Can you describe what you do?
I create statues and sculptures, primarily of human figures and animals. In 1992, I moved to Mechelen, after my husband and I bought the former 19th century almshouse ‘De Cellekens’. When we acquired it, it had been vacant for many years and was completely run-down. We spent eight years renovating it, taking great care to retain the authenticity of the building. Nowadays, it is my home and my studio where I create and expose my art. My sculptures are placed in the garden, surrounded by beautiful flowers.
How do you perceive Mechelen? In your view, what kind of city is it? Its people, its cultural landscape, its vibe? How does it compare to other, similarly-sized cities?
I’m very happy living here. Mechelen is a magnificent city, beautifully preserved and full of historical buildings. We spent a lot of money on the restoration of our place, but I haven’t regretted it one bit. My home is paradise to me, an island of tranquility right in the centre of the city.
How has Mechelen contributed to making you who you are today? What role has the city played in shaping your outlook and career?
In 2003, our restoration project won the Europa Nostra Award, one of the most prestigious prizes for heritage conservation. For us, it was the ultimate validation of our life work, and the city of Mechelen also gave us a lot of recognition for this accomplishment.
If you had to take out-of-towners to one place that truly symbolises the city, what/where would it be?
Just come and visit me! Every day I have groups of curious visitors at my gate. I show them around and tell them about the restoration and my work.marietteteugels.be