Henriette Van Battum

Good morning Henriette, thank you for doing the interview with us today. I have had the pleasure of spending time with you in the past, and we shared a long walk and a good chat in the Swiss countryside while heading to the Swiss Art Clay Festival a couple of years ago. Can we start off by you telling us a little bit about yourself and what got you interested in Art Clay initially?

First Mark, I also particularly enjoyed the walks we had in Switzerland. 4 weeks before that, I had just undergone lung surgery and was still recovering. Part of my recovery was teaching the New Mokume Gane technique in Switzerland and spending that time with everyone that came to the Swiss Festival.

I have had several jobs, from psychiatric nurse to hotel employee, warehouse employee and account manager at a bailiff's office. This last function I fulfill currently and still perform with much enthusiasm.

Working with metal clay is my 2nd job. Both of them I need as a counterpart to each other in both fields to get the maximum out myself. As a result I work an average of 6 days a week, something I still do with great pleasure!

I've always been creative. How I became familiar with ACS was by reading an ad in a hobby magazine. I was immediately "sold" and signed up for the training to become an ACS instructor.

Then it progressed rapidly. I wanted to learn all the techniques and followed the required training courses.

As a teacher, you have trained more than 175 students in the fine details of using metal clay. What inspired you to become a teacher? What in your opinion, is the most challenging thing about being a teacher?

Because of my finely detailed technique mastery and high level of finish, the owner of Craftlines BV (Peter Venema) asked me to teach interested people, educating the ACS levels. This was in 2008, that year I also was asked to become a member of the Board of Examiners. I still love to teach and think it's wonderful to educate colleagues about all the techniques which I still master myself.

You are also an extremely talented artist with some incredible pieces. Some of that have been prize winning pieces. Where do you get your inspiration from? Are you always inspired to create, and how do you keep your inspiration flowing?

Thank you Mark for the lovely compliment!

More people have asked me this question and this, I still can honestly answer. The profession is creative and yet I can't call myself so highly creative. Designs occur during the process and I clearly don't have a cascade of ideas. I dare say that I am particularly technically proficient with silver clay. Especially with detailed work and creating an optimal finish, work so that my designs can approach the level of goldsmiths. However, I won't use goldsmith techniques such as soldering, or use of motor tools (Dremel, polisher). All my designs are completely hand crafted and finished.

The creative challenge each time for me is to be able to manufacture more intricate designs fully by hand out of metal clay (ACS), and this makes me always try to push my limits.

In my designs I love to work with different supplementary materials. Among other things, wood and UV Resin have my preference.

You have traveled to many different metal clay events the world over and have studied with a lot of different artists learning many different techniques along the way. What drives you to keep learning?

 I love new challenges, meeting new people and learning new techniques. In my opinion a Teacher has to follow the developments in the field of metal clay as much as possible. This allows you to provide versatility in teaching methods and explain the instructor training in different ways.

Please tell us about your recent activities and plans for 2015. What is in the future for you?

This year I would like to re-engage with training new instructors, and also to provide supplementary training courses will be back on the program.

On May 31st, 2015, our annual instructor’s day in the Netherlands will take place, where I will teach two workshops.

On the 2nd day of Pentecost Holiday, Renske and I plan to represent ACS at the annual Silver Day in Schoonhoven.

Also at the annual hobby trade fair KreaDoe, we will be present with a stand.

In October 2015 I will participate in the masterclass of Donna Penoyer.

Furthermore, I wish to focus on improving my photography of jewelry. I also intend to integrate a jewelry shop into my website. And for the distant future? I would love to travel, meet more metal clay colleagues, participate in various metal clay congresses and thereby improve my techniques and skills. Because of this, I hope to make it possible for many people to enjoy ACS and other metal clays.

Thank you for taking the time today Henriette, and we wish you all the best for the future.