Els van Baarle works with textiles and paper. She trained as a textile teacher in Delft, and worked for many years in education. Els now gives courses in adult education and vocational training for textile teachers.
Van Baarle has given courses and lectures in S. Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, U.S.A, France, Switzerland, Germany England and Belgium. She exhibits regularly at home and abroad.
Van Baarle is inspired by the past, especially by classical antiquity. Ruins, weathered by the elements, reveal fascinating surfaces with an array of textures, colours and marks. She translates this inspiration into fabric and paper. Van Baarle’s work is constructed slowly and carefully, paint and wax are applied, layer upon layer, this rhythm is repeated many times. Working in this way, complex surfaces with endless colour nuances and depth are created.
Her textiles can be compared to old walls, which on closer inspection, reveal a wealth of detail. What appears at first to be one colour is in fact a palette of colour nuances, when studied closely. In her work Van Baarle uses natural fibres such as cotton and silk. Large in size, her creations are free hanging flexible paintings. Marks left by men, such as handwriting and inscriptions, play an important role in Van Baarle’s work. They bring memories to life. Marks survive, but their meaning remains a mystery. Van Baarle works for long periods on one theme which allows her to explore the subject matter in depth.