On November 26th, 2016 MFA graduating student Chumeng Weng presented her solo-show WYSIWYG at the Spazio Culturale Mentana, a project space in Florence that promotes and presents the work of young artists, from diverse disciplines.

We take this chance, and others to come, to write about what it takes (practically, financially and psychologically) to make a show, in Florence and elsewhere.

First issue you will have to deal with is that many organizations in Florence will not offer you their spaces for free (in fact some actually really speculate on the need for presentation spaces young artists have). You have to take into account some budget for that, and especially be good and smart when negotiating a price. As stereotypes often hold a degree of truth, Italians are great (read: not fair) merchants.

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Last-minute problem solving characterizes basically every single exhibition, be it a biennial or a tiny solo-show in a shoebox. While you get tired, frustrated, anxious, and sleep-less remember that this is something everyone experiences, so don’t feel guilty or overtly desperate about it. Just keep focused and make use of every little bit of time you have left, even just the last minutes can do magic.

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And HEY despite everything you made it, and even look particularly good for your own exhibition.

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Friends, particularly when dealing with the same discipline, are always essential, do ask for help, and do distribute tasks, you just can’t manage everything by yourself. Here for instance Lumy Noguez played the role of chief curatorial advisor of WYSIWYG.

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Don’t try to decode the first visitor’s thoughts about the show, there is just a fine line between looking interested, serious and absolutely bored.

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If you want or need performers in your show of course ask people that surround you and you know already. The job is hard, and shouldn’t be overdone.

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Do think about children when plotting the display. Having a baby-safe exhibition space will multiply your audience.

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NEVER forget to thank publicly everyone who helped you. Giving credit to who donated work and time to your show is not only a nice gesture, it’s a must do thing. People loved you, so do love back.

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This should go without saying, but SMILE SMILE SMILE. If you made it this far, you should be more than proud of yourself.

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Originally posted by Alchimia.it – How to Make an Exhibition (in Florence) #1 Chumeng Weng

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

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Exhibition view – INVISIBLE by Lumy Nouguez

On 11 November 2016, Lumy Nouguez opened her solo show INVISIBLE, featuring the collection realized during the MFA program of Alchimia.

The exhibition was articulated as a treasure hunt, with a starting and end point in a yoga-studio turned exhibition venue while most pieces where spread in a variety of spaces united by the creative and experimental approach to their discipline: an antiquaire, two concept stores, a hair dresses, a fashion and a glasses shop. San Frediano neighborhood at its best. The craft and the love for a discipline whatever that may be.

Below a short text and a myriad of images will tell you this story.

Enjoy

INVISIBLE – a solo show by Lumy Nouguez

It’s yoga Firenze (Light Lite)
Via dei Serragli, 24r, 50124

INVISIBLE is a series of 213 jewellery pieces created to populate surfaces on the body and beyond.

INVISIBLE is jewellery meant to draw attention, to stop a distracted glance, and to be an encounter with the unsuspected.

INVISIBLE talks about a process and a transformation from the ordinary to the extraordinary. It talks about the metamorphosis of organic substances, and focuses on the microorganisms that provoke this metamorphosis by transforming them into jewellery.

Creating “mold” to be worn as jewellery might be felt as a provocation, a provocation to feel and to see what is normally disdained. It is an invitation to accept a natural process of life in its inherent beauty, an invitation to break the boundaries of traditional jewellery, while exploring new possibilities of wearability and reinterpretation.

The exhibition itself is again an invitation to stroll around and explore particular spaces.
It has its starting and ending point in “It’s Yoga” (Light Lite), Via dei Serragli, 24r, 50124 at 5p.m with an installation explaining the project. The exhibition itself evolves as treasure hunt where the visitors will follow a map with a route to find jewellery pieces spread in the area of the city.

This was possible thanks to the collaboration of I Visionari, Coexist, Quelle tre, Wave Parrucchieri, Luca and Bjork.

About Lumy Nouguez

Born in 1986 in Bogotá- Colombia, Nouguez lived and studied in Cúcuta until high school. Later she moved to Medellin for 10 years completing an architecture degree and working as landscape and graphic designer for several years. These became a big influence her work as a jeweler, when in 2014 she came to Florence to pursue her dream of completing a MFA in contemporary jewellery at Alchimia Contemporary Jewellery School.

All photos by Lucy Clark.

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 INVISIBLE – exhibition view at It’s yoga Firenze

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 INVISIBLE – exhibition view at It’s yoga Firenze

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Exhibition view – INVISIBLE, exhibition view at It’s yoga Firenze

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Exhibition view – INVISIBLE, exhibition view at It’s yoga Firenze

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Lumy Nouguez and Doris Maninger

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INVISIBLE – The Catalogue (sold out).

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INVISIBLE – packaging

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INVISIBLE – packaging

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INVISIBLE – Treasure hunt map

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INVISIBLE – invitation

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INVISIBLE- display set at Luca

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INVISIBLE- display set at Luca

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INVISIBLE- display set at Luca

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INVISIBLE – display set at I Visionari

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INVISIBLE – display set at I Visionari

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INVISIBLE – display set at I Visionari

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INVISIBLE – display set at Coexist

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INVISIBLE – display set at Coexist

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INVISIBLE – display set at Coexist

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INVISIBLE – display set at Coexist

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INVISIBLE – display set at Quelle Tre

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INVISIBLE – display set at Quelle Tre

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INVISIBLE – display set at Quelle Tre

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INVISIBLE – display set at Wave Parrucchieri

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INVISIBLE – display set at Wave Parrucchieri

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INVISIBLE – display set at Bjork

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INVISIBLE – display set at Bjork

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INVISIBLE – display set at Bjork

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INVISIBLE- the catalogue

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INVISIBLE – ring

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.

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

 

 

We are glad to say that Patrick Davison has won the Goldsmiths’ Fair 2016 Best New Design Award (Week Two) for Box: a container, an object and a sculpture, only 50mm tall and with a fascinating and intricate surface’s pattern made of silver, brass, copper, bronze, and nickel silver (alpaca).

Patrick Davison Goldsmith Fair Box

Box, fine silver,sterling silver, copper, bronze, nickle silver, brass,  2015

 

Patrick Davison Goldsmith Fair Box

Who is Patrick Davison

A student of Alchimia in the past, and a contributing faculty today, Patrick is a jewellery designer whose practice is defined by a process-led work which incorporates silver and mixed metals.

He studied at the Glasgow School of Art and at Alchimia Contemporary Jewellery School in Florence with Ruudt Peters. After graduation he returned to Kent in England and set up his workshop where he continues to work. He began to develop his own work exploring a variety of gold and silversmithing techniques and complementing this personal practice with work in jewellery workshops.

 

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Necklace, silver, shibuichi, 2015

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Porphyry, box, silver, shibuichi, bronze, brass copper, 2014

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Box (oval), silver, nickel silver, 2014

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walls of the church/of the temple, vessel, silver, nickel silver, bronze, brass, copper, 2014

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Brooches, all from 2016

Patrick Davison - Glosmiths' Fair

Box, silver, Fine silver, Bronze, Brass, Copper, 2016

Goldsmiths’ Fair

Goldsmiths’ Fair is one of the most important events for contemporary jewellery of the UK, organized every year by the Goldsmith Company.

For over two weeks 150 independent makers, from young talents to more established professionals, from all over Britain are selected by a panel of experts to present their work in this context.

For more information please visit: https://www.goldsmithsfair.co.uk

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.

x

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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