Private Collection: summer shoes



from the exhibition flyer, Pfinzgaumuseum


I went to a local Heimatmuseum (most districts and cities in Germany have some form of Heimatmuseum or association,which has permanent exhibits about the history of the specific area), the Pfinzgaumuseum to take a look at a private collection of summer shoes, called ‘Bambus, Binsen, Birkenrinde’ (Bamboo, Birchbark) .

The private collector, Hildegund Brandenburg, an architect made these shoes while away with her family on holiday. According to the exhibition information, it all started more than 20 years ago during a holiday in Norway. She described how her children were bored out of their skulls. So, the idea was to get the kids out to gather natural materials to make a house. She ran into some tree bark and decided to make sandals for the kids.

“I imagine myself to be a woman from prehistoric times, who has to make shoes for every family member every day.”

She often uses glue, needle and thread, but mostly restricts herself to using her swiss army knife. Her ideal shoe is one that is made of only one material, and quick to make.

She further describes how, compared to architecture, where the timeframes can be very long (from idea to completion), making a shoe is almost like instant gratification. After a while, it seems, she would make only one shoe ( I guess as a souvenir, once her kids were grown), as she wasn’t interested in repeating the process.



One shoe, highlights the real challenge for her: getting to know the materials intimately (characteristics, life period and stability, static and dynamic limits, and compatibility with other materials), and solving the thorny problem of how to connect the various parts. Each shoe tells the story of the holiday – from the Mediterranean palms, cork from Corsica, tree bark from Northern Europe.

I had expected twenty shoes, quaintly displayed, and was pleasantly surprised to see over a hundred sandals spread out on shelves. The museum did attempt to provide some extra information about the various regional plants used. This exhibition belongs in a museum of applied arts or the shoe museum in Hauenstein, with more space and resources to show the shoes and their materials properly.  What would interest me, was how prehistoric people solved that summer shoe problem…





London: Fashion Crescendo


It’s taken me a while to connect all the dots from my visit to London.

Busy city. Fashion metropole. Jam-packed city centre streets even on a drizzly sunday afternoon. The bustle. Of tourists on a monday. Constant.


Rising in crescendo in the Top Shop. Latest styles hot off the runways. Teen girls trying piles of clothes for the right thing. Twens popping in for a new blouse after work. Shoes piled high in the discount bin. Costume jewelry, handbags, all the things. But made where? And by whom?


via Daily Prompt: Crescendo

Holiday impressions

Texture, stucture and pattern fascinate me 


Back from our family holiday in South England. I’m still ruminating on what I’ve seen and experienced over the last two weeks.

I visited the Balenciaga exhibition at the Victoria & Albert museum (more on that later), had a look at quite a few touristy things, ate a lot of Full English Breakfasts, visited botanical gardens, great houses, drank an impressive amount of tea (with and without scones) and noticed things.

Living out of a suitcase is more or less test-driving a capsule wardrobe.

Women in the UK wear more skirts and dresses (in general) than women in Germany.

Fast fashion means picking up a new blouse or three is as easy as picking up a pack of precut vegetables ready to be made into a soup, on the way home from work in a large metropole.

British food is loads better than it’s reputation on the Continent.

How were your holidays?

Summer Road trip: Textile Museum

“Hausweber” means  “Houseweaver”. The Textile Museum, Nettetal, Germany.

The Textile museum in Nettetal is called “Die Scheune (the barn)” in a lovely old building close to what was previously the toll close to the Dutch border. This area along the Rhine is still a prosperous agricultural area (flat fields and wooded area stretch for miles and miles inviting you to get out a bike, and get rolling!).




Images from The Textile Museum; Spinning wheel from De Pannekookehuus (The Pancakehouse).

Earlier, among other things, a lot of flax was grown in the region. Linen was a commonly used fabric. If you wanted it white, then you had to send it off to Antwerp to have it bleached. Of course the Antwerper craftsmen kept their trade process a secret, and built up a thriving trade, in part making the city the bustling trade centre it was and still is.


How to wear tricky colours: Greenery


I was standing* in front of this larger than life print of Ruth Bernhard’s Young Gingko Tree, when I realized this was the solution to a colour challenge posed by Justine Leconte on her popular youtube channel.

Let me catch you up a bit. Justine Leconte is a young independent french designer, based in Berlin. She has a wildly popular vlog about fashion and design on youtube. Her episode on coming to terms with Greenery (Pantone’s 2017 Colour of the Year) was sadly unsuccessful, although fascinating to see her brainstorming process.  And so, it got me thinking about Greenery and incorporating trendy colours into one’s handknit wardrobe.

My first instinct, was to slap some green onto a capsule outfit, like so




Top: Alice+Olivia Jazmine cropped stretch knit top (The; Trousers: Zeus+Dione Pleiades pleated Linen-chambray culottes (; Shoes: Rag&Bone Margot Suede Ankle Boots (; Sweater: Opening Ceremony UMD X crew jumper (; Preowned Carved Green Jade earrings (

It isn’t a satisfying solution, because I wouldn’t actually wear this.  You see, this green has a lot of yellow in it,  and so it can be a difficult colour to wear close to the face. I would rather keep the green away from my face. In the form of accessories. So, I would look to handknits like belts, bracelets, fingerless gloves, socks to add that quick pop of green.

And so, this little Gingko tree inspired me to think of this combination:


Sweaters: Ready to fish Tilia concrete knitted T-shirt ( / Molly Ripped strik sweater ( / Tom Ford Asymmetrical Cashmere Sweater ( ; Top: Striped T-shirt (; Trousers: Marni cropped gabardine wide leg pants (; Sneakers: Sequin Full Kelly Green Canvas Converse Canvas Lowtop sneaker ( /Adidas Originals superstar boost silver metallic (; Ring: Pre-owned Antique Imperial Jade Platinum Ring (; Pendant: Maori Jade Pendant (; Watch: Vernier Gold and Green Bangle Watch (; Bag:Michael Kors Jet Set Medium Saffiano Leather Tote (  

Yup, when in doubt, Nature almost always has an answer. Or even more than one answer:



Photo: Northern Light over the Taiga by Olivier Grunewald; Rose Prickle by Thomas Wolf and Bernd Seydel

Would I wear either of these combinations? Red and green, or Purple and green? Maybe, maybe not, but I would definitely use these combinations for colourwork. Or other types of knitting. A green bracelet with red or even purple beads. An i-cord ring with a felted flower in green with a purple centre.


*The exhibition is called The Wonder of Nature and is running at the Gasometer in Oberhausen until November30, 2017. Quite spectacular photographs and video installations of plants and animals from all over the world.