Among many of the beautiful pieces of art on display for sale in The Station Gallery, Yarragon, are Elisabeth Smoorenburg’s small pieces of jewellery created from a range of materials such as German silver, brass, copper and gemstones. Each of Elisabeth’s pieces is unique because she does not like copying previous designs.
Many years ago, in her early twenties, Elisabeth Smoorenburg had a go at just about anything creative, silversmithing, wood turning, pottery, plaster casting, embroidery, weaving, drawing, and she enjoyed all of them! The thought of becoming an artist never really crossed her mind; she just liked to work with her hands, and create beautiful things.
In 1986 Elisabeth migrated to Australia, started a full-time job and a large garden, all of which didn’t leave a lot of free time to pursue any of those interests for quite a while. When she stopped work a few years ago and suddenly had a great deal time on her hands, the biggest dilemma was what to take up again. Over the years Elisabeth always maintained an interest in gemstones and jewellery, and since she had kept all her tools from her “silversmithing” episode, the choice wasn’t all that difficult. She learnt to cut and polish gemstones, and it wasn’t too hard to pick up her tools again and incorporate gemstones into many jewellery designs. Elisabeth and her partner, Gordon, enjoy going bush to fossick for rocks and minerals, which they then both use in various projects.
Having dabbled in a number of creative arts has exposed Elisabeth to a large array of tools and materials, and this experience was an advantage when designing a piece of jewellery. Apart from doing a dozen or so lessons on silversmithing, she learns most from observing jewellers working, reading, and then trying – (not necessarily in that order!). She doesn’t shy away from a challenge, and through trial and error, perseverance (some call it Dutch stubbornness) and curiosity she has developed a very individual style in jewellery. However, she does not regard herself as an expert. Perhaps most importantly Elisabeth is always eager to learn more and to try different things. It’s been about 30 years since she did any serious silversmithing, so at the moment she is enjoying working with brass, copper and German Silver.
But every so often she get an urge to do something else, to have a go at other art forms, such as mosaics, felting, a little bit of lino cutting and lately carving in stone. Sometimes she is just happy splashing paint around on sheets of paper to make original and unique gift-wrap.
Further down the track Elisabeth may have a go at sculpture, in wood or stone, because she likes working with both. For example, years ago she made a two level waterfall for a small pond in her garden and thoroughly enjoyed doing that because she doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty.
When Elisabeth is not in the mood for doing anything creative, or plainly when she is just not in the mood for anything… (you know the feeling), she can be found pottering in the garden, which for her is the best place to get any cobwebs out. Reading is another way of to unwinding, thrillers and the like, she has just finished John Grisham’s gripping A Time To Kill had trouble putting it down.
Like so many artists Elisabeth can name her favourite art periods. She loves the Impressionist and Art Nouveau styles, and while not able to name a favorite piece of artwork in those styles, has a strong preference for Vincent Van Gogh. Just like the French Impressionists most of her inspiration comes from nature, where lines are flowing and nothing is straight. There is nothing too square, or too much the same in nature so there is no chance of ever getting bored or running out of ideas. Her biggest encouragement though comes from her soul mate, Gordon, who is never too busy or tired to help and motivate, who is a wealth of knowledge and ingenuity when it comes to tools to enable her to realize some of her quirky ideas!
Don’t miss Elisabeth’s work in The Station Gallery because it does move very quickly and is a fine demonstration of her love of Art Nouveau.