My name is Caroline van Riet. I was born in the winter of 1963. It was an extremely cold winter in the Netherlands that year and perhaps for this reason, even from an early age, I was attracted to the sunshine. I was happy when I was able to participate in Ferdinand Demaret’s goldsmith workshop in Brussels. Mon Dieu, how marvellous to talk in French during the day and dream in French at night.
After this I followed the sun towards the south of France to study at the Ecole de Beaux Arts. The Mediterranean Sea, the blue sky and The Pyrenees as a background were a wonderful gift to open every morning. Weekends I spent working in Le Sud restaurant, visited by local artists. They were good years, full of art, vernisages, wonderful nature, good wine and sunshine in abundance.
January 1990, diploma in hand, I left France for a trip to Sicily where I fell in love with the centuries old quirky streets, the baroque buildings and the atmosphere of Ortigia, historic centre of Syracuse, surrounded by the Ionian Sea. And there I met Angelo.
Together we opened atelier Circo Fortuna and by experimenting and playing with ceramics, themes and colours, our dreamlike designs became reality, at times accompanied by some lighthearted, poetic phrases. Through international tradefairs our designs have been bought by Starbucks (USA), Whittard of Chelsea (UK) and Bloomingdale’s (USA). In the meantime our two beautiful boys were born.
Since 2007 Circo Fortuna is a one-woman show. The adventure continues and it is as if every time I begin a new plate or project I’m on a new journey, not knowing where my inspiration will take me. The process is fascinating even though I must confess that at times it can be almost intimidating.
Even to be creative you need courage.
Who are we?
Even though Circo Fortuna is a one-woman show, I prefer to talk in the plural. Because what would Circo Fortuna be without my sons, my family and our friends? That’s why I want to say a big THANKYOU to all of you who are close to me.
I would also like to thank all the people who pass through the Circo Fortuna shop. You fill me with joy and this joy is transformed into new designs.
Circo Fortuna opened its doors in 1992. Many a time I’m surprised to realize that it continues to bring me so much joy…….again and again and again…
What do we do ?
Circo Fortuna is a small art and craft atelier-boutique.
How to describe it? Functional fun? Graphic poetry? I hope I’ve given you the idea…
At the moment the collection consists of ceramics, T-shirts, playing cards, postcards and posters. For logistical reasons the T-shirts are not available online, you can find them at Circo Fortuna in Ortigia for the time being.
Ceramics are my favorite surface to express new ideas. The paintbrush on the pottery gives a somehow clumsy, irregular style to the designs. Once the object has been fired and put on display, I can hear the reactions of the clients who pick it up, while I’m in the background decorating. My curiosity is aroused listening to the comments and I consider this as a “live” mini market research.
The quiet winter gives me the opportunity to choose from the many designs which ones to develop for a new project. After this, it is a case of looking for the best company who can produce it, preferably Sicilian. It’s exciting to see the final product, sometimes several years pass from the first idea to the actual object.
And so, Circo Fortuna’s collection slowly grows from year to year like a climbing plant randomly following the sunshine. This may seem somehow incoherent, or maybe it simply is. I just can’t resist an idea once it has taken seed in my mind.