who are you?
My name is Janna Geesink, 35 years old, and one of the three goldsmiths (four jewellery makers) in Galerie Zône.
where are you from / where were you born?
I was born and raised in Leiden and only left the city for a few years, during my education, when I lived briefly in Schoonhoven and in Gouda. I love this small, beautiful, historic and pleasant city. Which is why I still live and work here!
what do you make, and how do you make it?
In my workshop I work with my hands, using both craft tools and modern equipment, to make high quality jewellery, mostly from 14k gold, in all colour tints. New gold, ‘old’ or melted gold and fair-trade gold are all possible with me. I also work a lot in silver and with fine gemstone beads in a variety of colours (calm and earthy or even playful and cheerful). For my own work I only use my own designs and I like open, playful shapes with fine lines, rough and subtle textures and special details. A piece of jewellery must be comfortable, easy to wear and easy to combine with your clothes. The jewellery I like best contains a combination of restful, clean and organic lines. I really like to carry out experiments whereby I don’t know in advance what will happen. That is where the most surprising designs arise.
I do also work a lot to commission, for example making wedding rings, ‘old gold’ and presents, for which my own collection is often the starting point.
how did you end up on this path?
Via an earlier study, Archeology and Prehistory, at the UvA, and a number of pottery courses, I discovered that I am more of a maker and designer than a bookworm! Design, technique and the material used in the goldsmith’s trade attracted me.
what is your training?
I followed the course to become a Goldsmith/entrepeneur at the Vakschool Schoonhoven. And I continue to learn through self-study, discussions with colleagues in my profession, looking closely, and above all by constantly doing and trying new things.
what inspires you?
My inspiration is everywhere. In the city, nature, physical shapes or man-made objects from the past and the present. Lines, shapes and textures are everywhere and sometimes something stands out! It’s never the same, it simply adds to what is already there.
do you do any other paid or unpaid work?
Besides my work as a goldsmith I am also a volunteer at Vitalis Maatjes. You’ve probably seen the advertisements in the city. You become a buddy to a child, or young person, who needs extra support for a while. For the last one and a half years I have been a buddy to an eleven-year old girl. It is great fun, though sometimes also difficult, you are a listening ear, and a helping hand, and we laugh a lot. And… buddies are still badly needed, both during and after corona times!
how did you become a member of Zône?
I had a small studio/shop just around the corner from the gallery, and I knew Frida van der Poel from Leiden, we would cross each other’s paths at art and craft markets in the city. When I wanted to swap my studio/shop for a different way of working I immediately thought of the combination of a separate workshop with the gallery. Thus!
would you like to say anything else?
The gallery occupies a special place in the city. For example I find it nice to notice that people come in to ‘recharge’ themselves and to breathe in a bit of art, and often spontaneous conversations take place that leave you both feeling good. It’s also really nice when a customer finds something they love and buys it for him-self or as a gift. Zône is more than a gallery or a shop, it is a platform and a collective, and there is constant interaction. It feels good to belong to this, and to be able to add my bit.