Felieke van der Leest – laten we spelen!

“I see my work more like wearable little sculptures than jewelry. When I work with colors I feel like a painter, when I work with metal I feel like a constructor, and when I work with plastic toy animals I feel like a child.”

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A 1996 graduate of Gerrit Rietveld Art Academy in Amsterdam, Dutch jewelry designer Felieke van der Leest has quickly cemented her widely popular, and highly nuanced and personal style. Balancing an unconventional potpourri of mixed media, tiny micro-stitching, gold, glass, silver and plastics – van der Leest emerges with a product that is unmistakably all her own.

Necklace, Brooches

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Always unique and specific, van der Leest uses embroidery thread as opposed to the standard knitting to achieve the tight details she envisions. She brings textiles to a whole new light as a main component in her jewelry pieces.

Inspired by her zoo and wildlife visits from her childhood that have continued well into adulthood, van der Leest tells atypical stories through her wearable art sculptures that are infused with human characteristics and humour : the story of nature and play juxtaposed in naturally unexpected ways –

Necklace, Brooch

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It’s no surprise that an artist with such creativity has other intentions behind her work. Many of her pieces explore and comment on the environment, animal treatment and social human problems, with hilarious and telling personification. This semi story book approach with varying tones and meanings is very reminiscent of photographer Charlotte Dumas – a layered and mesmerizing aesthetic.

Brooches

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“There are many techniques from which you can make jewelry, but I always end up with these textile techniques. They never bore me.”

Brooche, Necklace6

Earrings, Brooch

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All images courtesy of Felieke van der Leest.

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