Working with felt is like painting with light

Working with felt is like painting with light

Newspaper article  “Friesch Dagblad” 4-9-2013

Women committed to the monastic life are married to God. Even as a 6 year old child, Eveline van der Pas (1955) felt this strongly and planned it for herself. ” God is pure love, I felt. Everything is immaculate around him. That is what I also wanted: to feel completely clean. ”
Despite this early intention, the visual artist lost her faith. ‘It was late sixties, flower power. God was a shining entity, higher than all of us on earth so for me He became a metaphor for how to live in a pure way. I turned away from the admonitions and the implications of the raised finger in the Catholic church. I did not like it, I did not need it. As a child I had a strong sense of justice. ”
Van der Pas is a spiritual person who has found her community  in music, with art philosophers and  gatherings of artists. “You can translate the bible in many ways. Leave the facts for what they are and search for the symbolic meaning. ” Deus sive Natura” – “God or Nature”, as the philosopher Spinoza wrote in the 17th century. “God” and “Nature”, both mysteries, great, holy, unexpected, miraculous and greater than us human beings. We need to behave with respect for nature and not spoil it.
Initially,  Eveline wanted to work with textile art. “At the University of Arts I disliked the principles of the teachers and the curriculum for textiles turned me off. So dowdy and fussy. So I switched to Drawing, Arts & Crafts.” In 1982 Van der Pas graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Tilburg. In three years she became a lecturer at two Academies in Amsterdam herself. She loved working and discussing with her students. “At the same time I noticed that I was focusing more on the process they were going through than on their products, the paintings.” Eventually she decided, having married and borne children, to take a course on transpersonal therapy. Combining studies and artistic work, she also followed a three year training course in Hamburg with PhD Gregg Firth, a Jungian analyst. At home in Marsum,  The Netherlands, she combined her teaching with a brand new practice until 1994. After ’94 she continued her studies and practice, while raising three children.



Fifteen years ago, her fascination with textiles took an unexpected turn when she paid a visit to ZIJDAR, a fibre shop with silks and wool, in Franeker (NL). ,,When I saw that silk and wool, I was amazed. It rang a bell. As a painter, I have learned to observe very well. What I saw was natural, something very pure and beautiful. Gosh, this is fun, I thought. The transparency of the silk combined with wool! Simply fascinating. Especially the pure, undyed materials entranced me by their beauty.”
For years, whenever she had spare time she taught herself how to make different textures in felt: transparent, rough and hairy. To pay the cost of the expensive materials, she gave courses at her studio until 2007. The Parnas, Center of Arts in Leeuwarden, organized a big arts event: ‘Post Zuidlanden’. When I participated as an artist, it was like a firecracker going off inside me.” Working on her felt installations with projections and sound made her so happy and excited. She recognized this feeling as something very meaningful for herself, so she decided to rent a studio to make art in Leeuwarden, besides her practice as an Art and relationship therapist. She loves to withdraw into her inner world there.
“For me working with fibres is like painting with light. In themselves, textile fibres are light in colour, but the light changes every moment of the day. Look.” She walks with a piece of work to the window. ” See how these white silk threads look dark against the light? In the evening, when the lamps are lit, they reflect another sort of light.” In her work she wants to keep the dirt out, you might say. “So funny. I use soap to make felt. Very purifying, and it smells clean and fresh! ”


” Wool behaves quite differently from smooth paper”, she continues. “Once the fibres adhere to the surface of silk, they begin to vibrate and start to lead a life of their own. This gives the texture an extra depth. It’s exciting.”
In this natural material full of transparency and lightness she rediscovered her old passion: purity, beauty and depth. “Beauty is not ostentatious. It is directed to the inside. When I’m working, I feel connected with the divine. I am in dialogue with something that listens, that is born out of my hands, by movement, moving, emotional and intuitive. ”
Van der Pas’ works of art  invite the viewer to go inside. “He who looks outside dreams, he who looks inside awakens, “says C. G. Jung. In this society full of bustle, stress and anxiety, art can help one to find peace and be in balance. You need Silence to feel how it can be. Her work aims to let people experience the divine in themselves. ,,You could also call it cleanliness, holiness or lightness, as if you are looking into a purifying mirror. ”

The beauty of purity

Her works, which range from hairy felted furs to figurative man-high fabrics, are created in interaction with their environment. “Rooms with ever-changing light are perfect places for my work. That’s why I love to work in churches.” She keeps the atmosphere of the church in mind at her studio. An inner conversation is created  with that space, its color, light and movements of air.  “Associating with those sensory properties, I see the idea in my head and my hands find the path. Symbols bring me to the essence.”
In her work, which focuses on purity, circles symbolize a  sense of perfection, seeds represent the ultimate promise. She also like to use the St Andrew’s cross, ” the ultimate symbol of humility,” in her work. “But you can also read the Andreas cross as a Gebo, the rune symbol for giving and receiving with your heart.” Besides her work as a visual artist who exhibits at home and abroad, she is still a therapist and teacher. “I approach my teaching and therapy work  with my inner being and the goal remains:  to express ‘purity and cleanliness’. As a child,  I had the desire to cleanse myself and the world.. That incentive is still there. ”


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