Back again with the creativity series. During my holiday, my curiosity about where ideas come from and what to do tu nurture them has not diminished, so I am back with some more amazing artists to share their tips and tricks, secrets and lessons learned in talent and creativity. Today, we have Annemiek, the creative soul behind TwoTreesWorld. Let’s give her a warm welcome.
After 20 odd years abroad, I lived in Ireland and Belgium, I returned to the Netherlands, to Zeeland. We bought an old house, with a lot of space and potential, and are currently renovating it. I live there with the man of my dreams and our 3 cats. My studio has a great view over the fields. I love watching the skies change, the geese flying by, the swallows dancing in the sky. I never forgot my roots, as you can see in my creatiosn as well, so it is good to be back. When I’m not creating I work for a company called Conlibrio of which I’m a partner. It is a small company, which aligns people and culture with results and strategy. I’m the person in the background, taking care of admin, website, nice looking presentations and so on. Before all this I used to own a kitchen showroom, but between a strong British pound, 9/11 and the brand unawareness I had to let that go. I still do some interior design for friends and of course now for my own, most difficult of all, designing for oneself. But I love my live as it is, perfect balance.
What is talent? What is creativity?
So hard to say, as it is not something one can grasp. It is something to be nurtured though. I was lucky to grow up in the countryside, which still is my prime source of inspiration. My father had an orchard and my mum was a craft teacher at a primary school, she still paints aquarel. So I guess I got my talent from her.
Does creativity need limits?
I don’t think so. The material with which ones works usually has limits though. Finding out those boundaries, how thin can I make porcelain, how much will it distort in the kiln if I make this shape, what will the effect of this oxide or that colour added to the clay,… is, to me, creativity enhancing.
How do you fuel your creativity?
By getting quiet, living in the moment, trying to live mindful, enjoying the little things in life and be happy. By reading books, lots of fantasy and history, and practising yoga. I do not look much at work by other ceramist, this usually works the wrong way for me. I do like to try other techniques at times, I do hope to work more with silver again and put more of the gold smithing course I followed in Ireland in practice. Mixing different techniques helps my creativity too. I followed a glass bead making course couple of years ago too an started testing ways to add glass to porcelain beads, not successfully yet. It is nice to switch and combine different techniques. Probably no coincidence that they all need fire, always been fascinated by it.
What do you need to create?
Peace and quiet. I work very intuitive and work best when I’m completely focused on the material, to let a vague idea take shape and feel where the clay wants to go. Still I do like to make work to commission as well, as this fuels the creativity, as long as I can draw outside the lines, if the last detail is specified it will not work for me. Got to have some freedom. Another way is my cooperation with a dear friend and writer Shauna Gilligan, she responds to my story bowls with a story and I respond to that story with another story bowl and so on. It has gone a bit quiet now as I moved house and she launched her first book.
What is your advice for people who (try to) create?
Find your thing, be yourself, and believe in yourself. For me it’s peace and quiet, for someone else it could be the complete opposite. Don’t be afraid, life usually turns out fine, it is just a pity at times that you can’t see ahead.
Beautiful, isn’t it? Her work is so detailed and natural, you can just imagine Annemiek sitting at her working table and telling a story with her fingers in wet clay. Well, if you have just met Annemiek today, you might want to visit her online, to see more of her beautiful work. You can find her on Etsy, Facebook and on her blog.
Have a lovely, lovely day, my friends!