Friday, 18 June 2010

Jessica Lelieveld

Jessica divides her time between a house in the countryside, situated in Norg (which she shares with her family and two dogs) and her studio in Groningen. With two such different worlds at her fingertips, she finds plenty of influences, which can be photographically captured. After much contemplation, an idea will emerge and this she then interprets in clay.

Particularly interested in the transience of existence, she is fascinated by the process, structure and colours in nature when something dies away. Layers and organic forms are recurrent themes in her work and with this in mind; her interpretation of the four seasons has emerged. This consists of twenty clay panels (mosaic-like in their layout), depicting the flora and colours typical of each season. During my visit to her studio, winter and summer were laid out on display, ready and waiting for the panels to be joined together with a copper-coloured wire to make a wall hanging.

Other current works include lamps; one of which has as its base form, a large stripped walnut tree trunk, encircled by metal swirls. The finished product will symbolize the relentless continuance of life. On display in windowsills smaller works can be seen, comprising of a series of clay tiles, some displaying cross-section slices of a small tree trunk, some a procession of pebbles, ever increasing in size. The roundness of the forms she uses symbolizes nurturing whilst the tile procession that of evolution.

With beautiful high ceilings and ornate decorations, Jessica has renovated her studio-house, imprinting on it her signature style, with a touch of the modern here and there where appropriate. Future plans are to decorate every room, door and space with her work so that it becomes an artistic house, where it would be possible to spend the night, or artistic companies could come and hold workshops and inspirational events.

Apart from the natural world, another inspirational source (as well as his philosophy) comes from the Austrian artist and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser. He was best known for the colourful buildings he designed as well as being a champion of human and environmentally friendly construction.

Jessica is a member of a collective of artists, Galerie Huis ter Heide, which can be found in a converted stall of a farm in Drenthe. The exhibits are refreshed every couple of months with new work and all works are for sale. More about the collective can be found at: Galerie Huis ter Heide.

The aftermath of the economic downturn has had its effect on every walk of life and particularly that of the artist. I asked her what kind of effect it has had on her and her work. From her reply it seems that art fairs have become more important as venues for artists to show and sell their work, as well as making a concerted effort to offer a selection of work in a broader range of prices. Jessica intends to show her work at a couple of these fairs, as well as taking part in Art Explosion, a platform for artists, which occurs annually in Assen.

She has no issues about parting with her work when it comes to selling it, for her it’s the process that is important, particularly whether her idea is feasible, not only from the design perspective, but within the confines of the size of her clay oven. The biggest ‘present’ for her is that she can make people happy with her work.

© Alison Day
Alison Day Design 
First published in the Connections magazine #27 Spring 2009 

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