top of page

jourUNfixe 1

Threads - Contemporary Embroidery Art

A workshop talk with Britta Kadolsky.

The workshop talk was dedicated to the thread, the needle and embroidery in art.

21. 11. 2021

Take a look at Britta Kadolsky's blog. There you will find her blog Sticken ist das neue Malen – Contemporary Embroidery.


jourUNfixe 2 - Rosie Lee Tompkins und Half Square Triangles

With Britta Kadolsky, Carolin Kropff and guests.

19. 12. 2021

1-3 pm

The workshop talk is dedicated to the wonderful quilts of Rosie Lee Tompkins, her role in art from our point of view, quilt-making and how half square triangles are made.

There are fascinating combinations of ways to make a quilt, and there is an inherent connection of quilts to people, ways of making, time, and stories. My investigation into material-based ways of creating colorful surfaces by sewing and cutting textiles came across the work of Rosie Lee Tompkins.

The workshop referenced the exhibition: Rosie Lee Tompkins: A Retrospective of BAMPFA the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA).

Her wonderful quilts are well displayed on the website and are not uploaded here for copyright reasons.

There are fascinating combinations of ways to create a quilt, and there is an inherent connection of quilts to people, ways of making, time, and stories.
My investigation into a more material-based way to create colored surfaces by painting (or dyeing, printing, sewing) and cutting textiles (such as canvases or those already worn by someone) came across the work of Rosie Lee Tompkins.

The workshop talk takes the exhibition: Rosie Lee Tompkins: A Retrospective by BAMPFA, the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) as reference.

We'll talk about her wonderful quilts and invent a colorful block ourselves using a variety of fabrics - used and new - and following traditional block patterns like the Half Square Triangle, the quirky yoyos, and embroidery. 

Rosie Lee Tompkins was synonymous with Effie Mae Howard (1936-2006. In the 80s of the 20th century, quilt collector and psychologist Eli Leon (1935-2018) discovered her quilts at a flea market in North Oakland and supported her from then on.
Rosie Lee Tompkins is widely regarded today as one of the most masterful and inventive quilt-makers of her time. Meanwhile, her work is no longer viewed only in the context of quilting but is established as art.
She constructed her patchwork pieces, which she did not quilt herself, from new and used fabrics ranging from velvet, felt, denim, and faux fur to glitter and polyester fabrics. In addition to the variety of different fabric qualities, the patterns also consist of a variety of seemingly improvised blocks, such as the Half Square Triangle, the Medallions and Log Cabin, in addition to appliqué, yoyos and embroidery, all freely and seemingly effortlessly connected. The color contrast is vivid. Embroidered are numbers and biblical texts. She also picks up on contemporary events that were often connected to the lives of the African American population of the United States.
Effie Mea Howard was not interested in publicity, which explains her choice of a pen name. She was very religious and believed strongly that God guided her hand in her work.

jourUNfixe 2 allowed conversations about quilting as an artistic and social practice. Rosie Lee Tompkins' quilts served as examples for reflection. The combination of discussion and workshop with the material act of making, the physical, tactile recreation, opened up a shared exchange about material and immaterial conditions.
Together we discussed her history and her work. In the process of making, we gained a deeper understanding of the material qualities of the used fabrics, the patchwork construction such as the Half Square Triangle and the Medallion, and the improvisations and rule-breaking coupled with the social and spiritual references that are typical of Tompkin´s work.
I would like to relate Tompkins's quilting to the concept of "silent activism": quiet and effective activism embedded in everyday life. According to an article I found on the Stitching Together Research website, the term refers to creative making that is largely dismissed and overlooked as domestic and amateurish. Often co-produced and reflective, the "making interventions" of amateur craft, which denotes a form of creativity, operates on the cultural margins but is at the center of everyday life experience. In my eyes, this is a perfect description of her quilts and many others by many other makers.
JourUNfixe 2 was not the last workshop talk to explore participatory art-based methods of collaborative making. It takes the relationship between craft and material impact as an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and others, to ask questions, find common ground, and reflect on the world we live in. We can make to secure a place in this world and leave our own fingerprint.

jourUNfixe was supported by Hessische Kulturstiftung.

jourUNfixe – Ausdrucksmalen

With Ele Möller-Janik and guests.
Sunday, June 19, 2022

This workshop discussion is dedicated to expressive painting and its relationship to the painting canon of the West.

The art of expressive painting is not to paint what I want, but to want what I paint!        
Bettina Egger


In the years after 1945, Arno Stern developed the concept of expressive painting with his "Closlieu", the place of painting, the special framework conditions of expressive painting. It was continued and further developed by Bettina Egger (Switzerland) and Laurence Fotheringham with different influences according to their backgrounds.

For Laurence Fotheringham, C.G. Jung with his research on the inner consciousness of us humans, dreams and archetypes, his idea of the collective unconscious and the so-called archetypes are of great importance. Other influences come from Gestalt therapy and phenomenology.

jourUNfixe Die Alchemie der Farbe



with Carolin Kropff and guests.

This workshop talk was about the alchemy of paint and Spike Buklow's book and how to use pigments and binders. 

The inside Spike Buklow shares in his book The Alchemy of Paint can enliven our relationship to colour. By taking a closer look at pigments, binding agents and painting materials, by holding them in our hands and exploring their interactions, oil, colour can be experienced directly.​

Understanding the function of color in painting and how it interacts is one of the most important skills painters want to master. Preparing a canvas and mixing colors is an integral part of daily work in the studio, work in which craftsmanship transforms raw materials into useful tools. The magic begins with preparing the canvas, mixing dyes and pigments, and applying the first layers of paint. Working with pigment, binder, and the multi-layered oil painting technique is one such method of navigating the alchemy of color.

The origin of these craft traditions is part of the now lost ‘wisdom of the ancients’, the wisdom of Shakespeare’s Duke who, exiled in the Forest of Arden,
‘Finds tongues in trees, books in running books,
Sermons in stoned, and good in everything'.


As Spike Bucklow beautifully describes in his book The Alchemy of Paint, ART Science and Secrets from the Middle Ages pigments provide access to the deepest levels of meaning as understood by the old masters and by women painters who continue to feel connected to the masterpieces of painting history to this day. The artist's studio, then, is like an alchemist's laboratory, and in the process the materials are transformed into images as they are painted. Colours had a clear meaning in the medieval times. This meaning reflected the medieval worldview of microcosm and macrocosm. Today, our worldview also reflects our relationship to color.

Spike Bucklow shows us how in medieval times, color had mystical significance far beyond the enjoyment of shade and hue. (Kremer Pigmente)

He writes:

The color has been appropriated. Today, a telecommunications company has appropriated the color orange, and the combination of red and white is associated with a fizzy drink. But neither does orange have anything to do with telecommunications, nor do soft drinks inherently have anything to do with red and white.

The medieval idea of man:

Man contains within himself as many species as exist on earth.

Jakob Böhme

Soul plus body plus spirit: Body and soul is an individual characteristic, but the spirit is universal. Each individual is a micro-cosmos. Thus heaven is reflected on earth and both reflected in man, who lives thus in the center of the universe on an earth consisting of four elements, which is orbited by seven planets. As a composite of body, soul and spirit, the individual is an integral part of the whole of creation. In this world view, material has a spiritual level.

jourUNfixe Textil und Kunst

With Britta Kadolsky and guests
23.11. 2022

The workshop discussion was dedicated to the diverse topic of textiles and art. After an art historical discourse led by Britta Kadolsky, we focused on braiding, finger weaving, bobbin lace and cord making. We gained experience with material characteristics and 'thread logistics' and gained ideas on systemics, movement sequences and how patterns can be derived.

jourUNfixe Gee's Bend, Rosie Lee Tompkins und Improv Quilting

With Carolin Kropff and guests.

This workshop talk is dedicated to the pioneers of improv quilting, the women of Gee's Bend, the great Rosie Lee Tompkins, and how we can create textile surfaces through intuitive, non-systematic cutting and recombining.​

Gee's Bend quilts are among the most important cultural contributions of African Americans in the United States. The women who made them and continue to make them today originate from Alabama, a sparsely fertile remote piece of land called Gee's Bend. Many residents are descended from former slaves of the Pettway Plantation.

Rosie Lee Tompkins (1936-2006) is considered one of the most brilliant and inventive quilt makers of her time. She constructed her patchwork using a wide variety of fabric qualities, velvet and silk, polyester and nylon. In addition to the variety of different fabric qualities, the fabric surfaces she invented also consist of a variety of seemingly improvised blocks, often originating in classic block patterns such as the Half Square Triangle, the Medallion Quilt, or the Log Cabin. In addition, there are appliqués, yoyos, and embroideries, all freely and seemingly effortlessly connected.

bottom of page