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Community Profile
Editor: Georgette Tan
Featuring Dutch Elfwood

Dutch Elfwood celebrated their first anniversary on January 17th. I thought it was fitting that this column debuts with the group that set the ball rolling. This column comes with a little extra: following the profile, we also have a special report from Sander Schoemaker on their First Anniversary meeting in Utrecht.

Netherlands - Belgium, Europe
Contact Person(s)

How did the dutchelfwood group start? The first idea of a gathering of dutch elfwood artists was caused by Thomas Abrahamsson (the elfwood founder) who was making plans for a big elfwood meeting in the USA. Tristan Bronkhorst picked up this idea and contacted the first few dutch he had found in Lothlorien. Some liked it, others didn´t even bother to react. So as there was no decision made about how a meeting could or should look like it faded out and fell asleep. But not for long.

Only half a year later, in the end of the year 2000 the contact between the dutch elfwood artists grew stronger and stronger as some met more and more obviously dutch while searching through the (elf)woods. People recognised the origins of other artists just by their typical dutch names or mentioning their hometowns in their bio´s. Several started with commenting in dutch. The idea of meeting somewhen somehow somewhere came up again.

Email-addresses were gathered; we were glad back then that we had found about 15 artists - first contacts made. We were thinking about how we could make a forum to keep in touch more easily, so on 17 January 2001 Roel van Mastbergen mailed us inviting us to an egroup he had set up: the 'dutchelfwood'. Until now the group has grown to 99 members coming from the Netherlands and Flemish elfwood artists from Belgium (the neighbouring kingdom). The primary task of the group was to bundle our energy and set up meetings. On the messageboard all kind of subjects are discussed more or less seriously, questions are asked and answered, tips and tricks, all the stuff a fantasy artist or author might possibly be interested in. Polls are set up to see the opinions on subjects and make appointments. Bookmarks are gathered to collect the links to our sites and the results of our meetings displayed for all of us to be seen.

The first big day came on a fantasy fair. It was the day that the first email names turned into real people. We met at high noon in the gardens of a rebuilt abby. Most of the faces looked familiar for most of us had been asking questions to John Howe about his artworks and about the 'fellowship' movie before. With all the attractions the group broke up very quickly. But the first step was made.

We did not wait long after this and just made an appointment in Utrecht (a nice old town in the heart of the country). After we met at the station at 14:00 o´clock 14 elfooders went to a cafe, occupied some tables, took a look at each others work (and something to drink) and started chatting, laughing and drawing. There was an open friendly atmosphere immediately. This all went on till late in the night. So the structure of the meetings had grown almost naturally: We sit together, get to know each other well and better, have fun, but the most crucial part: Everybody has a "dummy" (book with empty pages) that is passed around for others to make some drawing (or a text) in it. In the end we go home and are happy with all the nice stuff we got from each other. Through our meetings (5 in 2001) we survived the sad days when elfwood was down quite well. More and more friends join in, some even without elfwood pages.

So after the first anniversary ... we all just hope that all will go on in the same way it did this first year...

- Henning Janssen

Special Report
Latest DutchElfwood meeting calls record-amount of visitors

The celebration of one year DutchElfwood in Utrecht (Holland) has been a great success. With a record of almost thirty people, this was the biggest meeting ever. So big even that the horde of artists and writers had to make an evasive maneuver to the Florin and Firking pub instead to gathering up in the regular Boslust cafe.

In the corner of the pub, the rather diverse company sat down for a full eight-hour session of drawing, writing, drinking and having lots of fun. Even though the surroundings grew darker since the owners of the pub decided to turn down the lights, this couldn't stop the best of us. Surely the surrounding was very stimulating for the inspiration.

Annet Nijmeijer, a first time visitor: "We just sat down in the corner and when I looked up from my drawing, I realized it was like five hours later and I had made more drawings than I normally make in one week."

Of course there is a reward for creativity in this group. The spontaneously organized Favorite Fantasy Character Contest found its proud winner in Eline Spek.

The contest is the symbol of the whole DutchElfwood, a success-story of 'just a couple of people' that have the ability to found a group with more than a hundred members from just one email or one comment on somebody's gallery.

- Sander Schoemaker

Photo Album
Mouseover for captions

Three whole tables filled with creativity. Dummies: empty sketchbooks that the DutchElfwooders exchange and draw in. Drawing from left to right: Bas Snabilie, Alex Aal, Suzan Bongers, Sander Schoemaker, Cynthia Bongers and Tom Jilesen. Annet Nijmeijer (Middle): 'Five hours later you wake up from a trance and realise the bar is full of people.'
As the pub turned down the lights, little red candles had to serve as a lightsource. Coen de Moor is about to announce the winners of the Favourite Fantasy Character Contest. Janou Brouwer won the second prize. And the winner is: Eline Spek!
Certainly the beer did not hold the creativity or fun. Coen de Moor, mastermind behind the FFCC. Jan Corne van Dongen. Right: Henning Janssen, the man with the plan.
It realy got quite dark, but that could not stop the best of us. Appart from a source of inspiration, the meetings are also a great place to learn from other artists. Robert Langeveld discusses tactics with Wilma Jacobs. As the clock ticks later, some decide to display some interesting humour in the art.

- Photos courtesy of dutchelfwood

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