Inge Verbruggen

Thank you Inge for agreeing to do the interview. Can we start with you telling us a little bit about yourself and how you connected with metal clay originally?

I am 35 years old and I live in Belgium. I have my own jewellery studio and shop in Temse, where I teach classes and sell my jewellery. In my free time I do a lot of sports. I am a freediver and I train at least 3 times a week.

I read an article about metal clay in a magazine in 2007 and it immediately got my attention. I was already making jewellery with beads and polymer clay as a hobby, but I didn’t even know of the existence of metal clay. I looked for an instructor course in Belgium and did Level 1 in 2008. One year later I did Level 2. I was hooked on metal clay from the first day.

A few years ago you decided to focus completely on your creative career, which is a big step for many people. What caused you to make that life changing decision?

I was very bored with my 9 to 5 job. I was working for a transport company for 8 years, and there was no possibility to grow in that company. The thought of making invoices and transport documents for the rest of my life was just depressing. I really needed a challenge.

You are a freediver, which you post about regularly on Facebook, and obviously have a big connection with the sea. How does that inspire the jewellery that you make?

I do love the sea and the ocean. I love water, even dark and cold quarries. I feel so free when I’m freediving. No tank on my back. Just holding my breath and going down. It’s very relaxing. And yes, it inspires me a lot. The underwater world is so different. Everything is different: the sounds, the colors, the movements, the animals, the light, … It is a huge source of inspiration. I love to make underwater sceneries with fish and corals and shells.

But I do not only make sea-related jewellery. I also find inspiration in forests and trees and flowers… :)

As an artist and Art Clay instructor, you probably have many discussions regarding how to develop each person’s inner artist. Do you see this as a steady journey in your own work, or does your skill jump dramatically from time to time? What causes a perfecting of skill in you?

That’s a difficult question. J I think it is important to experiment a lot and not to be afraid to try new things. There are so many materials and techniques to try out. And you learn so much just by trying new things. I would get bored easily if I would just stick to 1 technique or material. I am always trying to combine different materials and different techniques. It keeps me motivated and inspired.

What does the future hold for you?

I have no idea. :) I don’t like making too many plans for the future. We’ll see what life brings me. :)