I have been working in porcelain for the last 40 years in my studio in Amsterdam. I have always combined my studio work with teaching and I in my opinion that is a welcome variation for my daily work in the studio.

I attended the academy for teachers in art and crafts in Amsterdam (1978-1984). Already during my study, I started experimenting with coloring clay, stimulated by the book “Finding one’s way with clay” by Paulus Behrensohn and by my teacher, who came up with a bag of color pigments (just on the market at that time).

Initially I opted for techniques that were reminiscent of textile techniques: weaving, braiding, patchwork, which resulted in very open forms made up from rolls of colored clay. The ikat-like patterns, obtained by shifting strips of clay, also stemmed from my textile background.

At one point I discovered that when I laid slices of colored clay on top of each other and then cut slices of them again, I could achieve special effects. I thought I had come up with something very unique until I discovered that I was using an age-old Japanese technique: Nerikomi, a technique whereby the artist can create the most fantastic patterns by assembling different colors of clay in various ways to produce his / her work. Because this technique is very laborious, (a lot of time is spent mixing the colors, forming the patterns, making the shape, finishing, scraping, sanding and glazing) it is also called the thief of the artist’s time.

An interesting question I ask myself is: “Is it the inspiration or association first? “

It often happens that I discover something by chance and then get the association with something existing, for example with flowers or butterflies. Then it may be so, that in the next step I will steer much more in the direction that I determine in advance and that my choice of colours and patterns is already aligned with that.

However, I may also be inspired by a visit to the zoo, for example, I practically live next to Artis (the zoo in Amsterdam), with all its exotic surprises, and translate these into my coloured patterns designed in porcelain.

I have always combined my studio work with teaching and in my opinion that is a welcome variation for my daily work in the studio.

If you want to know more about the techniques I use, you can have a look at the video that is shown below or follow a workshop or regular course.

If you are in Amsterdam or in the neighborhood you are very welcome to visit my studio and shop, after an appointment.

My work is shown in many exhibitions in galleries in Holland, Belgium, Germany, England, Switzerland, Italy, China and Japan, as well as in various permanent collections a.o. at ;

  • Museum Boymans van Beuningen in Rotterdam, 
  • Keramiek museum “De Tiendschuur”,
  • Tegelen,Tree Art Museum- Beijing – CHINA,
  • Sanbao Ceramic museum – Jingdezhen – CHINA 

Ceramics is the art of earth and fire, but in Judith’s work, also the art of air, water and light. Her bowls seem to have collars of lace, which have the quality of the greatest discovery of nature that is found in wings of butterflies, fishes, shells and in the rainbow, It’s the jewel of the goddess Iris………iridescence.

Who can even think of projecting the highest trump of nature on such an elementary thing as clay ? Judith de Vries does, she’s the inventor of the ceramic rainbow and the ceramic art of weaving. All pure nature and pure logic. A matter of unraveling things to make a work of art that is as natural as nature itself.
And what about form and function ? There exists (according to a somewhat constructive biologist Adolf Portmann ), form that doesn’t follow function and only can be seen  as self presentation.. Such an insect says; “I am beautiful and remarkable just like this, for my own pleasure.”

This applies, if it’s true or not, to the rainbow and Judith ‘s work. It is a delight for the eye, the senses and itself.

Maarten Beks, Publisher


English transilation in the film can be activated via the regular subtitles/CC switch in youtube.