Artist Amber Veel (1981) wonders: “Where does a body end and the universe begin?” After studying at the Rietveld Academy and the Royal Drawing School, she visits the very last Spruce tannery in the world. It is hidden in the vast forests of Arctic Sweden. Here she learns all about the almost extinct traditional vegetable tanning. While practicing this craft she experiences the deep cosmic connection between animal, plant and landscape.
Since then Amber uses traditional tanning techniques to explore the boundary between body and landscape, between life and death, between animal and vegetable. She dives deep into the cycle of creation and passing. In there she finds the connection with the landscape and the animal.
She takes great care of a dead animal and of the seeds she plants in her garden. The transience she experiences in it, is her greatest inspiration. While drawing and collecting, she walks through the dunes and forests around her studio. She finds a dead Gannet on the beach and wraps it in her woolen vest. She finds a flowering blade of grass and dries it between thick art history books. “I preserve a skin and draw a plant. In this way I pause the living and the dead to get a grip on our being, which is often so complex for me.”
Her work can be seen in the permanent collection of the Groote Museum-Artis. She is currently working on a publication of her journey in the land of vegetable tanning. In addition, she draws the borderland between land and body on self-prepared deer parchment.