As the last of the autumn leaves have fallen to reveal the bare branches beneath, it seems the perfect time to explore the work of jewellery designer Jacomijn van der Donk.
Amsterdam-based Van der Donk is best known for breathing life into unexpected materials such as twigs, piano keys and paint brushes. By articulating these objects, her jewellery literally comes alive when it is worn.
Both surreal and sensuous, the necklace we feature this month shows how easily Jacomijn van der Donk’s work can flow between art and jewellery design.
Van der Donk certainly has an eye for spotting the beauty in raw materials, and uses intuition and subtlety to gently frame it. In her hands, a tired paintbrush or humble twig can be elevated to a work of art.
The brush theme in Jacomijn van der Donk‘s work was initially inspired by an old Japanese drawing of women brushing her hair. Since then, it has become a recurring theme in many forms; from simple double-ended compositions, to multi paint-stained brushes. With pale wood handles and brush heads delicately tinted with traces of paint, the past life of these recycled brushes is beautifully laid bare.
But Jacomijn van der Donk’s skill as a jewellery designer and maker also comes to the fore through her brush-related works.
Jewellery pieces such as her goat-hair bracelets, necklaces and rings are carefully composed and beautifully crafted. By combining finely-made silver chain with goat-hair, these fluid creations cry out to be worn and touched. Who could imagine wearing one these rings without touching or turning them round on the finger?
Many of Jacomijn van der Donk’s early jewellery works are highly ornate, and her intuitive use of materials and making methods brings an ethnic quality to the work.
But more recently, the aesthetic of her jewellery has become increasingly minimal. Organic works such as Pebble Rings and Twig Necklaces clearly bear her signature, but now the natural beauty of the material provides the focus. And in this instance, it is certainly a case of ‘less is more’.
“It’s like having a conversation with life itself. I follow the road my intuition chooses and hardly conceptualize. In this very intimate play with the materials, the piece, its form and its content arise as one”. Jacomijn van der Donk
Jacomijn van der Donk’s relationship with nature exists as an on-going love affair, where creativity is inspired and nurtured intuitively. And through her work, van der Donk hopes to bring this connection to nature back into people’s lives.
“I try to fetch nature into the city and the everyday life, as a reminder of where we come from and what we need.” Jacomijn van Der Donk
A twig lying on the ground in Vondel Park, stones explored on a beach in Crete. Overlooked things just waiting to be discovered by Jacomijn van der Donk, and brought to our attention through her artistic alchemy. As each object used is highly individual, every item of jewellery is unique. Even when the pebbles are placed together, Jacomijn van der Donk takes time to find the right ‘couples’.
Ultimately, the simplicity of these works belies the spirit, craftsmanship and design skill required to bring such work into being. But therein lies the beauty of these works, they softly sing.
About Jacomijn van der Donk
Jacomijn van der Donk studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in the Netherlands. Van der Donk’s jewellery career was kick started shortly after graduation when her work was purchased by several European museums. Since then, she has taken part in numerous solo and group exhibitions and her work is held in museum collections throughout the Netherlands, as well as in France and the US. Her work is popular with fashion stylists, and regularly appears in fashion and lifestyle magazines.
Van der Donk sometimes opens her Amsterdam studio to the public, and regularly runs intensive two-day workshops for novice jewellery designers. Full details can be found on Jacomijn van der Donk‘s website. Information on forthcoming shows and exhibitions can be found on her Facebook page.
For further information, contact details and an online gallery of jewellery images, visit the Jacomijn van der Donk website.
You can find the latest news and upcoming jewellery show announcements on Jacomijn van der Donk’s Facebook page.
Watch a video slideshow of Pebble Rings on YouTube
Photo credits: © Marcel Koppen and Ole Eshuis.
Jacomijn van der Donk’s work features in Rhine Capital Partners monthly investment reporting for November.
- On 28th November 2013