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Helga's Blog

dutch jewellery designer la leipsig


Stories from the daily live of an active metalsmith who tracks down
her muse with camera and sketchbook.


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How a little Snail brought me Home

Last weekend I was walking in our garden to take some shots of flowers blossoming. It was a somewhat rainy day but I just had to go out in between the showers. And there it was, a fragile little snail with a tiny little house crawling over a cherry branch.

Slak 3169


It wasn’t even more than one centimeter. I couldn’t resist taking pictures of her. As I get animals in front my macro-lens they always make me think. It’s as if they want to tell me something. I remembered that in September when I resurrected this blog I also had a snail pictured. At that time it was a snail without house. It struck me as symbolic that today I got the snail with house before my camera just on a moment I begin to feel at home on my blog.

It isn’t easy to start a blog as an untrained writer. Often it is a big struggle to find the words. But I do like the challenge. Writing even starts to help me to get more clear where to write about, a very unexpected bonus. So what needs to get clear?

I am a jeweler who is always inspired by the abundance in nature around me. This strange process from inspiration into a tangible piece of jewelry is what I would like to share with you.

snailinmoldSo.. there’s another story connected to a snail house which led to a silver object.

Two years ago I found the empty shell of a snail. With two-component silicon material I made a mold of it. This mold I used to make part of a tiny whistle to call out my creativity and joy with sound. Sound does other things than visuals and that was something I needed at that time. I chose the snail house to be part in the whistle because I felt I was hidding inside and I needed to get out. So every now and then I carry the whistle with me, to call out the courage to go on, on my creative path. As you see what I have accomplished since those two years, you can see the whistle worked.

Althought my blog is still tiny, like the little snail,  I know now it’s perfect as it is and only has to start growing into a big snail. But remember, as a shy writer there will be times I just want to curl up inside my shell.

After telling this story I am curious which animal has inspired you to make a piece? Please, share your stories in the comments :-)


Snail-whistle 0398

A lecture from Marjan Unger during “Schmuck 2012″: Freedom has its limitations.

On Sunday 18 March 2012 Marjan Unger gave a lecture in the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich.  The big auditorium was a who is who of the Art Jewellers world. Together we listened to Marjan’s  very thoughtfull lecture: Freedom has its limitations. Jewellery now, seen from a Dutch perspective. For me this was one of the highlight of the events during Schmuck 2012.
Her lecture was one part an extension of her thesis from 2010: “Jewellery in context, a multidisciplinary framework of the consideration of the jewel”.  Second part of the lecture was about the changes in the world around us and what it had for consequences in the jewellery world. She ended addressing specifically the makers in the audience motivating them to participate in todays exiting changes.

The lecture has been printed and is available through the Neue Sammelungs website. I can recommend it to anyone interested in contemporary jewellery to give it a good read:
Freedom has its limitations. Jewellery now, seen from a Dutch perspective.  (link to the lecture is on the bottom of the page)

As the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam reopens in 2013, the Unger jewelry collection donated on obtaining her PhD, will be on permanent display.  The collection contains Dutch jewelry with an emphasis on 1930 to 1970. She used it for her book  ‘DutchJewellery in the 20th Century’, that served as the starting point for her doctoral research.

The complete review about my trip to Munich is published on Art Jewelry Forum.

Next post about Schmuck: Jewellery in Munich

6 Jewelry Galleries worth visiting in Amsterdam

LaLeipsig amsterdam canalsAmsterdam is a big and lively city.
Many options to spend your time.

But what if you like contemporary jewelry and have just one day to explore my capital? Plus you want to visit some great shops to see & buy fun, design, quirky, beautiful gifts and memories.

I give you 6 gallery suggestions, a collection in the Rijksmuseum and three great shopping area’s.

The Galleries

  1. Rob Koudijs  Elandsgracht 12, Amsterdam.
    This gallery represents a very motivated group of jewelry artists who produce work challenging the borders of the applied and the fine arts.

  2. Galerie Ra  Nes 120, Amsterdam.
    Owner Paul Derrez is specialized in contemporary jewelry design and vessels but also regularly features objects.

  3. Hans Appenzeller  Grimburgwal 1, Amsterdam.
    Hans Appenzeller is known for the simplicity and strength of his designs. Solo gallery.

  4. Van Der Laag Galerie & Atelier  Spiegelgracht 36 Sous, Amsterdam.
    The gallery is specialized in contemporary jewelry, made from high quality materials and made by good craftsmanship.  As a jewelry designer Eline van der Laag shows not only her own work (MOYA) but also the work of jewelry designers from all over the world.

  5. Gallery Louise Smit
    Was specialized in Internationally contempory jewelry. Unfortunatly it closed in autumn 2012. Here an article from Liesbeth Besten about Gallery Louise Smit on AJF

  6. Anneke Schat  Spiegelgracht 20A, Amsterdam
    One of my favorite Dutch jewelry designers. Solo gallery

7.  Rijksmuseum  Beside  that our Rijksmuseum is always worth a visit, since 2010 there is a special jewelry collection donated by Marjan Unger and her husband Gerard. She used this work for her book: “Het Nederlandse Sieraad in de 20ste eeuw” (translated: “The Dutch Jewel of the 20th Century”, written only in Dutch but with many beautiful pictures)  The jewels described in this book form the entire jewellery collection that is donated to The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam! You can read an excellent interview from her by Margriet Sopers

LaLeipsig visits-Amsterdam



A De 9 straatjes
De 9 Straatjes is part of the Amsterdam Canal District that is on the Unesco World Heritage listing, since 2010.  You can find here cool shops, great restaurants, a lot of architectural buildings. Totally fun to just walk around with no particular plan. Also many craft jewelry stores, like meCHICas.

A.1 TIP: Close to "De 9 straatjes" there is Cachou Artelier on Sint Nicolaasstraat 68. This is a goldsmith atelier open to public while creating and designing the precious pieces. Plus you can find some topclass vintage furniture (I love vintage!)

The Spiegelkwartier is the place where you will find antiques or modern art. Just across the bridge opposite the Rijksmuseum you will find this historical neighbourhood with its typical old Dutch houses. Lovely to just wander from the Rembrandtplein down the Nieuwe Spiegelgracht, then to the left over the Prinsengracht and than up the Utrechtsestraat till your back at Rembrandtplein.

A busy street with many unique, eye-catching stores. Lifestyle, interior design, fashion, gifts, gourmet food, music and literature. A street that will leave you overwhelmed with options. You will also find authentic, welcoming bars and restaurants between the stores.
This is a great place to be, I always try to go there when I visit the Capital.

Final tip: Don’t forget to get your coffee or beer in one of the local café’s.

Enjoy your stay in my capital, I wish you lots of fun, and please tell me your story about Amsterdam in the comments.

Dag! (Goodbye in Dutch ;-) )


Unleashed! a jewelry exhibition in Arnhem (NL)

On Jewellery BestenOne of the most pleasant ways of spending a day, is visiting an exhibition with good friends. So I was looking forward to visit the Modern Museum of Art in Arnhem (NL) with Noortje and Yolanda.
The exhibition on display was Unleashed! an overview of rule-breaking jewellery.
We emerged a day into Art Jewelry and a lot of talking about it.

“The exhibition features brooches in cases, jewellery on the walls and floors, as well as pieces set in street scenes -— so-called Urban Jewellery.” according to the museum.

Liesbeth den Besten was the guestcurator of the exhibition and published her book “On Jewellery” in which a lot of this work was featured. The book is all about international contemporary art jewellery from the late 1960s to today within the context of current trends in art and society.
If you click on the book, you find a place where you can buy the book if you want to.

With a few photo’s I want to give a small impression of what immense display of jewelry it was.

Modern Museum of Art in Arnhem

View from the side, and one of the cabinets with work from Mirjam Hiller. Tusanja.

The second room was organised in several themes, Love&Lost, Memories, Stones and more.

Playing with the highly mirrored work from Noon Passama, Extra Button.

The discussions about the exhibition took place in the lovely museumcafé. A perfect day.

Visiting Munich, galeries and museum

A beautiful waterplay just opposite the Frauenkirche.On a beautiful october day I was lucky to have one day to spend in Munich just on my own. I decided on several galeries a museum and one church. I started taking the metro to the centre of the town. From there it was a short walk to the Frauenkirchen that is considered a landmark and a symbol of the Bavarian capital city.

Then I started looking for Galerie Hund. It is a galerie that carries artists like Angela Hübel, Bettina Dittlmann & Michael Jank, Christiane Iken, and others... Here you will find a lot of gold and silver jewellery beautiful made.  Isabella Hund, the owner of the shop and maker of many pieces in the shop showed me some fine examples.

The museum "der Pinothek der moderne" was next on my list. I got sidetracked by a galerie just opposite with the name: Galerie an der Neue Pinotheca der Moderne from Barbera Ruetz.  Here work from artist Beili Lui was on display. Her installation with red circles touched me. I had the chance to sit undisturbed by anyone. I higly recommend her work.

    Beili Liu installation | Lure/Forest, Thread, needle, dimesions variable, (each coil 2-5" in diameter)

Beili Liu - Toil | burned paper rolled to these vulnerable shapes put on a wall. A soft breeze moves them.


Munich galerie SpektrumGalerie Spektrum had a solo exhibition of danish artist Karen Pontoppidan, Canvas. In stock work from Ruudt Peters, Anton Cepka, Iris Eichenberg, Peter Scubic... and more!

It was a well spent day with in the evening a large German beer and some food in a beer garten and finishing it of with dancing some salsa with my man!

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