December 31, 2010

"Goethe for endings"

All the knowledge I possess
everyone else can acquire,
but my heart is all my own.

(J.W. Goethe)

Sitting in the green kitchen, chopping vegetables and silently reflecting about the year that is about to rush out the door. You have been a tough cookie, dear year, with all your ups and downs, rollercoaster riding quick and strong, surprising, exciting and nerve-wracking at once. No wonder, my greatest wish for New Years Eve was taking a break and slowing down. As much as you're leaving me breathless, I am thankful for every tiny bit; for every tear, for every laughter and even, for a couple of broken plates. You have kicked me to grow, to get stronger and taught me once more to laugh and love no matter what. Thanks to you, the Fishbowl is prepared for next adventures, projects and dreams. I have the strong feeling is going to be a good one.
Have a great and inspiring start into 2011!

December 29, 2010

"no paper love"

The last event for this year is done. We have hosted a nice and cosy wedding in the Fishbowl. Nothing spectacular, rather spontaneous and on a very short notice. There are probably a million reasons and even more ways, about why and how people decide to get married. This was a couple of many years, having three amazing girls already, and very open eyes for each other. Sitting at the table with them and their families, made me feel strongly that they have traveled many roads together and that becoming husband and wife was one natural thing for them to do. Something far beyond roses, rituals and some blurry romantic stuff.

The thing that impressed me the most about that wedding; groom and bride were not wearing expensive jewelery, but little yellow paper rings, made by their girls. They have been not as amazing as the piece above, simply some cut out paper and bit glue, not even properly fitting, and for the first second, I was thinking "well...", but what stronger symbol can there be than wedding rings created by your own children.

December 24, 2010

"Christmas Spirit"

We've made it. Berlin looks wet and ugly, but inside the Fishbowl it finally gets cosy and nice. Even a small christmas tree has been added, which is eagerly waiting for some decoration. Later we'll have Raclette and one or the other nice bottle of Red. The decision was to have it easy and relaxed this year. Thomas has worked enough over the last weeks and it's a night off for my beloved chef. I don't know about you, but Christmas always makes me a bit melancholic and nostalic, in a good way though. The picture below was made of me, being four years old and obviously very proud about Teddy and my first selfmade straw star.

For tonight I wish everybody a great time, lots of laughter and joy! Take a break from that everday hustle and bustle and think about all the good things that have happened to you lately.

Happy Christmas everybody!

December 21, 2010

"Tuesday gift"

Berlin is still covered in snow and myself wrapped up into a cosy woolen blanket, hot tea and candles by my side. Though I was planning to go through with the Studio Sale until Christmas Eve, a sore left shoulder has stopped me in my tracks. Since Sunday I could hardly move and after fighting it for about two days, I've decided to let it be. This was the best that I could do and now, being here, forced to take a break, it feels like the most precious Christmas gift ever. Within 24 hours all the pressure and stress of the last weeks fell of me and it feels like I am allowed to watch everything that is going on, from a safe and sound outside spot. People are hasting by the Studio windows and you can already see on the faces, how long their to-do-lists for the upcoming days must be. Still. I wonder, why are we doing that to ourselves. Of course, the Holiday season is great. I love the smell of all the baking, of oranges, spices and freshly cut fir branches. It is nice to get together with your family, finding great presents for them or writing friendly cards and notes. Somehow, we only forget to stop in between and enjoy the parts in the middle. Only focused on Christmas itself, we kind of lose the good stuff during the days heading towards the party. Of course, as soon as my shoulder allows it I will probably, like everybody else, get back into all that jumping around. For the moment though, I enjoy things how they are and hope some of my new found serenity will stay for a little longer.

December 18, 2010

"about cuts, bruises and trust"

Living with us in the Fishbowl, you might already know, is our 17 month old Labrador Emma. It is the first time for me having a dog and I totally adore her; I love her even when she's getting creative to mess up the studio, wanting to play exactly the moment I start to answer emails or making herself comfortable on the couch, though I am balancing a big pot of hot soup eagerly looking for a cosy place.

Last night though, a friend of mine came over and we went silly with Emma, throwing balls and stuff. While jumping around, my friend found a little wound on Emma's left  foreleg, which turned out to be a serious bite mark. Actually a quite deep and inflamed one. After more examination we've discovered at least three of them and I actually had to take a deep breath. A second or ten I felt absolutely sick. For the last two times the dogwalker brought her home, I had seen one or the other mark, but did not take too much notice of them. Well, the guy drives out of town and into the wood with Emma and other dogs, he lets them run around on huge fields, they might take a swim, hunt for branches or for each other. Simply dog fun time, some bruises included, which I believed can happen. And when the days in the studio are crazy like right now, I'd rather have her out with someone else than not at all. To get a dog back with injuries to that extend though, is not cool at all anymore. What makes me even more furious than the bites alone, is that he did not drop a single word. Something like; they have played a bit rough today or that he is sorry, she'd catched a cut. Nothing. He'd only brought her back, a bit small talk included, and then he'd left with a wave.

It is a very uncomfortable and ugly feeling, when you'd trusted someone and he is not brave enough to earn this trust. I still don't think he is a bad guy, but of course I will not let Emma go with him ever again. I am not decided what to do exactly at this point. One possiblity would be to confront him, but I have to admit I am also tempted to simply delete his number. The first might be the more grown up thing to do, of course, but just now I am way too angry to not eat him alive. We will see what descision it will be in the end.

Right now the little beast is happily snoring after a long, good day out in the snow.

December 15, 2010

"on hold"

When night falls into the Fishbowl, I sometimes find myself sitting close to one of its windows, getting lost in the lights on the other side of the street. There is actually nothing spectacular about that view, just a classical Berlin sight, but the idea of what might be behind those windows, always grounds me. Especially on days like this, which sums up to 40 Euros in Cents dropped on the floor, a favourite Cardigan shrunk by me and the washing maching, a broken coffee pot, 20 minutes in some silly waiting loop of some even more silly office and, finally, two lost light bulbs. Nothing spectacular as well, but the lights were still badly needed.

December 13, 2010

"sunday delight"

The weekend of the Adventsparcour is over and I can not say it too often, I am absolutely proud of the little team rocking the place over the last two days. You guys were amazing. Thank you! There was this moment, when all the hectic and stress piling up lately, simply dissapeared and true holiday feeling started to fill the place. People taking part in the workshops left with tons of chocolate and a huge smile on their faces, while others happily puchased "Tolerance-Gingerbread", some postcards or they just stayed for a while.We even had a proposal in the middle of the studio. A couple liked our place so much, they asked if they can book us and the rooms for their wedding, only seconds after one had proposed to the other in our coffee corner.

After we had finally closed the doors last, some friends and neighbors came along and we've ended up with a little cosy party. This is exactly why living in the Fishbowl is such a pleasure most of the time. As you can see, this artist is officially exhausted. The studio looks upside down and the kitchen is a mess, but we had an amazing weekend, which totally makes up for some sleepless nights and a little bit of chaos.

December 12, 2010


We have made it through our first day of the studio sale and it was great. Though the weather in Berlin is quite nasty, we had the most friendly and interested guests. The build up has been a bit too hectic for my taste, thanks to Thomas and my sister, who did an amazing job, we finally lit the candles and opened the doors.

In about two hours we're about to go into round second; my dress is waiting for me and some flowers to be put up into my hair, then everything is waiting for you. So if you're in the Berlin area of Neukölln, stop by and visit us. Everybody is most welcome for a cup of coffee, a chat or to take part in one of the chocolate workshops. There are still some places left, for the onces who decide spontaneously to roll some truffles.

Holiday Studio Sale

Sunday 12/12/2010
from 2 -10 p.m.

Berlin- Neukölln
Sanderstraße 20

Sunday beginning: 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m.
Duration: 1.5 hours
Fee:13, - €
(Children till 6 years free!)

For the rest of you; get some cookies, sit down with some good tunes and have the most wonderful Sunday!

December 10, 2010

"a question of no"

Sometimes I ask myself about how clear we have to be towards others; in case we want something or even harder, when we don't want something. Days in the Fishbowl are, as I've wrote already, quite busy at the moment. With a big job to handle Friday night and the holiday studio sale over the weekend, the place is buzzing. Still, a client planned to deliver his wine selection late this afternoon. It is totally fine to store stuff for someone who has booked an event with Thomas. This guy though, told me he will come around 4 or 5 p.m., but no one showed up until 9. No call, no messages. I thought something had come up and he will deliver the next morning instead. That for I've decided to close the blinds, not expecting any visitors anymore.

Half past nine, the same second our pizza was delivered, the guy suddenly appeared, accompanied by his wife. They stood at the door, big smiles, saying they want to pay us a friendly visit. The next thing happening, they took a seat in the studio and stayed and stayed and stayed; while we had our dinner, while I walked Emma and while Thomas marinated 5 kilos of duck breasts. When they've left two hours later, I was boiling inside, not sure what went wrong actually.

Someone once told me, people won't hear a "No" unless we'll say it. I wonder, isn't it obvious that staying for such a long time is a very bad idea, when the hosts are covered in paint or are wearing an oily kitchen apron.

December 05, 2010

"shopping gone wrong"

This weekend was supposed to be busy, I knew in advance. With the studio sale and the chocolate workshops ahead, there are still impressive lists to work on; the drawings for the "Tiny Blog Book" are waiting to be finished, recipes have to be written down and tons of knitting still awaits my attention. You name it. I kind of enjoy it being that busy, but to make it less stressful and me less hysterical, we had planned to buy all the materials at once. We rented a car and hit the town. Saturday, who wouldn't have guessed, was the absolute worst choice to make. The streets, the supermarkets, even art supply shops were cramped with people. Everybody was in a bad mood, hectic, no smiles, no friendly word, only pushing and rushing. After two hours I was ready to escape to some abandoned island or to hide in my bed until Christmas is over and out. Though I made a list of adresses and places to go, we ended up totally exhausted and with basically nothing, except three little lighting chains. Two for the kitchen and one for the garden. They have so not been the top points of our list, but well, after a hot cup of coffee and some cookies, sent by my mother, I did not care any more. Our place looks much cosier now and I love to look out on the terrace, to see it lightened up.

While Saturday tried to trick us, today was much calmer and quite sucessful. The "Tiny Neighborhood Blog" is finished, plus we've made little labels for the chocolate boxes and had still time for some tea and to play with Emma. Next week will be again super busy, but also exciting and I have to say, this year I can't wait for the studio sale. In case everything goes smooth and I will not stumble at the finish line. Mazal tov!

December 03, 2010


Working in a fishbowl, in a studio with huge shop windows, means you'll get noticed; which is an absolut great thing and I have learned to appreciate that fact over the time. Most of the people walking down the street will notice me sitting at my desk drawing, painting or working with the computer. Some wave friendly, others knock at the glass or they'll stop for a quick "Hi". This is very different from all the other places I have worked in before and the thing I love the most about it, you'll never know what the day is going to bring. Sometimes though, and it simply happens once in a while, I really do need to concentrate on my work or finish something of very quickly. In these moments I want to pull out my hair for being stopped all the time; the mailman wanting to store deliveries in the studio, some stranger asking if the rooms are for rent or simply passers-by in the mood for a caffé latte and a little chat. And I am not someone being very good in sending people away.
To make this easier on both sides, I've create a little sign, a couple of days ago. Nothing spectacular, only something that tells everybody, what I am up to. This is so simply, I could have come up with that ages ago. Silly me, just didn't. For the last two days working was more serene than ever and I was easily able to focus on all the stuff for the big Adventsparcours coming up next weekend.

As usual on Friday, today was Open Studio Day, and I did turn the sparkling new sign around. And what I've been talking about before, the day was actually much nicer than expected; in the morning a good friend stopped by to present me a marvelous interior book and in the afternoon, one of my favourite neighbors came in and we had a truly inspriring chat about how to promote our art, the smartest ways of selling and on motivation. Sometimes both sides of a medal are pretty cool.

November 30, 2010

"dedication to the arctic circle"

Last week I was already making some hints about an EnvironmentInstallation I've been requested to make. The client booked my studio for the night to lecture about his journey to the icy places of Finnland and to the Nordic polar circle. I created some black and white interior with cut-out- birds, branches and a huge paper backdrop for the buffet. We were sitting by cosy candlelight, while the sound of birds, some wind and the sea gave it a dash of wilderness.

Everybody was welcomed with a tiny bag of popcorn, including a sign to write their names on it and to pin it to the chest.

The husband, as usual, created a marvelous buffet for it. This time the dishes were mainly white. We had white tomato soup, potatoe salad with dill and egg, freshly baked Focaccia, plus marvelous white chocolate- orange-cakes. Everybody loved it and the guests stayed until very late, which I believe is the biggest compliment you can give to a host. I have to say I've totally loved it and had a lot of fun already, while designing and putting everything together.

November 22, 2010

"delicate wings"

As an artist you only very seldom have regular Mondays. Working over the weekend most of the time, the week normaly start with some nice sleeping in, followed by some house cleaning action and a very lazy night. Today was different though. This was it, the real deal. Early in the morning I woke up, already soaked in a good dose of nervousness, later followed by some cups of drama, some heated up arguments, and the feeling I won't make it through this week if I cannot create an explosion or anything at least that spectacular. Ten hours later everything is quiet around the studio and on my desk sits a huge bowl, filled up with two hundred cutted out birds.

Their tiny paper feathers and the little faces look so delicate to me, I fear they've been blown away by tomorrow morning. Instead, let's hope for a good start into Tuesday.

November 21, 2010

"under the weather"

It is cold in Berlin today, kind of a wintery feeling. And myself, instead of working on next week's job, I am fighting a nasty infection. I can not recall how many litres of that special herbal tea I did brew since Friday, and how many of  those nasty tasting pills I've swallowed.

But not only was I fighting the actual virus, but also the one that is called "procastination". For three days in a row, I did basically nothing. Well, I took extensive dives into all different shapes of daydreams and strolled busy through my favourite blogs for hours: fantasizing about the redecoration of our living room, making plans for the next dinner and listening to the most wonderful music. One of the favourite picks must have been Jennie Stabis, by the way. And while Madame flew from the Fishowl, the husband was terribly busy and above, even looked good walking Emma.

November 18, 2010

"the memory jar"

Ten days ago one of my beloved one-night-installations took place in the studio. For one dark and rainy night people were invited to sneak in, have a look at our work and ask as many questions as they wanted to. I have never talked so much in my entire life. Everyone was nice and very interested and Thomas and I had a an amazing night. Thank you for all the inspiration and the support!

"the memory jar" was an EnvironmentInstallation talking about our memories and their culinary links.

November 12, 2010

Belated Scare

I've wanted to post this for almost two weeks, but "the memory jar" and last week's show kept me that busy, I could hardly take a breath. Now things are more quiet in the Fishbowl and the story came back to my mind. A day after Halloween an old neighbour stopped by, bringing Emma some dog treats, and she telling us about her personal scare highlight the night before.

The ladys is around 70 and she uses a very elegant wooden crutch to walk. Her hair is dyed into another shade of red every week and she wears truly impressive glasses from another time. On Halloween she'd decided to dress up herself and when the first kid from next door rang her bell, she stood there in a black robe, the face hidden behind a horrible plastic mask from the costume store. Scream like. And that was exactly what happened, she said. She opened the door and a little boy in a deadman's costume stood in front of her. He was so shocked by her appearance, he started to scream the hell out of his body. She, on her side, was shocked by the peak of his voice, she screamed as well. At the top of her lungs. They've ended up laughing together in the hall.

October 26, 2010

changing perspectives

Inzwischen schon seit zwei Wochen zurück und immer noch nicht wirklich da. Der Auflug, raus dem Aquarium, rauf auf die Insel war einfach zu wunderbar. Vier winzige Tage und die Dinge haben sich verändert. Ein Bisschen nur, aber ein Bisschen ist offensichtlich mehr als die ewige Suche nach dem ultimativen Durchbruch. Nach dem Anders, Größer, Besser, Weiter. Alles Quatsch mit Soße. Nur ein kurzer Gedanke an Gras, ganz groß, und grün-grauen Himmel über einem Meer, dass sich nicht einmal die geringste Mühe gibt hübsch zu sein. Weil es nicht hübsch sein will, sondern wild. Seit zwei Wochen zurück und nur ganz langsam kristallisieren sich erste Ideen für "the memory jar" heraus, die Installation des Ateliers Schmidt zum Neuköllner Nacht & Nebel Event. Liebe Nachbarn schleppen Unmengen an leeren Gläsern an, während ich in der Küche stehe und sie schrubbe, um sie dann schließlich mit meiner Idee von Erinnerung zu füllen. Wir werden sehen, noch ist kein winziges Stück klar, was dabei herauskommen wird.

For two weeks back already, but still not yet really landed safely. The trip, out to the aquarium, onto the island was simply too wonderful. Four tiny days and things have changed. A little bit only, but a little bit is obviously more than the everlasting search for some ultimative breakthrough. A silly chase after the Different,  the Greater, the Better or the Higher. All horse shit. The blink of a thought about grass and green-grey skies hanging over a sea that doesn't spent one thought about being pretty. Because it does not want to be pretty, but wilde. Two weeks back and only quite slow the first ideas for "the memory jar" come up; the first scetches for the installation of the studio Schmidt going on during the Neuköllner Night & Fog Event. Dear Neighbor bringing vast amounts in empty glasses along, while I stand in the kitchen and scrub them and then to fill them, finally, with my idea of memories. We will see, still it is not clear at all, what will come out of this.

September 17, 2010

Happy Delivery

Eine der Nebenwirkungen in einer Ladenwohnung zu arbeiten, ist der enge Kontakt zu den verschiedenen Paketboten der Stadt. Bereits wie sie sich der Tür des Ateliers nähern, sagt schon einiges. Die einen scheu, schüchtern und den Blick gesenkt und die anderen forsch und spontan aufgebracht, wenn der Metallknauf sich nicht drehen lässt. Über den Tag verteilt, klopfen in der Regel einer bis drei von ihnen an die große Glasscheibe, fragen nach Nachbarn und danach, ob ich stellvertretend ein Paket annehmen kann. An manchen Tagen sammelt sich eine ordentliche Selektion großer und kleiner brauner Kartons an. Manchmal dauert es Tage bis sie von ihren Besitzern abgeholt werden und manchmal geht mir das Ganze ordentlich auf den Keks. Manchmal sage ich einfach „Nein!“. Weil es mir gefällt. Die Jungs in brauner Kluft tragen, obwohl der Sommer sich längst verabschiedet hat, noch immer Bermudashorts, während die Fahrer der gelben Wagen jugendlich, frisch, aber ein wenig maulfaul daher kommen. Wirklich unangenehm sind allerdings diejenigen, die im Namen des griechischen Götterboten unterwegs sind. Unangenehm und irgendwie bemitleidenswert; in schmuddeligen Klamotten, rostigen Autos und unfähig einem in die Augen zu sehen. Entweder sucht da jemand seine Leute sehr schlecht aus oder, was eher zu befürchten ist, er behandelt sie sehr schlecht. Manchmal flüchte ich geradezu ins Badezimmer, wenn ich einen von ihnen ankommen sehe. Und anschließend fühle ich mich schlecht. Heute allerdings war einer der guten  Posttage. Eines der Pakete war für mich. Es wurde mir freudestrahlend überreicht und beim Auspacken fiel mein Blick auf eine kleine Nachricht, in säuberlicher Druckschrift über der Adresse hinterlassen: „Vielen Dank, dass sie uns immer behilflich sind. Ich wünsche ihnen einen schönen Tag. Ihr Paketbote. Gruß Achmed. 

“One of the side effects of painting in a store flat is the close contact with all different types of mail delivery boys around town. Already as they approach the door of the studio, something is already said. Some appear shy, somewhat timid and there is look mostly lowered. Others are appearing brisk and get spontaneously angry, if the metal handle cannot be turned as they would have wished. Over the day mostly one to three of them knock at the big windowpane, asking for neighbours and whether I can accept a package on their behalf. On some days a well-arranged selection of big and smaller brown cardboards collects in one of the corners. Sometimes it lasts days until they’ll get picked up by their owners, which kind of gets on my nerves once in a while. Sometimes I simply say “no!“. Because I like to do this. The boys in brown gap, although summer has said goodbye already, still wear Bermudas shorts, while the drivers of the yellow carriages come along in a juvenile manner, freshly, but a little uncommunicative. However, those which are on the move in the name of the Greek God's Messenger are really disagreeable. Unpleasantly and in some way pitiful; they come in grubby things, rusty cars and are incapable to look in ones in eyes. Either somebody selects their employees very badly or what is more likely, he treats them very badly. Sometimes I almost flee into bathroom if I see one of them coming. And afterwards I feel bad. Today, however, was one of the good postal days. One of the packages was for me. It was handed to me beaming with delight and while I was unwrapping it, my glance stuck to a small note, written in tiny and clean letters just above address: “Thanks you for always helping us. I wish you a great day.Your delivery man, Achmed.“

August 29, 2010

Vice Versa

Die soll die erste, kleine Geschichte aus dem Aquarium werden, aber an diesem Morgen könnte alles auch umgekehrt betrachtet werden. Es ist Sonntag und draußen schüttet es. Der Regen klatscht ordentlich an die großen Fensterscheiben im Atelier. Nahezu niemand bewegt sich auf der Straße. Abgesehen einmal von denen, die ihre Hunde um diese Zeit um den Block führen müssen. Die Blicke auf den Bürgersteig gerichtet oder unter Schirmen versteckt, bemerken sie mich nicht, während ihre Hunde sich mit zusammengekniffenen Augen an den Häuserwänden entlang drücken. Hunde hassen Regen noch mehr, als Menschen über ihn reden. Ich habe die erste Tasse Kaffee vor mir stehen und kalte Füße. Es ist herbstlich geworden in den vergangenen Tagen, ansonsten passiert überhaupt nichts. Ich bin mir mit einem Mal nicht mehr sicher, aber vielleicht muss man das ab und zu einfach in Kauf nehmen, sich dicke Socken anziehen und in Ruhe seinen Kaffee trinken.

This was supposed to become the first story from the aquarium, but during this morning everything could be also looked at vice versa. It is Sunday and it pours outside. The rain claps substantially towards the big windows panes in the studio. Nearly nobody moves on the street. Apart from those, who must lead their dogs around the block at this time. Their looks strictly directed to the sidewalk or hidden under umbrellas, they take no notice of me, while their dogs squeeze themselves with half opened eyes, closely along the house walls. Dogs hate rain even more than people talk about it. I have the first cup of coffee standing on the table and cold feet. It has become autumnal during the past days, besides that, absolutely nothing is happening. All of a sudden I am not sure any more, but maybe one must simply accept that now and then, put thick socks on and drink that coffee quietly.