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A few weeks back, we reported from Munich about the inspiring group show Light Matters that took place during this year’s annual Jewellery Week. Berlin-based jewellery artist and lighting designer Daria Olejniczak, Alchimia Bachelor graduate, had cooked up an exciting collaboration with the lighting design company ERCO who offered their showroom and state-of-the-art illumination equipment for this showcase of six jewellery artists. The result was widely acclaimed as one of the highlights of the Jewellery Week. Due to its success and positive feedback, Daria and ERCO decided to go for a second round and present the show again but differently in the company’s Berlin showroom.

This time Daria approached the organisers of “48-hours-Neukölln”, an annual art festival in the south-eastern district of Neukölln in Berlin. The festival had announced ‘shadow’ to be this year’s thematic framework, which seemed a perfect fit for this exhibition project. The Berlin art festival was happy to include it in their program, under one condition: that it takes place somewhere in Neukölln. That turned out to be a little tricky, as ERCO’s Berlin showroom is located in the adjacent neighborhood Kreuzberg, about 400 meters away from Neukölln. This posed a big challenge for Daria and her collaborators, as the exhibition concept relies on the symbiosis between the selected art works and the professional lighting infrustructure. The solution that they came up with is as smart as it is bizarre: the event was simply broadcast via video live streaming to a venue in Neukölln called Polymedialer Ponyhof (which literally translates to poly-media pony yard). So technically, there were two events happening at the same time, one analog, physical exhibition in Kreuzberg, and its digital counterpart in Neukölln.

Daria says that the experience in Munich helped her a lot to set the exhibition in Berlin. Also, she explains, the result was even better than in Munich because she and her team managed to apply new and different lights that gave them even more subtle results. They ultimately used decided a greater number of luminaires yet dimmed to a lower output. The created effect was much stronger, as each collection had its own specific light while the remaining space between the individual collections could stay darker. The impression of encountering works as floating in space and creating little islands with each collection turned out to be richly emphasized.

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As such, it also highlighted once more the prime idea behind this collaboration, as expressed in the exhibitions title: LIGHT MATTERS. As the show has proven, light does matter, and not only for the artwork but also for the visitors. When using professional glare-free spots, not only the pieces are properly lit, but also viewers cast no shadows on the exhibits when looking at them closely. The light situation stays stable and viewers can focuse their perception on the pieces of art.

Caption is the same for all images: Photo by Mehdi Bahmed

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The legend of Koi-from fish to dragon | 2016 | Necklace | Silver, bois de violet, cotton fabric, cotton threat

  1. EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON

When I finished Alchimia I went into an Exchange program at Hiko Mizuno (Tokyo)

I really, really wanted to learn Japanese techniques in jewellery. What a surprise when I discovered that there were no Japanese techniques. I was in a mixed class: jewellery, bag and shoe makers. I was soooo sad and angry. I went so far away and I was not going to learn what I wanted.

Instead they taught me leather basic techniques. Thanks to this when I was back home (Alcoy) I decided to start my own bag and accesories company (Coba Complements), working always with fabric from the companies of Alcoy and leather, using the knowledge I acquired in Japan.

Now when looking back, I am very glad that happened; I see it was meant to be. I usually try to take things as they come, they may happen for a reason.

Learn in your own way, and once in a while stop and take a look to the past, see how you have been evolving and you will understand many things you did not at that moment.

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  1. LET THINGS FLOW AND FIGHT FOR YOUR DREAMS

When I started Coba Complements in 2013, some people thought it was a hobby and I was doing handcraft stuff without any goal.

Close friends and family supported me from the beginning, even though I was quite lost, but I knew this was going to go far.

I did not know how to manage, how to develop, how to start. I  wanted to grow fast…ERROR. Then I realized I had to grow slow, step by step. I started doing showrooms at my flat, moving around my area, but like this I was going nowhere.

One day I met a girl while climbing, and through lots of talking she explained to me she how she had just started an interior studio with a friend, and they were looking for a space where to set it up. At that moment I was looking for a space too, so we decided to share a space. We found an amazing one…we decided to do something completely different. Coworking-conceptstore-workshop (Co. Disseny Coworking): now we are open since more than one year. And guess what? Coba Complements is the article we sell the most. People come in asking for the bags, after having received one as a gift, or through a friend, etc. This gave me the strength to go forward. Currently I am working in a growth project that will take me some months to be built. As I saisd before, step by step.

If you believe and have that inner force that tells you it is going to be something big…go for it no matter what people tell you. And remember…always move step by step.

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  1. TAKE ONE OR TWO DAYS OFF A WEEK. CLEAR UP YOUR MIND.

When I started Co. Disseny Coworking, like everything at the beginning, I needed money. I was working in a factory 30 hours/week, attending the shop, and doing jewellery and bags. 7 days a week working. Nearly no free time. I was so obsessed with getting money for the company that I just was oppressing myself.

I had no motivation, zero ideas and I was always tired. One day I reconsidered the situation, I met some people and started to go climbing on the weekends.

My life changed completely. Motivation returned and with it so many ideas. I started to wake up excited to go working.

It is not more work that will bring you success. Analize the situation, like Giulia Savino said: Be aware of your way of working.

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  1. ANALIZE WHERE YOU ARE, WHAT YOU WANT, WHAT YOU CAN GET NOWADAYS AND WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO GET IN THE NEAR FUTURE.

When I finished Alchimia and came to Alcoy, I knew it was going to be hard to live from jewellery if I wanted to stay here.

Then I started with Coba Complements, later on I set up Co. Disseny and now, after 4 years, some people start to know about the kind of jewellery I do, and some clients finally appeared.

I stopped nearly for 3 years to do jewellery. I think it was time to reflect about everything. It was for a long time that I did not feel as motivated as now. These 3 years of break from it made me think and focus on what was my goal.

Take your time. Don’t be frustrated if there is a period of your life that is not focused on jewellery or you don’t feel motivated doing it. That ability will always be  in you, and will bloom at the right time. But you have to keep believing in it.

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Exhibition ‘Japonismo’ | Co. Disseny Coworking_Alcoy | 2/12/16-9/01/17 

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‘Tsuru’ | 2016 | Brooch | Silver, copper, leather, Japanese cotton fabric, steel

 

5. GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR TIME IN THE SCHOOL. EXPERIMENT, MAKE MISTAKES, ENJOY THE PROCESS, TAKE RISKS.

Once in the bussiness world, you cannot do all those things as often as you would like. Everything adopts a different perspective, priorities and time consuming.

Be wild and free and let your imagination fly every single day.

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Prototypes from exchange program_2013

THANKS FOR READING, AND I HOPE SOMETHING WILL BE USEFUL FOR YOU!

ABOUT ANDREA CODERCH

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Before going to Florence, I studied industrial Design degree at my hometown (Alcoy). Then I did a 3-year course at Alchimia; when I finished I realised my wish: going to Japan. Thanks to the exchange program of the school I went to Hiko Mizuno (Tokyo).

From my Alchimia days and until today I took part in exhibitions (my final project work was selected for Talente 2013), taught workshops, gave talks…always about jewellery. I need and want to be in this field, even though I focus more on my accessories company.

After that great experience in Tokyo and once being back home, my adventure with my own business was born.

Now, is the 4th year of life of Coba Complements (and it keeps growing!!) I own, sharing with Espai Nu (an interior design studio), since a bit more than one year, Co. Disseny Coworking. This is a space where to buy design products, supporting independent designers, holding exhibitions, doing workshops and preparing different activities.

Please check our social media accounts!

Andrea Coderch        www.andreacoderch.com

www.cobacomplements.com

Instagram | coba.complements

Co. Disseny                fb | Co. Disseny Coworking

Instagram | co_disseny_co

 

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Daria Olejniczak –  lighting designer with an over 10-years- long career in architectural lighting, who freshly graduated in contemporary jewelry at Alchimia, curated Light Matters, a group exhibition taking place during the Munich Jewellery Week at the Erco Showroom with works by Daria Borovkova, Maria Ignacia Walker, Lavinia Rossetti, Lena Grabher, Valentina Caprini and Daria herself.

We have asked her to look back at this experience and share it with us.

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Exhibition view, photograther: Lukas Gaechter

THE IDEA

I was in Munich in 2016, having a look at the shows of other jewellery artists. Of course as a a lighting designer I always tend to pay attention to the illumination first. Unfortunately, I had to notice that lighting was treated pretty superficially. All the designers during the jewelry week face similar challenges, as they exhibit in spaces that are often used only temporarily as galleries, so I understand that the effort to organize a professional lighting is usually just too overwhelming (or expensive). However this was exactly the moment I got struck and decided to connect my two professions in one show. From my experience, I can say that whenever I have this kind of “aha-moment” in life, sooner or later my vision comes true. More or less one year later, I was in Munich standing in a room with 5 other artists, happy to open the show LIGHT MATTERS to the public. In the exhibition light was exactly as important as the pieces, and had a leading role in the developing of the concept, the title, the displays, the choice of the pieces, the promotion and the marketing.

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Work: Series “PiGreco” by Lavinia Rossetti, Photographer: Lukas Grabher

THE PREPARATION

For me the first step was to find artists who are motivated, hard-working and whose pieces interact differently with light. Intuitively I decided to work with Daria Borovkova, Maria Ignacia Walker, Lavinia Rossetti, who I knew from the school, and two other artists Lena Grabher and Valentina Caprini, who I had never met before. I liked the variety of the textures, colours, materials we used in our works. Optic lenses, transparencies, perforations, fine-mesh-structures, organic forms all correspond in their own way with different qualities of light – as colour rendering index, beam angle, light temperature, etc.

Together we prepared a common portfolio and I decided to approach ERCO, one of the internationally known lighting fixtures manufacturer, which specializes in adjustable spotlights, commonly used in museums and galleries. I was happy that my proposal for cooperation was taken very positively. I went to Munich to see the venue of the Erco Showroom, which happened to be a beautiful spacious office in an old city house.

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Work: Series “Pink roots” by Valentina Caprini

 

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Work: Series “Bodies” by Daria Olejniczak

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Work: Series “Being and belonging” by Daria Borovkova

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Work: Series “Piel” by Maria Ignacia Walker

THE EXECUTION

I found it very important to stay focused and dot down all the tasks which had to be performed till the opening. It was a lot! Finances, displays, press release, application for the event, photos, catalogue design, printing and marketing, require a lot of time and patience. I am very grateful to my team for understanding that it was sometimes stressful for me to be in charge of all the coordination. Eventually all went well, despite many hurdles on the way, which it is good to laugh about at the end. The regularity of the meetings and the discussions allowed us to stay motivated, and to complete all of the tasks (otherwise the collective goal diffuses). We were eager to use all the latest digital means of communication, doodle, skype, dropbox, google shared files, which made it possible to share info and communicate effectively despite the distance that was between us – I live in Berlin, Lena in Vienna, and the others are based in Florence.

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Work: Series “Diplopia” by Lena Grabher

THE OPENING

LIGHT MATTERS received an overwhelming positive response, which makes me believe the reason behind it was the fresh idea of bringing together two realities of contemporary jewellery and high-tech lighting, connection which was never made before. Also the diversity of the visitors made it extra interesting – not only the contemporary jewellery community was there, but also architects, designers and ERCO customers. The opening was announced as the “highlight of the day” by Wiener Schmucktage and it happened to be on the personal galleries route of Bella Neyman (owner of the Gallery Reinstein Ross in New York) which was published in the Current Obsession Magazine.

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Exhibition opening

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Exhibition opening

THE LEARNING

I am especially happy and proud that this first show created new possibilities for the whole group, and for myself. LIGHT MATTERS was invited to the Silver Festival in Legnica in Poland, where it can be seen on May 19 and 20. It also got accepted as part of an art festival in Berlin, the 48 Std. Neukölln, where again the exhibition will be hosted by the ERCO Showroom from June 23 to 25. These results show me that it was all worth the effort. After the closure of the exhibition, when all the excitement leaves, it’s good to sit down and note all the things that went well and what could be improved. And than enjoy, enjoy that moment of pride.

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Exhibition opening

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Exhibition opening

 

 

 

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Marissa Ryan Racht’s new body of work titled Farview, outcome of a two-year research developed within the MA program of Alchimia, exists on what she defines as “the fine line between fear and empathy that defines us as human beings, and the methods we use to conceal them or protect ourselves against them”. Delicate but ultimately rough, seducing in a rather uncanny way, hard to define or classify, her pieces could be read and experienced within a larger exhibitionary framework in which images, photographs and a video introduced the audience to her larger set of references, both architectural and biographical, and to a particular type of drawings she realized with closed eyes incited by the reading of stories of fear and empathy of other people.

But let’s start from the basics. The site of the show, was a space available for an affordable rent in the center of Florence that created the right environment for the pieces.

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Tables (and mind: beautiful ones taken from an antiquary) were hung from the ceiling so as to keep the jewelry pieces in the center of the exhibition format, surrounded by the other elements of the show such as the drawings.

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Did you notice the white leather chair? Quite a number were distributed through the space, to direct specific viewing positions Marissa was interested in facilitating.

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Marissa brought forward two collaborations, one for the images with Lilian Mattuschka, and one for a film with Federico Cavicchioli.

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She printed a beautiful catalogue in 60 copies, designed by Lumy Noguez, with texts by curator and writer Riccardo Lami and herself, images of the pieces and many of her drawings. The price is 15eu only for special and limited edition, so we can’t but encourage to get one at your earliest convenience.

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Last but not least: the carefully arranged food, as Marissa really takes care of every detail.

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And of course as always we recommend: don’t forget to thanks friends (and family). As far as we know Carla Movia and Bernardo Cioci were paramount in making this happen.

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Everything is circular

1. Draw; Keep Lists; Collect images; Document

Drawing is a way of thinking; it is my daily ritual. Find what suits you best and generate ideas on a regular schedule. It is not so much about inspiration, but hard work. Sit down and something will come. Even if it is just one word or one line that day it can become a future source of inspiration. An image may catch your attention one random Tuesday and become the basis of a new body of work 3 years later.

Document your work – even if seems like the most boring of tasks on earth.   DO IT!

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‘Hangers’; 2014

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‘Untitled Project 2’; 2014

 

2. Explore new techniques and old techniques

In the ‘Jewelry World’, like the ‘Art World’ techniques seem to come into fashion in waves. It is easy to get caught up in these trends. But choose techniques for the right reasons – new techniques are always exciting, but I have found they are always the most interesting when placed in contrast with the old ways of doing things. Respect tradition by learning about it, but don’t forget to challenge and question.

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‘If it were not for the muck.kerchief I’ ; 2015

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‘If it were not for the muck.kerchief II’ ; 2015

 3. Be generous; collaborate

The most interesting and impressive people I have met have been generous with their time and knowledge. This is a quality I try to emulate. Engage with people in different fields and from different places. Knowledge is gold.   Conversations can lead to understanding and to unthinkable collaborations. These collaborations can help you see your work in a new way.

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‘Crit Room Detritus’; collaboration with Amy Wang; 2014

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‘Hanging Blanks’; 2016

 4. Float, but with a paddle

 I have never been someone with a plan, I prefer to wander or float. Understand the downsides of this and figure out how to overcome them.   Goals are important, but you cannot change your natural way of exploring the world. I have had to learn how to deal with the shortcoming of this method of living life. I bought a paddle – steer from time to time.

 

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‘Football Crop-Top’; 2016

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‘Sparkle Jacket’; 2016 (photo credit: Aliona Kustenova)

 5. Give errors a second chance

A step back and time away can help reframe your work and always helps me understand it in a different light. This is helpful when you feel lost. Embrace mistakes, but be critical. Creation is messy and a fertile mistake can lead you in directions you were never even aware existed.

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‘Houses’; table drawings for la douzaine; 2017

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‘Tracing Blank-ie’; 2013

 Everything is circular

 The more I do, the more I realize everything is circular. My path and choices have sometimes seemed unrelated. I am impulsive and dive head first into whatever interests me at the moment. But I am learning that maybe my impulses are perhaps less random then I first thought. Maybe they are subconscious and born from my core interests. Forging the same path over and over is OK. The treads will wear down the earth under your feet and a deeper circle will be etched away. This has taken me a while to figure out, so be patient and kind with yourself!

Never one for traditional paths, Nadège Roscoe-Rumjahn’s has followed a circuitous route through her educational journey. With a background in architecture from McGill University, she found herself drawn to the opposing scale of contemporary jewelry.  Diving head first, she attended Alchimia in Florence, Italy and in 2014, completed a master’s in fine arts at Cranbrook Academy of Art.  Her passion for architecture, fashion, objecthood and craft has led to an insatiable appetite for technique, as she continues to grow as a multi-media artist. Her primary focus is on the human form as she searches to express a moment where intimacy exists.

Nadege’s latest project ‘la douzaine’ is a play on a maker’s dozen.  Handmade, one-of-a-kind blankets, table linens, clothing and weavings are created for the discerning collector. Small batches and limited editions are the output of unique projects and collaborations, all nodding to a slowly fading textile industry.

It’s not easy to advice jewelry maker Carla Movia. Not easy because she mostly knows and plans everything before you were even asked. She does research, she studies possibilities. She knows what has preceded her and has very strong esthetic opinions on contemporary jewelry and its different threads. She reads, she sees a lot, and is very well informed. She is hungry of a particular type of knowledge, and she perfectly knows what she is looking for. Nomen Nescio, the exhibition coming out of her 2 years research during the MFA program at Alchimia, and essentially an installation of 300 brooches, shows exactly all of that.

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The pieces highlight a uniqueness amongst the mass, hence the decision to show them in grids was a very smart one. Instead of creating chaotic crowds of pieces shown throughout the space, this type of display setting gives the visitor the chance to really care and look for the details and the differences between them.

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Each piece came with its own “passport”: literally a sort of identity document for the pieces, giving information about them, such as their names, materials, leaving space to document their journeys and speak of their future owners. This gives the pieces a political tone, one that speaks of citizenship and sense of identity.

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As we always suggest at Alchimia: do make good edition pieces. Here you can see how several in fact were sold. Please note that this can be your little contribution to society: Carla decided to donate a percentage of the sales to Oxfam, a confederation of NGO’s working on the alleviation of global poverty.

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The exhibition was held in a very beautiful private space not far from the school. This is not the best choice in terms of audiences as of course this means the space itself won’t bring in a crowd. On the other hand the esthetic result has been just what Carla was looking for. In one way or the other we find ourselves almost always having to make some compromises.

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As always, and again and again, friends play a major role in setting up an exhibition. Be always sure to check their schedule, not only yours, when planning a date.

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  1. ALWAYS LOOK FOR A NEW CHALLENGE IN ORDER TO KEEP IMPROVING

I think that challenging yourself continuously is very important. You can only move forward, if you force yourself to learn new things. If you keep acting only in your comfort zone, you will stay at the same point constantly.

Wether it is on a general professional or personal level, or just a single object I am working on – I always try to find new techniques or materials to explore. Some people want to focus on one same material or technique, which is also fine. The most important thing for me however is not to stop at the same point each time. Try to continue to surprise yourself, to go further than what you have imagined and find new, and different ways to do and to think.

In my latest series Diplopia I have used various techniques including 3D printing for the first time. It offered a complete new way of working to me. I think it is important to be open to a broad spectrum of techniques and materials, from traditional ones to new technologies. Be open to adapt to new opportunities in order to seize all the possibilities you are offered.

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2. HAVE A DREAM/A GOAL/A PLAN

 

 I believe that if you have a goal and you really want to achieve something, it is important that you frame it for yourself. If you keep seeing it clear in front of you, your whole body and mind will move towards it. Every decision and every move, leads you closer to your goal.

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3. BELIEVE THAT YOU CAN DO EVERYTHING!

Don´t hesitate to participate or apply because you think you are not experienced enough, or are too anxious about the possibility of failing. It is very tough to be self-confident in the art field. Especially as art jewelers, when we sometimes seem to float in an area between design, arts and crafts. Thus, it is such a satisfaction to achieve something that you did not think you could do. Those moments keep you going and help you to move on, so strive for them.

This year I won the “Eligius-Schmuckpreis 2016”. When I decided to apply I really did not have high hopes to get chosen, since I had just finished my studies and moved to Vienna a few months earlier. I decided to give it a shot anyway since it can´t hurt. Eventually I won the prize, which was an amazing opportunity and honor. I realized that I was wrong in not believing in my chances. We can always find reasons not to do things, but those will keep us from engaging in great possibilities and if we just try, we might be proven wrong. And also: failing is a learning experience too!

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4. HAVE HIGH AIMS

 

Don´t limit yourself and your ideas. At first, for every idea and every plan you should aim as high as you can. Let your ideas and thoughts develop free from limitations. Step by step you can try to find solutions for realizing them or for solving the problems or for finding other, easier ways to get where you want to.

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5. BE OPEN AND COURAGEOUS FOR NEW POSSIBILITIES

 

Have a plan, a dream, but don´t stick to it irrevocably. Often you need to change, adjust or adapt your plans a little. Maybe this will lead to steps that you did not plan in advance, but they might just lead you to another route on the way to your goal. If there are chances, you have to catch them.

At the beginning of my educational path as a jeweler I could not have imagined where my way would lead. I had not planned on doing my bachelors in Florence and I never thought I would complete my masters degree in the US. I am incredibly happy that I took the chances as they came, as those where the most valuable experiences of my whole life.

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6. DISAPPOINTMENTS ARE PART OF THE GAME

In my second year of grad school one of my art professors told me about his “folder of rejections”. It was a huge, stuffed folder that he kept. Over the years he collected every letter of refusal he received and put it in this folder. He is a successful artist today, but he assured me that for each time he got accepted for an exhibition or a job, he probably got rejected 10 times or more. Sometimes it can be very hard to take a rejection or a failure. You start questioning everything, asking yourself why you didn’t choose another career and worry that all your hard work ends in despair. Don´t be afraid to fail, don´t let it bring you down, there will be a next time and it will be worth it!

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7. HAVE FUN!

The best way to produce good work is to enjoy doing it. It will be easy for you to work hard and a lot if it doesn´t just feel like work. This works best if you can create a surrounding that comforts you. Make yourself a home in your studio and work close to people you like! I have always shared my studio with other artists. It was the best way to stay motivated when I got lost in my process, or when I was tired. I can ask my mates for suggestions and I even learn while trying to help them. If you talk, discuss, dream and phantasize together, your ideas will float and flourish in a way you can never achieve if you just sit by yourself. It is fun to work until late if you can have little breaks together and encourage each other to go on for one more hour.

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8. JOIN FORCES

Since April 2016 I am a Member of Atelier Stoss im Himmel. We are 8 artists that share a workspace and have a common exhibition space, where we have a showroom and organize shows. It is a beautiful space, equipped with all the tools we need to work and the possibility to split duties and responsibilities. None of us could afford anything close to this by themselves and of course, it is much more fun together.

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Lena Grabher is a Vienna-based contemporary jeweler. She started her education in Vienna where she accomplished her apprenticeship examination as a goldsmith. She completed her BFA degree in Florence at ALCHIMIA contemporary jewelry school in 2013, to continue her studies in Metals at the State University of New York at New Paltz, where she received her MFA in May 2015. Since 2016 she is a Member of Atelier STOSSimHIMMEL and teaches gold and silversmithing techniques at the Wiener Goldschmiedelehrgang. Lena has developed an experimental way of working that is driven by an urge to discover and explore the subject of jewelry on many levels. Her latest work is entitled DIPLOPIA and was currently awarded with the prestigious Eligius – Schmuckpreis.