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anastasia-kandaraki-at-maden-contemporary-jewerly-studio-istanbul-giving-a-workshop

  1. NEVER STOP MOVING

Life has a movement and a rhythm. Never stop moving. Keep on track, and continue doing the things you do with or around your art. Even when you are not in a creative period of your life, do things that will keep your mind and hands trained and fed. Go to museums, see a movie, read a book, have a nice conversation with a friend, pause on your thoughts and your surroundings. Dance!

  1. THE HOLY TRINITY FOR ME IS: PERSISTENCE, PATIENCE & TRUST

Trust yourself, your capacities and your knowledge. Be patient because things need time. Be persistent and faithful to your art. Do not give up easily, otherwise you will never complete anything.

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  1. TAKE RISKS

If you really want something but it doesn’t exist yet, just create it by yourself. Take the risk and develop something from zero. Nobody is an expert in everything so if you need help try to find the right people to help you, learn from them, collaborate with them. You can make happen any idea that passes through your mind. Do not forget that we are creators and communicators.

 

  1. BE CURIOUS, BE HONEST…AND DREAM

Dreaming is about respecting your curiosity and your ideas. Honesty is about following your instinct. Being curious is about learning and discovering new things and possibilities. Without dreaming and without being curious it is difficult to go ahead. Art is like our bodies that never lie, so don’t forget to be honest with yourself and with your art.

5. ART NEEDS SACRIFICES, BUT BE AWARE OF WHAT KIND OF SACRIFICES YOU DO NOT TO GET TOO FAR FROM YOUR ART

In 2011, when I opened Anamma studio, I hadn’t realized the sacrifices that I had to do for my art. The studio is like a baby that needs all of my attention. The result was that for some years I didn’t have the time and the energy to create my jewellery. Now that the baby is already a child of 5 years old, I have realized that during its childhood I learned immensely through teaching, organizing workshops and curating student exhibitions. Learning never stops and goes in multiple directions. All of this brought me closer to my art. Only now I understand better my way of doing things, and what is surprising is that after this some things are coming out more naturally.

When I graduated from Alchimia in 2010, I moved to my home city, Athens. I was feeling alone and lost. The only thing that I was thinking about was how to share my art that I was so in love with. There are a lot of ways to do that. For me, the dream started to take form in 2011. I created a studio, Anamma, where people could basically come and follow classes about contemporary jewellery. This came out of my need to share and exchange my precious knowledge and experience in jewellery. But Anamma is not only about that. Students can develop individual and collective projects, present their work in annual exhibitions, visit together important exhibitions and discover the work of other artists…this list is fortunately long and always open to changes. That is what Anamma is all about.

Since 2011, I create, teach, invite artists from around the world, participate in exhibitions and curate exhibitions. In July of 2016, together with Greek jewellery artists Erato Kouloumpi, Ioanna Natsikou & Niki Stylianou, we formed the Anclastics group. With it we organized the first Athens Jewelry Week in order to inform and sensibilize the public on issues related to contemporary jewellery. And the story goes on…

For more information:

Facebook: Anastasia Kandaraki

Anamma

Is This Jewelry?

Athens Jewelry Week

 

1.WORKING TOGETHER IS BETTER THAN WORKING ALONE (MOST OF THE TIMES)

As soon as you get out of school you might feel pretty lost and overwhelmed, you have to learn how to manage your time and choose what to invest your energy in. I think that having good professional “partners” is a big help and a way to feel constantly challenged and motivated. You can share opportunities and knowledge, discuss and receive feedback to your ideas, push and get pulled when you need it. Not everybody feels comfortable in working with other people though, it’s a matter of taste and luck, so find your way and always respect others.

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Offcine Nora working space – 2015

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Officine Nora resident members exhibiting at Jewelry Selection, Palazzo Bellini – Florence – 2016. Martina Lončar, Kellie Riggs, Arata Fuchi, Valentina Caprini, Margherita de Martino Norante. Wood objects by Castorina.

2.FIND A GOOD WORKING SPACE

One of my first needs and wishes as I started working was to make the most out of my studio space. I felt that working in a “secret” workshop was not right because I wanted to use it in any way possible, not only for making my pieces, but also for selling them, teaching and attracting new clients and people interested in craftsmanship and applied arts. This, together with my wish for working in a lively and international environment brought me to start Officine Nora.

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Officine Nora display and selling area, behind part of the working zone

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Workshop and demonstrations at Officine Nora are always a good way to engage new people and show part of the work behind hand made jewelry making.

3. TRY ANYTHING ONCE AND CHOOSE WHAT SUITS YOU

The jewelry field has many different aspects. Within its framework you can find various working opportunities that range from teaching to working on commissions, from designing for third parties to curating exhibitions, from shooting pictures to writing. Being curious and trying yourself out on different tasks could open new job opportunities you didn’t think about. What’s important though is finding your focus and not loosing it!

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Working to prepare the catalogue for an exhibition, prints and stickers. 1×1 collective goes to Belgium.

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1×1 Collective at Joya Barcelona.

4. NOT ALL OPPORTUNITIES ARE GOOD OPPORTUNITIES

Bad experiences happen! Sometimes, the eager for showing your work and selling it can lead you to trust unprofessional subjects. Once, I sent some of my pieces, together with some fellow artists, to a newborn and self declared gallerist that lost all our pieces in one shot. It took us months and an incredible amount of effort to have our money back. So respect your work! Try to be as professional and accurate as possible, never do things based only on handshakes or verbal agreements, even if you know the people you’re dealing with. Learn to say no when things are conducted carelessly.

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The Wise, brooch, lost in the world since 2013.

5. JEWELRY IS MEANT TO BE WORN

Jewelry is meant to be worn, and therefore sold. You spent years and money learning techniques and now that you can produce your pieces don’t be afraid about how they will be judged and labeled. As long as you produce well made objects and you don’t copy other people’s work there’s nothing to be afraid of. The public will be different from place to place, and will have diverse tastes and interests. So try to engage, or even educate, your public, and if you find a certain public doesn’t understand your work just change it, and look for other frameworks. So don’t get sad by making pieces you don’t feel like making just for the sake of selling them and don’t get frustrated trying to place your work where it doesn’t belong, but try to educate your public or try to create your own space!

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Florentine people standing in line outside Tiffany’s – every year around Christmas. Not the ideal public for contemporary jewelry.

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Ricordati che se vuoi puoi usare un aiuto. Pendant or wall object.

Marherita de Martino Norante was born, lives and works in Florence. She holds a degree in Idustrial Design, and studied jewerly at Alchimia Contemporary Jewelry School and hand engraving at Le Arti Orafe. In 2010, together with some friends, she started 1×1 collective, a project with the aim of spreading and showcasing contemporary jewelry in a simple and direct way. She organized some exhibitions for the collective and took part in others like: Alchemic Experiences (Lorber Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel), Conceptual Jewelry exhibition (Gallery Putti, Riga, Latvia), Premio Fondazione Cominelli (Cominelli Foundation, Cisano di San Felice, Brescia, Italy), JOYA Fair (contemporary jewellery week Barcelona with 1×1), and was selected for Schmuck 2012 (Munich, Germany). Her work is also part of some private and public collections in Italy, Austria, Holland and Russia. In 2013 she founded Officine Nora, a co-working space in the heart of Florence, born to create and promote contemporary jewelry.

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Originally posted by Alchimia.it – Tips for Future Designers #2 Margherita de Martino Norante

This is the first in a series of new writings where young and established designers speak to designers of the future, sharing their knowledge and experience to be preciously kept for those to come (or in the making).

The first we’ve invited is Giulia Savino, an emerging and extremely imaginative (both in art and in its economy) jewelry maker from a tiny city near Turin. She already gained an important teaching experience in Cairo, where she was paramount in building a new institution from scratch, as the right hand of Spanish jewelry maker Estela Saez. Her latest collection, realized during Alchimia’s MFA program, is touring the country inside and outside of the jewelry sector. Her advice is precious. Enjoy, Alchimia

Short suggestions, thoughts that I repeat to myself every day:

1. Always look for opportunities and be open to new proposals. Be adaptable and curious. Experience is what makes us grow; the fact that jewellery can be realized everywhere is a privilege that brings in multiple possibilities.

In December 2012 I moved to Cairo to collaborate to the setting and opening of the first ever jewellery school in the Middle East: “The Design Studio by Azza Fahmy”. While there I worked as an assistant to the director Estela Saez and as a teacher. It was a totally fortuitous decision that revealed to be a great and powerful experience from which I learned a lot. At that time I had just completed the three-year BFA program at Alchimia, in Florence. Being part of this new adventure, which included taking care of various aspects of the jewellery world (from setting up a workshop to space maintenance, from the students’ relationships to the school’s curriculum organization) in a totally different country made me understand better my qualities and shortfalls.

2. Be aware of your way of working. Plan your short-term and long-term goals. Create your routine.

When starting to work as an independent designer and maker I realized how important it was to understand my own working process. During school we experiment a lot but it takes time and awareness to build up our own language and way of thinking. A state of confusion is what I felt when I started my Master Degree, but commitment and perseverance helped me to get out of it.

In our practice it’s essential to be the boss of ourselves and to find a certain balance, which will always be different for each one of us. During the organization of my first solo show I experienced the value of scheduling and reaching daily goals in order to keep the energy and motivation to go on.

3.Take advantage of your knowledge and qualities. With the little resources you have, wherever you are, you can invent your own path. Don’t play with time but start somewhere.

During school we receive and consume a lot of information, both technical and theoretical. I think that the important thing for us is finding our own road through the many possibilities that contemporary jewellery making can offer.

Since a couple of months I moved to Torino. It’s not an easy city to start a jewellery practice in, as there are not many people to share the work (and passion) with and there is no direct access to materials and tools. I don’t have a real workshop yet, because at the moment I can’t afford it, and there aren’t any shared labs here. First I felt a bit discouraged, but by keeping thinking about it only as a transition moment, I didn’t give up and I tried to take advantage of my skills and of the situation, focusing on my work and on my teaching experience: I’ve started organizing a series of five workshops about jewellery making techniques suitable for anyone without having specific tools.

4. Nobody is looking for you out there and your pieces won’t sell by themselves, unfortunately. Present and introduce you work.

Nowadays the possibility to sell your work are many and marketing is necessary (not a choice). Define your market and where you want to be. 

We have to be ready to be multi-tasking, as we are not only jewellery makers, but need to also be (at least at the beginning) business conscious, have marketing skills,  be smart in using social media, and have graphic basics. Every single day I try to overcome my limits in feeling uncomfortable when trying to be a marketing person, contacting people and selling my pieces.

It’s obvious that when a jewellery piece is finished we are only half way through the working process; packaging, photographing, advertisement, marketing research are part of the daily routine. 

All the decisions we take are not for good, especially nowadays that things change so fast and new solutions come up all the time. But we have to define our market and what we want from our work.

5. Create your network: to share, to improve, to enjoy. Evaluate your work from different perspectives.

For me it’s important to buildup relations with people from different backgrounds, to share my work and get feedback. Having different points of view about our work can help us in developing further.

When I arrived here in Turin, I underestimated the time (as I’m not a patient person) you need to buildup a network of people and to be aware of what is happening. When you start in a new place you realize how difficult it can be, but it’s also a continuous discovery. I’m trying to meet other designers by joining art events and attending different talks hoping to be able to start new collaborations.

Recently for example I joined the Turin Fashion Week so I had the chance to show my work during a catwalk and to start a project with a local designer. Thanks to the participation to Grassimesse Fair in Leipzig I will take part to a private event in Munich.

Things happen but patience is necessary.

Actually I’m happy that my work is done half in the studio, half via interaction, as mine is really jewellery for people.

This article is also published in Alchimia main website.

an interview by Daria Borovkova

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STUDIO|Nedda, Eternum Coffee & Tea set, 2013, (c) Johan Blommaert

In 2015 Alchimia launched its new MFA program, finalized with solo-shows of its participants happening in Barcelona, Prague, Torino, Antwerp and Florence. Three out of six students, Daria Borovkova, Lavinia Rossetti and Giulia Savino were tutored by Nedda El-Asmar, an acclaimed Belgian designer and professor at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp.

In order to introduce Nedda without being dogmatic about jewellery talk, this interview is more of a conversation between a tutor and one of her students, where both reflect, together, on jewellery and beyond.

Daria: I want to start from the very beginning of your professional career. You have studied jewellery design and silver-smithing at the Royal Academy of Arts in Anwerp and completed your education at the Royal College of Art in London. As a student did you notice any major differences between the pedagogical approaches of these two institutions?

Nedda: Well, these are two institutions that you cannot compare, particularly at that time, because the Royal College of Art has only a Master degree. And at the time of my studies at the Academy the system of Bachelor and Master didn’t even exist, it was introduced almost 10 years ago, so it was different. However, what I have learned at the Academy is to manage and to be creative with what I had, so that was stimulating. On the other hand, at The Royal College I got a lot of input through, for instance, many and different lectures, and it gave me lots of possibilities for networking afterwards. Many new technologies were available there. So I find it impossible to compare, they were two completely different types of educations in fact.

Daria: Which one do you think influenced you the most as a professional?

Nedda: The Royal College came four years after the Academy, so at that point I understood better what I was doing and going to do. We approached production and making multiples, which made me realize that I didn’t have to make all my pieces one by one by hand, or think of them as unique. There were great facilities for producing work, and that was very influential as I started to design for companies. But managing everything myself and doing handwork has been very important as well for the way I approach my projects.

Daria: As a young designer you were picked up very quickly by different companies, Hermès, Puiforcat, Villeroy & Boch, just to name a few. Was it difficult to find a balance between their guidelines and policies and establishing your personal style? Did their identity influence your practice? And how much space is there for individual creative freedom?

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Nedda El-Asmar, Selle Bartabas for Hermès, 2001, ©Rousseau

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Nedda El-Asmar, Criollo for Carl Mertens, 2006, (c) Wolf&Wolf

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Nedda El-Asmar, Demianka for Hermès, 2006, (c) Patrick Burban

Nedda: I didn’t have any strict guidelines and ever since I started designing for those companies, I try to find the balance between their style and my own. It is important and challenging to keep this in mind, so that the company is happy with the outcome and that I can recognise myself in it. Up until now, to be honest, we still have a lot of freedom (since 2008 Nedda is working together with Eric Indekeu, ed). We are given projects because the companies know what kind of work we do, we have an identity. We hardly have guidelines, we are just asked to design cutlery, for example, as simple as that.

Daria: You won the ‘Belgian Designer of the Year 2007’ award amongst many more. What is essential in a well designed object for you?

Nedda: Well, it all depends on what it has to be. Something functional should be functional of course. If it’s a spoon for daily use, so not a conceptual spoon, then you have to be able to eat your soup comfortably with it. Also the proportions, weight and other aspects are important. And then the aesthetics. And for me the aesthetic part is something that makes you want to cherish your object. You should be enjoying to use it daily, to have it around you and to keep it for quite a while. It shouldn’t be just another spoon that next year you would like to replace. So in one way or another, the aesthetics should be ‘timeless’.

Daria: Do you apply then the same criteria to a jewellery piece?

Nedda: Yes. For example in the only commercial line we’ve done so far (DIAMANTI PER TUTTI, 2014) the setting is designed so as to make the diamond visible only to the owner. Thus, it can intimately speak to the memory of the person the owner received it from or maybe the moment he got it for himself. They are very simple aesthetic pieces with a story behind them. Not all my products have a story to tell, but a lot of them do.

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STUDIO|Nedda, Diamanti Per Tutti, 2014

Daria: You teach at the Jewellery Department of the Royal Academy in Antwerp since nine years. And you don’t design jewellery, or barely. Is your approach to jewellery making, as a teacher, similar to the process of cutlery design, for example? In some way they share something, they are both body related.

Nedda: I see both, jewellery and cutlery, as some sort of decoration, be it for the body or the table. Both are also body related, but a spoon is still more functional, because it has to fit well in the hand and when you put it in your mouth, it has to be comfortable. When it comes to teaching, I don’t think it makes any difference to me, because I’ve always been surrounded and educated by jewellery designers. If I were educated as a product designer then I think my approach would have been different.

Daria: I find it very interesting that you can bring your knowledge of designing objects into jewellery thinking and tutoring.

Nedda: What I find interesting is doing multiples and working with others, here I mean designing and making everything together as a team in class. And I think it’s something you have to offer to your students so at least they understand, vividly, that there are other ways, other than making unique pieces. It’s an exercise that I consider quite important.

Daria: Since you teach in a Jewellery Department, do you have your own definition of what jewellery is nowadays?

Nedda: There are so many different ways of approaching jewelry today. You have artists, like Ai Weiwei or Erwin Wurm, who are commissioned to design jewellery. Then there are, of course, the jewellery designers and makers: some of them are very conceptual, others are making more body related pieces. What jewellery is and if it belongs to fine arts or crafts is a discussion that I don’t find necessary anymore.

Daria: But do you see any limitations? Honestly, anything can be a jewellery piece?

Nedda: For example, almost anything can be a brooch. In theory, you just need to put a pin on the back. And that’s where the limitations can start. You can feel if the pin is really part of the piece or not. And if it’s not, then why should it be a brooch? At that point, let it be what it’s good for.

Daria: And what if the jewellery piece is absolutely not wearable and not even meant for the body?

Nedda: If it’s too heavy or too difficult to wear, it’s fine, it has its place as well. I wouldn’t see any problem even if it was made just for a photo-shoot or if it was meant to exist as an ephemeral statement on the body.

Daria: You tutor only MFA students. Can you talk about this role?

Nedda: For me it’s about finding out with the students what they really want to do, what they want to express, to coach them along this path and to support them. Whether it’s something conceptual or very commercial, I motivate students to go deeper and do something that is different from what is already out there, because there are always possibilities to develop projects in a much more thorough way. What I find important is that by the time they graduate, even if they achieved only half of what they hoped for, they know what they want to do and how to continue.

Daria: You teach, give workshops and develop design projects in many different countries, in Europe and the Middle East. Do you think that design and jewellery, as disciplines, reflect the process of globalisation and that they are increasingly losing their cultural specificities?

Nedda: Now everything is globalized. And this is happening to jewellery design as well. The community of contemporary makers is very small. Many of them come to Europe to study and they start to reflect on their cultural identity, there is a lot of mutual influence.

Daria: Your roots are from a totally different cultural context than Belgium – from Palestine. Did you ever directly address your cultural heritage in any of your projects?

Nedda: I do it when necessary and when it makes sense. Like in the case of a water pipe that was commissioned to me by a French company called Airdiem. The same goes for Zeri Crafts, whom we’ve designed incense burners for. In both projects there is a cultural aspect that I know very well, also because these products are sold in the Gulf States, and so that link and that feeling to it is coherent with the object and its aims.

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Nedda El-Asmar,  Narghile for Airdiem, 2006, (C) L. Pironneau

Daria: How did it feel to be working on these cross-cultural projects?

Nedda: It’s part of me, so it’s natural. I think if somebody asked me to do something for a Japanese market, I would have to do much more research, it would be different.

Daria: What inspires you?

Nedda: It all depends. It can be a word or just the object itself, it can be the shape, it can be nature. For me it can be anything!

Daria: Are you inspired by food and cooking since you design cutlery and many other objects which are somehow related to this?

Nedda: Well, maybe indirectly. The projects I’m doing are often food related. I think it’s just the way I work – I like noticing, trying out and mixing things. For example, when I designed Appetize (a set of forks and spoons for appetizers) it was because at receptions I always wondered why there was just one type of spoon with a bent handle for serving appetizers. And that is how I came to the idea of making something different.

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Nedda El-Asmar, HTS for Hermès, 2005, (c) Patrick Burban

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Nedda El-Asmar, Virgule for Puiforcat, 2005

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Nedda El-Asmar, Appetize for Gense, 2006

Daria: Then what about one of your iconic pieces – a condom holder. How did you come up with the idea? What is the story behind it?

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Nedda El-Asmar, Condomholder, 1992, (c) Wolf&Wolf

Nedda: I’ve designed that in 1991-1992. It was the project for a multiple that we had to do at the Royal College of Art. We had to look for a product that was a gap in the market. And at that moment AIDS had just been revealed. Using condoms had to become a part of your daily hygiene, like brushing your teeth, so everybody had to carry them. And I thought that you had elegant powder boxes, cigarette cases, etc., so I decided to make something precious for condoms, because love is a beautiful thing, why should you have to hide it?

Daria: You have recognizable aesthetics – simple, elegant and very sophisticated. Some define it as feminine. How do you feel about it?

Nedda: Well, maybe it’s just because people like to put labels, I also have pieces that are not that feminine. Sometimes I wonder, if there was no name next to my objects would you still refer to them as oriental and feminine?

Daria: And when it comes to jewellery, do you think that contemporary jewellery is gender specific?

Nedda: It’s the same situation as with globalization. There is an androgynous nature that is very prominent today, whereas before it was more gender-specific. I think this all has to do with the development of modern society and a certain degree of cosmopolitanism.

Daria: I have also noticed that many young jewellers today don’t limit themselves to jewellery making, but they also create objects and use other mediums of artistic expression. Why do you think this happens? Is it historically rooted or is it a recent phenomenon?

Nedda: I think it has to do with the fact that everyone wants to try a bit of everything. And in terms of education as well, some schools became some sort of a mixture of all departments. Back in the days it was different, you finished the Academy and you knew what you would be doing for the years to come. Nowadays everything has changed. And it’s not making things easier, on the contrary, it’s making life more difficult. A lot of people are very confused and I think that might be one of the reasons why people try a bit of everything, because some are not confident enough.

Daria: The contemporary jewellery world is very small and especially there are very few public and private institutions devoted to it, while the number of students and practitioners is growing. What strategies do you suggest your students to adopt in order to be noticed and find their own place?

Nedda: Well, it all depends on what your work is like. Each time there’s a different strategy. I think what is important is to understand that your direction could change or shift afterwards, but to stay focused and not try to do too much at the same time.

Daria: And finally, can you share the best advice you were given during your studies which you still find relevant today in your work?

Nedda: Well, my tutor at the Academy Jean Lemmens once said that the most important thing is to look around. Look and look and look. And continue looking. I think that’s what is important, to look around. Look at what is happening, be eager to learn. I love seeing what others are doing, how they are doing it, be it in Fine Arts or other fields. It’s about knowing what is going on and not setting boundaries. It’s about absorbing, about keeping your eyes open and being open to everything that passes by and try to do something with it.

Daria Borovkova is a russian Florence-based jewelry designer. She has an international background and working experience as a visual merchandiser and interior designer and in 2015 graduated from the MFA program of Alchimia. Her jewellery has been exhibited in Europe and in the United States.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Marissa Ryan Racht

 This past fall Lucy Sarneel became the main advising tutor for Alchimia’s second year MFA program. Marissa Ryan Racht, one of her students and an on-going contributor to Alchimia’s blog, has been asked to interview her. The outcome is a short story on her practice as an internationally acclaimed jewelry maker, as a professor and as a mother.


Lucy is not a very egocentric artist. I could tell she was a bit hesitant to talk about herself, beginning by saying that others will probably be able to tell me better who she is, but agreed to give it a try.

After one basic year and three years of technical jewelry training at the art academy in Maastricht, she felt the need for greater artistic challenge. Gradually it became clear to her, that technique is a means to intent, not the intent in itself.” The fact that Onno Boekhoudt was head of the jewelry department of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy at that time, made her continue to study there for another four years, finishing in 1989. After the academy, things went well; lots of opportunities to show her work and some grants that supported her artistic development, without too much pressure on earning money (Oh – the Netherlands!).

She later met her partner, painter Jelle Kampen, and in 1995 and 1997 their daughters were born. “This was an indescribable experience and a huge change in my way of living and working.” The birthing experience is life changing, “you suddenly have an entirely new role. There is much less time to work. It changes your whole psyche.” Before kids she had more time, and especially more time for doubt. After having children she found herself becoming much more decisive – “decisions began to come more naturally and effectively. You develop a greater sense of living in that moment.” Plus, the imaginative world of children can be very inspiring. “The freedom, the lust for life and impulsiveness of expression…it’s a wonderful learning experience.”

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Her oldest daughter made this jewelry piece for her in her studio when she was around 7 years old. It says: ” isn’t it beautiful?”

For many years Lucy’s practice as a professional maker was mainly developing in the studio, while having a few wage earning-jobs, and being a mother. In 2009 she began teaching on a regular basis at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy until 2014.

Teaching at the Rietveld Academy was intensive and interesting, but she desired to dive deeper into her own work, so left the position to dedicate more time to her own studio practice. The balance between these two roles is fragile, and never easy to handle, there is a constant risk of one taking over the other. However, the challenge proposed by Doris Maninger and Lucia Massei last year to become tutor of Alchimia’s MFA was accepted with pleasure: “I admire Doris and Lucia for establishing Alchimia from the heart, independently and non-bureaucratically, and developing it to such a high level as it is now.”

She enjoys the contact with the students, and is intrigued by what occupies them and their working-processes, finding it an enriching search. She notes, “…to follow a course of study like this is a very courageous choice!” Meetings are intense, but articulated in workshops throughout the years, so getting used to the incidental contact with the students was no easy task, while becoming accustomed to the more distant interaction. However “the teaching staff keeps each other informed by e-mail about lessons, which is important in order to understand the input that the students are getting.”

Lucy finds it a rewarding challenge to give the right feedback to a student and a pleasure when she sees it work out well. Questioning and listening are essential aspects of teaching. As a professor she tries to “crawl into someone else’s skin” in order to understand their reasons, and to be able to give appropriate suggestions to help developing further. “The warm, relaxed atmosphere at Alchimia is wonderful and contributes to an open attitude.”

She hopes the students will develop a dialogue between the idea, the material, and the form, by evaluating attempts and failures, while doing and reflecting, and thinking in possibilities rather than solutions. This way of working opens personal potential and ways of looking, while teaching the students to rely on themselves and to convince others of the value of their work. Lucy personally strives for a strong and authentic visual language with a consciousness to the realm of the jewelry field. “The work is the vehicle for communication with the world and leads to certain situations in which it is positioned and shown.” She is interested in the way people live their lives – how they try to master this incomprehensible life with an inevitable end. By miming the evil, for instance, in the image below to the left, of an Austrian Krampus…

 

…or by beautifying (as in the image above to the right) “people express themselves and their surroundings and everything in between these two options, they establish their place in the universe.”

Image on the left: Iris ApfelAmerican businesswoman, interior designer, and fashion icon. Image on the right: Woman from Marken, ca. 1940-50

She believes that body ornament and related matters provide rhythm in life stages and identity. Objects of unintended beauty from daily life, folk-art, curiosities, bring her wonder.

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A farmer wearing a milk stool, image by Lucy Sarneel.

“The intimacy between a person and a jewelry piece/object and the private in the public intrigues me.”

6. Mexico

 

Photo taken in Mexico in 2010 by Lucy Sarneel.

“Traditions and ceremonies: how they transform through time: on the one hand people want to keep things as they are, but at the same time society changes and asks for anticipation which is a complex process.”

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Cover image of “How to Wrap Five More Eggs: Traditional Japanese Packaging” by Hideyuki Oka and Michikazu Sakai, Published January 1st 1975 by Weatherhill Inc.

Her work results from trying to understand the world around her, “people and animals are being sacrificed for what purpose, really?” She is looking for fields of tension in the form of ideas and materials as a metaphor for life in the quest for balance between forces and ideas of role-patterns by which we are influenced.

“Aren’t we all jugglers, trying to keep all the balls in the air? The extremely big element (the ball) brings the whole in physical balance, but into visual imbalance. The ball is at rest.”

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Lucy Sarneel, Juggler’s Moment #2, necklace, 2014. Materials: zinc, polyester ribbon, acrylic paint, varnish, bamboo fibre, foam clay. Dimensions: 57 x 10 x 7 cm, courtesy of a private collection, Australia.

Recently she was invited to contribute to an artist’s project: Spakenburgse Divas, a combination of photo-series, theatrical documentaries, performances, workshops and publications about the inspiring role of Dutch traditional women’s costumes in Dutch art and how incorporating them into contemporary art, though the tradition is being lost, may help them to live on in a certain way.

The artists have been working together for 16 years with three women from Spakenburg who have committed themselves to art. They regard these women as guardians of traditions. Lucy is one of eight artists working on the project and was asked to enrich two of the kraplappen with her signature style and the artist Joseph Beuys as an inspiration. The two force-fielded kraplappen are meant to signify eight professors from the Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. The project is scheduled to be exhibited at the end of May.

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Lucy Sarneel, Juggler’s moment #6, necklace, 2016. Materials: zinc, part of metal plate from thé flea market,wood (back side) bio-bamboo, acrylic paint, varnish, polyester ribbon, foam clay. Dimensions: 55 x 10 x 8 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

 

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This is an image of a woman in the traditional costume of Spakenburg, wearing Juggler’s Moment #6. Part of the project Het Wilde Oog/ Wout Nooitgedagt. Image provided by the artist.

Lucy is curious about people’s fascination with branding – a word initially deriving from burning an owner’s sign into the skin of an animal. Just like traditional tribal tattoos (indicating to which tribe one belongs to), people surround themselves with logos and brands, communicating who they are and which corporations they belong to. “They work hard to be able to buy things or services that they don’t really need. It’s a strange situation…”

Society becomes structured in a tribal way, now the light of the computer replaces the light of the campfire. We have evolved, but not as much as we think we have. We are still driven by prehistoric instincts. Lucy would like to think that we are all somehow searching for significance, and for her making jewelry is a way to communicate this need and to share it with others. It’s also a matter of playing for her – putting the seriousness of life into perspective and enjoying that moment. A smell, a sound, a flower or the sun on the face – all reasons for wanting to make. “…the idea that this thing that I make has the mission to be intimately connected with a person gives it an extra dimension; the giving.”

We also talked about materials. “The value that is attributed to jewelry (still) is strongly connected to the belief that its powers lie in the qualities of the form (symbol) and of its materials”. Zinc is an important element for her. The grey-tone reminds her of the Dutch sky and sea, it’s not a color, but the reflected light between black and white, light and dark, it relates to the subconscious. Zinc (or most often zinc-plated steel, because zinc protects steel from rusting) is omnipresent in urban environments, used as architectural details like turrets, dormers or rain-pipes. In the past, in domestic environments – buckets, washboards, and bathtubs were often made of zinc. For her it is an association with daily-life and “secure feeling”.

Making constructions of this kind is a challenge. Zinc easily tears and burns and the tin solder that is used has a very low melting point. When soldering one part there is a risk of another part collapsing, because the solder melts throughout the piece.

She also explores other materials. They seduce her and “it is a pleasure to apply them, to make them on my own and give them a meaning in a piece of jewelry. Sometimes the materials are autonomous objects; like for instance antique chest-patches of traditional Dutch costumes or objects like wooden knobs and peanut bowls.”

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Lucy Sarneel’s studio. Image provided by the artist.

Gradually materials we associate with “the exotic” entered her work; like bamboo, seeds, wood and bone. She feels drawn to cultures with rituals, magical thinking and close relations to nature giving shape to something beyond ourselves.“There’s an aspect of strange and at the same time familiar, looking at for instance, a nkisi mpya, which has to do with an affinity for Catholic artifacts.”

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Nkisi mpya. Image provided by the artist.

She plays with the suggestion of pure, natural materials, which are in fact artificial or come from commercial products that use nature as a marketing strategy. Another reason for applying artificial materials with a natural appearance is that we mostly see what we want to see, not what is actually there. It’s about the relation with matter through a body of thought.

The raffia is plastic, the wood is micro-paper or plastic, the bamboo comes from a fly-screen, the dried fruits and seeds from a perfumed potpourri mixture one can buy in home-decoration shops, the drawings on the metal are made with a permanent marker, zinc is painted in a zinc-grey tone, etc.

Imagination is the magic matter for Lucy.

 

13.Offer Bali

Food offering in Bali. Image provided by the artist.

“Balinese people make these food offerings daily to thank the gods for every new day. Although they are ephemeral, they are made with a lot of attention and dedication.”

This series of Daily Offers are referring to this tradition and at the same time to the commercial world with its seductive daily offerings in the shops.

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Lucy Sarneel, Daily Offer #4, necklace, 2015. Materials: zinc, plastic, bamboo, acrylic paint, varnish, nylon thread, nylon raffia. Dimensions: 32 cm x 14 cm x 5,5 cm. Courtesy of a private collection, Australia.

15.DailyOffer 6-LSarneel

Lucy Sarneel, Daily Offer #6, necklace, 2015. Materials: nylon raffia, nylon thread, zinc, artificial ivory, plastic, acrylic paint, varnish. Dimensions: 30 x 17 x 5,8 cm. Courtesy of the collection of the China Academy of Arts-Folk Art Museum, Hangzhou, China.

“An offering also indicates a sacrifice, which is more and more real in our world when you think about the difficult situation that many people today are experiencing. I’m currently working on this aspect.”

This is a piece she recently made, Waiting for the Sun.

 

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Lucy Sarneel, WAITING FOR THE SUN, necklace, 2016. Materials: zinc, leather, nylon thread, 33 x 15,5 x 2,5 cm. Courtesy Galerie Marzee, Netherlands.

“It’s about shutting yourself off from the misery in the world. The shape of the pair of glasses derives from a plastic part from a pair I found on the street. Whose eyes looked through it and what intent did they have in mind? Although, at the same time, it’s about the lust for life which makes us look for the positive sides of it.”

Her advice for someone finishing their studies and entering into the professional field of contemporary jewelry is that you need an inner necessity and passion for your practice as a jewelry artist. We need each other to make ourselves visible; artists, collectors, museum-directors, curators, gallerists, writers, teachers, colleagues, audiences, bloggers etc. “It’s wonderful to be in charge of your own cosmos, but it’s also a tough job.” Lucy encourages us to take chances, push boundaries, and try to connect with others through the work. Concentrate on what we expect from ourselves instead of what others expect from us. We need to give ourselves time to grow, because it’s a never-ending, enriching learning process. In this sense, a profound lesson in Lucy’s story, work, world-view and teaching is that we should allow ourselves the freedom to see and take in the simple and honest aspects of daily life, whether good or bad, and react to them in a natural and non-self-conscious way in our work.

Marissa Racht is a jewelry artist based in Florence. She is currently attending the second year of the MFA in Contemporary Jewelry and Body Ornament at Alchimia, tutored by Lucy Sarnee

 

 

an interview to Peter Bauhuis by Lavinia Rossetti

LAVINIA: Peter, in all your projects, like Hallimasch (2014) or the Gallium Treasure (2011), you create a whole world around your pieces, they tell a story. Why is it so important for you?

PETER: Story-telling is one of the things we can do with jewelry. And jewelry is always linked to stories. The exhibitions you mentioned show two different aspects of my work with regards to this. In the Hallimasch exhibition you read a variety of stories, the pieces are complemented with narrations and images. A multitude of links and connections, true and false information, similarities of thoughts and forms create a wide network of associations and this is always somehow linked to the pieces.

Peter BauhuisARMILLARIA SCA Gallery, University of Sydney, 2015

Peter Bauhuis, ARMILLARIA, SCA Gallery, University of Sydney, 2015

Peter BauhuisARMILLARIA SCA Gallery, University of Sydney, 2015

Peter Bauhuis, ARMILLARIA, SCA Gallery, University of Sydney, 2015

Peter BauhuisARMILLARIA SCA Gallery, University of Sydney, 2015

Peter Bauhuis, ARMILLARIA, SCA Gallery, University of Sydney, 2015

Oh Schmuck

Peter Bauhuis, KOUGO-TANKA, Calligraphy: Mirei TakeuchiPoem:Mirei Takeuchi

 

 

sam13_7cm

Peter Bauhuis, SEVERAL APPEARANCES OF MOUTH AND NOSE (S.A.M.)– Animation and inkjet-print on paper, 1999

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Peter Bauhuis, INCREDIBLE STRANGE OBJECT (I.S.O.) – also unaffiliated foreign object; an object that cannot be identified and classified immediately.

Core of the Milky Way. NASA; www.nasa.org

Core of the Milky Way. NASA; http://www.nasa.org

In the Gallium project the pieces and the story are completely interwoven into one narration. This one is so strong that the pieces are no longer in focus, while the exhibition as a whole becomes one piece questioning our perception of jewelry and the way we are used to see it in show cases, and how we believe in institutions having the power of explaining the work.

Both shows however play with the idea and presentation of a classic wunderkammer museum.

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The Gallium Treasure of Obertraun, in Munich‘s Archäologische Staatssammlung, 2011

L: You create a dialogue between the pieces and all the research you build around them. Has this always been a core element of your conceptual approach?

P: It was always there: from the time I finished the Academy books were part of my shows. They contain inspiration and perception, images and poems, cooking recipes,…   (e.g. Ding, 2001). With Hallimasch I was trying to combine all of these aspects and interests in one show and thus create a whole new narration.

It is also about experimenting. You learn new things about your own work by seeing how others look at it. At times somebody who has seen one of my exhibitions comes up to me and says things like: “ Wow, it’s really clever how you combine this and that…”, possibly referring to a combination I hadn’t intentionally planned – but of course it exists.

 L: When I think about your work, the cabinets of curiosity emerge in my mind, the wunderkammer, which is also a frequent topic you address.

P: There is a common ground between the wunderkammer and the way in which I think and work. It is this sense of amazement towards many things whether they pertain to culture or to nature…My work and the display formats of the wunderkammer follow a similar track. The astonishment about how the world is one of the driving forces to my work, and how it tries to make emerge something about its peculiarity.

L: You are charmed by collections in general. Do you collect? And what kind of information do you keep in your archive?

P: Actually I am not a collector. I think of myself more as a keeper. Collecting somehow implies searching for something. In my case, it’s more that things come to me and I keep them. Sometimes I keep things, and often it is information. Interesting is to look at the process (or condition) that allows you to be open and thus to find things.

L: You make jewelry and vessels, also big scale vessels, and you conduct conceptual research with an almost scientific approach. How do you define yourself? A jewelry maker, a sculptor, a scientist?

P: I am a jeweler and yes, also a sculptor.

L: Did you study to become a goldsmith?

P: I am trained as a goldsmith, yes.

L: But you decided to change something…

P: I have never had the feeling that I changed something. I started with a technical training then went on into the artistic field. I see this as a development. I was always interested in many things. I did my training in Hanau to learn goldsmithing, drawing and designing, then I worked in a classical jewellery studio. I was realizing ambitious stuff, very well made, with big stones. I learned a lot technically but I also acquired a good attitude towards the quality of making. Then I started the Academy, expanding possibilities.

L: What motivated your turn from classical jewelry making to a more conceptual one?

P: It is not enough to just make beautiful jewelry. But this is more an expansion than a turn.

L: If you had not become an artist what you would you have wanted to do? What did you dream of becoming when you were a kid?

P: When I was a child I never knew what to become. I’ve always wanted to do something that would provide me with various options. I was interested in making things with my hands and learning jewelry was one possibility – but I was pretty sure that I would study something else afterwards. To study at an Art Academy was a chance to combine options, doing not only jewelry, not only working with my hands.

L: How has your work evolved over time?

P: The funny thing is that when you look back at how things evolve it seems actually very logical and natural. Of course 20 years ago I would not have thought of the work I do today, but if I look retrospectively at the things I‘ve made in the past, this development does not look strange at all. For example I was always involved in making publications at school, like newspapers and magazines, even if there wasn’t a big public for it. Today I take a great pleasure in making books. This gives me the chance to publish work which is connected to my way of thinking (but maybe not so much to jewelry directly). I enjoyed making a small book that shows a chocolate bunny melting on a photo copying machine (On melting, 2006) and my ABECEDARIUM (2012) combines the materials involved in the process of finding and making of the last 15 years.

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Peter Bauhuis, “On melting -one esperiment, many observations”, book project, 2006

 

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Peter Bauhuis, ABECEDARIUM, Jewel.Vessel.Implement, 2012, 160 pages,  English and German, ed. Arnoldsche

 

 

L: An important workshop you realized with your students centers on materials. It’s about experimenting on a material to understand its characteristics and to stretch its limits. I remember that I fell in love with my “unloved” material when I was your student. You always work with metal. Did you experiment with other materials in the past? Do you have a “loved” and “unloved” material?

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Peter Bauhuis with his class at Alchimia, photo by Lilian Mattuschka

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Peter Bauhuis with his class at Alchimia, photo by Lilian Mattuschka

P: In that context it seems strange that I basically only produce work in metal. But you can put it in another way: the result of my work is metal. But I work with wax. So that’s the magic of casting with the lost wax method: I have to create a wax model that then is transformed into metal. I was really bored with the usual adding method of soldering things together as a goldsmith and the work in wax offered me a chance to completely change the usual paths of the ‘construction’ work a conventional jeweler does.

L: Did you work with other materials besides metal?

P: Yes, during my studies I worked with carrot peel – an unexpected stable material (if you don’t let it get wet). I experimented with marble (too heavy), carob seeds (the origin of the carat weight), rubber, optical lenses, plaster – often related to more conceptual ideas.

L: Why do you think it is so important for students to venture away from metal and explore other materials?

P: It offers the chance to change the point of view and open up to other options. The students bring certain skills, with crafting metal or other experiences. To work with “other” materials can neutralize this experiences and routines and force them to start from scratch with something new and with a fresh perspective of and on the object and the process.

L: There are many conceptual exercises that you give to your students that are not directly related to jewelry: writing, video making, performing…Are there some exercises you still use to refresh your creativity?

P: Maybe not as many as I could do. This year I gave my students the assignment to do many, many drawings and I am also filling up a book with drawings of vessels from the first to the very last page. Now I have 300 drawings of vessels’ shapes scribbled in an unsatisfying crime novel, the sketches are very raw, but the process forced me to re-think the same shape, again and again. Whatever the outcome of this exercise, it helps me to understand shapes better and it is also a way of generating new forms.

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Peter Bauhuis, Vessel scribbles, 2015/2016

Some of the exercises I assigned are very much related to my practice. Like the visit to the museum Stefano Bardini in Florence where students had to find new captions to the pieces, which means that they had to come up with a “new” historical context and meaning for those pieces. Another exercise was to invent stories with unrelated artifacts and make another piece acting as the “missing link” to make that story work. I try to offer the students different possibilities of working and of approaching the creative process.

Museo Bardini revisitedworkshop 2013

Museo Bardini revisited workshop 2013

Museo Bardini revisitedworkshop 2013

Museo Bardini revisited workshop 2013

Museo Bardini revisitedworkshop 2013

Museo Bardini revisited workshop 2013

Museo Bardini revisitedworkshop 2013

Museo Bardini revisited workshop 2013

L: Why your obsession for vessels?

P: Jewelry offers me the possibilities to think of precise shapes, forms and connections. The vessels give me a bigger screen for the simple reason that they have more surface, they have an inside and an outside and they are larger. When I work on vessels, I give more space to the necessary processes, and this fascinates me… and of course, there is the eternal idea of the container. Among the first things humans manufactured there were definitively vessels (and jewelry – by the way). Even when the vessel doesn’t contain anything, a lot is simply just there, in its potentiality.

L: In a way your jewelry pieces are small vessels than, because the elements of your chains or rings have an inside and an outside.

P: That’s a very important part of it. Some pieces are different, but for the most part they are very three-dimensional. As you say, what is really important for me is to take care and manifest that there is an inside an outside, a front and a back.

L: So maybe the jewels are not so different from the vessels…

P: They have different formal aspects but in fact they are both, in a way, hollow things, hollow beings.

L: You used to teach at Alchimia’s BFA program in the past, while you teach in the MFA program now. How has your approach changed?

P: The BFA’s second year is an experimentation program, it’s not so much about finding your personal language but more about learning and discovering as many ways as possible of creating, and on how to bring forward research in general.

During the MFA the program is more oriented towards the personal creative and conceptual development of each student. It’s about accompanying the students towards their own individual processes of creation. You could say that in the second year we worked on learning the language together, and in the MFA students start developing their own dialect.

So the approach, the topics and my relation to the students is very different, however some exercises remain similar.

One typical assignment is to make a piece of jewellery in one hour (or even shorter), the idea is to work very fast, that implies an intuitive approach and often gives very unexpected results (and it is a challenge to restore the sketchy quality later in carefully planned pieces).

Inspired from Matthew Barney early Drawing Restraint we worked with restricions , rules and plans, limiting the infinity of possibilities. I want students to discover their qualities, capacities and motivation and many of the exercises are intended to help the students to find out how to reach their individual resources.

L: What do you want your students to achieve?

P: I want them to be able to decide for themselves whether what they are doing is good or not. It is a lot about critique and self-critique – understanding what they are doing and what it means for themselves, and putting their work in correlation with the work of others, and art and culture in general (this is a big aim!).

I don’t know how you can train a good artist, nobody knows. All students bring a lot of capacity and people are what they are and everything is already there.

You can compare it to a room with no light. All is there. There is a table, there are chairs, there are books and shelves… by touching everything with your hands you will eventually get to know the whole room, but all of this can be faster if somebody can help you finding the light and switching it on…

L: You are the man of the light!

P: But I also don’t know that room… maybe the light switch is nearby the door, maybe not and we have to go on a search together. But I am definitely not the one who comes with a torch or a flash light – and it is not my task to bring in additional furniture into their room.

L: What I really appreciated from you as a teacher when I was your student is that you leave the students really free to find the light themselves, and in their own way.

P: Yes, it’s important because teaching is not like a circus where lions are jumping through a ring. This is not how I see teaching. Students themselves have to develop and I try to help and support them in that.

L: I would like to conclude by asking you if you have some advice for the new generation of jewelry makers.

P: Well…don’t give up!! You have to develop passion for the field. You have to be consistent and persistent, maybe even stubborn and stay with your ideas and than there is a good chance to succeed.

Peter Bauhuis lives and works in Munich, making jewellery, objects, books and exhibitions. He is professor at Alchimia since 2007, and currently tutors the first year of the Alchimia MFA program. Being trained as a jeweller at the Staatliche Zeichenakademie Hanau, Germany, Peter continued his studies at the Munich Academy for Fine Arts with Otto Künzli, class for Jewellery and Holloware. Since 1999 he works in his own studio and has exhibited widely. His work is represented in several public collections worldwide as Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Schmuckmuseum Pforzheim, Germany and National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia. He has been recognized by numerous awards and prizes, including in 2013 the prestigious prize of the International Silver Triannial in Hanau, Germany and in 2011 the Award of the Bavarian State. Peter has been guest teacher and lecturing at various schools and institutions in Europe, the USA and Australia.

Lavinia Rossetti is a jewelry artist based in Florence. She is a graduate of the Alchimia MFA program in jewelry making and body ornament and is about to open her first solo-show in March 2016 in Antwerp, Belgium.

 

– from a WhatsApp double stream of consciousness –

Alchimia is happy to present The Alchimia Conversations, a series of dialogues between artists, using different media and formats. The first in the series is a light-hearted chat between two Milan based artists, Federica Sala and Luca Pozzi. One dealing with jewelry and the other with the visual arts, both are interested in similar topics, concerning the chemical properties of materials and playing with human perceptions.

Find visual records of their latest solo shows after reading this text: Federica Sala’s True Lies: A Collection of Oxymorons at Září Gallery in Prague (November 16 – 20, 2015) and Luca Pozzi’s The Messengers of Gravity at FL GALLERY  in Milan (October 9 – December 18, 2015).

Federica Sala: Do you understand what reality is? Have you ever questioned it?

 Luca Pozzi: Of course I don’t…how could I fully understand something that includes myself? I’m part of reality…and I intuitively have an understanding of it, but I wouldn’t be able to describe it… Reality is a nice world without boundaries. Do you like boundaries?

 F.S. A lot. Boundaries attract me and ask me to go beyond them. I love the sensation you feel while playing with them. It’s a kind of vertigo feeling. And you?

 L.P. I love to observe how they move! Liquidity, flexibility and transition from a phase to another are very important elements in my research. When realizing a shape for example, considering its life before everything changes…when things remain true to theirselves over time….boundaries are everywhere and they are constantly interacting. I think that my consideration of reality as something without boundaries is because I see it as the emerging product of thousand of uncontrolled interactions.

How do you decide the shape of a jewellery piece?

 F.S. In my work shapes are strongly related to the material I’m using and its techniques. I can’t really trace a line between concept and materials. They are interconnected, and strongly part of how I think during the realization of my pieces. I like to show the hidden possibilities of materials. It’s almost like taking something that already exists and transforming it into something different that was there too, but in a kind of unconscious way.

Do materials affect you and your work? What comes to your mind when I say “materiality”?

 L.P. I see materials in terms of quantity of degrees of freedom: I am interested in the differences say between a dolphin, a tree, wood, glass and diamonds from the perspective of their micro scale behaviours. But we also have to deal with very pragmatic problems…you need a certain type of knowledge to transform raw materials and things into sophisticated ones. Materials are more than they appear. I always work by keeping in mind this assumption.

 F.S. It’s exactly the same for me. It’s about finding a balance between the knowledge you have learned because someone taught you it and your personal perception of things. In my work, metals are the functional materials – even if it sounds weird when speaking about jewellery! They are just technical elements acting as support and infrastructure for the pieces. It’s like the skeleton of a body. The skin, their external appearance, is the pieces’ peculiar elements. You’re external aspect is what strikes people, but you can’t live without your inner parts. I see my pieces as bodies where everything is necessary for them to live, but their outer look is what really makes them different and unique. Their external qualities are what people will remember of them.

L.P. Where are the metal compounds in your glass pieces?

F.S. Closures, findings, clasps, joints…they are all realized with different types of metals, chosen as a consequence of the skin’s qualities of the pieces. Some pieces of glass are heavier than others and need a harder metal, some others are more delicate and need specific protective structures. Some pieces are transparent others are not…this is one of the most difficult parts of the work: I’m looking for something coherent and there’s just one skeleton suitable for each skin.

L.P. It’s interesting that you’ve mentioned metal as a support to other protagonists. Metal becomes a kind of functional network for your pieces.

F.S. Which are the difficult parts in your work? Is it complicated to explain them to an audience? Every time I have to explain my work I need to mention very specific issues that are hardly understood by everyone – philosophy, chemistry… – and I become frustrated. For this reason I’ve tried to “clean” the explanation, by trying to simplify it…but sometimes I have the sensation that something gets lost in this process. How much are references important for you? If you would have to shortly explain your work to me, what would you say?

 L.P. The explanation for me is another component of an artistic practice and it’s not just a description. You don’t have to feel frustrated, you’re not looking for understanding, you’re sharing your vision, and a vision can’t always be understood. A vision is a projection. You don’t need to know how transistors work to watch a TV series. Both of us are working on something that can’t be intuitively experienced, so it’s a little bit more  complicated. I’m working on different layers of communication; one is more aesthetic and the other more cryptic. I don’t worry when I start talking about “quantum gravity” and people get lost…I’m just performing my vision. Einstein once said that everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.

 F.S. While looking at my work, you once asked me if I knew the Black Holes Theory? I don’t, but do my pieces suggest this to you?

 L.P. Mmmm….I don’t remember. It’s weird, as that’s not a theory…maybe I was just trying to distract you!…But It’s true…I see some connections between black holes and your black pieces, especially when you mirror them. What is their name?

 F.S. The mirrored ones belong to my first work with glass. That’s the Eco collection. The ones you saw this summer in my studio are part of my new body of work with glass and stones: True Lies.

L.P. Are you talking about the transparent series with all the surreal colours, looking almost like bubble soap? With these stones that seem to be trying to crack them down, but instead remain trapped?

F.S. Yes! Those ones.

L.P. Yes! I love them! There’s fragility and strength at the same time!

F.S. What are the first things that come to your mind while looking at them?

L.P. Three things that overlap: spin foam*, Kryptonite, multiverse theories.

F.S. I really don’t know anything about these types of things…just Kryptonite!

L.P. Research/Google Images/multiverse: have a look and I’m sure you’ll discover even much more connections than me!

* In physics, a spinfoam or spin foam is a topological structure made out of two-dimensional faces that represents one of the configurations that must be summed to obtain a Feynman’s path integral (functional integration) description of quantum gravity. It is closely related to loop quantum gravity. (from Wikipedia)

Luca Pozzi (b. 1983) is a visual artist based in Milan. He specialized in 3D modelling and informatic systems at Albert Stainer institute and he obtained his MFA from the Brera Accademy of Fine Arts in Milan. Due to his multidisciplinary approach he has been working since 2009 as Guest Artist with the Albert Einstein Institute in Golm, the Faculté de Science de Luminy; the Penn State University and the Perimeter Institute of Waterloo, Ontario. For more information on Luca’s work please visit: http://www.lucapozzi.com

Federica Sala (b. 1986) is a jewelry artist based in Milan. She holds an MFA in Contemporary Jewellery and Body Ornament from Alchimia in Florence (2015) tutored by the Mexican jewellery maker Jorge Manilla, and a BFA in Fashion Design from the Politecnico in Milan (2011) tutored by the Italian anthropologist Eleonora Fiorani and the Italian artist Giorgio Vigna. From 2010 to 2012 she has been the assistant of Giorgio Vigna and her work has been exhibited at the Mad Museum in New York, at the American Glass Weekend, at the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston and SOFA in Chicago, among the others. For more information on Federica’s work please visit: http://www.salafederica.it

All photos of Federica Sala’s exhibition are realized by Eva Šafránková