Felieke van der Leest is a Netherlands-born, Norway-based mixed media artist who regularly incorporates crochet into her work. She has had more than a dozen solo exhibitions of her work since 2000 and participated in numerous group exhibits. Her work has been nominated or received nearly a dozen awards, is included in public collections around the world and has been featured in at least two dozen books and catalogues including The Zoo of Life collection of her works published by Arnoldsche Art Publishers last year featuring text in Dutch, English and Norwegian.
Ward Schrijver, writing for Klimt02, shared:
“Animals have a special place in Felieke van der Leest’s heart. She provides many animals with a busy social life as ornaments, gives a select group a nice home in museums and she placed a few oversized specimens in the center of everyone’s attention in meeting rooms and stairwells. Jewellery, object or light fixture, the scale or function is not the aspect that inspires Van der Leest: the telling of unusual stories is always her main motivation.
Van der Leest has enriched jewellery design with the introduction of textile techniques. Combining this with gold, silver and plastic, in ten years time she developed her own idiom. She drew from her childhood in Emmen where she would visit the local zoo and also from her metalsmith education in Schoonhoven. Her unbridled imagination later came to full bloom at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. For someone who normally works with hand sized pieces it is remarkable to develop monumental installations. Nevertheless, Van der Leest has already produced some ‘jewels’ for public spaces, cooperating with her cousin in Neef Nicht Design.
Apart from the obvious fun her work sometimes showes an unexpected serious side. Contemporary issues such as the environment, dealing with animals and all kinds of social problems are touched upon. In this way Van der Leest, like Jean de La Fontaine in his famous fables, shows us the other side of the coin. But her most important quality continues to be her unstoppable enthusiasm for making new pieces and the joy they give us, the spectators.”
Lela Nargi, writing for Twist Collective, shared tons of great information about the artist including some info about her material choices:
“The tools of van der Leest’s trade are certainly more highly specialized than those of the average knitter or crocheter. Standard yarns are too thick for her purposes—or her 1.25mm needles—so she sources instead from embroidery suppliers, working with fine Appleton crewel wool and DMC cotton perle. “I wish there were miniature angora yarn,” she muses. For crochet, she uses machine embroidery yarns, mainly Madeira rayon #40, and Madeira metallic #40. “I make a combination to get a bright color with a nice shine and sparkle, and use a number 1 or 1.25 mm hook,” she explains.”
I was especially happy to find in my research that Felieke: “admits that she needs her daily period of crocheting – which she does both in the morning and in the evenings after a day spent in her studio – almost as if it were a form of meditation. ” That quote comes from a Wader article by Agnese Civle, which also has some great thoughts from the crafter about how she’s both a tradesperson and an artist.
Crochet Art Jewelry
The artist has created a wide range of different types of mixed media and crochet art jewelry.
Mixed Media Crochet Animals
I love the selection of work that this artist did where she combined plastic animals with crochet clothing to create humorous mixed media art pieces. Most of these are sculptures although a few also double as jewelry art. The aforementioned Twist Collective article has some great information on how these creatures were born and the stories that they tell.
I love the genius upcycling, the detail in the crochet clothing crafted for these creatures and the creativity in each step of these projects.
Other Similar Crochet Artists
This work reminds me a bit of: