They work in their own ateliers. Usually independently, but not always, as demonstrated by Ine and Mary’s porcelain collection. And, once in awhile Wilna and Mary track down the most beautiful gemstones together. They sell their work at joint expositions in special locations or by appointment.
Artist and jewellery designer Onno Boekhoudt taught Mary the first tricks of the trade when she was a mere ten years old. He started her off working with metal and horseshoe nails, followed by enamelling. She made her first piece of ‘jewellery’ a year later, which she sold in shops. In her teens she delved into photography, but only briefly. In the end she wound up attending the Technical School for Gold and Silversmiths.
She took her certificate in 1983, after which she worked in Singapore for three years and in Qatar for one. During an internship year in Singapore, Mary assisted on the crown jewels of the Sultan of Johor (Malaysia). In this period she fell in love with the art of Chinese enamelling, which recurs frequently in her work. It was also in Singapore that she became acquainted with antique jewellery, stones, jade and finely wrought antique Chinese silver. Her passion led her to visit numerous museums of antiquities, as she sometimes still does in search of inspiration.
Mary makes jewellery with a soul. Sometimes she works on commission, but just as often not. The golden tip for women looking beautiful jewellery is: ‘ask yourself why you think a specific piece of jewellery is beautiful, and then you will find the essence’. The best compliment she ever received, in her own words, is: ‘the tears’.
In contrast to her sister Mary, who was set to working with metal at the young age of ten, Ine was up to her ears in clay right from the start. And so it came as no surprise that she graduated in the field of ceramics from the Academy of Visual Art in 1985.
Her first works were chiefly monumental object-like vases and platters. Ine’s ceramics were sold at Metz & Co., and in museum shops. Her work is even represented in the Stedelijk Museum, and has been shown there on numerous occasions. She still shows her work in various galleries. Her early works were very influential for the jewellery she makes now, for instance her porcelain collection.
She draws inspiration from nature, as well as museums, or the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven. However, ideas really only arise while she is actually working. When Ine works on commission, the final piece ultimately represents someone’s personality and development. She is fascinated to see who finally winds up with her design. She underscores the importance of taking time when selecting a piece of jewellery. A perfectly chosen piece not only adds lustre to someone’s personality, but can also give an additional boost to one’s appearance.
It all began with jewellery made of plexiglass. However, the limitations of his material soon became apparent and Wilna began training to become a goldsmith in the 1980s. She describes creating a piece jewellery as magical: ‘it is wonderful to take an unsightly lump of gold and turn it into something shiny and desirable’. She doesn’t make sketches; it all begins with an idea in her mind. Naturally, this can alter in the course of the design process. She likes to leave room for coincidence. This makes it exciting, and also sometime impossible. In that case, she melts down the piece of metalwork, and starts over.
Wilna loves gemstones for their beautiful colours. Sometimes the colour is hidden in a stone, for instance in an opal or a diamond, something that continues to fascinate her even after all these years. Her jewels are often classic in character, radiating an Italian elegance and joie de vivre. She derives inspiration from nature, or centuries old paintings in which women relate to jewellery in a special way.
She often wears a pair of her sister Ine’s shiny earrings, and usually one of Mary’s rings. Not so much because they are by her siblings, but chiefly because she thinks they are fabulously beautiful designs. She challenges her clients by having them try on jewellery they would not ordinarily pick out themselves. Through her years of experience she knows intuitively whether or not something will look good.