The love of creating textile magic was instilled in Yoke Helwes Martens by her mother and now she is putting on an exhibition filled with the influences of her past and present.
Amsterdam-born Yoke Helwes Martens immigrated to New Zealand from the Netherlands some 30 years ago with a young family. She now works in Auckland as a textile artist and a long-arm quilting machinist, creatively machine-quilting other quilters' works.
Her personal textile works are original in their sense of concept, colour and design. She has been nationally and internationally recognised and awarded, and has participated in many exhibitions in New Zealand and overseas. She is exhibiting her recent works from this Saturday, November 27, until Thursday December 2 at the Depot Art Gallery in Devonport. The exhibition is titled Not Just Old Lace and reveals Yoke's experimentation with hand-stitched images on vintage fine-laced handkerchiefs, bringing the past into the present through a delicate and fragile balance.
10 FAVOURITE THINGS
Generally I love silver jewellery and wear a lot of it every day. A good example of this is my collection of silver hands, which I collected over a period of 15 years and wear on a necklace. At one point I had to stop. Then I started to collect silver bears.
2. Shopping bags
I've found myself avidly collecting these over the years since they started to become a popular alternative to plastic grocery shopping bags. I particularly love the visual concept of doing my weekly shopping with the image of, for example, an Old Master painting on my arm.
The paintings in my home mean a lot to me as they talk to me. Every time I pass them I have to look at them.
4. Antique markets
When I go back to Europe one of my favourite things to do is to go to the Braderie, which is like a local antique market. I love the excitement of the possibility of finding a new treasure.
5. Music box
As a child this belonged to my mother and it was considered a treat for us to listen to the little bird that emerged and sang as you opened the lid. I recently inherited it from her.
6. Old linen and lace
My mother was raised in a French school run by nuns, so was taught to embroider linen in very traditional ways. I developed my interest through her stories and explanations of technique throughout the years. Her recent death has inspired me to put together my upcoming exhibition incorporating old linen and lace.
From a young age I've always been drawn to sculpture and began making my own at the age of 16. I'm still making various sculptures, when I have the time, in the mediums of bronze or clay, and I also love to collect other people's work as well. These three sculptures remind me of a family and are one of my earliest works.
8. Shadow boxes
I guess it's quite obvious by now that I am a collector. I call myself a collector of treasures as every item large or small has a meaning or a memory for me. That's why I love my shadow boxes. I have several in which I can easily display all my little knick-knacks.
9. Antique metal chocolate moulds
These hang in my kitchen. They have a well-deserved memory - when my children were young we used to make chocolate Easter bunnies using these moulds. The traditional process was just as much fun as eating the results.
10. My three chickens
Arabella, Fleur and Kaatje. They speak to me and I speak to them, so they honour our friendship everyday with an egg.