Today in the series MEET AN ARTIST I would like to introduce Annelies De Kort to you.
Meet an Artist. Annelies de Kort
– What are you specializing in?
My specialization is bobbin lace, knitting and embroidery. But I also do crochet, macramé, sewing, etc.
– What made you decide to focus on Needlework in miniature? Did you know instantaneously that this was what you wanted to do (and do extraordinarily well), or did it develop over time?
As long as I can remember I did needlework and all kind of other crafts. And I always was attracted by little things and tried to make everything as small as I could. Not because I wanted them in a dolls house but just for fun.
– Creating miniatures is a very niche form of art. How did you get started designing and creating your own patterns/miniatures?
I started as a bobbin lace maker. There are a lot of different kind of laces. I studied most of them and always made my own patterns. Making patterns is what I love to do. One day I thought: I made so many patterns, what will I do with them? Then I started to make them as small as I could. I did that for 2 years, every day about 5 hours. And because of all the practice I managed to do it smaller and smaller. I used old linen thread I had bought in Bruges (Belgium). It was as fine as Egyptian cotton # 450. As thin as a hair. After I made a lot of lace, I wanted to put it in a shop like I had seen in Bruges. A friend of mine said: “You’d better make it in 1/12 scale”. That is the dollhouse scale. That seemed to me a good advice and that is what I did. And after that I discovered the miniature fairs and shops and so on. I did not know it existed beforehand.
– What is the process of creating a new pattern or product? How much research goes into a pattern, and what inspires you to create a new one?
Sometimes I just have an idea and make it. Sometimes I make things in miniature I once made full size (like the jumpers of my children). But if I make a Norwegian or a Fair Isle jumper or cardigan then I start to look in books and magazines etc., because I like to make them as authentic as I can. The same as I make something from a certain period. Then I start with looking in my costume books first.
Or when I am in a museum and see a piece I love to make in miniature. Then I make lots of pictures. I did that when I made embroidery patterns. I have made a cabinet with embroidered doors and sides from the 17th century. I saw them in The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. And I made 2 wall hangings after the full-size wall hangings I saw in the Burrell collection in Glasgow.
– What other forms (i.e., different fabrics, materials, needles, etc.) do you work with?
I did needlework and crafts as long as I can remember. I have so many materials and fabrics. I like to use them all. I like to work with wood too. I am not so good at it, but I love doing it.
And I loved to make films. Here on you tube you can see what I made:
– Do you feature your work at specific festivals or shows, competitions? What are those experiences like?
My work has been in several museums in The Netherlands. The little lace shop with over 200 pieces of handmade bobbin lace has been in museums in The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Spain and France.
I go to fairs in The Netherlands, Germany ( Rheda) and England (Kensington). In 2020 I entered my work in PIMA for the first time.
– How are you preparing for the shows?
I knit a lot of miniatures, I have all my patterns and pattern books, and most of the time all my yarns and materials (but not in Kensington).
– Can we see your studio?
No, not really. But there are a few times a year when I hold workshops in our house. Then the students can see my work.
– If someone is just starting out with Needlework in miniature and thinking about creating miniatures, how and what would you advise them?
I would advise to start with an easy pattern, especially when they start miniature knitting.
– What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
My needlework teacher at school always looked at the back of my work first. I hated that. She always said: “You are so creative; I know the front looks good. But what about the back?”
– What advice would you give to your younger self?
Be proud of what you make. Don’t take your talent for granted.
– Who/What are your biggest influences?
I love to go to a museum. Museums and architecture inspire me a lot.
– How have other artists/designers/miniaturists or art genres have influenced your sense of creativity?
I love the Arts and Crafts and I love folk art. In periods I love the Middle ages, The twenties and the sixties of the last century.
– What keeps you up at night?
All my ideas. I have more than I will ever be able to make.
– How would you describe your current project to someone at a dinner party that is never heard of you and your work?
That is so difficult. I normally do not talk about it.
– What does your Artwork represent? Does your Artwork represent something about you?
I cannot tell. There are so many things I like to do. I made miniature books as well with my own stories. I love to write fantasy stories. For years I made patterns for the Dutch miniature magazine.
– What/How did you have to develop, try, or learn to create your Artwork?
Most things I learned by experience. And by throwing away and start again before I am satisfied.
– What does your Art mean to you?
I could not live without it because my head keeps given me ideas. It never stops.
– What gives you the most joy?
When a pattern which took me a long time to make, turns out to be as beautiful as I hoped it would.
– Is there anything you dislike about your Artwork?
Things I don’t like I never show to anyone.
– Professionally, what is your goal?
To go on as long as I can.
– What is/are your weakness/es?
I am very disorganised. My room is a mess and I spend lot of time looking for things. And I do not always reply my emails, especially when I am in the middle of creating new patterns.
– What is one thing you are not getting credit for that you absolutely should? Is there such thing?
Most of the people do not realize that I design all my patterns. When they buy a jumper, they often think it is from a book. They do not realize it is unique.
– What is the best thing about being an artist?
That you have no boundaries or restrictions in your designs.
– What is your strongest memory of your childhood?
I had a great childhood.
– What is your favorite dish/recipe/food?
I love baking, cakes, and biscuits. I make my own bread.
– What superpower would you have and why?
I don’t know. I don’t think I like to have superpower.
– Who/What does challenge you? What is challenge for you?
I love challenges. Making an entry for PIMA was a challenge for me.
– What is your dream project?
The things I do because I can do whatever I like. During COVID I made an Animal Home. I wanted to do that for many years but never found the time to do it. During Covid I suddenly had time and I loved it. I even made a whole story about it and its inhabitants.
– Favorite or most inspirational place?
I loved Florence in Italy.
– Do you listen to music when you are working on a project? If yes, what are you listening to?
When designing I often listen to an opera.
– What are you most proud of to date?
My Bobbin Lace shop is of museum quality. I often think it is a pity that it is here in my room and not in a museum or in a place where more people can enjoy it.
– If you were completely start over again, what would you do differently?
I regret that I have not became an IGMA artisan. I always was so busy making and designing miniatures that I did not take the time to do so. Now that I am 70 years old, I think I should have done that.