Maja Houtman interviewed by Klimt02

Interview  /  Artists
Published: 11.10.2016
Maja Houtman Maja Houtman
Edited by:
Edited at:
Edited on:
Maja Houtman. Ring: Tetteren aan Tafel, 2013. Silver, mossagate.. 6.5 x 5.5 x 4.5 cm. Maja Houtman
Ring: Tetteren aan Tafel, 2013
Silver, mossagate.
6.5 x 5.5 x 4.5 cm
© By the author. Read Copyright.

Creativity and ideas are everywhere... The only thing you have to do, is simply to look around you.
Do you think that jewellery is being standardized? Which local and universal aspects influence your artistic work?
Of course jewellery is being standarised. At least the middle-of-the-road jewellery is. In that way it can be produced as cheap and fast as possible in big quantities. However it is the artist-goldsmith’s mission to challange this. Artist-goldsmths are working in a select niche, where we try very hard not to standarize. We all want to make our own statement. It’s like music: there is always a new tune to be found!
Natural environment and (art) history have a big impact on my work. Both are essential for life and to understand our humility.

What do you expect when exposing your work to the public (for example with an exhibition)?
When showing my work in public, I meet astonishment about the time-consuming factor of my work. Furthermore, I hope to surprise people with the amount of possibilities this technique offers me: I can set stones, use the filigree as adornment or as an independant piece of jewellery. And of course, some designs lead to discussions about the wearability...

Are other areas besides the jewellery, present in your work?
Nature is always present, sustainability is one of the pillars in my life. Hands on: I use other skills like papercutting, waxmodelling and medalmaking quite often in my designs. Shibori is another favorite technique I work with, but so far it did not assimilate into my jewellery... but you never know when it will...

The last work, book, film, city that has moved me was...
The exhibition we had with our collective of goldsmiths in Utrecht really moved me. It was the third edition in the historical botanical gardens of Utrecht. This year’s theme was “Green”. We all worked with Fairtrade materials and the outcome was (again) surprising divers. These exhibitions give the goldsmiths of my home town a platform to show their work in public. We are all trained professionals and this collective gives everyone a boost in design and reaching a higher level.

A place, space, country whose creativity surprises me...
Creativity and ideas are everywhere... The only thing you have to do, is simply to look around you.

Is there any designer, jeweller, artist, you appreciate a lot?
Alexander Calder...the simple use of hammered threads...
And I love Giampaolo Babetto and Giovanni Corvaja’s work. Which leads to the fact that I appreciate very different designs, as long as the technique is great.

What piece or work has given you the most satisfaction?
Mostly the bigger pieces, and for now I think it is the pendant “the Catch”. Seamonsters on 16th century maps have been intriguing to me, last year I decided to make a model in lost wax of some of them and make their fins and squirt of filigree. This combination turned out very well.
Eversince I make more combinations especially with hammered bowls...

Maja Houtman, Pendant: The Catch, 2015, Silver, 15 x 18 x 3 cm


Do you read Jewellery Magazines? What is your source to get information?
Only the Dutch magazine Edelmetaal of the goldmiths, watchmakers and jewelers associations. Most information I get from the internet or talking with a lot of jewelers at fairs like SIERAAD or Inhorgenta. In my hometown Utrecht we have a network of appr. 70 gold and silversmiths. We share our information, workshops and skills, mostly by meeting each other.

Do you discuss your work with other jewellery artists or any other person?
Apart from some friends in my immediate surroundings, I seldom discuss my work with others. However, I realy would like to do so, because I experienced  this always leads to other insights and new designs.

What is your first thought when you hear the word Future?, What do you expect for?
For me, future is equivalent for new designs and using more and more other techniques, I like experimenting. I hope to continue and deepen this twisting technique, more often in gold instead of silver.