The Jacobs Family - "From small beginnings"
Levas Bekeras - "Go west young man"
Most people probably think of potters as reclusive makers who sit in their studios all day making pots, stacking the shelves of their display areas and waiting for casual customers to wander by. This may be true for some but there are many others with a fine story to tell. Here are another two of them. I think that what they make is remarkable but no more remarkable than the potters themselves. Events like Potfest have allowed you to meet these people and become a part of their story.
The Jacobs family - from small beginnings.
In the early years
of the Second World War two young brothers in Amsterdam were taken for
labour by the Germans. They escaped and eventually found themselves in
the little village of Milsbeek on the river Maas south of Nijmegen. There
they found work in a small factory throwing plant pots and stayed for
the rest of the war. They had no pottery experience but were young and
quickly picked up the required skills. Being very inventive by nature
they began to experiment with glazes in their lunch break and soon began
to make decorative work. The factory only made plant pots but by the end
of the war nearly all it's production was this new decorative ware.
Before the war, for many years there had been a daily tram service which stopped at Milsbeek on it's way to Nijmegan. The older brother met, fell in love with and married the tram drivers daughter. They had three sons, two of whom went on to become potters themselves - four potters in a tiny village in Holland.
Many years went by
and their reputations grew. One of the sons of the older brother bought
the old, now run down, plant pot factory where his father and uncle had
sought refuge during the war, and converted it into a house and pottery
studio. The youngest son found the remnants of the old tram shed
As well as selling from their own studios they would travel to festivals in Holland, Germany and Belgium and meet potters from all over Europe. In the late 1980s they had a meeting with other potters in their area and decided to form the North Limburg Potters Collective and organise their own special ceramics festival in Milsbeek. And so Keramisto was born, now seen by many as the most important annual ceramics festival in Holland, attracting potters from all over the Continent and beyond.
We first met Guul Jacobs, the oldest son at our first international ceramics festival, in Eindhoven, Holland, in 1989. He and his wife Fransje van Keulen are both potters each with their own very individual styles but both making the most amazing salt glazed work. We met his brother Geert some years later at a festival in Maasiek, Belgium. Geert throws and hand builds and often uses crystalline glazes. We later met their father and uncle when we exhibited for the first time at Keramisto. It was only recently we heard the wonderful story of this remarkable family.
Geert first came to Potfest in 1997 and has returned each year but last year his uncle, now 75 years old and also called Geert brought his ceramic barrel organ and musical instruments to play and display at both shows in Penrith.
first international ceramics market in Eindhoven was the inspiration for
Potfest in the Pens in 1994. Keramisto
was the inspiration for Potfest in the Park in 2001 and the North Limburg
Potters Collective was the idea behind Ceramics North in 2005.
Bekeras - go West young man
Toon Thijs a Dutch
potter and one of Levas's many friends is making mementos to him in the
form of small boxes containing postcards of his work - the idea being
that though Levas is no longer here his work will continue to travel around
the world. For more information see www.toonthijs-keramiek.com
|0000Site designed and maintained by Christine Cox 000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0© 2006 potfest.co.uk|