Research

Study and experiment allows us to test and validate our ideas and hypotheses. By systematically exploring a particular topic or phenomenon, we can develop a deeper understanding of its underlying mechanisms and relationships.

From playing and serendipity, to serious studies and experiment, it all plays an essential role  in shaping the way we understand and interact with the world around us.


Value beyond the level of aesthetic..


A prescription to understand, to take you with me in my mind, my thoughts and prayers.

You can only understand, when knowing what lies behind.




(“Mentoring by existence” Virgil Abloh.)

Play blocks 

The significance of Wooden Play Blocks in Promoting Creative Development


The significance of Wooden Play Blocks in Fostering Creativity and Well-being Among children and Mature Individuals


Introduction:



Creativity knows no age limits, and the act of creation continues to hold immense importance in human development fostering various cognitive, emotional, and physical skills. While often associated with children, the utilization of wooden play blocks can have profound benefits for mature individuals as well. 

Among the plethora of creative outlets available to individuals, wooden play blocks stands out as a timeless and invaluable resource. 


Lets explore the significance of wooden play blocks in promoting creative development in children and adults highlighting their contributions to cognitive abilities, problem-solving skills, and social interactions.


I. Cognitive Development:


  1. Spatial Reasoning: Wooden play blocks engage in spatial exploration and manipulation, allowing to understand concepts like shape, size, and proportion. By constructing structures and experimenting with different configurations, It’s helping to develop spatial reasoning skills, enabling to mentally visualize and manipulate objects in our environment.
  2. Abstract Thinking: Building with wooden blocks encourages to think abstractly and symbolically. As they transform blocks into various objects, such as houses, cars, or animals, it exercise imagination and engage in symbolic play. This process enhances the capacity to represent ideas, a skill that lays the foundation for creative thinking and problem-solving in life.
  3. Cause and Effect: Wooden play blocks also provide an ideal platform to learn about cause and effect relationships. Through trial and error, discovering how different arrangements of blocks result in varied outcomes. This process fosters critical thinking skills and make connections between actions and the subsequent consequences, promoting an understanding of logical reasoning.



II. Problem-Solving Skills:


  1. Design and Engineering Thinking: Building structures with wooden play blocks involves planning, designing, and problem-solving. It’s about learn to envision and execute ideas and the ability to think critically and strategically.  You face challenges like balancing blocks, constructing stable structures, and identifying the most effective building methods, all of which cultivate problem-solving skills and creativity.
  2. Persistence and Resilience: Wooden play blocks offer an environment where you can experiment, make mistakes, and learn by encountering obstacles and finding innovative solutions. The process of building and rebuilding structures instills a sense of perseverance and determination, fostering a growth mindset that is essential for tackling challenges in various aspects of life.



III. Social Interactions:


  1. Collaboration and Communication: Wooden play blocks encourage social interaction and collaboration from children to adults, By building together, you learn to share ideas, negotiate, and work as a team. Through communication and cooperation, it helps in developing crucial social skills such as active listening, empathy, and respecting diverse perspectives. These skills lay the groundwork for successful teamwork and cooperation.
  2. Conflict Resolution: When building with wooden blocks together its inevitably to encounter conflicts and disagreements. These moments provide opportunities for learning to navigate in disagreements and find resolutions and help to develop in empathy, compromise, and negotiation skills, enabling to navigate interpersonal challenges constructively.



IIII. Stress Reduction and Emotional Well-being:


  1. Mindful Relaxation: Building with wooden play blocks provides a therapeutic and calming experience. The tactile nature of the blocks, combined with the rhythmic and repetitive actions involved in construction, promotes relaxation and stress reduction. Engaging in this creative activity allows individuals to engage in a state of mindful relaxation, fostering emotional well-being.
  2. Self-Expression and Emotional Release: Wooden play blocks offer a medium for self-expression and emotional release through the act of creation. You can express emotions, thoughts, and ideas symbolically. The process of building and arranging blocks provides a non-verbal outlet for emotional expression, promoting self-awareness and emotional resilience.

Wool

Wool, The beauty of raw wool lies in its simplicity and authenticity, and it reminds us of the importance of sustainable and environmentally-friendly materials. As we strive to reduce our impact on the planet, raw wool is a stunning reminder of the beauty that can be found in natural and sustainable materials.


Wool, with its unique properties, lends itself to various applications, making it an ideal material for experimentation. 


Beyond clothing, wool is also used extensively in interior design an element of comfort to any space. 


Experimenting:


Like everything it starts with understanding, understanding its composition and structure. 

Wool is a protein fiber made of keratin, the same material found in human hair and nails. The fiber has a scaly outer layer and a fibrous inner core, which gives it its unique properties of insulation, elasticity, and water resistance.


Experimenting with wool opens up a world of creative possibilities. One of the most popular techniques is felting, which involves matting and pressing wool fibers together to create a solid piece of fabric. Wet felting and needle felting are two common methods used to manipulate wool into various shapes, from flat surfaces to intricate three-dimensional sculptures. 


Dyeing wool is another avenue for experimentation, as it allows you to explore a wide range of colors and create unique color palettes. Natural dyes that I use I extract from plants, roots, and flowers to produce soft and earthy tones, 

Sustainability and Ethical Considerations:


Beyond its artistic potential, experimenting with wool aligns with sustainable and ethical practices. Wool is a renewable resource, as sheep produce a new fleece each year. It is also biodegradable, making it an environmentally friendly choice compared to synthetic fibers. 

Moreover, wool can be sourced from farms that prioritize animal welfare, ensuring that sheep are treated ethically and their well-being is respected.

Its sustainability and ethical considerations make it an attractive choice for those seeking environmentally friendly materials.


The wool I use to work with is from the rare Schoonebeker sheep and the indigenous Drents heath sheep.

(Drenthe is the province in the north east of the Netherlands where I grew up, what I always call home.)

I work with a local shepherd who uses his flock of sheep for sustainable and ecological management of the peat landscape.

 The sheep's grazing behavior helps maintain the balance of the delicate heathland ecosystem. By selectively grazing on certain plants and shrubs, they prevent the dominance of fast-growing species, allowing a diverse range of plants and wildlife to thrive. This ecological approach ensures the preservation of the unique flora and fauna of Drenthe's heathlands, contributing to the conservation of biodiversity and the overall health of the ecosystem.


The fibers of raw wool are soft and warm, creating a tactile sensation that is hard to match with other materials. 

Sheep are often reared on pasture lands, which imbue the wool with the essence of the environment where they are raised.


Wool reflects the landscape, climate, and soil, creating a unique and diverse range of textures and colors. This connection to nature and the farming community is an essential part of the beauty of raw wool, and it gives the material a sense of authenticity and integrity.


River Rhine, field trip.

A journey along a changing river,

The River Rhine, spanning over 1,200 kilometers from the North Sea to its source in the Swiss Alps, is not only a geological and cultural landmark but also a testament to the complex interplay between humans and the environment.
Walking the entire length of the Rhine presents an extraordinary opportunity to witness firsthand the influences of a changing climate on a personal scale, while also confronting the issue of litter that accumulates along its course.
Walking along the Rhine offers a unique perspective on the impacts of a changing climate. Walking is the best way to be present in today's world, to perceive what we often pass too quickly, the human dimension in experiences.

In the summer of 2021 I walked the complete 1233 Km length of the river Rhine and daily picked up litter along my path.
An environmental walk to inform myself about pollution, loss of biodiversity and the impact of a changing climate on personal scale. The overall goal was to learn and to experience the reality of today, to be better informed about the perspectives of tomorrow.
As I walked along the Rhine I experienced the changing landscapes, passed industrial areas, discovering fairytale castles and nature in all its diversity,.
This walk brought me many insights along the way and also experienced the symptoms of a changing climate in the extremes in weather. The extremes were manifested by extreme rainfall in the area.
(On 14 and 15 July 2021, extreme weather affected parts of Germany, Belgium and surrounding countries, causing more than 200 fatalities and widespread damage.
With at least 184 people died in Germany the floods are the deadliest natural disaster in Germany since 1962.
The extreme amounts that fell on July 13 and July 14 fell on saturated ground which rapidly led to a significant increase in river runoff and resultant flooding.

(The changing climate leads to more and frequent extreme weather phenomena. Research and analysis are needed to understand if climate change did play a role in the floods.)

The changing climate manifests in various ways throughout the river's course. Rising sea levels causing increased salinity in the estuary and altering the delicate balance of the ecosystem. Further inland, altered rainfall patterns leading to more frequent and intense flooding events and on the other hand more often severe droughts.
The changing weather pattern  has in this a direct influence on the river flow and all who are involved within the river area.
 

On a personal scale, the journey along the Rhine provided me an opportunity to experience the immediate consequences of these climate-induced changes. Walking through affected areas, conversing with local communities, and witnessing how to adapt to the evolving conditions offer an intimate understanding of the challenges posed by a changing climate. 

It reinforces the urgency to address climate change on a global level while emphasizing the need for local actions to build resilience and mitigate the impacts.

Litter along the Rhine, an environmental challenge


In parallel to the climate impacts, the issue of litter emerges as a stark reality during the walk along the Rhine. As the river traverses urban areas and passes through densely populated regions, it becomes a repository for human waste and discarded debris. Plastics, packaging materials, and other non-biodegradable items accumulate along the riverbanks, detracting from the natural beauty of the landscape and posing significant threats to the ecosystem.


For me the daily picking up litter was crucial and became an integral part of the journey. Engaging in regular clean-up activities while walking allows for a firsthand understanding of the magnitude of the problem. It also sheds light on the interconnectedness of human actions and their consequences on the environment. The presence of litter along the Rhine underscores the urgent need for sustainable waste management, increased recycling efforts, and a shift towards a circular economy to reduce our reliance on single-use plastics.

The Importance of Environmental Awareness.


By immersing myself in the environment and actively participating in clean-up efforts, an intimate connection with the natural world is fostered. 

This connection cultivates a sense of responsibility and empowers to become an advocate for change.


Walking the full length of the river Rhine presented an opportunity to engage with local communities, environmental organizations, and policymakers, about climate change, pollution, the loss off biodiversity, and to encourage dialogue, inspire behavioral change, and promote collective action towards environmental sustainability. 

By taking the experiences, stories, and lessons learned from the expedition, the ripple effect of awareness extends beyond the river's course by propagating it on different levels in work.