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Each piece of jewelry created by Cathérine Rochtus is unique as she lets herself be inspired by the material. She finds herself in the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, who said Panta Rhei, all flows, no man ever steps in the same river twice.
“I see something in a stone or some other material that appeals to me and I make something out of it.”
Right from the beginning I know what it has to become. In my head I got a whole collection of objets trouvés and when I see something, I immediately make matches.
Her jewelry reflects simplicity, back to the origins: the material. She leaves out what isn’t necessary in order to get to the essential. That’s how her oeuvre gets its strength. She likes to refer to the Japanese proverb that says “okite hanjou, nete ichijou, (man needs just) half a tatami mat when awake, one tatami mat when asleep”.
“okite hanjou, nete ichijou, (man needs just) half a tatami mat when awake, one tatami mat when asleep”
This search for simplicity leads her to the earth, which is humble and rich at the same time. Gold for instance comes from the earth. “I want to handle gold with great respect. It’s so kind, for it gives you so many possibilities,” says Cathérine.
“I hope there is a soul in my jewels”
In her oeuvre you will recognize her search for a pure form. Nonetheless she shall seldom make rigid work. Cathérine prefers to work with for instance old diamond cuts that feel warmer than the actual ones that are too calculated and seem almost indifferent. “I hope there is a soul in my jewels”, she adds.
Whether it’s jewelry, ceramics or photography, Cathérine creates harmonious compositions. It all starts with collecting objects she finds on her way. In those moments she’s particularly sensitive to the intensity of these objects, to their story. These “objets trouvés” can in a harmonious compositions reinforce each other by the dialogue that emerges between the materials. In that way a certain magic (magis Latin for ‘more’) appears. The separate objects receive an added value by the whole, which tells us its own story, a richer one than the separate objects could have told. For instance she lets old and new encounter each other, or goes for a detail. Less is more.
“I’m not an artist,” says Cathérine with some urge.
Her oeuvre is a craft. She sees herself more as an artisan. Thanks to her craftsmanship, she can make even complex pieces: though they may seem simple at first glance, they are never simplistic.
Her craftmanship has been formed by years of experience and instructive encounters. From painter Toon Haenen she learned to look beyond the surface, and see the beauty of simplicity. Through the work of art collector Axel Vervoordt she learned to balance the power of harmony.
Het Kanaal Vervoordts project, where her atelier is located, is an inspiring location, where you’ll meet nice people – each with their own craft, but with the same harmonious energy. By the encounter of norbertine Staf Feyaerts, she discovered Zen Buddhism, to be aware of simplicity, to let go in order to see the preciousness of nature and mankind. Thanks to 30 years experience at the atelier of George Cuyvers she learned many different goldsmith techniques She is thankful for all these people and many others. Above all she’s thankful for her parents, her husband Thierry and two daughters Anaïs and Lisa. Her gratitude tells us something about her integrity. Refined and elegant, but knows very well what she wants and perfectionist.
Goldsmith was passed from father to daughter. As a child already she run through the atelier in house. “I remember the smell. In particular the old tools fascinated me at that time.” She loved drawing and later on she found her passion as goldsmith. The training at the Academy of Arts in Antwerp under the leading of Wim Ibens was for her the real start of this artistic adventure.