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Female Identity 3.0

You are welcome to my free lecture on Female Identity because I am on a mission for a better world in which men and women work together and live in harmony with nature. Afterwards you can visit a photo-exhibition in the De Möllerwerf. I invited local and national photographers to give their view on the subject Female Identity.

Sunday 5th of June, 15.30 hrs, De Möllerwerf , Oude Boekeloseweg 33e Hengelo, opening photo-exhibition with reed fan dance & saxophone player at 16.30 hrs.

As a female artist I feel resistance in our society. As a researcher I have the need to analyze this resistance and as an artist the urge to tackle it. I am a woman but in order to be appreciated, and possibly successful, I must act like a man, think like a man, I must prove myself. That’s what this society expects of me, that’s what I feel. I am therefore in a split; I am a woman and I feel like a woman, but because I want to be appreciated and possibly successful, I develop my masculine side more strongly than my feminine side. I am having more and more trouble being a woman, and it has led to an identity crisis and depression.

As an artist, more than other people, you consciously and unconsciously receive signals from society. In order to communicate, you want to understand how humans live, why they behave that way, what they do, think and feel. As an artist, more than other people, I have the need to express myself. In my case in the form of visual art and poems. Through these means I try to get in touch with myself as a person and the people around me. The resistance I feel in the patriarchal society prevents me from being myself. And that’s exactly what I want: to be myself. That is why I search for Female Identity.

The same lecture I will give on the 6th of June, 11.00 hrs, Eemklooster in Amersfoort.

Willow knot in bronze

For years I have been making outdoor objects and installations of willow and other natural material, and I know, that after two or three years, at the most, a willow object has been reduced to a poor palisade of broken and half-decayed sticks. Last year I came across the idea to ‘consolidate’ a wicker artwork. But why and how should I save a willow object from decaying?

Decay of a tree trunk at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Engeland, 2017.

As humans we have the urge to preserve or immortalize our deeds and works. For two decades I am enjoying building natural artworks in nature which gives me a great feeling of freedom just because one day they will be reclaimed, reabsorbed by Mother Nature. Decay is a natural fact, then, why should I prevent the decay of my willow trefoil knot? In the first place, the making of the willow trefoil knot took me to a next level of willow wickerwork; it confronted me with the properties and limits of the material. While working I experienced the balance between strength, tension and form. That energy is reflected in this knot. Secondly, the casting of a large willow object was an interesting technical challenge because the bronze caster had never done that before. The chance that the knot would be perfectly casted was very small but the caster was willing to take the risk. There are two spots where the bronze did not fill up the stucture. Did the experiment fail? No, at least not for me, those gaps are adding an extra dimension to the object. They symbolize the decay, that I initially wanted to prevent by consolidating the willow knot!

Willow Trefoil Knot in Bronze, casted in 2021.

Talk Female Identity 2.0

My great-grandmother Ada Beets painted by Bart Peizel, 1941.

This time my presentation Female Identity focussed on the history of civilization. This occassion was also the right opportunity to rehabilitate my great-grandmother Ada Beets. As the youngest daughter of the famous pastor/writer/poet/professor Nicolaas Beets she was restricted in leaving the house when her father found out that she was seeing a male student who was not in favour of her fathers choice. During the victorian era her father was a celebrated Dutchman, he was a respected preacher and teacher and close with the royal family. He was known as charming and liberal but, unfortunately he was not able to let his daughter make her own decisions. Her upbringing influenced subsequently that of her children, grandchildren and even her great-grandchildren. I was brought up by a mother who was overprotected, prude and dogmatic. And, I am sure, she suffered a lot under frustrations too, by not being able to develop and use her talents. So, I had to figure it all out by myself, there was no one who stimulated and supported me to develop my talents. Like so many other women I am struggling to find my real identity.

This talk took place at Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Enschede, The Netherlands on the 28th of November 2021.

Working With Willow

Natural geometry | Hedy Hempe

Since 2003 I am working with willow. In my presentation for Qua Art Qua Science at De Museumfabriek in Enschede on 7th of September I will share my experiences and development in the making of willow objects. As my shapes become more geometric I need to expand my technical skills. It also requires more knowledge of the material itself, how does it react in different circumstances. Developing knowledge and improving skills takes time and effort. I learned a lot by just doing but as you get further in the process you need to get into details. That is inspiring and exciting!

Female Identity

Art gifts for Qua Art Qua Science, at De Museumfabriek, Enschede, NL.

Identity is a complicated concept, especially when it comes to living beings who shared the same common ancestors 3.7 billion years ago. By identity we mean the personality or character of an individual, but a group can also have an identity. The simplest division of the fauna based on distinction is gender. Because without women and men there is no reproduction. So, female and male identity is anchored in biological traits. But with the development of the brain, we have become aware of emotions. How do women feel, act and think and how do they react differently from men in certain situations?

Based on my life and professions as an artist and journalist, I give my vision on Feminine Identity in a one hour presentation. I was invited by Qua Art Qua Science to speak in De Museumfabriek in Enschede, The Netherlands on 29th of June. More presentations to come?! To be continued…

Presentation in the auditorium of De Museumfabriek, Enschede, NL.


Eggshell artwork H-spiral on the cover of this music study book by Christoph Enzel, 2021.

A breathtaking subject! My eggshell artwork is featured on the cover of this music study book, written by musician and composer Christoph Enzel (Berlin, Germany). This book is intended for saxophone players who want to learn circular breathing. In addition to practical instructions, the book also contains a number of compositions to practice with. I do not play the saxophone, but I do play piano, as an amateur. Music is an important part of expression for me. It is therefore a confirmation that my art proves to be a source of inspiration for musicians. I made the H-spiral out of 321 eggshell pieces devided over 6 spiral arms, starting from the center towards an imaginary infinity.

Reed pagoda

This object is made of reed bundles and is placed in the sculpture garden of Leefgoed de Olifant in Nieuwerkerk aan de IJssel. Since a few years I am fascinated by working with reed. It has a fragile look but in bundles it becomes quite strong. It appears as a pagoda in the early morning sun…

A WILLOW trefoil Knot

Every spring I make objects from fresh willow. Willow provides flexible twigs which can be used for braiding and knotting. Knots are useful and decorative elements in wickerwork, but what if the knot itself becomes the object?

Last winter I came across the image of Escher’s woodcut ‘Knots’ (1965) and I wondered if it would be possible to make this looped knot of willow. To be able to braid the knot, it must be translated into a smooth tubular shape. That would certainly be a challenge because normally the shapes of my objects are somewhat unpredictable. Wildly grown willow has its own will, and to make sure it looks like a tubed knot it is important to preserve the right shape.

One only knows the limitations of material when pushing the boundaries. I had to start again when the tube collapsed midway on a weak spot. For the next attempt I ensured that the diameter of the tube remained as constant as possible. And I had to make the bend from the first to the second loop more smooth. It is quite difficult not to lose orientation in space while braiding and controlling these aspects at the same time.

From another era…

This is a surrealistic design for an artwork at art event Hummelo (The Netherlands). A walking route takes the visitor around a beautiful, authentic and historical dutch landscape, maintained by one of the oldest aristocrate family of The Netherlands. A remarkable place to dwell and to show art…

Due to an historical event this has become an interesting location: in 1849 Julia, the baron’s daughter, died here when she was twenty, after a fall from her horse. Her father had built her a castle at Enghuizen and she was about to get married. A terrible accident for parents who already lost two sons. The youngest son inherited the castle instead, but it was bommed by allied airplanes during WOII and a few years later the remains where destroyed by a fire. An empty pedestal reminds of a dramatic story from another era…

Intuitively this location has a strong association with a no mans land, a neutral vaccuum, a grey zone, a portal to a next dimension. I tried to unite these associations in a infinite, 3-dimensional knot, floating in space, inserted by surrealistic tubes, each representing a dimension. But I also feel a connection with the era of the Renaissance. The lordship of Enghuizen has its origin already in the Middle Ages. The aristocratic family of Van Heeckeren manage to keep it through all times, including the Renaissance and the Napoleontic period. The Renaissance was an important transition to a more scientific, modern way of thinking and living. Time and space were given a new meaning. Religion and filosofie came together in science.

En faisant et en pensant, je découvre la vie…