Scarf of the month: October – Comfort


Oktober_detailOctober I was not feeling too good. Things I had planned fell apart and I found it very hard to deal with the resulting uncertainty. Nothing really bad happened. I was still safe, still catered for, still in contact with the people I care about. But I struggled. Leaving me feeling selfish for not dealing better. For complaining when others had it so much worse.

For a while I was completely caught up in self-pity and in tiredness. I did not look out, made my thing and nothing more. Only now that my situation has resolved, do I start to get interested in the world around me again. Engage and act.

Looking back it confirmed again how important it is to look after yourself. Not selfishly. Not always. But so much so, that you can step out of the things engangled around you and take an interest of what is happening. Have enough energy to get angry. Have your mind free to care.

The October scarf is important as it led me out of this entanglement. It is made from linen and wool, amazing to touch, strong and sturdy. I chose this deliberately to give me something nice to focus on, to motivate me and to start again. It helped me to sort myself out, comfort me and stop feeling so damn sorry for myself. Because that gets much harder when you feel amazed by something beautiful you are doing. Even though very small it gave me something to control, something to make.

It obviously wasn’t the only thing that got me started again. Friends and family, motivation and suport from different people has been as important. But is was one step towards feeling better, looking out and caring. And it is an insight I hope I can share for others.

Sometimes it is just right to focus on yourself and make something you like. For yourself. To give you strenght. So, that after you can be strong for others again. It is not something to beat yourself up about. Not something to feel ashamed about. Because we all cope with different things at different levels. It is not important to be super. Just be the best you can be. And that often includes taking care of yourself first.


Scarf of the month: September – Fluidity

design, knitting

I have always – well, for as long as I remember – liked the changing seasons more than the static ones. There are only so many sunny days I can take in a row before I ache for rain, for fog, for change. Weather you cannot really prepare for has always been my favorite and I enjoy spring and autumn far more than I feel feel confident in summer or winter. Though winter normally is more unpredictable in my experience. Let’s face it, I just do not like summer very much.


This summer seemed particularly long. And sunny and warm. And left me sad. So I celebrated the turn of the seasons with this new scarf. The important thing is: this scarf is upcycled. It is made from worn out cardigans and some left-over yarns. And it celebrated a fluidity not only in the seasons, but also in knitting.


For me knitting has always been a very resourceful craft as it does not destroy the materials you work with. It just gives them new shapes, endless possibilites. Designs I do not like anymore go in a special box to be unravelled again and be the base for something new. Fluid. Same goes for worn out garments. Not all can be recycled, as commercial production techniques destroy quite a lot. But the ones that can be always get a second life with me.

I often wish I had more control over other things I own as well. That I knew how to recycle electronics, fix broken plastics, set up that compost bin. Understanding that materials are in a constant flow which does not end when items get broken. Keeping in mind that items have a life before they get to me and that it will not end when the bin man takes them out. I slowly but steadily get there. First step was the insight from knitting that I can actually change things. Next is information. Seeing what others do. Sharing what I do.

A great inspiration on my way to a more fluid life is Jen Gale and her makedoandmendable blog. No matter if you are looking for ideas what to do with leftover food or have just been given a large pile of fabric, on her blog you will find ideas what to do with it. And plenty of other resources as well.


Scarf of the month: August – Einschnitt

art, crochet, knitting

I have been really quiet recently. Well, to you I may have appeared quiet. I have actually been racing around a lot. Worrying and celebrating, organising and socialising. I had a new start in my life. By now, I feel I should be used to it, but it catches me again and again. But now, this feels really big. This is the start of my PhD. In London.

I do not really know why, but it feels like a larger step than anything before. And it feels a bit like a cut that will divide my life into a before and after. An actual start, rather than a change.

While stressing out and dealing with the questions that poured in, such as: “Am I ready for this?” “Is this the right decision?” and “What the hell am I going to do if this fails?” I made this scarf. It shows the cut in my life, but also how much wider my life has become. How many more chances to grow, experiences to make and influence to gain.


And I think it taught me that it is an important part to accept this challenge. To keep the large goal in mind, when the everyday seems overwhelming. (Believe me, this scarf took ages to make and I was about to give up sometimes) To keep in mind that something big has happened and that I need to get used to it. Keeping in mind that this is still the beginning.

So, if you are in London give me a shout. I still need to find all the knitting groups, nice pubs and yarn shops. Thanks for exploring with me. This is a new beginning.

Scarf of the month: July – Europe

art, crochet, design, social

Well, I am late, I know. You will learn all about the reasons in the next post. I hope to finalise and blog about the August scarf later this week.

But let me not get ahead of myself. The July scarf is done – but you will have to take my word for it. I have started an amazing project with two friends of mine, where we engage in a way of crafty ‘Chinese Whispers’. Each month one of us will send a piece (drawn, written, crafted,…) to the next one in the rota, who will then send out a creative response to it. It was my turn in July to react to the first piece my friend has sent out. And because it came at the time in which I thought about the July scarf, it shaped the way I thought about my project.

So for July both projects come together in a scarf that I cannot show you, because there are two very important people not allowed to learn about them. But I want to tell you about my motivation. The topic I wanted to tackle for July was Europe. There are so many issues around, questioning what Europe is. The UK thinking about leaving, immigrants trying to arrive, governments arguing whether Greece can, should or must stay within the union. Europe has become this thing with many faces, a threat to some, a dream of a safe future for others. It has been declared paradise, a fortress and a economic union and much more just in this month. What is Europe?

I have grown into Europe. As a child the border between two countries was directly behind our house. Well, it still is. But it is not really recognisable anymore. No border control asking me for a passport when I go over to the shops. Because the closest shop to our house is in another country. I have grown into the realisation that borders are quite random. Shifting. Open in wide parts. I have learned a lot from the trips to my neighbours. Most importanltly I have learned that I can take nothing for granted. A lesson that has come quite handy in my career as a designer. And a researcher.

Europe – and what is means – has been a lot in my mind lately. And in the news. Is Europe geograpic, social, economic, religious? All of the above? None? Is it static or does it move? Frilled around the edges or a solid rock?

With the scare of Greece leaving, with Britain considering a vote whether to stay in, with unrest in the Ukraine, with refugees trying to reach Europe, Europe has shown its many faces. A ‘fortress’, an ‘enemy’, an ‘ally’, a ‘safe haven’. I think Europe is all of this. It brings people together. It changes. It gives tension points to define yourself against.

Yes, I do believe that ‘Europe’ leaves a mark on any of its members. But no, I do not believe that this means that everyone will become European and lose their identity. Even though I in my opinion it is a place of shared values, of closeness, of compromises, neither its aim nor its result can be that people neglect what they have been brought up with. What defines them. What their values are. But it is a place to learn from. To grow. To develop. Maybe a place bigger than the inviduals it is made of. Maybe only a part of each of us.

And one day next year, I am going to show you the scarf I have made to express this. To some it will explain it better, to others less so. Let’s have a chat. Learn. Compare. Grow.



In a book shop today I saw a book on starting to be creative. I did not buy it. I started writing again instead.

It was the one thing that reminded me that creativity is not a thing you get. The thing that reminded me that starting just needs to be done. It comes from the inside.

I have not been doing anything in a while now. I stopped because I was busy doing something – and did not find my way back in. Kept putting off writing, promised myself to start knitting again tomorrow, told myself I was too busy with other stuff. And I lost my stride more and more.

I am very aware that I get energy from making. But it does not come for free. It needs the first impulse to start. So, here we go. Worst bit done. I made a start. Again. Today.


Scarf of the month: June – This is how I make some noise


June_fightingface2Halftime. Well, Scarf of the month has been running half a year now. For me this has been a point to reflect on what has happened so far. I have made 5 items that would have not existed otherwise. I have acted. I have reacted. I have taken time and situations as constraints for my work. I HAVE MADE. I worked with others. I cared for myself. I thought about what happened around me. I am thinking long-term and I am thinking short-term. I MAKE.

I enjoy this project. To me it feels like something that is pushing me forward. I hope I reach others. I MAKE.

For June, for halftime, I worked to address the response I have been given during the year. Most discussion that arose from this project so far have been about the impact of my work. How much impact can knitting a scarf have? What good can it do?

And I decided once and for all that I do not care. Which does not mean that I do not wish to have an impact. Which does not mean that I do any less than my best to get noticed.

But I have decided that knitting is the way to make some noise. Knitting is my grafitti. Knitting is my protest. Knitting is the way I rock.


Not as adventurous, not as impactful, not as heavy metall as other arts and crafts.

But I believe there is a value to this slow approach. I do believe that subtleness can win people over. As well as loudness can at other times. With other people.

My work is derived from reflection, from research and with plenty of time and dedication. Which can scream as loud as guitars. As loud as a chat. It just needs more time to sink in.

So, another good for me to come out of this project has to be that I have come to terms with my choice of craft. For some reason knitting is the thing I am good at. The medium I will get better at. And I will do my bit to use it as a medium for change.

This is how I make some noise.


On struggeling


One of the first projects in art school was a sketchbook project. Task: Create 100 textures. And it nearly broke my neck. In contrast to most of my collegues, who had been on a foundation year, I had never before made a sketchbook. No idea how to go about it. And during this project I felt very much like giving up.

When I struggled it felt far more obvious to me that I do not belong there. I was 10 years older than everyone else in my course. And much more German. And things that came quite natural to everyone else, made no sense to me. So what the hell was I doing at art school?


I had great tutors who pushed me through this project. Who highly encouraged my first tentative steps and broke my anxiety that failure in this would mean failure in everything else.
I struggled along and I made something that hardly looked like a sketchbook at all. But it was an annotated exploration of textures, an exploratory artifact that explored others to stumble through as I did.

Yup, someone had to mark this

Yup, someone had to mark this

I got my fist good mark for this project. And finished the BA. And secured funding for an MA. Which I also finished. With more good marks. Now feeling (most of the times ) that I belong here. That I kind of know what I am doing. That I am a designer. That art school was right for me.

I have been reminded of this for two reasons now. Firstly I met one of the tutors who pushed me through this project. Completely by chance and just because we both do something different at the moment. And she paid me the great compliment that she remembered my work. Because of the struggle. Because it was different. And because it just did not fit just right.

But I am also learning something new at the moment. And I feel I am terrible at it. That I will not be able to push through to the other side where things feel normal again. And I have a great tutor who explains where I struggle and who pushes where I want to give up and who softens the blow when things do not work out.

At this stage it feels good to see that I have pushed through before. That things have been turned around before. To know that it can be good that I do things differently. That things might look odd, but they work – for me and for others.

I had great tutors who helped me through the feeling of doubt and not belonging. Others might not be so lucky. That is my reason to admire the work of Arts Emergency. They provide mentoring and support to enable others to push through. Which I know to be an invaluable help. Help I hope to give to others at some time.

This post is an encouragement for me. But also for you. Pay a compliment, when you see someone struggle. It can go a long way. Help someone to start something. Break down an undoable task into smething possible. A first step. Because we all struggle and doubt at one point or the other. And good will come out of it.

On making a thing


As a knitter I am used to making, used to see something grow, used to finish, have and own something. I know that this is a very rewarding process.


Feeling like Iron Man, while exploring suitable settings for heartrate sensors.

I also do some digital work. Playing around with the Arduino (teaching it to knit at the moment), exploring wearable technologies and making interactive cards. Even though I am interested in the concepts I work with and the problems I aim to solve, the work generally is less satisfying. Somehow I have not yet learned to own digital work, somehow shoving pixels around does not seem to be as worthwhile (to me!) as knitting.

One can argue that working digitally and connect over the internet has a much wider impact than sitting at home and making a scarf. Which is true. But there is a but. Seeing, holding, experiencing something often makes a bigger impact than reading a blog post. Understanding that someone has given a lot of time, love and effort to make a thing often makes a difference.

There is something about the physicality of objects that makes me identify with them more. Makes me engage more.

This was the reasoning why I made my first zine. I have been reading, writing and thinking about dementia and art for a long time and thought about setting up a new blog. It is something I feel confident about, enjoy doing and do quite quickly at the moment.


But I wanted something happier for this project. Something more surprising. For me and for others. More colourful, more tangible. And so I set about making a zine. I spoke to people about their work. I involved others. I printed. I folded. I make colourful envelopes and send stuff around.
I am sure I will have made mistakes. This is the first time I have done a project like this and I am sure things can be better. But I am happy I made it and I have already been told that it makes others happy as well.

The first issue of DementiArt comes in a limited edition of 100 copies. Yes, you will be able to read everything online later this summer. Or get a piece that is truely yours. If you would like a nice surprise in your or someone elses mailbox, get in touch and I send a copy out. Because I have made something. And I want it to make an impact. It cannot reach as many people as a homepage can. But hopefully it will be less likely to be skimmed over. Squeezed in between emails and back to work.



DementiArt Zine

art, dementia, design

Since about two and a half years now, I research and design around dementia. And I got annoyed by seeing the same images over and over again. Black and White images of people with grey hair looking up thankfully to carers who have the hand on their shoulders. Heads with missing puzzle pieces, misted over by smoke, erased. I find this repetition annoying and see the danger that people might disengage with the important topic of dementia. Even though most images are made to appeal to your emotional side, the repetition may lead to a familiarisation and the “seen-it-before” effect.
I am also concerned about the way in which people living with dementia are portrayed as passive, how the focus is on what is lost, rather than what is possible and what impact this has on people who are newly diagnosed. Most people I know who live with dementia explain that it does have an incredible impact on their life – but it does not rule over them. People who have been diagnosed early, who have time to come to terms with the diagnosis, often have an active lifestyle, life independently, make decisions and search for and accept help only in situations where it is needed. Living with dementia means things become harder, need more organisation, more planning, but it does not mean life stops. It does not mean that people are not able to do many things they have enjoyed all their life and will try out others. The black and white images I see do not represent this lifestyle – and I am fed up with seeing so many of them.

Dementi A rt 001 title

At the height of this annoyance, I sent out this call to get in touch with people who make art around dementia – and got great responses. I got in touch with people making art to engage others, engage others to make art and making art about their own experiences. Colourful artworks, new and personal imagery and strong words have made their way into this issue. After some time of curating, writing and editing, I can finally reveal that the idea has now become true. 100 copies of the first DementiArt are ready to be send.

DementiArt_finishIn this issue you can read

  • about Jenni Dutton and her beautifully crafted Dementia Darnings
  • a poem by Tommy Dunne who talks about his life living with dementia
  • how Chloe Johnston makes the everyday experience of living with dementia tangible
  • how Make-time bring art workshops into carehomes
  • a resource by 3SpiritUK that tells us all the good music can do in dementia care
  • thoughts and images of mine.

The first 50 issues also have a little surprise in them. Interested? To get your FREE copy of DementiArt drop me a line on DementiArt{at)brifrischu[dot}de or contact me @brifrischu.


Scarf of the month: May – Freedom of Information



Privacy is an impervious jungle of things we want to share, data people take from you and subtle changes in behaviour. It is a topic complex to discuss. What is actually possible? Where is the line between being concerned and folding your first tin foil hat?

But the lack of discussion makes me nervous. The hesitance of people to engage in this topic and try to untangle it to learn what is actually happening makes me nervous. I can not shed much light on what is possible at the moment. I am still groping my way through this topic to find out where I stand and what is important to me.

May_fulBut I did what I do best and went away to make a conversation starter. The ‘Scarf of the Month’ for May is my attempt to get a discussion going.

I am not as concerned that someone might spy on my data as I am about the idea of being spied on. I do not have anything to hide. I consider myself to be completely average. But I somethimes google things I do not want others to know about. Because of embarrassment. Or because I feel that might get me into trouble. What if an alarm goes on somewhere because of the DIY stuff I research and the position of government buildings I looked up earlier for sightseeing? If I read a lot of leftist blogs and independent newspapers will that be noticed? What if I join campagners such as digitalcourage? All questions I have discussed with others recently that are fuelled by the feeling of knowing a bit, but not enough and feeling the possibility to be observed at times. In his TED talk, Glenn Greenwald – one of the journalists involved in pulishing the documents Edward Snowden provided – gives a good overview why it is important to feel free to research and pursue your interests online, even if you have nothing to hide. It is not only something that affects criminals and terrorists. It affects everyone.

Another spin on this topic comes from John Oliver. He went to Moscow to interview Edward Snowden. And talked about dick-pics. Cleverly he turns ‘data’ into something we can relate to. Data which is not harmful, but not open for all eyes. Data you want someone specific to know about but not everyone else. Could be a conversation with your partner, your doctor, your boss. To get information, advice or just for bloody fun.

“The immoral cannot be made moral through the use of secret law.”
Edward Snowden

In this scarf I have knitted the words ‘Freedom of Information’ in Fair Isle technique with ‘Top Secret’ stitched onto it. But as the whole topic the text is muddled and clearly quite invisible. Partly because of the muddyness of the topic, but also to work in best protest and punk manner and work quickly, with what is around to show how urgent the topic is. I am concerned about the attempt of governments and big companies to classify as ‘Secret’, of agencies ‘saving’ us the trouble to tell what their work entails and about committies trying to sort out and judge this mess to be secret. It does not feel democratic. And it makes me concerned that it might increase. Freedom of Information is too important a law to be worked around. Forgotten. Covered up.

Knitting a scarf is not enough. But I hope it is the first step for more. And I hops it gets you talking about the topic. And what could be better than knitting a scarf. Do your thing. But do.