Atelier Maracuja - artist Athena van Dongen




I come primarily from a Textile Design background having gained a BA in Textile Design at Leeds University in England. Already during my first year I realized that it was the creative process that I enjoyed and not the textile industry, so when after Leeds serendipity took me to Bristol I enrolled for a one year course in ceramics, basic hand building techniques and use of glazes, at Bristol Polytechnic, School of Adult Art Studies, followed by a one year postgraduate in Art Education specializing in Expressive Arts - Sussex University {ATC}.

After my studies I was able to go straight into teaching in The Sound and Movement department of a community college in Leicestershire. A few years later I moved to Cyprus setting up my own studio producing a small amount of my own work, teaching O level and A level art and working with pupils preparing portfolios for university interviews. I was a member of a women’s cooperative theatre group working with a visiting lecturer from Dartington School of Dance and Drama. We performed bi-lingual plays both in Cyprus and the UK, experimenting and improvising along the way. In my studio students moved into making 3D masks inspired by their paintings, and working on performances. A fruitful period.

From Cyprus we moved to Brazil. I learned Portugese and met an Interior Designer who wanted me to produce work for her shop. I worked with wire, paper and self made paper clay, but what I really wanted was to add a Brazilian dimension to my work. I enrolled on a ceramic/tile course specializing in Portuguese design and on-glaze techniques. We travelled on. First to England, then to America and finally to The Netherlands where I am based today and run my own studio: Atelier Maracuja.