October 2012

Ana Albuquerque

Ana Albuquerque Aaron Decker is a recent graduate who is using a CCCD (Center for Craft, Creativity and Design) grant to travel in Europe and interview artists. He has been traveling in Lisbon and in this, the third interview in his series, he talks with Ana Albuquerque, a Portuguese jeweler with a smooth, minimal bent. During his time in Portugal he has been the Artist-in-Residence with PIN who, without their assistance, this research and the interviews would not have been possible.

Aaron Decker: Ana Albuquerque is a Portuguese jewelry artist with an expansive view. She has not limited herself to jewelry only but also includes sculpture in her practice. Since 2007 she has been the Vice President of The Association of Portuguese Jewelry (PIN), which is an organization committed to increasing the knowledge about and coverage of Portuguese jewelry. Her familiarity with the subject and of the artists working in Portugal is the reason I chose to get her input.

When did you start studying jewelry? Or if you started with another discipline, what was it and how did you start working in jewelry?

Ana Albuquerque: I have a degree in sculpture from the Lisbon School of Fine Arts, but jewelry was always my goal, because sculpture and jewelry have some characteristics in common. Jewelry has specific qualities that are of the utmost interest to me, like its privileged relationship to the body. The piece of jewelry has its own time of perception and fruition. By wearing it we are aware of its presence, a presence that dissolves into the unconscious, to be felt in one moment and forgotten the next. This subtle relationship fascinates me. Its scale also evokes our human condition and the possibility to relate to art on a daily basis, bringing into our lives and the lives of others a presence that is frequently unavailable. Our houses are the small space that each one of us occupies and they are getting smaller all the time. Jewelry gives us a macro view through a micro size. I tend to identify with jewelry that involves the body with a specific structure. I feel an intense relationship with three-dimensional forms, so I prefer the arts that are related to space: architecture, installations, sculpture, dance and Jewelry.

Edinburgh College of Art At the Cominelli Foundation

Two years ago, Italy’s Associazione Gioiello Contemporaneo (AGC) together with Fondazione Raffaele Cominelli organized the first Cominelli Award for contemporary jewelry. The Cominelli Foundation is a private cultural foundation based in a seventeenth century palace in the north of the country.  The palace, Palazzo Cominelli, is in the center of the village of Cisano di San Felice del Benaco and …

Edinburgh College of Art At the Cominelli Foundation Read More »

Johanna Dahm: Enhancements

Johanna Dahm Galerie Ra in Amsterdam was an early champion of contemporary jewelry. It was established in 1976 by Paul Derrez, a jeweler and legendary visionary. Paul continues to run his gallery and this month we catch an exhibition there of the work of Johanna Dahm. She is doing the same rings as she has for a long time but with Enhancements, which is the title of the show.

Susan Cummins: You have probably answered this question many times, so I have to request your patience, but you are known for making rings using a casting technique acquired from the African Ashanti and Indian Dokra. Can you please talk about that process?

Johanna Dahm: Compared to other lost-wax casting methods around the world, theirs is unique and genius. Both cultures, living so far apart, not even aware of each other, share a process aptly described as casting in a closed cycle. Yes, the wax model is lost after it has been encased in clay and melted out, yet is still there in its negative. This shell is joined with a layer of clay to the crucible containing the metal, looking like a Babushka. An old oil barrel serves as a furnace, like those of the Ashanti. I love the 1100-degree heat and the smell of glowing bright yellow coal. With long tongs the glowing forms are pulled out of the furnace and merely flipped upside down for casting. This is the closed cycle technique, everything mysteriously hidden to the eye, no separate melting and pouring of the metal. The most exciting part is cracking open the form. Has the piece been cast successfully, or is everything lost? This closed cycle process has great advantage, but as usual only if mastered. Lost and Found: The Ashanti Trail to Rings was thus the title of my first book.

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