The work of Hannah Streefkerk

Hannah Streefkerk's artworks are nature-oriented, inspired by natural elements such as water and land formations, trees, flowers and rocky landscapes. With a certain sensibility towards rhythms, structures and patterns, she extracts the essences of various forms in nature and translates them into site-specific works of art. In some of her works, she uses a strict geometric vocabulary, reducing natural forms into squares, circles and lines, whereas a more organic and soft expression is prevalent in other works.

Streefkerk renders her observations of nature's patterns and forms on a relatively intimate scale, allowing viewers to interact with her art works by walking around and in between them.
The artworks take the viewers by surprise, as they often appear to sprout from nature itself. Always carefully placed by the artist, they blend in or function as quirky additions to their environment
– like bandages on wounded trees or a stitched up circle of grass. The viewers' eyes are opened to nature in a new way, as these unusual objects surprise and puzzle us. Always with a note of humour and poetry, Streefkerk creates dialogues between her audience and Nature, inviting us to see and experience our surroundings in new ways and to consequently investigate these fresh openings in our otherwise fixed perception of reality.

Materials such as thread and yarn are recurring elements in Streefkerk's work, as are various traditional forms of craft such as sewing and crocheting. The use of yarn runs like a red thread, a common theme, through her work, and she indeed plays with the concept of this by using red yarn
- for example in a series of works containing carefully placed red yarn in nature, made in Norway in 2006. By using traditional techniques, she seems to insist on the importance of something durable and lasting, which is also reflected in the comments about modern life she makes through her work, implicitly problematising a use-and-discard mentality.

Streefkerk lets crocheted drops of water drip from trusses inside a glass corridor, and allows jellyfish to spread their woollen tentacles in tree tops. With a portable patch of grass, she gives city-dwellers a green place to relax and gather their thoughts far away from wild nature. And with wooden boxes strewn like dice across the grass, a geometric formalism is introduced into nature as a playful exploration of shape, surface and texture. In Streefkerk's installation art, elements are shifted from their natural environment and recontextualised in a new setting, generating complex narratives, while also being engaging visual experiences. Streefkerk's works of art enrich the site of choice by adding an extra dimension to it, but without marring or drowning out the original character of the place.

Besides the spatial installations, Streefkerk works with embroidery on photographs. She takes pictures of elements in nature – for example tree bark, rock formations or plants – and embellishes these two-dimensional pictures with the tactile quality of the embroidered thread, disrupting the illusion of objective representations of reality in the photographic images. She firstly documents nature through the photograph, and then she adds stitches to it, sewing together elements in the picture plane, transforming the recorded reality into a tactile map of handcrafted marks. Each individual stitch seems to correspond with the smallest components of nature, molecules and cells.

Domestic crafts such as embroidery, sewing and crocheting are still largely associated with women and female identity. By using these crafts in her art, Streefkerk inscribes herself into a long tradition of women's craftmanship. She converts the crafts into works of art, and by using them on a larger scale in her outdoor works, Streefkerk pays homage to women's craftmanship throughout history, while at the same time freeing it from the constraints of the domestic sphere.