Find out more about the artistic lives and professional experience of our tutors:
- Esther Berghuis
- Natalya Brashovetska
- Harm Harms
- Annemie Koenen
- Eke Krug
- Charity van der Meer
- Paulien Sijtsema
- Saar Snoek
- Miriam Verbeek
- Rachel van der Weerd
Despite being born and raised in the Netherlands, by now Esther has lived longer abroad. Ze attended the Technical School for Goldsmithing in Schoonhoven (stopped prematurely because of allergies) and at the same time studied Gemmology through the British Academy. Her goldsmithing training took her to New York where she taught jewelry and pottery to children, followed by set design in the theatre, for Disney among others.
After returning to Europe and several idle attempts to work as a set designer she started a career as Trompe L’oeil mural artist. Simultaneously she finished her Master of Restoration Painter and worked on large restoration projects, like Central Station Amsterdam, the Royal Concert Hall and the french Chateau Echandres.
In France she took over a holiday painting school and ran this for 9 years as both hostess as well as tutor. Today Esther makes large murals all over the world and small restorations from home.
Her own art has changed from painting to textiles, felting, ceramics and ecoprinting. She teaches day-workshops in basic felting, ecoprinting and ceramic handbuilding.
Together with her husband, Jan, she is owner of ‘Studio Felt and Fibers’ and will not be teaching this year, to take responsability for hosting the courses and taking care of the catering and comfort of the guests.
Natalya’s journey into creativity has been both lengthy and self-driven. For many years, she worked in the operating room as a nurse assistant, a role that demanded something entirely different. Healthcare professionals often seek something unique to switch to when stepping away from their work. From a very young age, she held a deep fascination for textiles, and the results were truly rewarding. Wool, in particular, captured her interest. Since childhood, she could effortlessly recreate any knitted design and item just from a photograph. This is how her passion for felting was ignited, leading her to delve deeper into the study of this material.
Thanks to an invitation from Doriе van Dijk, she embarked on a teaching career, eventually earning a second degree in fashion design.
Natalya’s is globally known for her impressive collection of felted boots, shoes, matching bags and accessories and for teaching these techniques. Her felted garments are equally impressive and she generously shares het knowledge and skills with her students.
Natalya is originally Ukranian, but has lived in Cyprus for quite some time now where she runs the Aphrodite Felting Retreat. We are very happy she is coming to France to teach at our studio.
After his training as primary school teacher and 10 years of Open Youth work, Harm worked as a teacher of Arts and Craft in Secondary School Education for 25 years. So he senses when a students struggles with applying the knowledge and skills that Harm is trying to pass on. From 1980 his art has predominantly been in textiles. The material with its special colours and the excess of techniques is an Eldorado to work with and contributes to the amazing results as opposed to hindering the process.
As co-owner of Hawar Textile Institute he has been working in this field for 40 years. Hawar hosts workshops with a scala of national – and international tutors and has acquiered knowledge and experience of the wide range of textile craft.
With an enormous wealth of knowledge and grasp of the techniques Harm is a very versatile textile artist, well known for his innovations in textile manipulation and – transformation.
In 1993 he invented the use of the Funpump for dyeing textiles. Sinds 1998 he combines dyeing techniques, fabric manipulation and dévoré with felting. He loves to work big and to take full advantage of the natural properties of the materials.
Harm is proud of the techniques and processes he developed for artistic design of textiles. He is known for his problem solving approach at technichal – and artistic issues and his students trust that he will always come up with a solution in problem situations.
Harm is also editor of the recognised textile magazine “Vezel” (Fiber).
Annemie teaches at her own wool-workshop Mother Earth (1999), since 2008 she teaches internationally and from 2020 also online.
Annemie’s knowledge of felt making is extensive and covers an enormous range of techniques, just like the course-subjects she offers. Her emphasis is on making quality felt.
She gets her inspiration from nature and cultures from distant countries. Ze made many trips to Central Asia, the cradle for felt. Ze works mostly with her own handdyed wool and silk and recycled materials.
Her art is formed by many slumbering ideas which at some point come to the surface or cross her path. Annemie is comfortably led by de circomstances, which can be restricting as well as a challenge.
When she is working on commission her goal is to translate the image of the client as clear as possible, and through dialogue create the piece, suitable for its surroundings.
Her accessories and wall hangings can be admired at Designstudio Ajnemra – haute couture, in Arnhem, NL and since 2017 also in her own gallery : Creaties in vilt.
Ze attended a 2 year training for hat modiste at Kitty Sanders to learn all the fine skills of handfelted hats, and by now is widely known for her hats.
Annemie is also well known as the embroidery queen, which is well exhibited in her embroidery stitch book which shows the impressive way of how she decorates her work.
In the picturesque village of Koudum you will find Eke’s studio. Originally she is a window dresser/stage designer and worked in this field for several years, before she changed to family care. After that she attended a 2 year course in Creative crafts, which led to a jewelry business.
After another training in Colour therapie, she moved to Norway where she lived for 8 years. Living in isolated surroundings led to new discoveries and depths in her work.
After her return to the Netherlands she was invited to lead workshops in Groningen, which led to teaching at multiple locations and is still ongoing. The experiences she gained form several trainings formed the basis of her own teaching. A sense of humor is essential.
Her passion for experimentation by combining and manipulating different materials is something she likes to pass on to her students. Her question is not íf it is possible, but how and in how many ways it is possible.
Eke gets her inspiration from everything around her, but also from deep within herself. Intuitive textile manipulation, different painting techniques, combinations with other materials, like paper, leather and wool, recycling old textiles is the foundation of her work. Despite it being hard to describe Eke’s work, the results are fantastic.
“I often recognise something in my work that occupied my mind or still does. Because of my creative process and the final result I can look at it with more clarity and more comprehension.”
Charity van der Meer
Charity van der Meer-Musoma, born and raised in Zambia, is a fashion designer specialized in hand-made ecological garments. She qualified as a Fashion and Knitwear Designer at Nottingham Trent University of Art and Design.
Today, her contemporary designs are inspired by nature itself. Her mission is to create unique, natural, sustainable and wearable garments and to share this with others around the world. To produce her collections, Charity uses new ideas and techniques that are
inspired by nature and uses durable and ecological products. Her brand name is Sharit, which comes from Share-It. Sharit embodies Charity’s passion for sharing her creativity and knowledge with others and to inspire them and stimulate their creative thoughts.
All materials she uses will tell their own story through her pieces when worn. Her theme is also to let other people understand the endless possibilities of wool with the emphasis on the natural and durable character.
She travels all around the world teaching felt fashion and felt techniques. Her contact with so many cultures encourages her ideas and inspires her towards new creations. Her dream of sharing is her reality and this has led her to invest in tribal textiles.
She is constantly stimulated through others with new ideas.
Paulien was born in 1963 in Groningen and has lived in Uithuizen since 2021. She comes from an artistic family and was free to experiment with all kinds of materials. Later on she attended several courses in ceramics, woodworking, jewelry and 2 years of training in creative crafts.
She grew up with the wonderful smell of wood and alongside a furniture maker, her father. Observing her father triggered her own fantasy and despite not following in his footstep, it did not stop her from working with wood. Ze makes birthboxes ánd the Pin Board (for needle felting).
Wool is another way of expressing her creativity. It is both a challenge and exciting to think of something new time and time again to create with this natural material. She is inspired by everything around her; colours, shapes, people and the material itself. She tries to keep her own identity as much as possible and has discovered that this material has neverending possibilities.
Paulien ‘sculpts’ and ‘paints’ with wool, and has specialised in female figures and animal heads. She uses the dry – and wet felting techniques. Since 2004 she teaches those techniques and also takes commissions.
With her woodworking experience she designed the Pin Board and takes care of the production herself. This board helps with a better posture during needle felting, it relieves the neck, shoulders and back en provides a better view at the project.
In Uithuizen Paulien has a beautiful studio where she teaches her courses, but also teaches on location, like Belgium, Germany and from 2023 in our studio in France.
*The Pin Board is for sale during the course (for more info go to course summary).
Saar work as a fine artist often results in the creation of wearable felt sculptures and exclusive couture hats.
Her impressive work has been exhibited several times in the World of Wearableart show in New Zealand. She has also won prestigious prizes like a WOW award and le Prix de Savoir Faire of les Ateliers Musee du Chapeau.
A few times a year she teaches masterclasses on location, first and foremost for the joy of passing on knowledge and indulging in the creative process of each student. And now also in our Studio in France.
Saar is internationally recognised, both as an artist as well as a tutor.
Miriam Verbeek graduated in 1993 in Silversmithing/Design at the Rietveld Academie. Her major subject was mourning jewelry, for which, apart from silver, she used all kinds of interesting, unusual materials, suitable for the subject. This collection, that got her an honorable mention by the Jury of the Gerrit Rietveld price opleverde, ended up in the Stedelijk Museum.
Since then she has been an artist and art tutor, specialised in felting techniques.
20 years ago Miriam got fascinated by felt, a material with endless possibilities. To her the research and experimentation are key and she enjoys the challenge of finding out how to connect the materials. How to connect closed shackles in felt, how to make a mobile connection, how to process felt into a 3D shape? She likes challenges in need of creative solutions.
Apart from her own art, she teaches felt and art to all levels.
Her inspiration comes from short – or longterm themes. Returning themes like moving and amazing nature, memories of old days and man’s own vulnerability.
Since 2016 Miriam is collaborating with Els Bottema, an accomplished ceramicist. In their studio, Atelier Vuurwater, they merge their materials, felt and raku ceramics, into unique pieces of art.
This collaboration has led to teaching together and creating a special program for our Studio in France in 2023.
Rachel van der Weerd
In the world of arts and crafts a creative soul cannot be overlooked: Rachel van der Weerd, is a true specialist in ecoprinting. With her passion and skills she transforms nature into breath taking art works. She makes ecoprinting accessible for everyone interested by sharing her self developed DIY kits and her inspiring workshops in a welcoming studio. She encourages people to start their own artistic journey by transferring the beauty of nature to silk, wool, linen and leather.
Rachel doesn’t just teach you the technique of printing but invites you to play and discover.
Her craftsmanship is rooted in “learning by action and experience”, which shaped her own journey. She specialised in “transparant felting” and “leafgold on satin-silk”, “Cool leaves on wool” and “Leaf- and Flowerprints on Leather”.
Her latest development is the “Tannine guide with linen and iron” which gives a great opportunity to widen ones horizon and embellish creations with the beautiful patterns that nature offers.
With her deep love for creativity, nature and her warm and inviting personality, Rachel found her path to France.
She teaches workshops from her own studio in Franeker (Netherlands) where she also runs her charming shop (both physical and online).
Season 2024 she will start teaching at our studio in France.