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.