Hi Renske, thank you for taking time to do the interview today. You have had an interest in Jewelry making and designing since you were a child. Can you please tell us a little bit about your own artistic journey and what brought you to Art Clay Silver?
After finishing school I followed some metal smith lessons but I wanted to make more organic pieces, and during that time I was limited to wire and plates and that was not enough for me. I wanted to go into the sky with my design. And then I found Art Clay Silver at the Kreadoe fair in Utrecht. I bought everything and signed up for a workshop. At that time I had to wait a long for the workshop so I just started experimenting by myself. I signed up for the instructor’s course because I wanted to know what else I could do with the material. It was the best decision I ever made. During the first course it made me so happy I signed immediately up for the second one and after that most of the supplementary courses as well. At this moment I have done all levels and supplements possible in the Netherlands and followed several master classes with foreign teachers. I still believe in taking classes from other teachers because you always learn something new and you will always be inspired to create new designs. Art Clay gives me the opportunity to create whatever comes into my mind with hardly any material restrictions in a very safe way.
Even though your life career path took you to a different field of employment, you have maintained a strong desire to create throughout. Where does that drive to create come from and what fuels that passion?
Being creative runs in the family, with a very artistic mother and a technically skilled father. That is my foundation for being creative with metal. I love the smell of metal shops and I really like to combine techniques with designing. Sometimes I spend years of thinking of a design even before starting. Those are the most challenging projects. And when I start the piece it will always change during the process. At other times I start with a vague idea and let the Art Clay speak for itself along the way of creating. My mind is continuously thinking about designs and possible creations mostly inspired by nature. I don’t create jewelry to sell, I create for the process and the result.
You have made prize winning pieces and have held many exhibitions over the last ten years. As an artist, how important is your interaction with the public that sees your work?
I love to see how visitors react to my jewelry but what I really like are the conversations with the visitors. Jewelry pieces invoke emotions and you see and hear that when you get in a nice conversation with interested visitors. Those conversations are also great inspirations for new designs.
As a certified instructor who teaches courses regularly, what are the challenges for you as a teacher? Does teaching about Art Clay make you a better artist?
The challenge of teaching Art Clay is to let the students create what they want and inspire them to go a step further with their skills which they didn’t expect to have at all at the start. Let their imagination go and see what comes out. And it definitely makes you a better artist. You need to solve problems during the process which you may have never faced before and you get a lot of inspiration during class by how your students think and create.
I see that you are well traveled and also quite the horse woman as well. Dressage is a major accomplishment in itself! A lot of control, both of you and the horse. As an artist, what lessons have you learned from that experience?
Horseback riding taught me to be gentle but firm, have faith in what you want and what you can achieve, and to have a lot of patience. And facing challenges although your knees are trembling!( I started horseback riding when I was 30 and already scared to fall. And I did fall a lot and hard during my lessons.)
What does the future have in store for you?
A lot of what I did former years I will be doing again this year. Art Clay days, running the Zilverdag at Schoonhoven and running the Kreadoe booth with Henriette van Battum and some other Art Clay colleagues, instructing workshops, following Master Classes, teaching at the instructors day end of May, showing Art Clay and my jewelry at fairs and expositions, traveling and a lot of designing and creating (my head is still full with ideas). I have a few wishes on my bucket list for years now and someday these wishes will come true; winning the SAC, making an Art Clay book with all techniques I use, and teaching abroad.