For the early birds practising parchment this craft, we do not need to introduce ourselves, but for the ones who stepped in later, we believe we need to explain who we are..
We, Martha Ospina and Tiemen Venema were the ones who brought parchment craft to Europe and a bit later to the rest of the world.
The management of the Parchment Academy by Pat Murphy has approached us with the request whether we would be happy to take the position of being Patrons of the Academy. Our answer was; thank you so much; it is an honour; with great pleasure we accepted this position. With our support/contribution we will try to contribute, share the fun and pleasure around this wonderful creative craft; a fact is already for quite some years we are retired.
Martha tells her story and I Tiemen, each by turn.
Tiemen: since around 2010 we both gradually stopped to be active in the craft as such and the business part, it had to do with my age. My younger son did continue the Pergamano business. But all is still in our hearts and we love to bring back beautiful remembering with pictures and stories. We remember many wonderful parchment people around the world and sure many will remember us.
Question: From where comes this technique with parchment paper? For me, Martha, I learned it at the primary school; I was born and educated in Colombia in South America; my native language is Spanish but later I learned English and Dutch, I live in Holland. How come?
The romantic part: I, Martha had a dream, which was to see more of the world than only South America; I was thinking visiting United States. I was curious and interested to learn. I worked at a Hospital in Bogota, the capital of Colombia, and talked about my dream with a colleague who seemed to have the same interests. “O.K., we go together, will be more save and more pleasant. We started to set sufficient money aside for a 3 weeks tour by plane and trains not to the States but to Europe.
My present husband, Tiemen; a Dutchman, worked in those years in Swedish company, in the sale department. He speaks now for himself now:
For 5 years I lived alone, I missed a partner; a wife to live together and to share all the good and the bad things which you normally will encounter in life. I hoped that one day I would meet my new love; waiting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 years. I did not do anything special to find a new partner but just waiting for that special day and that blessed encounter and it happened!! I tell you about it.
One day in 1984 I travelled with a work colleague to an international fair in Frankfurt. We decided to make the journey by train. During the journey, my colleague went along the corridor of the train and on his return suggested I made the same trip to take the opportunity of looking in to see the occupants of the next compartment. This made me curious and when I did I saw two charming young ladies .I stopped and said Good morning ladies, how are you today, on holiday?” One of them (Martha), not shy at all said, “we are on a holiday trip for the first time in Europe, today we go to Frankfurt and afterwards to Italy”. I was at once impressed by Martha; her eyes, her open face talking so frankly, not afraid in spite of the fact that her English was limited at the time. I said: “Is not it your boyfriend with you?? Her answer: “I do not have a boyfriend”.
Thinking of that moment I get emotional again, because that moment changed the rest of my life for the better until today. We talked and talked; it was an happy and general conversation. I invited my colleague into the compartment too and so we continued our travel together to Frankfurt station.
There we offered the 2 ladies to take one taxi together to the centre, first to our hotel and then I guided them to their close-by hotel. All the time I was thinking: I do not want to let them, or better say....let her, Martha, go....what can I do? I have to find some excuse or proposal to continue the contact. What creative ideas I can find?
I must say, I liked that tall man from the first moment of the encounter. But what do I know about him? Nothing, only that feeling: this man is very charming, kind, and helpful!!
And then when we arrived at our hotel, he asked us if both of you would like to go to dinner
together tonight, we have such a nice contact. But, after consulting my girlfriend, I said: ‘yes, ok, how nice of you, we accept your offer with
pleasure!’ But we were very careful and friendly. We had a wonderful dinner together with a lot of humour because of our limited English.
It was all funny: we were in Germany, in a Yugoslavian restaurant, 2 Dutch men and two Colombian ladies, struggling with English. They asked: ‘what do you like to eat Tok Tok or Boo Boo?’.
(Tieman explained that he was having fun using animal noises to describe chicken or beef )
To make this part complete: At the end of the dinner, I brought the two ladies to their hotel and I said to Martha it would be very nice if we exchange telephone numbers, so that later we can have a chat and look back. And Martha agreed and so we did.
I also made some big steps in our story.
As soon as being back in Colombia in the capital, Bogota, I contacted Tiemen by phone and in spite of our language problem we had a charming conversation, both happy to have contact again.
I think it was in the 3rd telephone contact that I said to Tiemen: ‘are you interested to come to my place and learn about my country Colombia?’ I was surprised about his quick reaction: his answer right away was: ‘oh, thanks so much, wonderful idea, lets plan it.
So, it happened, half a year after that special encounter in Germany, I was on my way to Colombia.
On board the plane I had a conversation with a gentleman, and I talked about my adventure and also told that I had forgotten my notes with the address and telephone number of my friend in Bogota. He said: ‘you might have a problem: perhaps she will not be at the airport; you know they are Latins, easy talking’. But I did not get nervous; I had 100 percent trust in my new
At the arrival, waiting for my suitcase, I looked and looked….at the bunch of people outside, do I see ‘my’ Martha? No, no… yes, yes!! She is there waving to me… of course she was there!
I had a wonderful time in Bogota, the capital of Colombia together with Martha.
One day she showed me her favourite craft: Tarjeteria Espanola (Spanish card making). I reacted: “how interesting, never seen it before, I like it…” and that was it.
Back home in my house alone I was thinking all the time about Martha and asking myself what to do and then: you know what? I am going to invite her to The Netherlands so we can really find out if we may be a couple for the rest of our lives and so I did.
I was so surprised at his invitation that quickly after Tiemen was in my country. I wanted to go. I talked to my parents who said: ‘you are a clever girl, so you do what you think you wish to do’. And one year after Frankfurt I arrived at Amsterdam airport where Tiemen was waiting for me.
One year later we were married, and I tried to settle with Tiemen in a city close to Amsterdam. First of all, I tried to quickly learn the Dutch language and get my Dutch citizenship, secondly, I tried to find work. I did several short jobs; one was with handicapped children; it all helped me to learn Dutch and to get accustomed to this different part of the world.
Luckily, I brought with me from Colombia materials for my favourite handy craft, Tarjeteria. I had brought some perforating tools, scissors, embossing pads, and patterns. When alone at home I could do my favourite craft. I don’t think I am shy, and I like to communicate with people. So, one day I met a lady also interested in crafts and I showed my craft to her: she was so surprised.
She said. ‘oh…, how nice, never seen this beautiful craft before, please can you teach me that technique’? You know what happened? In a couple of weeks’ times, I was teaching 5 ladies parchment craft at my home. A wonderful experience: because I was welcome, I was wanted, I was appreciated! I had things to do, I had got friends, I had learned the language. It could not be
One of my students one day said: why not make contact with the “Peoples University” (a local Academy teaching languages, crafts, etc). I did and you know what: I got accepted as a teacher in my speciality: Tarjeteria Espanola, but with Tiemen we found a better name: ParchmentCraft!
Wow, I was so happy that I had got settled in The Netherlands that quickly.
How nice that my wife found her way with me in her new country so rapidly. I had my timeconsuming job, so this was a very happy development.