a workshop with Silvia Weidenbach
as part of the second year MFA program
I have experimented and explored, collected and ordered, discovered boundaries and got over them again. S. Weidenbach
Can craft and technology support each other in a fertile way instead of battling for primacy? This is and has always been an important question since the industrial revolution. Until recently, these two areas of human activity were seemingly not able to find any point of connection. Richard Sennett’s famous book “The Craftsman” (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008) addresses exactly this question by speaking of the interdependency of the two. To put it in very simple terms: technology needs artisans’ experimentation for further development, and craft can ultimately be considered technology at its base.
That’s what Silvia Weidenbach’s jewelry research is about. She started her path with traditional jewelry making, learned via various courses in schools and academies in Germany, to later move to London to study at the Royal College of Art, where she started exploring the possibilities of rapidforming, CAD, and in particular a tool called “haptic arm“.
This digital sculpting tool allows the user to shape virtual clay. The experimentation happens immaterially on the computer, so the process completely lacks the sensual and material feeling of the hands, but there are no limits to the possibilities of the shape. Your capacity to guide and direct the computer becomes your main boundary, so the usual restrictions related to the possibilities of materials become the limits of your own imagination. As Weidenbach puts it: you have no limit in the computer as you do with the real piece. Weidenbach’s practice has come to combine high-tech processes with very traditional metal smithing techniques. The results are strange flowerlike hybrids, stylish and colorful jewels, simultaneously contemporary and traditional.
For more information on Silvia’s practice click here to visit her website.
all photos by Sylvain Deleu