craft work {heart felt}

Dutch artist Claudy Jongstra takes the ancient skills of felting and tapestry from textile art & craft beyond into the realms of art and architecture.



Aside from producing incredible textile pieces, Studio Claudy Jongstra has a deep commitment to an ethical process. She maintains control over every step by cultivating the materials they use; keeping her own sheep, bees, growing a botanical garden and fields of dye plants. Her team utilises local resources, natural materials and keeps alive ancient skills (themes close to our hearts since Mat and I started working with Andean spinners and weavers eight years ago.)

Their beautiful Drenthe Heath Sheep. Europe’s oldest breed of which, only 1200 are left in the world.


In the dye studio Claudy and her team dye all the wool for her artworks by hand using nuts, leaves, roots and flowers which they grow themselves.

From her website: “Shortly after our botanical garden had been laid out, many insects and butterflies came to inhabit it and we realised we could stimulate bio-diversity.  Logically, we took the next step in the independent production chain, namely planting our own fields of dye plants.”

“People have great careers, but they have lost their connection with nature. They are astounded to see how culture is created from nature. They have busy lives and great careers but feel a huge emptiness around them caused by the superficiality of frenzied consumption. We hope to awaken people’s deeper inner knowledge.”

If this isn’t important and fulfilling work,  I don’t know what is.

If you are visiting the Netherlands: “Since 2012, Studio Claudy Jongstra rents a small, abandoned, beautiful 17th-century church in Friesland, using this church as its gallery; tapestries, raw materials, sketch proposals and mock-ups can be viewed at the church.

The church is open for art collectors, curators, architects.”


Mat and I daydream often of finding our own piece of land where, like Claudy, we can live and work in a holistic way, producing food for our family table and beautiful things to sell.  In the mean time, I attended a felting workshop recently with local sculptor Anita Larkin and now in the cold days of late winter, just as tiny black Suffolk lambs are being born in our front paddock (alas not with the beautiful locks of the Drenthe Heath), I am off to the shed with the kids to dig out some old fleeces. Stay tuned for some raw shaggy woollen creations…


All images from