noctiluca blanket detail and folded whole
Jacquard woven blanket
Mohair, cotton, acrylic and viscose with embroidered edge
215 x 320 cm
noctiluca blanket installation and drawing

Before my decision to make a living in Australia 5 years ago, I had come here as a traveller a few times before. First time was in 1997…my first ever big trip overseas from Holland. Seven months of travelling with a round-the-world-ticket and Australia was one of our chosen countries. What an ocean of freedom and time we had!! It was unknown and life-changing! We gave Australia 4 out of the 7 months that we had for travelling. Once in Sydney we bought a $1000 car and headed west into the desert. Unfortunately after two weeks out of Sydney one of the common kind of accidents overcame us. My travelling partner, who happened to be my boyfriend as well, fell asleep behind the wheel while driving and a major accident happened. According to the police report the car had been rolling over its axes 5 times. The time it took for the car to roll over 5 times is still vivid somewhere in my mind. Those seconds were the longest seconds I have ever had. All I wanted was for the car to stop rolling. And so it did. And we were still there. Once the violent, thundering noise of the car rolling over had stopped, all the windows popped out of their frames, allowing for the dust of the desert to come in. Then a deafening silence came over us. Followed by the realisation of what had just happened. And then…from somewhere unknown deep inside of me came this primal scream which I wasn’t able to stop by myself…my partner had to ‘shake me away from it’ so to speak. Immediately I felt an excruciating pain coming up from my hip region what later proved to be a fractured pelvis. Something I realised instantly was that when in those fearful, life-threatening seconds there had been no physical pain, not a sense of the physical body being there. Now because of the horrendous pain in my pelvis my partner had to drag me out of the car through the front window frame and onto the sandy desert floor. We must have been the luckiest people on planet Earth because right at that moment, there in the desert, in the middle of nowhere a car came to rescue us…a small group of tourists, a tour guide and a satellite phone.. They called an ambulance and let us know it would take an hour for the ambulance to get to us. An hour!! An hour is a very long time when you are in excruciating pain! So I thought there was only one solution for me to be able to survive this painful hour…to get out of my body. I can’t remember if that worked out as well as I wanted to, but I do remember that suddenly then and there this intense ‘knowing’ came over me. For the first time of my life I was consciously happy to be alive, truly grateful for me still being there and then. And for the first time ever I thought: “I must be worth living, because I did not die”. So there I was. In excruciating pain and at the same time utterly happy and grateful from the heart.
From that day on magical moments started dripping into my life.
When in hospital, after the accident, I decided that I didn’t want the fractured pelvis to ruin my once in a life time road-trip through Australia and so we moved on. Shortly after we went sailing for 3 days with a small group on a Catamaran over at the Whitsunday Islands…3 truly magical days they were! There…swimming at night time…surrounded by a mysterious, deep, dark ocean and deep dark sky I experienced ‘Noctiluca’…lights in the dark. The ocean, the water around my body was being illuminated by so called sea-sparkles ‘Noctiluca’. Little algae that react to every touch by emitting light. That was such a wonderful moment…but not only that…those little creatures taught me a lesson. Their illumination is a self-defence mechanism, they light up for self-defence. It taught me to make and see the illuminating things in life for coping with the dark. And what illumination means for these little creatures…just simple self-defence…can bring us human beings such magical experiences.

‘Whenever you are touched you sparkle’

That first magical experience and those lessons brought me a lot of inspiration. It led to a whole heap of artworks.

Some of them showing here in these pictures. In 2009 I designed a jacquard woven blanket called ‘Noctiluca’. Early 2010 this blanket brought me the inspiration for the drawing (see picture above on the right) of someone in a Martial Arts pose. Then during my first solo-exhibition in Japan in 2010 I made an installation (see picture above on the left) picturing a Zen Buddhist monk wearing my Noctiluca blanket, meditating, facing a blank wall.

And now finally…after almost 20 years of hard, inner work and study…I can put this all into words, words that do the experience and the consequences of the accident justice. And as I learned from Kung Fu Panda’s Oogway…’There are no accidents’..

Published by Diana van der Harst

Diana van der Harst, the creator of Leftover Universe, draws inspiration for her range of work from her own life experience and from those beings; human, animal, plant and invisible, that surround her. Her love of all of life in its richness and variety has blossomed into the body of work that continues to evolve. Her work is intuitive, contemplative, spiritual, whimsical, harmonious, unique and poetic. Diana uses a range of mediums including Painting, Drawing, Photography, Illustration, Poetry, Graphics, Ceramics, Textile Art and Fashion & Textile Design thus creating a range of works that include functional objects such as pottery, blankets, cushions and bags each bearing the unique attributes of her style. For a full Artist Statement go to: For the artist's Resume go to:

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