Studio Kleinood is run by the duo Jiska Hartog and Michiel Henneman. They design and create their jewellery collections in the atelier in the garden of their home in Culemborg. We have been working with this duo for quite some years now and love shining some extra light on their work, so Anna went for a visit!
It’s great be here visiting your atelier Jiska and Michiel. Can you give us some background about your journey in jewelry design?
Jiska & Michiel: Our journey began with a traditional goldsmith education in the Netherlands, after which we pursued further studies. We headed to London and enrolled in Wimbledon as part of the London School of Art to pursue our masters. Our initial foray into goldsmithing was followed by time in art school. It was a unique experience, emphasising independence and hard work, and encouraging individual work with group feedback. The school also facilitated annual exhibitions. So, our journey took us through goldsmithing, art school, masters and finally, our own studio.
That’s quite a diverse path. How did you transition into jewelry design?
After our masters, we returned to Utrecht and quickly decided to dive into jewelry. We participated in local silversmithing contests, experimenting with different themes, and were thrilled to win the top prize two years in a row. We kept participating in fairs and markets to build momentum. Initially, we got our pieces into art museums through consignment. We mainly sold jewelry as gifts at a much lower price point. At this point, we were gaining lots of recognition through magazine features.
Impressive! Could you tell us about your creative process and where you draw inspiration?
Our roles often overlap, and we’ve naturally grown together, bouncing ideas off each other. Simplicity is key for us; we create simple shapes and keep the edges rough while maintaining the appearance of a delicate piece. For example our Solid collection: These pieces are based on traditional jewelry, like Victorian styles, but with a modern twist. It’s about taking those traditional forms, shapes and trends and transforming them into solid jewels, becoming an uniform collection. These jewels are sturdy everyday wearables with a touch of elegance.
Your work is a beautiful blend of tradition and modernity. Any advice for budding jewelry designers?
Certainly! We recommend attending B2B fairs to get your name out there. It’s not just about consumer markets. In the beginning, we experimented with various ideas and materials, working with different designs and companies. People recognized us for fun jewelry (we had a brooch modeled after chewed-up bubble gum that became quite popular, actually!), but that wasn’t our focus. In 2011, we narrowed down to working primarily with silver, focusing on fulfilling the needs of customers who don’t seek highly expensive pieces. We utilize castings, making production easier and less costly. It’s crucial to define the group you want to cater to. Finally, we decided to start professionally shooting our products with models to become a more recognizable brand.
And what’s on the horizon for Studio Kleinood?
We recently added a new line: the “Liquid Collection” as an opposite to the Solid Collection. The jewels in this line are more fluid and polished like drops or melted shapes. We are at the moment continually refining this Liquid Collection, striving for perfection.
Sounds exciting! Do you have any favorite pieces from your creations?
I think we’d both agree that our silver stone ring holds a special place in our hearts.
Jiska and Michiel, thanks for sharing your inspiring journey and insights. Wishing you much success in your future endeavors!
Text and photos by Anna Cleveland