Finding the words: On the loss of my friend Wink

Standing 'shoulder to shoulder' in February this year!!!
As a verbose person, writing blog posts usually comes easily - editing them to a reasonable size is the hardest part. But since a phone call on Sunday, telling me about the death of my friend Wink (Marinke, but she liked 'Wink'), I have been struggling to find the right words to start this post. I want to honour her work but at the same time I am sitting here in tears (again) for the loss of a dear friend. A friend who stood a whole foot taller than me - more in heels - and frequently made jokes about it!

As an artist, Wink's work brought colour and joy to many. She generously shared so many wonderful tutorials and patterns and gave help and encouragement to many people. As well as being known for her beautiful shawls and mandalas, Wink's CAL with Scheepjes was an unprecedented international success. She was so proud when her first book launched earlier this year, and the second (as yet unpublished) is absolutely stunning. She leaves behind quite a legacy, and that's without considering her music and other talents. The response to her death (including hundreds of posts on Instagram and Facebook) has shown just how deeply her colourful creations touched people.

One of the 'Inspiration' images Wink used on a guest post she wrote on her use of colour
As a person, Wink was funny, warm and generous. In the early days of this blog she was a fabulous sounding board and helped me in many ways. When it turned into more of a personal friendship, we would send each other silly messages - getting excited over journals, dreadlocks, tattoos and all sorts of other things that had nothing to do with blogging. When she visited we sat up late, putting the world to rights, while drinking wine and eating "Gluten Free Dutch Apple Cake" although she had never heard of Dutch Apple Cake before. We laughed a lot. Wink credited me with inspiring her to knit and called me her biggest enabler when she picked up a spindle earlier this year (she teased me about that too, but I was proud to have encouraged her).

Wink's first time spinning, at Unravel 2015
For the last few years Wink came to the UK to visit Unravel festival with me (find the posts here). It had become a tradition for us to meet up with other crafty / blogging friends and to spend the weekend squishing yarn and nattering. We had already planned next year's trip and found a restaurant with an upstairs room we hoped to fill with our favourite crafty people. It simply won't be the same without her. We made other plans too - joint projects and blog collaborations - all things that can never happen.
With our friends Gilly & Jacqui
It is devastating that someone who was so loved, had so much talent and was such a beautiful person (inside and out) was in despair, and felt that taking her life was the best way out of it. I feel so incredibly sad for Wink's family, her boyfriend and all her friends. My thoughts go out to all of them, and I hope that the massive show of love for her - from all parts of the world - brings a little comfort. She may be gone, but her legacy - in her work and in the many lives that she touched - lives on.

Rest in peace my friend, I hope you found the light you sought. 

Postscript: If you would like to honour Wink's memory, her family have set up a memorial page and there are various 'events' happening on social media - search for #mandalasforwink #mandalasformarinke and #wearingflowersinmyhairforwink. 


  1. I didn't know Wink, but I can see how loved she was and how many people's lives she touched. I am sorry for her family and friends and boyfriend, but I am also sorry for you and the loss of your dear friend. Many hugs and hankies my friend. x

    1. Thank you so much. I hope you are resting and recovering from your ordeal this week too xxx

  2. I was totally gobsmacked by the news. I'll always cherish the time I met her in real life at Unravel 2014. She was such a warm and wonderful person with a great sense of humour. I feel very deeply for her family, boyfriend and close friends. May she fly high and light the heavens with brightly coloured stars.

    Sending you many hugs dear Sarah xx

  3. What a lovely post Sarah, take care :) xx

  4. You found the words I can't seem to find. Thank you for this post Sarah. it's beautiful (and I'll do the honorary short-arse jokes from now on, promise... though probably not as good).

    1. I've struggled so much to get the words out, Esther, but doing it has actually helped. The jokes will be much appreciated xxx

  5. My heartfelt condolences. What a loss. From what i can see she was gorgeous and from what i read, such a person of talent and light in all of your lives. It saddens me that depression can be an overwhelming bully. I'm very sorry for your loss.

  6. How sad, I'm sorry for your loss. So young, with such beauty to give through her craft.

  7. So sorry to hear of the death of your friend x

  8. Beautiful, talented Wink, so very sad. Depression and despair are awful to live with. She is free of it now and has left a fabulous legacy.xxxx


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