Greetje Hein – Botanics – Phragmites Australis

“Phragmites Australis”

As many of you know, most part of Holland is below sea-level.

Where we live used to be a sea until they build the “Afsluitdijk” in 1932. An area of 1100 km² became a lake. In the lake they made polders. First dikes were built in the lake and the water was pumped out. The part we live was reclaimed in 1942. After that there came two more polders.

This means I live on the bottom of the sea, over 3 meters below sea-level.

When the polder was reclaimed there was reed and rapeseed to get the soil dry and ready for agriculture.

So reed (Phragmites Australis) is one of the first plants in our area.

Nowadays you see reed in nature areas and next to ditches and canals.


For my quilt I sun-printed real reed. I painted a piece of fabric with transparent textile paint, pinned reed on it and let it dry in the sun. I machinequilted some lines between the white print and the colored fabric.

Then I painted real reed (flowers and leaves) with opaque textile paint and printed it on organza. I pinned this on top of my first layer and quilted it free motion.

I painted another piece of fabric with water-soluble wax crayons as background of the drawing of phragmites australis. I printed the drawing from my computer and transferred it with acrylic medium on the fabric.



close up view



  1. Very nicely done — both dyeing and printing, and the quilted accents. A very calming piece to look at, with more than meets the eye on closer inspection.

  2. I of course love this piece, since I have lived more than 20 years in these polders too. The ever moving reed is a feast for the eye. It could have been used for “motion”
    Your sun printing is superb as are the rest of the techniques you used. It is almost a meditating piece.

  3. I had the same idea ! you could have used it for motion … it is a beautiful piece Greetje ! the shades of blue and green are perfect, as well as the sun printing and your quilting shows so well the shape of the plant.

  4. Yes I too thought of motion as soon as I saw your quilt with the lovely blend of the blues and greens. Thank you for including such detailed information on the layers to achieve such a great effect.

  5. Lovely, the colours blend so nicely and I love the reeds and the way you have printed and stitched them, very effective.


    Greetje I really love the way you made and explained your beautiful piece. The ever waving reeds are so nice to look at and the sound is great. You managed to put that in your quilt and I think that is a stunning result. Love the sun dyed background and all the other techniques you used!

  7. I just noticed that my comments did not go through. I love the movement of the reeds and your name panel is a great way to show the reed head. Bravo

  8. I love the colours and movement in your piece, it really gives the feeling of looking at a clump of reeds moving gracefully in the wind. The multiple layers give a depth of detail which really work well. I love this piece

  9. I love the rich blue of the background, the movement in the reeds, and the incorporation of the drawing to give the viewer a less abstract version of the reeds. The multi-layering was very effective.

  10. Beautifully constructed. The use of sun printing works really well.

  11. The colors are gorgeous, and the stitching suggests the living, moving plant. Very instructive!

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