Jewelrassic Park Series
Once upon a Time in My West
Felieke van der Leest
Dutch artist Felieke van der Leest started her training as a traditional goldsmith in 1986. After finishing this education in 1991, she subsequently decided to enlist in the jewellery class of the famous Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. Here she discovered that she could employ her beloved childhood pastimes of knitting and crocheting in ways never seen before: she merged needlework and jewellery, combined art with a sense of humour.
With her keen eye for contemporary subject matter, narrative qualities and playful mind, she has been able to produce a body of work that constantly keeps developing in new directions. Almost from the start of her career plastic models of animals were incorporated in the work. These have become ever more prominent, together with skillfully crafted elements made from silver and gold, frequently embellished with precious stones. The animals are used to convey the thoughts and ideas behind her pieces, sometimes in a recognisable role - often pointing to fairytales or proverbs - sometimes just playfully commenting on familiar situations from daily life. Perhaps the most striking aspect of Van der Leest's jewellery is that it isn’t just simply witty. It can refer to very human emotions like embarrassment, frustrations or swagger, and it is not unusual that her work is sometimes quite outspoken, touching on subjects such as environmental issues or animal abuse.
The jewellery art she produced for more then twenty years, has been displayed all over the world. She had numerous solo shows in art galleries and major retrospective exhibitions in museums, for instance in Norway, the country she moved to nearly ten years ago because of its tranquility and spacious landscape.
Perhaps the most important outcome of Felieke van der Leest's dedication to jewellery, is the fact that lots of people embrace her creations and wear her pieces on a regular basis. It is not only a great joy to decorate yourself with her work, but the people you’ll subsequently meet always immediately respond enthusiastically to her work.