Exhibition by Dutch jeweler
Felieke van der Leest

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January 24, 2009 to March 8, 2009
York Quay Galleries, Harbourfront Centre

Dutch artist Felieke van der Leest combines toy animals, crochet work and precious metals to form humourous and colourful jewellery and objects.


Photo of Felieke van der LeestI grew up between cranes and trucks in Emmen, and at 14 years old I was sure equestrian sport was going to be for me. At that time my pony, Joep, went through some tough times because I was very fanatical about going into the equestrian sport. At age 17 I changed my mind and wanted to do something different. Because I always wore these funny looking earrings that I made myself, my biology teacher suggested that I go to the technical school for gold and silversmithing in Schoonhoven. Since I didn't know what else to do I took his advice and in 1991 I became a certified gold and silversmith.


Photo of Felieke van der Leest jewelleryThen I wanted an education at the art academy. For the first year I chose drawing and painting but after 6 months it frustrated and depressed me so much that I wanted to quit and become a carpenter or car mechanic. Luckily I went to the gold jewellery department. It was a struggle, but my tutors had the confidence that I would be successful. In the year of my final exam (95/96) I started to crochet and knit jewellery. I had completely forgotten how much I used to like that and how well I could do it. As a child I used to knit socks and jumpers while I was watching TV. At weekends I had to go sailing with my parents, which I didn't like, and during those weekends I did nothing else but needlework. I never had the slightest idea what would come of this.


Photo of Emperor Penguin totem by Felieke van der LeestI never run out of ideas. They are all around me. A bad time in my love life and a mouse infestation in our house resulted in the spermheart. The TV program Pippi Longstocking and "Opsporing verzocht" (search request) resulted in a Pippi Longstocking Balaclava. Animals fascinate me. Whenever I'm in another country I would rather visit a zoo or an aquarium than a museum.


I think I am hooked on crochet, knitting and jewellery to the point that in 2001 I suffered from RSI and had to put down my needles for a while. Fortunately I am fully recovered and I now diversify my work with gold and silversmithing. A whole range of plastic and rubber animals are waiting to be cut into pieces to be turned into jewellery or a jewellery like object.