That special chair, the view, your workplace or that shed. What makes you feel at home? Where are you ‘comfortably at home’? We put that question to Maisa van der Kolk, who owns a weaving mill and instrument museum.

Background of Maisa

Maisa has lived in the old town of Edam for about 31 years. When you visit her, you are not only at her home, but also in a weaving mill and a museum full of special instruments. There is just enough space for Maisa to indulge in her passion for music and weaving.

Career of Maisa

Years ago she started making music. She sang in a choir and started playing more and more instruments.

“It is nice if you can not only sing in an orchestra, but also play an instrument. My first instrument was the Finnish lap harp, the Kantele, a typical solo instrument. Obviously purchased because my mother was Finnish. Then came the string psalter, so that I could also play with others. It has a nice sound and you can sing beautifully solo or in two parts. So I started to collect more and more instruments. At one point I had so many that it could become a museum.”

In Maisa’s eleven-metre-long living room you will only find special types of instruments: from psalter to musical saw, from glass instrument to zither.

“When I hear an instrument, I think: ‘what would that be?’ Then there is always someone who says what kind of instrument it is. I look it up on the internet and see if I can afford it. Sometimes it is very special and there are maybe only ten such instruments made in all of Europe. Then you really have to find out who builds such an instrument. I’ll keep looking until I find the right builder. That’s how I got my glass instruments. These are a kind of tubes that are mounted in such a way that they run from small to large. Now I gradually have enough instruments.”

Visitors to her museum go on a tour with Maisa. “I fill the whole table with about fifteen instruments and then we make a journey through Europe: we start in the Netherlands with the bumblebee, continue to France with the hurdy-gurdy, to the nyckelharpa from Sweden, sometimes to Russia for the balalaika , nasty

Germany for the zithers and mandolin. This way we go through a lot of instruments from all kinds of countries.”

Maisa also made several podcasts about Scandinavian music. She is also very busy with weaving. In the front room is the music room, in the back house she has her weaving workshop where she makes weaving creations in miniature. “I have been weaving for sixty years and still love it. It’s relaxed, terribly labor intensive but great fun. In the meantime I listen to music and discover new instruments. That way I can combine it nicely. I am a real ‘string person’, when you weave you work with yarn, which is actually a kind of string, as a base.”

After high school, Maisa started weaving. She worked in a weaving mill and learned all the techniques. She has made very large work, but now mainly makes miniatures. She is inspired by nature.

“My daughter-in-law loves ladybugs, so I’m currently working on a ladybug sitting on a four-leaf clover. Sometimes I make a wild stream of water, that’s more abstract. It takes a lot of time, a small animal can take me thirty hours. I used to make large rope installations that you could hoist from the ceiling. My daughter is married to a Finn, when I am with her in Finland I go to the weaving mill where I can make larger work with a machine.”

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