Meet the Maker: Marjo de Vries
‘I am a designer. That title suits me best. But actually it fits most people, as the ability to shape is what makes us human. While studying to become a teacher I met Jo Schoenmakers. Jo made ceramics and worked on the intersection of design and autonomous art. Seeing his workplace made me enthusiastic instantly to work with ceramics as well. That did not surprise me, because when I was young I already took clay out of the garden to work with and I also considered studying ceramics in art school. In 1995 we started working together using our initials JAS/MV as our brand name. We started with pottery, but our specialism became porcelain. Jo is a professional on the technical side, working ‘by the rules’, whereas I am more playful. We make autonomous work but also on a commission base. But: we do not produce for people, but rahter with them, in a co-creation. We do it like this because porcelain is such a quirky material; the results are different each time. That requires knowledge about material an techniques. We run a workplace and gallery in Maastricht on the Bassinkade, close to the river Maas. There we have several turntables for porcelain and plaster, but we also have a 3D printer. At home we have a second workplace, in which we have our oven.’
What can Crafts Council do for you?
‘The word ‘craft’ is a good name to break boundaries with. It makes you both maker and designer simultaneously. There should be a better idea of what good entrepreneurship in crafts entails, for example by showing initiatives such as Made in Maastricht and Het Werkgebouw. As makers we all work on our own little islands, which is why it is of vital importance to meet each other every once in a while to exchange knowledge. Therefore expert meeting you organized was very valuable, as it stimulated us to finally visit fellow-ceramics.’