Felieke van der Leest


"From Spermheart To Mr. Zen"  


Felieke van der Leest was born and raised in the Netherlands, but since 2008 lives in West Norway. She got her jeweller diploma in 1996 when she graduated from the Jewellery Department at Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. Present for several years in the international jewellery artists’ society, the work of Felieke van der Leest is  highly valued and appreciated; it can be found in museums and private collections around the world.
The work of Dutch jewellery and object artist Felieke van der Leest (born in 1968) expresses the very special affection that she has for animals. With unbridled fantasy she creates pieces that ostentatiously, colourfully and playfully revolve around her little friends. She combines techniques used in textile work, such as crochet, with valuable metals and plastic toy animals. Within the international art jewellery scene she has developed her own special language with which she narrates intelligent and witty stories about and with her animal protagonists; her pieces inevitably conjure a smile upon the faces of those who view them. Characteristic for Van der Leest is the joy in her work, which is ever present yet sometimes carried off into childhood. Van der Leest also describes her work: ‘When I am working with colours, I feel like a painter. When I am working with metal, I feel like a constructor. And when I am working with toys, I feel like a child.’ However, serious themes in her work are also expressed, including environmental protection and human approaches to animals.
Felieke van der Leest makes refining interventions into a surreal world as her work co-opts the plastic menagerie that can be seen in every toyshop. Tigers and gorillas, birds and dogs can easily be found in less than perfect miniature for children to recreate the natural world. These mass produced representations are both cheap and cheerful, and yet in van der Leest’s work they are dressed, cut and re-joined and variously adorned, translating the objects both visually and conceptually. That the resultant objects are then employed in the adornment of their owners adds further to the sense of curiosity in which we are likely to engage with van der Leest’s work. This complication is however a joyous one, reminiscent of the way in which Alice experiences Wonderland, the unexpected manifesting itself at every turn.

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Legnica Jewellery Festival SILVER 2020