Antje Rook

Textile Art

The Home Project

The Home Project

Some time ago, when I was thinking about what to do next, I had the idea of working about the subject of 'HOME'. It started with me wondering how people who live in a new country feel about home. Do they still consider the country they were born in as their home? Or do they feel home in their new place? What does home mean at all?

Here are my initial thoughts:

What does HOME mean?
1. Home can mean environmental and cultural experiences and their impact on our being, our perception, our way of thinking, our behaviour and our relationships.

 
2 .It can mean a place where our needs are met, from the most basic ones, like shelter and food to love and security.

 
3. It can mean memories and fantasies which influence our present being.

 
4. It can mean a sense of identity, belonging, from a small circle like family and friends to town, country, religion, culture, earth.



I found some answers from people who were asked what home means for them:
“Anywhere my kids are.”
“Where I can be naked, both emotionally and physically”.
“Anywhere my husband is. “You’re My Home” is an old Billy Joel song, and that is what is engraved on the inside of his wedding band. The lyrics are “I’ll never be a stranger, and I’ll never be alone. Wherever we’re together, that’s my home.” After 12 years and two kids, it’s still true.”
“Home isn’t a place; it’s a feeling.”
“A place where I can be 100 percent me. “
“The smell of my mother’s perfume. Even though we live 3,000 miles apart, if I walk down the street and someone is wearing it, I immediately feel like I’m home.”
“Home means sanctuary.”
“Home is where I can take off my bra”.
" Home means predictability in an uncertain world"
“Home is my soft place to land.”
 “Home is the place where you feel in control and properly oriented in space and time; it is a predictable and secure place. In the words of poet Robert Frost, "Home is the place that, when you have to go there, they have to take you in." In short, “home” is the primary connection between you and the rest of the world.”


 What I noticed when I read these answers, was the fact that apparently ‘home’ seems to be another word for ‘happy place’! But I would like to point out, that that’s is not always the case. There is a ‘dark’ side of home too. What about ‘homes’ which are associated with violence, abuse, addiction, exploitation and chaos? I don’t want us to forget those aspects and I think it would be interesting, if we are brave enough, to explore those aspects as well.

I asked a few fellow artists if they would be interested in such a project and I got 20 positive answers.

Since then we have met twice to discuss the possibilities of exhibitions,  explore about suitable venues, talk about our ideas about home and even thought about a collaboration with on of the prisons on Portland. 

These are my personal ideas so far: I would like to explore the 'dark side of home' a little bit more. I bought a dolls house and will put a different scene of dark aspects of home in every room.

Here is one example



I also took some black and white photos of Portland, the place I live and consider my home and embroidered on them.


I have some more ideas, but they are secret for now!

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London and The Covid Chronicle

London and The Covid Chronicle

Most of you know that I took part in the Covid Chronicle. You don't? Here is what it's about.

'The Covid Chronicle was set up by artist Wendy Bliss during the February UK Lockdown, 2021. The completed project is made up of 142 submissions from around the world, and the panels have been curated and stitched together into metre square blocks of four, making a total of 36 metres of work. The installation has been described as a ‘Bayeux Tapestry’ for the 21st century pandemic, and records personal experience in words as well as pictures: each artist has been invited to add words to support their panel for this extraordinary collection; these are often poetic or moving, and always interesting.' 

I made 2 panels for this and was finally able to see the whole tapestry in London last month, in Riverside Studios. It was an extraordinary experience to meet Wendy and also so many other artists who took part. Some travelled quite a distance to be there with us. It was a delightful evening with lots of champagne, lovely conversations, touching speeches and a great set up.

We finished the evening with a meal in a lovely little french restaurants.


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Dorset Art Weeks

Dorset Art Weeks

To keep a long story short: I didn't get into Grayson Perry's art club, nor in the Royal academy summer show! Of course not! I went to see the show and there are just very few textile works anyway. Sad, that textile art is still not fully recognised as art in certain circles.

But apart from these little disappointments, the summer was great! Dorset Art Weeks was a blast. I exhibited in 3 venues, in Podi Lawrence's art studio on Portland, in the Nothe Fort in Weymouth and I also took part in the exhibition in the Jubelee Hall in Poundbury.

It was lovely to meet so many new customers and I met a few people which bought from me before, but I had never met in person. I sold a lot, which always leaves me happy and satisfied, thinking it was all worth while.




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The Virus project, Grayson Perry and the summer show

The Virus project, Grayson Perry and the summer show

I know, I have neglected my news, I guess the Pandemic with all its difficulties is to blame. But I actually have some news. To pick up where we left, my picture with me and my dog, was shown in London in The Knitting and Stitching show, which was great. Du to Covid, I didn't go myself, but people who went sent me photos.


At the same time, one of my works was accepted by the Society for Embroidered Work for their exhibition in Rome Art weeks. The exhibition was a huge success and I'm pleased that again textile artists could prove, that they have a place in the art world. 

" Stitched art is art!!!"


Now I have some excellent news about the virus project! From the 14th of March the Virus Project and other Pandemic related work will be on show in Dorset Museum in Dorchester! The exhibition will be on till June and I'm really exited about it! The last weeks/months the curator Lucy and I prepared everything and the most fantastic thing is, that many of you, the people who donated for the fundraising project for NHS charities together and the people who took part in my Instagram challenge, will be on show too! ( Just the ones who gave their permission obviously). 

I can't wait to see it all live and I hope many of you can go and have a look too!

Grayson Perry's Art Club!! Who has seen it? I absolutely loved it and it was one of the bright lights during the lockdowns.


Now he is doing it again and I submitted a picture!!  The theme for the first episode is 'LOVE' and I submitted this:


And guess what!! I got a phone call some days ago ! I don't know if I will be part of it yet, they just thought it was an interesting picture and story and they asked me lots of questions! Fingers crossed!!!


Then I decided to be really brave and I submitted a work to the Royal Academy Summer Show! It would be sooooo amazing if my picture would be chosen, but I know, the chances are minimal. But one can hope, right?



The last news are about Dorset Art Weeks 2022!

After last years online event, this year will be a real art event again. I will exhibiting in 2 places.  In The Art Studio in Fortuneswell on Portland with my dear friend and brilliant artist Podi Lawrence and also with a group of Artwey artists in Weymouth in the Nothe Fort. I'm sure both venues will be brilliant and I'm very busy right now to create new work. On show for the first time will be some of my sculptural textile work and also OOAK art dolls. 

Please put it in your diary: 14th till 29th of May

That's it for now !

XXX

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Portrait with Ghwyny

Portrait with Ghwyny

How I came to make a portrait

Yesterday I got this picture back from the framer. I made it just after I came home from hospital after the heart incident. I felt lind of shattered and confused and tried to express these feelings in the face of the portrait through the eyes and the layered material in different shades. My dog Ghwyny always senses how I feel, I call her my therapy dog, because she is so sensitive and always comes to comfort me ,when I feel bad.She was obviously disturbed by the heart incident and sometimes I think she knew in advance. She behaved very odd in the days leading to the incident. Anyway, I wanted to capture all this and I'm happy with the result. 

I entered this work for the portrait competition of the Knitting and Stitching Show.

 Watch this space!!



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The heart incident and other news

The heart incident and other news

So many things have happened....I don't even know where to start!

Well, you all know we are still in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic, which has changed our lives in a way, we never expected. For me the most significant change is in our social relationships, how we connect with people and our attitude towards each other. I'm sure it will change our lives forever. But you know all this from your own experiences.

Some weeks ago, I got a commission from a lovely lady, who wanted me to make a portrait of her family. They are a family very connected to nature, specially to out beautiful area around the jurassic coast . They are interested in the animals and plants , love walking and exploring Chesil beach and observing the changes of the seasons. She asked me to make the portraits in my usual style, which I did, as you can see here. I think she liked it very much!



The Heart incident

On the day I finally took the picture to my framer, I had a little meeting with some other artists about a project on our island,. During the meeting I suddenly felt very weird, cold and nauseous and I felt a sharp pain in my upper back.  I thought I had pulled a muscle or trapped a nerve..

To cut a long story short, In this moment I has a spontaneous tear in my coronary artery which then caused a heart attack. I made it home somehow, but was taken to hospital in an ambulance half an hour later.



After several tests and an angiogram in hospital, it was confirmed, even the doctors couldn't believe it. Nobody imagined I could have a heart attack, because I don't fit the profile and don't have any risk factors, I'm fit, eat a healthy diet, do a lot of exercise and I'm not overweight



By now I have learned that I had a SCAD, spontaneous coronary artery dissection, a rather rare condition. So far there is not known a lot about this condition, nobody knows why it happens and how to prevent it. There is a research project in the UK, where I take part in and hope to contribute to some new  insights. For now, I have to rest for a few months till the tear is healed, have to take a lot of medication every day and wait  how it goes.

Here is the artwork about the 'Heart Incident'


The heart incident has changed my life considerably. I'm aware of the fact that it can happen again and that I could die, but I'm also determined to make the most of my life.


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Great news about the 'virus' project

Great news about the 'virus' project

Wow, there are lots of news about the 'virus' project! 

You can see them now online on the website of the Counterweave Gallery in Rome as part of their exhibition about the lock down 

https://counterweave.com/artunderlockdown/antje-rook-a-virus-a-day/ 

They are also  in a virtual exhibition on the B-side festival website, but also as a poster on display in the B-side Outpost on the Isle of Portland.

https://b-side.org.uk/news/socially-distanced-exhibition-opportunity-launched-0 


I 'm in contact with the Dorset County Museum in Dorchester and that's where the 'viruses' will go as part of a collection to show, how people coped during the Pandemic.

Just recently the whole 'virus' project got a new meaning. 

Every day I sit down to make my 'virus' of the day, I think about my friend Roger, who died of the virus.It was such a shock and he is missed so much by everyone who knew him. I thought that many, many people all over the world feel like this, and it would be nice to remember all the people who did and will not survive the pandemic. My small contribution to this is, that I started stitching the names of people , who sadly lost their life, on the 'virus' project. I announced this on social media and I got some really heartbreaking letters and stories. 

Please don't hesitate to contact me, if you want a lost loved one included.


You can contact me here on the website, on Facebook or on Instagram!









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So much has happened.....

So much has happened.....

A lot has happened in the last few months, Open for Art was a huge success, I sold all of the sea life series, I took part in a few other exhibitions and sold the 3 large women and a few of the small ones too. I obviously have to get going and create something new.

The most important news is probably that one of my works is accepted by the South West Academy of Fine Art for their annual open exhibition in Exeter castle.

You can see my entry here

https://www.southwestacademy.org.uk/antje-rook-19 

The work accepted is a little different from my usual art. It is a little dress, titled 'Childhood Dreams'


The artwork is an old fashioned child's nightdress with images of happy dreams and the face of a little girl on the front and some terrifying images of the little girl in different situations, where she is scared and trying to hide on the back.

The inspiration for this work came from my work as Psychotherapist in Germany, where I used to work with victims of sexual abuse.

The two sides of the dress represent the reality, the back of the dress with all its fears and hopeless feelings and the imaginary fantasy world on the front, with a hiding place, a friendly dragon and some happy imaginations. Sometimes the only way to cope with reality, is to escape to a better world in their imagination.

I used the more subtle embroidery and the dull colours on the back to represent how difficult it is for abused children to let others see their reality.


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The Virus Project

The Virus Project

THE VIRUS PROJECT - A VIRUS A DAY


Just at the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, it was obvious, that my husband and I had to shield immediately due to his Leukemia.

At that point we didn't know how long we would have to be in isolation, but because I watched every single film about Pandemics available :-) ( my favourite is still 'Outbreak', with  Dustin Hoffman), I knew it would not be a matter of a few weeks.

As a creative mind, I always need to have some kind of creative project going on and that's why I started the 'Virus Project'

A virus a day - for every day in isolation, that was the plan!

After 3 days I had the idea to use the project to raise money for a good cause and set up a fundraising page.  The cause closest to my heart was our local hospital in Dorchester, the place where we would  be treated, if we would catch the virus.  

For every £20 donation, I would give a framed virus to the donor.

You can imagine how surprised, and also hurt and angry I was, when I was asked by the charity department  of the hospital to take down my page. They found it inappropriate to offer 'viruses!

Well, they are entitled to decide where their donations come from and therefore I changed my plan, set up a new fundraising page , directly for the NHS and raised £500 within a short time.

I still make a virus every day and many people buy them, because they see, that these little artworks might have a historical significance, because they document the Pandemic 2020.

The viruses will also go on display with  https://b-side.org.uk/ 

I also sent them to the  Dorset County Archives,  they were looking for diaries of any kind about the pandemic.

Here are some 'virus' examples!

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OPEN FOR ART DORSET

OPEN FOR ART DORSET

'Open for Art Dorset' is a a biannual open studio event in the South of Dorset.

Here is the link to the website https://www.openforart.co.uk/ 

The event takes place from 18th of May till 2nd of June.

I'm organising a group venue, the Heights Hotel on Portland, where I will exhibit with 11 other brilliant artists. There will be an exciting mixture of media, from Textiles  to Pottery, Linoprint, Batik, Painters and much more.

We will have a private view as well, please feel invited, there will be a glass of 

Cava and many lovely people...not to mention the exquisite art!!

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More women and Mackerel

More women and Mackerel

So much happened, I don't know where to begin!

The Selfie Series, has a few ladies missing now, I sold 5 of them, they all went to a good home!

But I made lots of new work.

Here is one of my favourite: The dance of the Mackerel


And here is another new one, The Dragonfly


I had a friend from Germany visiting me and we did a lot of sewing together.

These 2 ladies were born, The Fish Whisperer and The Lobster Girl



And here is the latest, which is already sold, Mother and Daughter




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The 'Selfie' Series

The 'Selfie' Series

The story of the 'Selfie Series'

The series of the 12 smaller women is finished now and they are individually framed.

Let me tell you what the idea behind this project is. Many years ago I had an interesting and successful job as a social worker and counselor in a women's centre. After I became ill it turned out that I would not be able to work anymore and I became a very young pensioner.

Which was difficult in a society where people are a lot defined about their careers. It's one of the first things people ask! What's your name? And what are yiu doing? What is your job?

First I didn't know what to say, because I was not 'Doing' anything.

Eventually I realized I'm doing a lot!! Probably more than I have done while working in my job.

All these 12 women represent me and all the things I do. I 'm good alt all of it, you could say, I have 12 'jobs' now, but I prefer to call it a vocation.

They are all listed individually in the Gallery under 'Art for Sale, including prices

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Antje Rook was born in Germany in and lived in the countryside near Cologne till she and her husband moved to the Isle of Portland in Dorset.
Having trained  as a Social Worker and Psychotherapist, she was always keen to bring a creative element into her life to keep things balanced.
After working with stone for several years, she had to stop stone carving due to health problems and turned to working with textiles. She always loved the textures, the colours and  the possibilities of fabric and fibres.
One of her deepest beliefs is, that being creative and making beautiful things is important for the soul. A great motivation is to make herself and other people happy with her art.
Her work is very much inspired by her environment, but also by other people and her experiences, specially feminist matters. She uses vibrant colours in her work, which ranges from small delicate pictures to large expressive displays
If possible, she tries to work with recycled material and you can find her looking for interesting material on car boot sales and in charity shops.
She still lives on The Isle of Portland with her husband and her 2 border collies.


Antje is a member of Artwey,  a Dorset art group, where she is part of the social media team.  You can find her on the Artwey website here: https://www.artwey.co.uk/members/antje-rook/
She also is a member of the Society for Embroidered Work, S.E.W,  https://www.societyforembroideredwork.com/
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All my art works are originals. Every piece is made with thoughtful preparation, sometimes weeks of thinking, considering, doubting... I put a lot of love and passion into my work and my main goal is, that people feel happy looking at them. I take on commissions, but just after thorough consideration to avoid disappointment. Don't hesitate to ask me, if you have something special in mind.