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courses / corsi

 

Alchimia: Can you tell us what is the core of your teaching at Alchimia?

Marzia Rossi: The aspect that is most valued in the courses we propose, in my opinion, is the discovering and enhancing of the essence of the materials that are chosen each time. Trying to understand through tactile research, the weight, the very nature of the material we use, for example if it is natural or synthetic, or how it can be manipulated.

Metal, of course, is the material we use most, but even beginner students learn immediately that you can use various types of metal and each of them wants and has to be treated in a different manner. It is very important to choose the most suitable one in relation to what it is one wants to accomplish.

Daniela Boieri: The programs are tailored on the necessities and interets of the students. In the case of beginners we teach them how to familiarize with their creativity and with the tools that we use in the field. With professionals, we try to give new inputs to develop and challenge further their work.

Alchimia: What techniques or pedagogical methodologies do you adopt?

Marzia Rossi: We try to teach how many ways there are to wear a jewel; what feeling it should give, because it always is a very personal choice whether it is a more classic or completely experimental type of jewellery.

The process of “making ” a jewel in our courses is definitely practice-based, but it is indeed a creative process, where final objects are achived only via trials and experiments.

Even in the case of more technical courses it is important to understand, by talking to each student, what kind of project they want to accomplish: a series of pieces with a common theme/concept or a few unique very precious pieces require different choices.

Daniela Boieri: In the case of beginners we would start, for example, with the most simple welds, designing and building a necklace and then move on to more complex forms is the case of a box-ring …Or, if they are interested in the closure of the stones, we teach them to make a ring with cabochon cut stone, which is the first approach to this type of technique. In the process of realization of each piece we also examine aspects relating to things such as portability, weight, etc ..Typically in two weeks we get to finish at least three pieces (necklace, ring, brooch / earring).

 

Alchimia: Who are your students? Can you tell us what kind of people and professionals take part in your workshops?

Marzia Rossi: The versatility of the courses, which aims to respond to interests and needs that are different and quite unique every time, leads to a very interesting and heterogeneous type of participants, coming from all parts of the world. Most of the students that land on the benches of the Intensive Courses are looking for experiencing something new: we have people who were doing completely different jobs and have decided to now think with and through their hands; others are already working or studying as goldsmiths, but are curious to try new methods or others who arrive with many doubts and questions accumulated over time. And here, we try to answer or at least to offer our expertise to support them, and the beauty of it is that when you mix different experiences something new always comes out. This is why the dialogue between teacher and student and also between the students themselves never becomes an end in itself but rather always a good starting point.

Daniela Boieri: There are students of all types …Mostly it is women between 20 and 70 years old. There are those who approach jewellery for the first time to see if it is a type of work that they would like or not; those who already own workshops but want to specialize in some particular technique, those who want to discover and work with materials other than metal…

Daniela Boieri graduated in jewellery, costume design and fashion at the University of Florence in 2001 and specialised in contemporary jewellery in Alchimia from 2004 to 2007. She works as an independent jewellery artist, designer and teacher. She loves metal and its secrets as colourings and patinations, adding and joining, engraving and etching. Her jewellery is present internationally in various galleries and museums.

Marzia Rossi graduated in Interior Design in Milan and studied at Alchimia Contemporary School in Florence. In her work prevails a research for a transparency of materials, even when opaque. Her jewellery pieces have been presented in numerous exhibitions and they are exposed in international art and design galleries. Her work is represented by Antonella Villanova Gallery, Florence and Charon Kransen, New York. She is currently teaching at Alchimia School and she is working in her atelier in Florence.

 

 

 

 

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The ornament is a very rich and complex cultural phenomenon. The need for decoration and ornamentation has always been an essential part of mankind, from the earliest civilizations until the present day. The ornament is present in every discipline of the Arts, and closely related to the world of jewellery, in which the need to decorate the body forms the main reason for its existence. A piece of jewellery is always an ornament, but an ornament is not always a piece of jewellery.

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The ornament can have a symbolic, aesthetic or social function since there is an intimate relation between ornaments and the way people express their life. Feelings of joy, lust and grieve are all materialized in ornaments. Although being attacked for the first time in history in the early 20th century by the architect Adolf Loos and by the philosophy of the modernists, the ornament clearly survived and has now proven to be a subject for contemporary developments in both Fine Art and Design.

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During the course the students will investigate the origin of the ornament, its meaning and full potency. The students will be encouraged to connect the world of jewellery with other disciplines, and to search for a relation between the past and the present. Through short exercises and assignments, both individual talks and group discussions the students will develop a personal and contemporary vision on the ornament which will have to result in finished pieces.

I strongly believe every student has to become aware of the relation between the mind, the heart and the belly during the creative process. To form a strong and personal vision, concentration and deepening is necessary. During the workshop the students will be challenged to go the whole way with an idea, to stretch it as far as it can go.

The workshop will take place from July 11 to 15, 2017.

For more information write to: info@alchimia.it

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Evert Nijland is a Dutch jewelry maker. His work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions world-wide, including in the Galerie Rob Koudijs, Galerie Louise Smit, Coda museum, Gorkums Museum, Textielmuseum and Stedelijk Museum (NL), Galerie Spektrum and Cranach Haus, Museum fur Kunst und Gew,  Internationale Handwerksmesse ‘Schmuck’(DE), Oratorio di San Rocco (IT), Cheongju International Craft Biennale (KR), Fondation Bernardaud (FR), MAD Museum (USA), Victoria & Albert Museum (UK) among many more. He is the recipient of several awards among the many the Dutch Design Prizes and The Sotheby’s Award and his work has been acquired by public collections such as the Nationaal Zilvermuseum, Nederlands Textielmuseum, MMK Museum, Coda Museum and Stedelijk Museum (NL), Mima, Middlesbrough Intitute of Modern Art and Victoria & Albert Museum (UK), Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum of Arts and Design, New York and the Mint Museum of Crafts & Design, Charlotte NC (USA).

 

 

written by Aniya Dunkley

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Akis Goumas, bracelet “shell”, forged silver, wires Flickr, Bracelets Cuffs Bangles, 2015

Just before the Winter holidays, the second-year MFA students of Alchimia participated in a three-day workshop in Anticlastic Raising (a technique of metal forming whereby a sheet of metal is formed directly with a hammer on a sinusodial – snakelike – stake) based on ancient Greek concepts and techniques.  The course was taught by Akis Goumas, a Greek jewelry designer by trade who also works with a team of archeologists studying and researching prehistoric metal technology in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.  Akis, who has been designing and making jewelry for over 35 years, emphasizes the importance of understanding the journey a piece of jewelry takes through the process of its making. He believes strongly in the power of our rational and logical thinking, in the idea that we all have the ability to teach ourselves how to make things through a careful consideration of the materials we already have at our disposal and what our desires for an object are.

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Over the three days, students learned how to design and create tools made of raw wood and metal, and then realize three (or more) anticlastic pieces of jewelry, ranging in size and dimension. This was meant to guide the students towards an understanding of the proper functions and uses of the tools they use, and how to personalize and shape them in relation to both themselves and the objects they imagine to create.

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Each student walked away with its own specially-designed hammer, etching pens and tweezers, hammering techniques, and memorable pieces of jewelry.  It was a lot of hard work, but Akis was an excellent guide, eternally patient and very attentive to everyone.  His warm spirit and drive kept the students going at a steady pace and eager to learn more each day.  He left a lasting impression on everyone and we all look forward to having him back again some time soon.

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What can you do with the notions of repetition, pattern and rhythm?

Alchimia’s first year BFA students are happy to present to the blog the outcome of a five-days workshop with Alchimia’s former director, artist and jewelry maker Doris Maninger.

How about starting with a potato?

By using only a potato students created hundreds of black and white patterns and collectively realized a wonderful window installation.

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How do you work with a group?

The building of a sense of (temporary) community with fellow students and faculty is a central aspect of  Alchimia’s pedagogical method, as it strengthens self-security and encourages experimentation. Hence a second exercise during the workshop was the realization of a 1 minute music video revolving around the three magic words.

 

What is the size of a necklace?

The last exercise was about collectively realizing a necklace for the Gods, creating a piece of overly exaggerated size, moving from the micro dimension of jewelry to the space of a window.

 

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The first year BFA is: Silvia Bonardi, Thomas Catry, Yara Diaz Salles, Yu Fang Hu, Daniel Jirkovsky, Ashleigh Mc Culloch, Sarah Ordóñez, Sarah Poupart, Alessia Prati, Yanqi Wuang, Shuang Yue

 

 

How do we handle materials, what is their known and usual use, how can their qualities be defined? These questions were at the core of Material and Rules, a five-days workshop tailored for Alchimia’s BFA program by Doris Maninger with the assistance of Carla Movia. The workshop dealt with acts of defining, ordering, categorizing and in essence has the aim to encourage the students to think about how they look at things, and how their own act of looking defines what they see.
During these five days students used play as a form of investigation, understanding the importance of experimentation before final decision making, how that moment of freedom is paramount while keeping an absolute respect for self-imposed rules.

An important part of the this year’s course was the visit to the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology of Florence, one of the most significant in Europe. The Museum owns a very important patrimony, through which it is possible to trace the history of research methodologies adopted by anthropologists in the 19th and 20th centuries, and to gain knowledge over the colonial methods adopted to study any non european culture. The most spectacular section of the collections is the more than 25,000 artefacts deriving from exploratory journeys and scientific missions conducted in many regions of the planet in the late 18th – early 19th century. They consist of all kinds of objects: garments, clothing accessories, jewellery and ornaments, masks, architectural elements, boats, equestrian vestments, idols and amulets, offensive, defensive and hunting weapons, tools for farming, fishing and cooking, decorative items from houses, musical instruments, religious objects of different cults, books, paintings and manuscripts. These objects are all made out of natural materials: wood, bark, leaves and plant fibres both in their natural state and as components of fabrics and woven objects, fruits and seeds, bones, ivory, horns, shells, metals, stones, clay, natural dyes, skin, feathers and hair.

The colonial gaze vis-à-vis early scientific methods gave an important inspiration to the students projects, as did the incredible techniques developed to master natural materials all found in the museum’s collection.

Enjoy the visuals yourself and remember, mind your look.

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Alchimia

 

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The second year BFA is: Roberta Consalvo, Elisa Cassaniga, Lisiane Hilario, Kristin Knoll, Chloe Leigh, Victoria Matsuka, Ginevra Montoschi, Uta Myazawa, Luisa Quartin, Cosima Rohden, Piera Shi, Sophia Taul, FuYu Tsai, Ian Lai Wen.

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We are happy to announce some exciting new additions to our dream team of staff members.

Jorge Manilla will be the new main tutor of Alchimia’s first year MFA program, while Benjamin Lignel will be the new tutor in curating and creative writing for Alchimia’s second year MFA program.

Read below about their stunning professional experience. For more information Alchimia is at your disposal (easy: info@alchimia.it).

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Alchimia

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Jorge Manilla is originally from Mexico but lives and works in Belgium.
Grown up in a family of goldsmiths and engravers, he studied visual arts at the Academy of San Carlos, in Mexico and received a higher technical jewellery training at the Academy of Craft and Design from the Mexican Institute of Fine Arts.
In 2003 he earned a Bachelor degree in sculpture at The Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent and one year later he enrolled at St Lucas University College of Art and Design where he received a Master degree in Jewellery and Silversmithing in 2006.
Alongside his professional activities as an artist, he is right now working as researcher and doing his PhD under the title Other Bodies Design at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. He also teaches at different Art and Design universities around the world .
His work investigates his environment – religion, emotions, relationships and the meaning of life.
His dark forms and shapes create a barrier between the meanings of the objects and the outside world. Black implies self-control and discipline, independence and a strong will. It gives an impression of authority and power. To the artist black relates to something hidden, the secretive and the unknown, and as a result it creates an air of mystery. It keeps things bottled up inside, hidden from the world. For Manilla black is the end, but the end always implies a new beginning.

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Benjamin Lignel is an artist, writer and curator. He is a co-founder of la garantie, association pour le bijou, a French association with a mission to study and promote jewellery. In this capacity, he co-curated “Also known as jewellery”, a exhibition of French contemporary jewellery that traveled seven cities, and helped program and organise the 44th Zimmerhof symposium (2012) in Germany as well as “Bijou(x). Les Pratiques contemporaine à l’épreuve de leur discours” (2014) a two-day symposium hosted by the Paris College of Art, in Paris. in 2014, he organised Différence et Répétition, a research-by-exhibition project that was shown in Norway and France. He became a member of Think Tank. A European Initiative for the Applied Arts, in 2009, and was appointed editor of Art Jewelry Forum in january 2013. He has just edited a third book under AJF’s imprint, dedicated to jewellery in the wider cultural realm, titled On and Off, and is currently working on a book on jewelry an gender with Namita Wiggers. Ben conducts workshops extensively on writing, curating and jewelry, and is a guest teacher at the Nürnberg Academy of Fine Arts since 2013.

 

NEW CRAFT

Curated by Stefano Micelli

Fabbrica del Vapore, Via Procaccini 4, Milano

02.04 – 12.09

XXI Triennale International Exhibition

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Entrance to the exhibition at Fabbrica del Vapore. Photo by Federica Sala

 The Milano Triennale International Exhibition is back after 20 years with a challenging program of exhibitions, special events and lectures that are happening all around the city since early Spring inside museums, universities and important cultural spaces. The aim of this project is to try to analyze from different perspectives the world of design in its contemporaneity.

New Craft is an exhibition that belongs to this intense and very ambitious program and takes place at the Fabbrica del Vapore, a former industrial building today devoted to contemporary culture, nearby the Monumentale graveyard of Milan. The aim of this endeavor is to share with the audience a reflection about one of the biggest and at the same time most exciting challenges design is facing nowadays: innovation through craftsmanship. In fact, if on the one hand we are facing the never ending opportunities offered by new technologies, on the other being a relevant designer today seems to mean also to go back to craftsmanship. Here, what becomes clear is that the unique essence of craft has finally been reconsidered (hurrah!) as something more meaningful and more valuable  than what can be achieved via mass production. Being able to produce new products using old techniques seems to be the objective many designers are trying to achieve. Thus the big challenge for a new generation of designers is creating a new type of technology to produce new forms of craft. The purpose of using old machines and studying traditional techniques is to give birth to new industrial/craft projects in which the speed and precision of the machines is combined with the uniqueness and customization of handmade piecesMany design theorists are raising attention on these new aspects of the discipline, trying to understand the how and the why of what is better known as a “self-production phenomena”, “fab-lab” and “makers”. At the same time, it’s important not to forget the industries that have invested into the design & engineering field, trying to merge mass production, with the high quality of the final outcomes and technical research towards innovation.

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New Craft – central hall exhibition at Fabbrica del Vapore. Photo © Inexhibit

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A large x-shaped concrete table located in the middle of the great hall. Photo © Inexhibit

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Photo by Federica Sala

 New Craft tries to didactically organize and narrate all the manifold aspects that are part and parcel of this research field today, showing products as diverse as bicycles and clothes, pots, cars, site-specific installations, processes of production (3D printing, 3D cutting, new typography machines) and (Yes!) jewelry piecesThe audience is able to interact with different tools, creating objects that become part of the exhibition too. 

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Artifacts made during the exhibitionPhoto © Inexhibit

 If the general aim of this event is pretty clear and well organized through a very defined path, sometimes the choice of the objects is too much. What I mean here is that the selection of pieces seems to be presenting too often objects belonging to the same collections, designers or brands rather than trying to really show the different possible outcomes the use of new craft techniques can lead to by involving a wider range of practitioners. Furthermore the amount of objects is overwhelming, so for me the famous “less is more” would have worked better on the overall, giving to the different pieces more space to breath but also more importance. 

 The jewellery section featured the work of Stefano Marchetti, Monica Castiglioni, Paola Volpi and Stefania Lucchetta.  While the first represents the highest form of goldsmithing skills rethought into more contemporary forms, the others base their work on the use of new technologies such as synterization and 3D printing together with a deep experimentation with new materials. I perfectly know and understand that each of the products presented in the exhibition is no more than a hint to a bigger world, but also in this case, the selection and the variety of the jewellery pieces could have been better shown and presented: Marchetti’s pieces are detached from the others and in the case of Lucchetta and Volpi the display seems to refer to a shop window rather than to an exhibition space. This means the the particularities and values of each piece are not highlighted, making it very hard for an audience to really appreciate the nuances of each piece.

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Exhibition view of the jewellery section. Photo by Federica Sala

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Exhibition view of the jewelry section. Photo by Federica Sala

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Stefano Marchetti’s pieces. Photo by Federica Sala

For instance Lucchetta’s work is the result of complicated 3D sketches and repeated patterns that could be nice to show close to one of the pieces. This is because the material choices she makes are relevant, and a consequence of the production process in relation to the visual final effects she wants to achieve. I know this as a professional in the field, but who else?

Anyhow, looking at the jewellery presentations from a distance, the contraposition of these images gives a strong feeling, especially looking at Marchetti’s work whose presence in this exhibition is remarkable and important for all of us: contemporary jewellery exists here and could also be like this!

Federica Sala is a jewelry artist based in Milan. In 2015 she graduated from Alchimia’s MFA program and recently won the Marzee Price 2016.