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Art And Culinary Adventures In Curaçao

Jeanine Barone


There's plenty of room to play on the island of Curacao, the largest of the Dutch Antilles. But it seems most visitors tend to congregate on cruise ships or nearby venues, dive sites, or in the casinos. When I visited, I focused, instead, on the art and culinary scene and discovered Evelien Sipkes.

Evelien Sipkes is a top contemporary jewelry designer and a ceramicist who creates wearable, avant garde pieces, such as ceramic necklaces, earrings, and rings that reflect the island’s flora and marine life. A nature-based aesthetic carries through her work that’s primarily crafted in porcelain and natural materials, such as seeds, branches, the shells of the fruits of the mahogany tree, and other parts of plants and trees, including thorns. She makes beads from little branches, bones, rusted pieces of iron, plant fibers, cotton and unprocessed silk, and she takes inspiration from the shapes, colors, and contrasts of textures of the materials she uses.

Evelien also offers art workshops -- she coined the term “artertainment” -- that include lunch or high tea or happy hour where everything is handmade, from the bread to the plates. All the items on the menu are as organic as possible. Evelien’s workshops including those where clients can make their own plates and bowls, as well those focused on using botanicals to make dyes for fabrics. Her most unique classes may be those that revolve on developing creativity.

Her atelier, gallery and classroom is also her home that's set on a wild two-acre parcel of land. Evelien’s art greets visitors just inside the entry gate, with ant sculptures (made from gourds) positioned on the pavement, and ceramic petals sitting among the live blossoms. Inside, where her ceramic and jewelry pieces are on display, a white palette predominates with large windows allowing light to pour in. Originally from Amsterdam, Evelien has lived in Curacao for decades. Her work has been exhibited in Chicago, New York, Belgium, Aruba, Curacao, and, of course, Holland. I recently spoke with Evelien about her work and inspirations.

Read the interview with Evelien Sipkes, originally published on January 21, 2018, on Jeanine Barone's Forbes Contributor site.

Header image: 
Queens Coral necklace, made for the 25th anniversary of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.
Materials: silk, velvet, copper, porcelain, Swarovski beads.
Photo credit: Evelien Sipkes.