dystopias!)
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy * in college.
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller (started it when I was 18)
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare -I guess tales reworked for kids by Charles & Mary Lamb doesn't count... :-p read some sonnets, and parts of some of his famous ones
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien *
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot -started it in college
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell -saw the movie
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy -started it
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini -does the audio book count? or the movie?
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Berniere
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden -again, movie
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez*
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins -while I lived in Bournemouth
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery -while I was visiting friends in Wisconsin
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan -saw the movie. Read the Cement garden in college, hated it.
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert (but wasn't impressed)
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen (ooh movie! Kate Winslet, Emma Thompson, yay!)
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley*
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy * (did you see that movie adaptation with Kate winslet & Christopher Eccleston?)
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding -and the movie obviously
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie -started it
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett * I want that garden!
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce -meh
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome ooh I love his illustrations
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens -the Muppets? or the Simpsons version? :-p
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker -just recently thanks to bookcrossing! :-D
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro -ooh! wanna read! Emma Thompson + Anthony Hopkins = awesome
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert -in college. finished in one day...
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White -movie. kinda meh.
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad * And Apocalypse now. ;-)
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery* en français bien sûr
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams (actually read the "cat version" by J. Smith-Aiken first, only discovered years later that the bunnies were first... :-p )(never saw the movie though)
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas -ok I cheat: I had this book in a graphic novel version of 8 classics as a kid, this one was in it (as was Black Beauty, which I thought was brilliant as an 11-year old)
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare -Kenneth Branagh version
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl *
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo -movie

If I count correctly, that makes 43 books! Not too bad. :-D However the tendency seems to be mostly SF/fantasy (well d'uh), almost all children's literature listed (except for Charlotte's Web at first sight) and some 19th century classics (Austen, Brönte, Hardy, Dickens,...)

I see I've got to work on my Russian classics though...but they're so thick! And have no illustrations! Or movie adaptations! LOL. I think I have War & Peace lying around here somewhere, a mustly old fat book with small print. This is where a kindle would come in handy... ;-)

Also, no Dutch, Italian or German literature?! Boo!

Via Tenaanval via Other stories.

29 April 2009

anything but homework!

So Helium Vola released their new cd and it is awesome...a cover with rusty old grubby things, the crystal clear voice of Sabine Lutzenberger and the wicked vision of Ernst Horn who mixes medieval music and electronic avantgarde like it's nothing...
I saw him live at an accoustic Deine Lakaien concert a couple of years ago.

Meanwhile I'm drowning in homework, struggling to finish the report of my library training a month ago in the public library of Ghent...

So naturally I find time to make pictures of the blooming garden and the kitties. Hrmph. Better get back to it...

See ya.

19 April 2009


talisvrouw necklaces
pretty in peridot - Dawanda (talisman-talisvrouw series)

Yay, I listed some new necklaces and earrings on Etsy and Dawanda! It does make me happy when I do, 'cause I haven't found a rhythm to do this on a regular basis yet. I'm in awe of artists who can -for me there's work or school that comes first inevitably, and then there's a loooooong road from the initial idea to the final finished and listed piece of jewelry. Mostly because of practical reasons like the studio still being built up (and the house being renovated) to finding the right (natural) light to photograph and finally, health reasons too. Although I have been feeling stronger than before (touch wood!), that chronic fatigue still requires me to take things easy.

duizendbloem - morrocan blue
morrocan blue - etsy (from the duizendbloem series)

So some of the items you see here, finally finished and ready to set out into the world find their beginnings more than a year or so ago! Go figure.

This one for example, is part of the fairy tale fragments series, which I introduced back in june but only got around finishing a week or so ago. This one is all silver, fused and forged, with gemstones depicting melting ice and blossom petals (please view full size on flickr!):

emerging (through sunlight)
emerging - etsy -and all about Persephone!

I wish I could stop restraining myself and just throw myself into creating full time, but that wouldn't be wise in these economically challenging times...so short, bright bursts it is then...

more bubbles!
budding green - etsy

And there's one more thing: a film tip: Let the right one in. Swedish. A boy and a girl and their friendship (OMG so sweet!). And the occasional severed head (she's a vampire after all).

Loved it. ;-)