Meet the tutor: Jule Cats

Mon 19 Dec

Jule Cats (1993) is a Rotterdam-based artist, fascinated by materials and the stories that they carry. Layering plays an important role in her work; with her objects, she shows the beauty and emotional value of materials that usually go unnoticed. Within this process, she is always looking for an element of wonder. Her designs trigger curiosity, which makes room to share the underlying story of the material. Next to her own studio, Jule also works as an instructor at the ceramics station. In this interview, she talks about her educational approach, fascination for materials and goals as a tutor.


What is your branch / subject of knowledge?

"My subject of knowledge is materials and mold making. I work a lot with ceramics, but I know more about other materials like cement, resin, rubble and other out of the box materials. At WdKA, I work as an instructor at the ceramics station. Here, I give starting courses to introduce people to the station and the materials and show them what's possible. But during most of the time, students approach me with their concepts and ask for help with creative ideas or the production of their designs.


Why did you start working at WdKA?
"I used to study Product Design at the academy, and I graduated in 2015. During the last year of my studies, I worked a lot in the ceramics station. I was there all the time, so sometimes I jumped in for the instructor and... I never really left. After graduating I worked at other workshops and for other designers to gain more experiences, but after a few years I returned to the WdKA to work there permanently. I never forgot my way around the WdKA, so it felt good to work here at the ceramics station. I love the versatility of ceramics and I'm fascinated with molds. Being able to work here and working on my own in my studio is the perfect combination for me. It's good to both have input from others while working at the academy and to focus on my own practice in my atelier."



What do you love about teaching?
"I feel like teaching is not the right word, I'd rather say I guide people. Students often have their own vision and ideas, but are not always sure where to begin. I help them to get started and improve their ideas. It's almost like a collaboration. That's what I really like about this work."


What defines you as a tutor?
"I know that I don't know everything and like to build from the knowledge of the other. I try to level with the students and be open to also learn from them. There are so many different ways of approaching a design process. I like to have an open mind and to make suggestions rather than to teach one certain way of doing things. That makes that students feel they can share everything with me, because they know I'm not going to judge or grade them."


What defines your work as an artist?
"I took a while for me to see what my personal handwriting is. But now after 5 years of having my studio, I think I could define my work as refined, detailed, elegant and precise. I mostly work with materials that you can cast, like resin, concrete, acrylic, rubble and other waste materials."



What is your goal as a tutor?
"My goal is to motivate students and to empower them to create and bring their vision into being. I want students to be proud that they chose to study at an art academy, and to be able to really make something special."
What is your source of inspiration?
"My designs often tell a story: some very personal, others more universal. I get inspired by things I experience or see around me. One example of a project fueled by a personal story is that of my old house that had to be demolished. I felt the need to capture the rubble of the demolished home, and to create objects that showed its beauty and emotional value. This concept resulted in the  'IN DISGUISE' series of vases. You can see more of that project here. This project started out with my own grief of a beloved space, that I shared through a design. It all begins with a story."


What is something most students don't know about you that you would like to share?
"Sometimes they don't know I have my own studio and that I also exhibit my work at various places. So... if they read this and they're curious: you can see more of my work via my website or Instagram account."