Andrea Coderch Valor

In the Alchimia didactic framework exchange experiences play a central role, complete the education and can give the final touch before entering professional life. 

Andrea went for 3 months to Japan as exchange student at the Hiko Mizuno College of Jewelry. Japan had been already very present in her work, as the Alchimia graduation work shows clearly.

Andrea Coderch Valor

Andrea Coderch Valor

Alchimissima: After BA in industrial design at the Politecnico di Valencia and three years of jewellery in Alchimia you went for an exchange to Japan. It seems that this experience was very important for you.
Could you tell us a bit about it ?

Andrea:  My idea before going there was very ‘cold’. What I mean is that I thought it would be very difficult to make close friends and to really enter into Tokyo and its atmosphere, but then things went very differently. Chihiro Fujita the girlfriend of a classmate in school changed everything for me. First I was shocked,I was the first foreign person she had ever met, she did not speak any english, but in one month she learned the basics to be able to communicate with me.
It was amazing to see her dedication in everything she did. Experiencing this changed something in my mind. I think the most important thing in life is to be continuous and persistent.
She taught me that you need to follow your dream even though it does not work at the beginning.
You have to really believe in what you do and you have to completely invest in yourself.

Alchimissima: Do think this is a Japanese way of thinking or was it just her ?

Andrea: I do not know, but I think the Japanese really fight for what they want. They  all want to succeed in what they are doing and they work extremely hard. In Japan I saw that people focus on one thing until they can do it perfectly and they will not stop and do something else before they have reached perfection.

Andrea Coderch Valor, brooch, Shibuichi, textile

Andrea Coderch Valor, brooch, Shibuichi, textile

Alchimissima:  So this lesson was for the most important for you ?

Andrea: I think so, I learned a lot of things, but this one really changed me and my perception of life. Before this experience in Japan,  I would do things being mostly concerned in what others would like or not. It was like cutting my own wings instead of flying free. Japan gave me a “click”, which was or better is before all I have to LOVE what I am doing without compromise.

Alchimissima: You have founded your own company now that you are in Spain, did you take this decision already in Japan

Andrea: In a way yes, in this time in Tokyo, I saw many things, styles, ways of dressing…It was like  searching on internet about fashion but “in live” it was real. My mind was working and making plans for the future. I thought it could be exciting to start my own company, to be brave even though the economy in my country is very much in crises right now.

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Alchimissima: Did you take the decision to work with accessories and not only jewellery in Japan ?

Andrea: I had done a course in bag design years ago, but then in Hiko Mizuno I was near to shoe and bag designers who were really making their pieces and not just designing on the computer. So I also learned from them the  techniques that I am using now.

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Alchimissima: So you think when one studies design one should also learn the craft!!

Andrea: OF COURSE! I think this is really important, because when I studied industrial design I designed a lot of things on the computer but did never really know if they would actually work out in reality. That’s why when I started with jewellery I was so happy because I could do the things I had in my mind with my hands.

Alchimissima: What happens actually when you work with your hands ?

Andrea: While you work with your hands you feel what you are doing and the act working makes your brain work constantly with you but at the same time the brain is free to make new associations which then help to continue modify and develop the work you are doing, and more and more ideas and possibilities can come.
It is as if the hands might know more than your brain yet does…………so in this sense I think it is really important to learn to make.

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Alchimissima:  What did it feel like to be back in Spain after three months of Tokyo?

Andrea: At first it was a real cultural shock again. Before going to Tokyo I had been obsessed with Japan and I  had wanted to live there. After three months I was happy to go home and I know now that I could not live in Japan. Visit yes, but short periods, if you tell me I could have a job in Japan, I probably would not accept it.
I also appreciated much more the way I am living in my hometown after the experience of Japan.

So I knew I wanted to stay where I am and find a possibility to work here, which is not easy because of the crisis. It had to think a lot and it is really hard to be autonomous and you really have to think because you can also lose a lot of money. I am lucky that my parents support and help me.

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Alchimissima: Do you think you would have started your own company without the support of your family?

Andrea: Yes, but it would have taken much more time, instead of some months, it might have taken years. An important point is that I can get a totally honest critique and suggestions from my parents which is not that easy alone or with others. The family is the tester and so I feel more free in the sense that I know they  will give me critique in a positive sense.
I would love to find a team-mate, but I did not find it for now, but I believe it will happen. It is better to work in a team, more brains to think and hands to work and shared success is also better.

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Alchimissima: You started your collections with just 3 basic designs which makes your products very simple but does not give a huge variety of choice. Is this a decision just for the beginning or is this part of the concept of your brand ?

Andrea: For now it will more or less remain like this because I focus mostly on the material. There are only basic forms but the choice of materials and colours is vast. I also wanted to take profit of the textile production in my area, which is very much in crisis in this period. In this way I get the feeling that I am contributing (a bit) to the development of the area and I can be a small example for other young people not to give up.

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Alchimissima: I saw that you are starting a collaboration with a crowd funding platform. What do you think about this?

Andrea: I started with a type of  crowd funding where you sell your products, because I want to see if people actually like what I am doing and also the platform is very new and I like to collaborate with people that are starting like me. We have to support each other.

This platform is called Fromlab, here is the link if someone is interested in collaborate www.fromlab.com
Another important event for Coba Complements is we are going to the Eunique fair in Germany, I am very happy they accepted our proposal.
It is next May, and I am very excited to see what kind of response I will get in a fair.

Thank you very much Andrea and we all wish you lots of success.
For all those interested the links to Andrea’s company:

Coba Complements: www.cobacomplements.com

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Contemporary jewelry and the poetics of space

Alchimia summer workshop

Teacher:Sayumi Yokouchi

This workshop is about the importance of space in the visual
and philosophical traditions of the
East and West.making things without much adding72-1Date: 30 June – 7 July, 2014

This workshop is a unique collaboration between the world of contemporary jewelry and the
notion of Ma. Ma is a Japanese expression that roughly translates as “gap”, “pause”, or
“space” between structural parts. It is used extensively in descriptions of all aspects of Japanese
life. Ma is the unit with which we experience both time and space as the living breath between
objects. Ma is invisible and exists only in relation to the concrete elements that define it.

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When a piece of jewelry is placed on the body, held in the hand, or seen by the eye, a unique
transitional space opens around it, a space that suggests new ways of perceiving the familiar, and
generates new dimensions of meaning. Rather than proposing answers, such liminal spaces fill
the mind with questions. And of course truly creative questions rarely require answers.
Consider the well-known Zen Koan poses the question, ‘what is the sound of one hand
clapping?’ Asking questions is in itself a form of expression that can inspire new and unexpected
ideas.

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While there is no clear definition of Ma in Western languages, it permeates all aspects of
Japanese aesthetics. Because Ma is both invisible and indefinable, it is often described through
depictions of negative space or emptiness.

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Over the course of the workshop all types of space will be considered in the context of
contemporary jewelry making. Participants will be challenged to seek new conceptions of their
practice through presentation, discussion and exercises. Objectives of the workshop include the
stimulation of new ideas and directions that can be explored through the design and
development of new jewelry art. Group discussions will both entertain and inspire participants
to extend their practice into new realms. Participants are encouraged to consider conceptual
and practical concerns both within and beyond the frame of jewelry making as they engage with
notions of space and time in materials, ideas, experiences and more.
Part one of the workshop will include presentations of various examples of Ma followed by
discussions concerning its relevance and possible meanings for contemporary makers. Individual
exercises will help participants to understand core concepts and to discover new ideas that
extend their practice. Part two of the workshop will focus on bringing these ideas into material
reality in the studio.

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About Sayumi Yokouchi
Sayumi Yokouchi was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. She moved to the U.S. in 1990, began
her practice in metalsmithing at Cabrillo College in California. She earned her BFA in Metal
Arts from California College of the Arts, followed by MFA in Metal Arts from State University
of New York in New Paltz. She has taught at many metals programs and given workshops
including Cranbrook Academy of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Kutztown University in
Pennsylvania, State University of New York, New Paltz, Penland School of Craft, Hong Kong
Design Institute, China, Contemporary jewelry workshop in Buenos Aires, Argentina, among
many other school. Her work’s been exhibited in museums and galleries in the US, Japan and
Europe. Publications include: American Craft, Metalsmith, Lark Books’ jewelry series, The
Compendium Finale of Contemporary Jewelers and among others. She’s currently a faculty
member in the jewelry/metal program at 92stY and New York University in Manhattan,
Brooklyn Metal Works in Brooklyn, NY. She lives and maintains her studio practice in
Brooklyn.
http://www.sayumiyokouchi.com
Her work was recently featured in American Craft Council visual blog post, ‘Heck Yes Craft.

sayumi

 

 

 

What actually is a blog?

Why is this phenomenon expanding more and more ?

Why do people keep a blog ?

These are questions we can obviously ask the web, which will give us lots of answers. From the purely technical ones – to more personal and even almost mystic ones.
For Alchimia as a school the blog is a great and pretty fast means of information and of course publicity. We started the blog to inform our students and alumni about what was going on in our school, to let them know without sending emails of our workshops, projects and exhibitions. But soon the field expanded and the “around Alchimia school” started to become wider and wider and more and more time consuming. The same phenomenon we could see in other blogs we are following, so the natural question arouse how do the others deal with this, why do they keep their blogs, what kind of benefits does it give them ?

And so we start to ask!

This first one we questioned and who very generously answered – to answer questions takes a lot of time especially when you know your answers will be published – is  Monserrat Lacomba about her blog Mar de Color Rosa.

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Alchimissima:  Dear Montserrat I searched your blog to find the starting date and the first post I found in your archive was from Monday, January 28th, 2008.
Is this actually the day you started this adventure? We would really like to know the initial reason for starting a blog with such a particular name, and how it developed over the years ?

Montserrat: I started my blog on January 7th with a poem by Pablo Neruda dedicated to the sea and after having traveled to London where I visited some galleries such as Electrum, Lesley Crazy Gallery, CAA, Flow, etc. The main reason was because I like to share information, but in the beginning I wasn’t sure how the blog should be. I’m a Mediterranean person and the sea is very important in my life. The first time I saw the pink sea was in Formentera and my love of the island and the sea made me decide on “Mar de Color Rosa” (Pink Sea) as the title of my blog.

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Montserrat in her studio and not at her computer

Alchimissima: Until 2009 blogs were usually the work of a single individual, occasionally by a small group.  More recently “multi-author blogs” (MABs) have developed, with posts written by a larger number of authors which are professionally edited.  When and why did you start collaborating and editing your blog professionally?

Montserrat: I never planned that my work with the blog would be done professionally.  From the beginning I wanted to pubish it in Catalan (my language) and English, so I needed someone to help me with my bad English and asked Brigitte Martin (the editor of Crafthaus) to place an advertisement on the website she edits.  That’s how I connected with Robert Weis, a sound artist and writer, who has collaborated with me since April 2009. Jaume Vilà-Clara is a friend who works as a graphic designer and he’s always been beside me almost from the begining. I really appreciate both collaborations. Jewelers Rosa Nogués Freixas and Begoña Prats also collaborated publishing and seeking information during different periods, and through these years there also were others who published some posts periodically, for example jeweler Cata Gibert.

Alchimissima:  Your blog is linked to an online shop on Etsy. Can you give us some opinion on the commercial utility of this link and on online shopping in general?

Montserrat: A few days ago I finished restructuring my blog and I also updated a new website to show my personal work. Now when you go to mardecolorrosa.com you will find 3 buttons: to the blog, to my jewelry work and to my Etsy shop. The online shop is a really interesting way to earn some money but It’s not easy at all and you have to invest many hours networking.  Regardless, I think this time is not wasted and I hope that every year sales will be better.

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Alchimissima: We know from our own experience that writing good posts and blogging is in general pretty time-consuming work.  How do you integrate timewise your own jewelry production with the work for the blog and is it really worthwhile?

Montserrat: Though I’m a passionate and organized person, I still feel like I’m working 24 hours a day and I try to arrange my time. The work I do as a communicator is very important to me but of course what I like most  is working at my bench in silence, creating my jewelry and I always feel that I should spend more time there.  Many years ago I made some changes in my life that allow me to dedicate all my time to jewelry. That was a really difficult but, in the end, a very good decision and now all my life is full of my work which turns entirely around contemporary jewelry.

everything turns around jewelry

everything turns around jewelry

 

Alchimissima: Has the number and reaction of your readers to your blog changed significantly over the years?

Montserrat: Yes I think they have, because every day people have less time and the number of reactions and readers of the blog has been reduced during the last several years. More than two years ago I recognized that and decided to make some changes in my way of communication. I started the Mar de Color Rosa Project which includes participation in the most important social networks, among other aspects. In October 2013 I uploaded a presentation to You Tube where I briefly explain the communication project, how I have been expanding it over the years and its connections with my jewelry work.

Alchimissima: Would you advise young makers to start their own blogs and work on them constantly over time?

Montserrat: That depends on their interests. It could be a good way to show information about their own work, inspiration and work process for example, but they can also communicate through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, etcétera, so I think everyone can choose the way that best suits their preference. Anyway I think in our time you must be someone into social networking.

Alchimissima: Your blog is interesting, both for jewelry makers and designers, giving information and inspiration.  What does it give to you?

Montserrat: First, it gives me a lot of information, more than I could ever imagine receiving in such a period of time and then, and the most important for me, it gives me the opportunity to connect with many people around the world, some of whom are now a good friends.

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We end this interview with another picture out of Montserrat’s studio, where we can see that the time she enjoys most is the one working on her jewelry.
So thank you very much again for taking this time off your studio to answer our questions and if you want to know more please connect to:

www.montserratlacomba.com
www.mardecolorrosa.com

 

 two new installations in Alchimia.

lilian mattuschka, panic room

Every master and third year student needs to make an installation inherent to his/her work in the  Alchimia window or corridor. It is a demanding task to pass from the small size of a jewel to, we can almost say huge size, of Alchimia’s exhibition environment.

This time it was the task of Lilian Mattuschka in the corridor and Carla Movia in the window.

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Through this cubical my biggest fear was projected onto a space,
Where you see through my eyes,
Feel with my body
That moment when the floor becomes the sky,
Where the shapes turns into fog,
and I am frozen
into a body that is no longer mine
Obsessed with the metallic sound of my heart beat

Lilian Mattuschka

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This “panic room” had to passed in order to enter the school, and the rhythmic device made an absolutely strange and disturbing sound. This was the reason why we had to take it down pretty soon, cat and cleaning lady did not appreciate.

 

The window installation of Carla Movia has somehow similar intentions and gives a feeling of ambiguity and extraneousness.

An amazing effect with absolute simplicity of means.

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1,2,3,4…………. When taken alone they’re just thin light strips, but once they’re placed, one upon the other, they gain a strength and weight of their own. It’s then that it becomes hardly impossible to separate one from the other, to distinguish and understand the frivolity of each layer.  And when you’re the one carrying this mass around, the heaviness becomes hardly bearable.

Carla Movia

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a white field at daytime, a particular question coming up: ” Is this just to hide the inside, as in construction sites?” but then when looking with more attention the extreme care of the line setting tells the viewer, that this is the ornament itself. This is the installation.

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whereas at night the window becomes a beautiful light painting and there is no doubt about the intention.

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But there is some doubt about the picture, unfortunately I could not quite catch the beauty and leave it to you to imagine.

 

A celebrity for celebrities

L’ArcoBaleno, the ultimate resource for exploring, discovering and collecting extraordinary design from around the world has chosen to showcase the work of Lucia Massei in the section ‘Carefree Beauties -The Barbara Becker Collection’. 
This could mean that maybe we might see a Lucia Massei jewel in the next Academy Award Celebration !

The Arcobaleno site is an absolutely exclusive online market place, closely linked to the the famous Miami-Basel Design Fair.
As they they state in their home page:’ ArcoBaleno is a place to explore, discover and collect the world’s most extraordinary design.’

Lucia Massei has been selected by L’Arcobaleno for its very first celebrity collection by Barbara Becker, a fashion, jewelry, and interiors designer, not to mention mom, model, actress, friend, athlete, advocate, and more, Barbara is at once a force to be reckoned with and the kind of warm, funny, down-to-earth woman everyone wants as a best friend. As a style icon, she combines an elegant timelessness with enough of-the-moment edge to lend every look equal parts grace and power.

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Barbara Becker, 2013 Bambi awards, Berlin

Barbara’s L’AB collection captures this aesthetic beautifully with fun, pretty, lighthearted treasures that range from subtle curves to shapely statements—each the perfect piece for myriad situations. Because, as Barbara knowingly puts it, “Beauty knows many different moments, be it in high heels on the red carpet or barefoot on the beach in Miami.”

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Lucia Massei’s brooches and necklace ‘Caffé della Pace’ (famous and very romantic bar in the center of Rome) are the first pieces chosen for the web-site.

This combination of hard-edged and refined sensibilities is a signature feature of Massei’s work, as is her means of capturing the jewels’ metamorphosis from raw, natural material into desirable, precious adornment—lending the finished piece a self-consciously “unfinished” look.

Congratulations Lucia!!!!!

 

Is it possible to use a 5000 year old technique to make contemporary jewellery ?

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Susanne Matsché, pendant, silver, steel

 

As the dictionary tells us filigree is a delicate ornamental work of twisted gold, silver, or other wire and one of the oldest jewellery techniques and used in almost all jewellery traditions. Today it might be regarded as old-fashioned and just linked to cheap remakes of traditional pieces but in the right hands it can be of a magical beauty.

Susanne Matsché, www.susannematsche.com, Austrian, American, German jeweller, specialized in this very particular and in contemporary jewellery quite unusual technique will give an insight in the art of filigree in June 2014.

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Susanne Matsché, pendant, silver

 

Dates of workshop: June 23 to June 27 , five days, 30 hours

cost: € 700 + 22% VAT

workshop description:

In this workshop students will get an insight into the art of filigree. To create light, delicate pieces of jewelry, we will prepare decorative fine silver wires, make special solder alloy, and assemble wires in multiple layers.
The unusual technique of filigree is a fascinating process with its soft fine silver wire of an almost textile quality, the assembling of complex ornaments with glue on paper, the use of special tweezers and powdered solder. Over the course of the 5 days the students will have the opportunity to take the traditional technique further to develop a highly personal application out of these ancient methods…

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Susanne Matschè has been teaching workshops in this technique in schools and universities all over the world and her love for this particular kind of work is contributing to keep 5000 years of knowledge alive.

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Susanne Matsché. ring, silver

 

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Susanne Matsché. pendant, silver

 

for further information: info@alchimia.it

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Susanne Matsché. ring, silver