Een kijkje achter de schermen bij sieraden ontwerpster Thea Tolsma

Thea Tolsma (1956) lives in Amsterdam. Because of her distinctive style I wanted to photograph her. She is a jewelry designer and invites me to her studio. Thea: “First I studied Textile at D’Witte Lelie, followed by textile design at Gerrit Rietveld Academy, both in Amsterdam. After my education, it became clear to me which direction I wanted. I realized that I always loved things to wear around my neck, so I started to design necklaces.”

“For a party, I made my first neckIace out of rubber. Many people were very enthusiastic about it. From that moment on, I knew what I wanted. I started cutting very thin slings out of bicycle tires. After that, I used a car tire and eventually I came across a car tire specialist. After some hesitation, this man understood perfectly what I wanted and gave me some helpful tips.”

This ‘tire man’ stopped with his business, so I had to look for a new supplier. In the meantime, about a year ago I encountered another material to cut my newest necklaces. The series I made is called ‘Hidden Messages’. Because it is a sign that stands for something, but no one sees what that sign is right away. Until the necklace unfolds wearing it (see middle photo). ”

My style

“I like to wear a lot of different things and make combinations of it. For a long time I’ve been wearing the black clothes, but since a year or 10, there is more color. Especially many different shades of one color or colors that are close to each other. The inspiration I get from designers like Vivian Westwood because it’s all so beautifully made, John Galliano because it’s so ‘over the top’. Comme des Garçons because it’s art and finally from Mary Katrantzou: a young designer who shows such wonderful combinations. ”


Een kijkje achter de schermen bij sieraden ontwerpster Thea Tolsma


“I never colored my hair, I got my first gray hair when I was about 25. It became a mixture of dark brown and gray. The gray slowly got the upper hand, but I never wanted to dye it. I do not have a real ‘coupe’ in my hair and only use lipstick. But I’m not going anywhere without my lipstick!”


Een kijkje achter de schermen bij sieraden ontwerpster Thea Tolsma


“My favorite garment is a sleeveless jacket by Comme des Garçons, I’ve been wearing it for years and I’m still fond of it. Usually, I wear clothes all the way, so I never throw away anything.”




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