Graduate Diploma Conservation Studies, Specialising in Ceramics and Related Materials 1991 - 1993

Bouke de Vries

Artist & Ceramics Conservator

What do you consider your biggest achievement to date?

I am very proud of using my career in conservation as inspiration for my work as an artist, I never planned this, and it has given me the most fulfilling working life.

Talk us through your career path since graduating.

As there were no jobs in any of the big museums at the time, I set up my own practice and continued like this for 15 years and decided I wanted to do something to express myself creatively. I used my work as a ceramics conservator as a starting point and it has gradually become the main focus of my work.

What projects are you currently working on?

During the past year, I have been working on my first public sculpture for UCL - a real milestone.

Do you have any tips for recent graduates?

These must be tough times for new graduates, but setting up your own business isn’t a bad choice. It will take a while for things to take off but once it does it is a really fulfilling life.

How do you think studying at West Dean College prepared you for what you do now?

It gave me wonderful skills and allowed me to set up a business where I am learning things all the time. My experience gave me a wonderful foundation.

What's your favourite memory from your time at the College?

Ordering a packed lunch in the summer and going up to the arboretum, lying in the grass near Edward James’ grave, eating lunch and relaxing. I once dozed off and when I woke up and opened my eyes, a deer was standing about 2 yards away from me. Magic.