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STIEN BEKAERT is a Ghent based visual artist who combines photography and found imagery with printmaking techniques. She zooms into fragments, changes them and brings them back together within a new context. Where Stien used to focus on figurative aspects in the beginning, her current work evolved to a more abstract way of representing her world. The result always reflects a glance of fragility and sensitivity. Just like her.

Heritage of footage

Stien’s interest and love for Arts, and more specific printmaking, was present ever since she was a kid. Her father had always been occupied with printmaking, drawing and painting in his spare time. Inspired by what she saw, Stien wanted to acquire the knowledge and skills. She obtained a master in graphic design & illustration at KASK, The Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent and a professional bachelor in fine arts, (non-toxic) printmaking. Stien doesn’t apply the classic way of doing graphics. “I see printmaking as a true form of craftsmanship that you have to learn and understand. And then afterwards, you can start experimenting. That’s what I do through my work. I still learn every day : I want to practice my own skills, explore new or different techniques.”

Stien Bekaert U tell me

In motion

“Sometimes I long for a quiet moment, but somehow I always end up back at something.” Stien is a busy person living a busy life. She is fully occupied with and dedicated to a combination of her freelance assignments, her personal (free) work and her other label studio kan/o.

Whether you’re talking to Stien about her work, personal life or quest : she is always in motion. Also literally. “As a kid, I’ve never been a calm child’, she laughs. “I was quite energetic, sensitive, and very intuitive.” Even now talking to Stien in a cosy bar, it’s striking to see how nothing escapes her eye. “Yes, I know, I get easily distracted and it only gets much worse when I’m tired”, she smiles. Her continuous drive to learn, to evolve, to get better at what she does is inherently present and is what keeps her going.

Opposite to what you might expect, Stien always carries a booklet around with words and phrases.

NSamain_stienbekaert_02

I collect words and phrases and I translate these words into my collage-world.

Art

I’m not sure if it’s modesty or uncertainty that speaks, but Stien finds it hard to call herself an artist as she doesn’t see herself that way. “I think that ‘illustrator’ covers what I do, meaning manipulating images”. Defining what art means to her is difficult, she says, but she tries : “It’s about having a strong vision or an idea, a certain outlook on life that you express by means of images. Art moves!”
I note that it is a deep respect and admiration for people who are a great source of inspiration to Stien, that is preventing her from seeing herself as an artist. “I’m still searching, investigating too much and I have the feeling that I still have a lot to learn”.

NSamain_stienbekaert_08

Abstractness

Stien plays with found footage, impressions, self-made images and photographs. She (re)uses them by means of a collage technique. By decomposing an image and applying manual and digital processes, the origin of the original image is completely lost and gets a new signification. The basis of every work still remains figurative, but fades away into the background. Her ‘layered’ collage technique tells a story, but it’s up to you to give meaning to her work. “People don’t literally have to know what the work tells, means, or where it comes from, they do need to feel it”.

NSamain_stienbekaert_04

My goal? Keep on doing what I do : expressing myself through images while creating my own world, images and techniques. And getting better, every day. I am a perfectionist.

Close to the atelier

After graduation, most people of her age bought a car. Stien invested in her own etching machine (“my monster”, it’s quite bigger than usual) and an atelier. “I often work with deadlines. What I do, takes time : it needs a creative process but also investigation and the execution of the technical process to get everything done.” Having her atelier so close to home is of great importance. “I really don’t like commuting. It’s a waste of time and it would cripple my creativity”. She dreams about having her own studio and a home at one location in order to obtain the ultimate creativity.

Hey, it’s OK!

Exhibitions, openings, music, … a lot of things, creative friends and artists that surround her inspire Stien in what she does. John Stezaker for instance. This collage-maker easily combines humour, color, composition and images. But it’s not only the work itself that fascinates and inspires Stien. She explains : “he was never satisfied with his own work, was always searching and exploring his work to the ultimate & perfect composition Just when he decided to accept that what he does, the simplicity of it, was good enough, his work was also accepted and soon known by the rest of the world.” Stien loves this story about ‘accepting and being accepted’ (most of all by ourselves) because she likes the idea of ‘nothing needs to be done’, it’s you making your own choices, making your own imagery mostly as an own language. Being your own guide and especially knowing that it is all OK. “It’s really stimulating in a way that I need to let go of the side things more and just go with what I feel & believe in my imagery language.” There’s also Sigmar Polke, whose multitude of images inspire her the most. Or Dieter Roth whose endless work and knowledge in graphic art, stimulates Stien in her own work…

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Sometimes it feels good to know that there’s someone out there that says ‘everything will be OK’, you know.

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Ultimate relaxation

She was 19 years old when Ghent became her haven : “to me, Ghent has become like a village in a way. I know lots of people here.” Hanging out with friends, enjoying good food, having a good conversation with friends, …It’s her definition of ultimate relaxation. Once in a while Stien loves to escape, to Italy for example, one of her favourites : the architecture, culture, food, wine and the weather are a perfect mix to forget the daily hassle. “I’m also very good at immersing myself in someone else’s cocoon”, she laughs. “I love spending time with the kids of my best friends. It gives me peace of mind.”

Bye

Stien Bekaert. She doesn’t have concrete refined plans, she told me, there are places to go & exciting projects to finish. But she definitely has dreams, creativity and the guts to create her own visual world. The future awaits her.

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The maker Stien Bekaert / Visual Artist

I see printmaking as a true form of craftmanship.

  • Print U TELL ME

    The print U TELL ME is the result of a collage technique, combining photography and found imagery with printmaking techniques. It is an abstract representation of Stien’s world, reflecting fragility and sensitivity. She played with found footage, impressions, painting, self-made images and photographs. By decomposing an image and applying manual and digital processes, the origin of the original image is completely lost and gets a new signification.

    Details :

    • Measurements : 40 x 42 cm & a white border of 3mm
    • Hahnemühle paper, RAG 305
    • Frame is not included. (Contact me to define your perfect frame together, and I’ll make sure you’ll get it )
    Maker: Stien Bekaert

     150,00

    U TELL ME_DSC3219U tell me 2

    Product Description

    The print U TELL ME is part of a limited series of 20, and is a digital transformation of an original collage work, (giclée) printed on Hahnemühle paper to garantuee the highest quality and to maintain all tonalities and the hues of the original work. Each print is numbered, signed and provided with a Certificate of Authenticity. The Certificate of Authenticity is related to one particular piece of art. The Digigraphie label on the certified papers stands for the lightfastness testing results to ensure a lifetime of over more then 60 years under normal indoor exposure. These tests were conducted by independent laboratories to guarantee the impartiality of the results (for more info, please visit http://www.wilhelm-research.com). Measurements of the image : 42 x 40cm (+ outside white border of 3mm). The frame is not included.

    The print U TELL ME is the result of a collage technique, combining photography and found imagery with printmaking techniques. It is an abstract representation of Stien’s world, reflecting fragility and sensitivity. She played with found footage, impressions, painting, self-made images and photographs. By decomposing an image and applying manual and digital processes, the origin of the original image is completely lost and gets a new signification.


    I see printmaking as a true form of craftmanship.

    Stien Bekaert / Visual Artist
    The product Print U TELL ME
    by Stien Bekaert  150,00

There is something in the air when visiting the shop / atelier of jewelry designer Lien Herreijger in Deurne. Literally. The smell that meets you, reveals that this lady loves experimenting during the creation process.  'Color' is her signature and by combining composite (resin) with color pigments, Lien creates her own disctinctive world. Her mission? Creating original and colorful designs that are portable and affordable at the same time, designed to carry with you for a long time. Curious about Lien’s approach, I took a look behind the scenes…

Color is key

Since the age of 6, Lien was always active in a creative setting. Every Wednesday and Saturday were filled with art school, where a broad range of activities were possible. Gradually, Lien developed a strong interest in graphics that also included etching and lino, from which her first study as textile designer emerged. "I remember an assignment in the 5th grade with lino: I made a collage of nine images in different colors. To achieve this result, I made up to 100 prints in order to determine the final color combination." An example from the past that turned out to be an omen for her current collections and working method. Color and experimenting with materials is what Lien does and are the basis of her beautiful label.

atelier-2

From textile to jewellery design

After studying textile design, Lien started an additional Bachelor of jewelry design in Antwerp. And this time on her own, without any financial support from her parents. "The combination of hard work during the summer to pay for my studies and moving in with my boyfriend all while studying sounds harder than it was. Actually, it wasn’t that bad at all."

In 2014, Lien decided to fully focus on the further development of her own label, which initially consisted of textiles and jewelry, and now only jewelry. "Probably because I felt I was more talented in jewelry design than in textiles. And with jewelry I also felt that I could really push my signature on my designs and create an added value through handicrafts. Much more than I could do with textiles."

Atelier Lien Hereijgers

The existence of her own label wasn’t built in a day. It grew rather organically. "I never saw myself as an independent. It was neither encouraged from home. I was actually planning to go to work in a textile setting, as an employee. But during my search for a job, I never stopped creating and before I knew it, I had a jewel collection that I started to sell at small markets."

When working with my hands, I discover a lot of new things and basically, I realize I can do anything. There are no restrictions, while industrial designs sometimes have them.

Experiment means freedom

During her training in jewelry design, Lien was acquainted with many materials and new techniques. A new world was out there, and Lien discovered the possibilities of composite, and more specifically, resin. "You start from something liquid and you can do anything with it. Also colors allow me to create what I want to and to me, this means absolute freedom. In the beginning, these endless possibilities can feel limiting because you don’t know the materials well. But once you possess the expertise and knowledge, you can fully experiment with composite and discover new things."

atelier-3 Lien Hereijgers

Resin upgraded

When working with resin, Lien finds it challenging to upgrade this material. "Resin is often only associated with plastic creations". By applying the right techniques, materials and color pigments, she creates a result that is much richer than the base from which it is derived.

A very long and intensive experimental phase is often undertaken prior to each design. And yet Lien has consciously chosen this path. Sometimes it’s a combination of colors, sometimes it’s the material that leads to new ideas. And sometimes, the design determines the chosen color and the material. Her sketchbook is always nearby. It is filled with spiraling designs. Initially large and outstanding, later on more downsized in the creation process. To make it more portable. It happens very often that some sketches form a whole only after a few months, which then eventually are developed into a full-fledged collection.

atelier-5 Lien Hereijgers

Glimpse of the past

While chitchatting, Lien's dyslexia pops up and the way her parents and some teachers have been crucial in the formation of her personality. Her parents always encouraged her to be independent. This was nurtured by an open attitude, a "hard work will be rewarded" mentality and a focus on talent. Needless to say, keep trying if something doesn’t work, doesn’t make sense. "It's a wealth to know yourself well and to follow your own path. Even if this means leaving your comfort zone. Over the years, this is getting easier because I know when and how to trust on myself. I easily feel when I'm unhappy with something.” This reflection has grown out of some meetings with people who looked beyond the form. And it has given Lien the confidence to not be stopped by restrictions and to surround herself with people who are helping her to evolve.

In 2014, I started a coaching program in developing myself as an independent and the setup of my label. If I would have had this knowledge a couple years ago, I probably would have done some things differently, more focused, and at all levels. Because there is so much going on.

Mingle

Looking into the future

Color remains, but making other predictions would only limit herself. The material may evolve, but experimenting and discovering new things will always remain part of her creation process. "As long as I can continue to discover new things, I like doing what I do".

It's nice to see that more and more people dare to choose statement jewellery.

atelier-4-lien-hereijgers

Focus

"Being your own boss is the best thing about this job." Lien gladly takes on the stress that goes with it. "The stress itself is less fun, but somehow I seek it," she laughs. "There is a lot to do, but if you always keep the bigger picture in mind, the goal, you realize that all of that (also when it is less fun) is needed to bring you one step closer to your final goal." Lien learned to outsource things that she couldn’t do or didn’t enjoy doing, so she could focus on her creations.

3 more hours a day

When Lien is not working, she likes spending time with friends and family. All additional free time would be spared for the acquisition of new impressions: city trips, walking in the city, cultural activities via contemporary art, cooking, and good food are always on her to-do list.

Bye

I return home, imbued with Lien's experimental philosophy and lots of color. After today, resin will never be what it was. From now on, I will always be wondering how the texture or the color of a package in the supermarket could inspire Lien Hereijgers to future designs.

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The maker Lien Hereijgers / Jewellery designer

It's nice to see that more and more people dare to choose statement jewellery.

  • MINGLE earrings

    With these MINGLE earrings, you express yourself in a sophisticated way by means of the smooth lines and rich colours. Classy and graceful? Playful and lively? Just Mingle! Create 3 different looks with 1 pair : long, short or an asymmetrical look by combining the long and short bar. Nobody puts you in a corner when you are wearing these beautiful earrings. Shine! And show the world who you are!

    Details :

    • Measurements : overall length (short + long bar) 6.5 cm – short bar 2.7cm (diameter : 3mm)
    • Material : composite + plated earrings (925 sterling silver, 18 carat gold), handmade in Belgium
    • Colour: short bar : black & dark blue – long bar : black, yellow and  green with transparent surfaces
    • Extra : second clasp so the earrings can also be worn only with the short bar (see picture)
    Maker: Lien Hereijgers

     159,00

    mingleMinglemingleMingle

    Product Description

    The name MINGLE of these MINGLE earrings refers to the used composite material and the multiple ways of wearing these stunning earrings. More and more people dare to choose a statement jewel as it expresses who you are and what you stand for. The MINGLE earrings are the result of the endless possibilities of composite (resin), combined with colour pigments. By applying the right techniques, materials and color pigments,  the final result looks much more richly than the base from which it is derived. A very long and intensive experimental phase is often prior to each design.

    The label will always color as a signature. The material may evolve, but experimenting and discovering new things will always remain part of the creation process.

     


    It's nice to see that more and more people dare to choose statement jewellery.

    Lien Hereijgers / Jewellery designer
    The product MINGLE earrings
    by Lien Hereijgers  159,00

Brussels. I leave the busy city life behind me when I enter the cozy apartment of Isabel Naesens, founder of the Belgian brand COMME LES LOUPS (literally translated as ‘like the wolves’). From the first moment we met, I was surprised and charmed by Isabel’s disarming honesty and spontaneity. Time to have a chat!

As the middle sister in a row of three, she always has been ‘the creative’ one in the family. Although Isabel is an architect, she decided to switch position a couple of years ago. Since then she colors the world a bit more by creating the most beautiful bow ties ever. It all began in 2013 with a self made blue bow tie she created for her boyfriend Sam to match her cobalt blue dress for her sister’s wedding. Many bow ties followed afterwards.

‘Entre chien et loups’

This French expression seemed to define the right setting to develop the identity and the recognizable style of the ‘Comme les loups’ bow ties. It was the original name of the current brand. The expression ‘Entre chien et loup’ (literally translated ‘between dog and wolf’) refers to a specific time of the day, just before night falls, when the light is so dim that you can hardly distinguish a dog from a wolf. It resembles the limit between something familiar and comfortable versus the unknown and the dangerous. Eventually, the original name evolved towards the current label as we know it nowadays, but the setting, style and atmosphere are still present through all of the collections.

Bow tie comme les loups

When in doubt, put a bow on it.

The brand is known for its exclusive and handcrafted materials and its strong identity. Poetic, elegant and always with a playful twist. Each bow tie is made with unique fabrics, selected with the utmost care, ranging from suede to shearling. Each bow tie receives a name, characterizing its unique personality. To Isabel, a bow tie is the perfect cherry on the cake. A simple outfit will change completely by adding the right accent. And that’s what a bow tie does. It adds attitude, and it reinforces personality of the ones wearing it. She also likes the idea of men paying (more) attention to how to dress and giving them a way to add instant ‘punch’ to their outfit. For any occasion and for all types of men.

Comme les loups werkbank

There isn’t such a thing as “a girlfriend pants”

If I ask Isabel if she ever thought about creating a women’s collection, the answer is yes. Although she is aware that some women would wear manly bow ties, the other way around is more difficult. “I think that men would rarely wear unisex products. Women have a lot of possibilities when it comes to prettying themselves up. There are less options for men. That’s why we decided to make a clear distinction between men and women and to focus on men accessories in the beginning.” This will change now. Although ‘Comme les loups’ was a ‘men only’ thing, they also launched a women collection. The model and selected fabrics make the distinction between bow ties for men and women.

Find (create) a job you really like.

At first, Isabel wanted to study fashion, but her parent’s concern, her interest in science, math and drawings eventually resulted in a Master degree in Architecture. Isabel strongly believes that creativity is in everyone. And that creativity has many faces. 1 Event and the appreciation of her friends were enough to trigger her love for beautiful fabrics and to re-discover that other side of her creative personality. She refined her sewing skills and decided to build a business around bow ties. All she needed was a push from Sam, her partner in crime. In 2014, Isabel put her job as an architect aside and she decided to put all of her time and effort in ‘Comme les loups’.

comme les loups naaidoos

We’re all stories in the end. Make it a good one.

The golden formula of ‘Comme les loups’? Maybe it’s just “in” her. Isabel is a dreamer that uses a practical, down to earth approach, she follows her intuition but she sometimes needs a push, she talks determinately but asks for reflection. The label’s current success is the result of organic growth, taking risks when needed and a lot of gut feeling. Recognition and appreciation are also very motivating. Isabel couldn’t continue what she’s doing without appreciation.

Knowing that people appreciate my work and products, is what keeps me going. And it’s my responsibility to make it work.

Bow tie comme les loups

3 more hours a day

When I ask Isabel what she would do if she could have 3 extra hours to fill the day, creativity’ pops-up again. “I think many people find it difficult to really know what they want. They easily slip into the ‘I have to’ regime and therefore forget about their creative side. Or they try to translate it into a hobby instead of integrating it more actively into daily life.” And then all of the sudden, she says: “I know what I would do if I would have 3 more hours a day : I would start drawing again. I loved drawing when I was younger. Or riding my bike in the city searching for new places to be discovered”.

Bye

Like wolves do, ‘Comme les loups’ stands its ground in a men’s world. Normally when wolves appear, it is time to trust our gut feeling to help us find a new path so that we can take our lives into our own hands. When ‘Comme les loups’ appears in your wardrobe, it means that you have found your ideal accessory in a way you want it to be. Stylish. Expressive. Elegant. And with a twist.

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The maker Comme les loups / Designer bowties

Knowing that people appreciate my work and products, is what keeps me going.

  • Pine & Mint bowtie

    Gentlemen, express who you are with this Pine & Mint bowtie! Eliminate ‘boring’ from your vocabulary, because success is guaranteed! The carefully selected colors and fabrics make this bowtie ideal for celebration dinners, an evening out, work or simply strolling around in town. Whoever you are or whatever you do, this bow rises you ‘attitude’ level to unseen heights! No fuss with tying a bowtie because that’s already done for you. This ready-tied bowtie is easily adjustable by the strap around the neck.

    Details:

    • Measurements : 12 x 4 cm
    • Material : cotton & wool
    • Color : petrolgreen (dark) and mintgreen (light)
    Maker: Comme les loups

     85,00

    9 in stock

    Buy this item
    Pine & Mint bowtieMint & pine bowtiePine & Mint bowtie

    Product Description

    Pine & Mint is part of a limited series of 10. Comme les Loups is known for its exclusive and handcrafted materials and its strong identity. Poetic, elegant and always with a playful twist. Each bow tie receives a name, characterizing its unique personality. This ‘ready tied’ bowtie is the right accent to your outfit. It adds attitude and reinforces your personality. Due to its carefully selected colors and fabrics, this ‘ready tied’ bow tie is perfect for any occasion. The strap around the neck is adjustable and therefore ready to be worn.


    Knowing that people appreciate my work and products, is what keeps me going.

    Comme les loups / Designer bowties
    Other works by

    Comme les loups

    The product Pine & Mint bowtie
    by Comme les loups  85,00

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