Adorned with a jovial smile, Marlies Dinnissen graciously welcomes me into her smallish silversmith studio & shop on the Klarendalseweg in the artsy Modekwartier of Arnhem. Flooded with natural light, the studio feels fresh, young and modern. It’s situated in a district densely dotted with artists & artisans in their ateliers & shops and the area, and complete with cozy coffee, lunch and dessert spots, serves as a weekend destination for locals and tourists. I visited Marlies on a weekday, so most studios weren’t open, but I definitely plan to go back for another visit on a weekend day when all doors are open.
She has a nice window display embellished with green plants and silver jewels, and the walls visibly dedicate themselves to showcasing her work.
Marlies comes from a family of creative folk; she considers her mother a creative thinker, a grandmother is a painter, an aunt a photographer, several family members play music. She casually tells me that none of her family members are doing what they studied to do, and by the way, neither does she. Marlies studied interior design and styling at the Jan des Bouvrie Academie in Deventer, and while she enjoyed the program and learned practical skills like writing a business plan and talking to contractors, she soon discovered she just wasn’t suited for this work. I immediately feel a kinship with Marlies, wholeheartedly relating to her experiences ambling down a ziggy-zaggy path of self-discovery.
A few years ago, Marlies happened upon a woman selling handmade jewelry at a craft fair. They started talking, and she told Marlies about a place that housed a smithy, a metal shop & wood shop that had been set up for people who once worked at the harbor but had now found themselves jobless. This place provided opportunities for people to continue practicing their crafts in creative ways. Seasoned and matured makers came to spend time there, exuding knowledge, steeped in experience. Marlies started taking weekly courses working with silver. She began accumulating tools & materials to work on projects at home, and eventually, the weekly course was no longer enough for her. She found a place that offered open studio time in Velp, a village east of Arnhem, and continued to practice and improve her craft. She began offering jewelry workshops from home, but as it wasn’t an optimal locale for workshops, she began searching for new digs.
When a space opened up in the Modekwartier in Arnhem, she jumped at the opportunity to claim a studio. It’s a carefully curated community, so she did have to earn her place in it by presenting a business plan and showing how and why her business was a good fit. Getting the green light for this next step was nothing short of a very big deal. She now lives in the house above that studio with her partner and her dog. Her energy really inhabits the space, and it’s clear she puts a lot of thought and effort into it. She makes her own tables and displays, and repurposes items like wood scraps and sofa feet when she can. She also just likes making stuff, and enjoys treasure hunting for fabric, gifts and anything she can repurpose. She also paints her own walls, installs her own flooring and can fix the toilet.
I see signs of reinvention everywhere in her shop. It has a positive, relaxed and productive sort of vibe.
“Strakke vormen en niet te truttig”
Marlies works primarily with silver, a material she’s intensely fond of. She incorporates straight & curved lines and geometric shapes in her earrings, rings and necklaces. The designs are striking and strong. She also uses stones such as Black Opal, Jaspar and Obsidian as well as cut ceramic pieces in her work. This idea came from a broken vase belonging to her grandmother; Marlies took the chunky shards under her protection, carefully selecting pieces to encase in silver, providing a new phase of their existence. This technique exposed a new facet of her work that continues to infuse special meaning into her practice. If you have a special stone or ceramic piece, she’ll love to give it new life and purpose and make something great for you or a loved one. She enjoys seeing an idea come to fruition and making something beautiful and meaningful for someone else.
Marlies likes to keep to 50% custom work and 50% her own designs. She offers workshops for silver jewelry, and told me that it’s rewarding for her to have the chance to share her knowledge and skills with others. Seeing what other people make can give you a new view of things; if a student uses a tool incorrectly, for example, it might make her see that there is another way of doing something. She also can find inspiration from what others want to make. If you and some friends would like to organize a workshop, just ask!
“If there’s an apocolypse, I’m totally useless.”
Marlies clearly has an entrepreneurial and creative spirit, and combined with her training and growth mindset, she seems to be at the right place at the right time in her career. She maintains the attitude that you can always reinvent yourself. You can change and evolve as a person throughout your life and you can discover a new interest at any moment if you just allow yourself to be open to it. 🖤
Special thanks to Marlies for making time to talk with me. And my little one says “sanks you!” for the roll of washi tape.
Marlies Dinnissen Sieraden
Klarendalseweg 394 // 6822GT Arnhem
Phone: 06 16 90 25 56 // email@example.com
Open: Thursdays + Fridays 12-6 & Sundays 12-5