December 2012

KORU4 Symposium 2012: Kindred Spirits

  Finland has been quietly influencing the conversation in contemporary jewelry for many years by hosting events that incorporate workshops, exhibitions, and symposiums to showcase international and Finnish artists. These events started in 1997 and have occurred every three years, aiming to “bring together contemporary jewelers, curators, collectors, students, professors, and people interest in contemporary […]

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Felieke van der Leest: Once upon a time in My West (Part 2)

Felieke van der Leest The first time I encountered Felieke van der Leest was at an AJF-sponsored talk in 2004. She was funny and imaginative and also extremely practical somehow. She was playful, for sure, which probably adds to the appeal of her work. It is outstanding and unusual partly because it is just plain accessible. Anyone can enjoy what she does. Felieke is having a show this month at the active and lively Galerie Rob Koudijs in Amsterdam. She has reached back into her childhood memories to create creatures from the Wild West.

Susan Cummins: Where did you study, and who were your early influences?

Felieke van der Leest: From 1986 until 1991, I studied at the technical school for goldsmithing and silversmithing in Schoonhoven, Netherlands. I was a fan of the surrealist Salvador Dali and Egyptian jewelry. From 1991 until 1996, I studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, Netherlands. I have no idea who and what influenced me. Those years were a struggle. Fortunately, in my graduation year, the head of the jewelry department Ruudt Peters noticed some textile crochet work I made for fun. He allowed me to see that what I made was special. Luckily, I listened. From that moment on, I have worked nonstop making jewelry and objects.

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Doris Betz/Attai Chen

Attai Chen Galerie Spektrum was founded in Munich, Germany, by Juergen Eickhoff and Marianne Schliwinski in November 1981. Throughout the past year, they’ve celebrated their 30th anniversary with shows called Forever Young and The Way It Fits. Eickhoff and Schliwinski have been part of the effort to bring contemporary jewelry to the attention of the public all those years. They have the advantage of being located in a city with a world-renown jewelry school and where the field gathers annually at the Schmuck exhibition.

The current jewelry show of Doris Betz and Attai Chen seems a very proper first blog post for Galerie Spektrum. Both jewelers attended the Akademie der Bildenden Küenste and live in Munich. I’ve asked them to answer the same interview questions, and I like the juxtaposition of their individual thoughts.

Susan Cummins: In your joint show at Galerie Spektrum, there is an undercurrent of similarity as if you were from the same family. Why do you think that is?

Attai Chen: It is a good question. I feel the same way. I can say that we both live in Munich and were students of Otto Künzli. For my first two years at the academy, Doris was the assistant tutor of Otto. In a way, we do come from the same family. I guess that, on some level of our subconscious, in the “Munich style,” there is an undefined similarity we all share.

Doris Betz: As a member of this “family,” I can’t see the obvious similarity, which might be typical of family members in general. Attai and I talked about possible common grounds before we installed the exhibition. There is a certain interest in everything that grows, in the observation of nature, and in the power of life. I would say we have a strong inner need to express ourselves in an uncontrolled, unplanned way. Plus, I see the longing for directness.

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Doris Betz/Attai Chen

Attai Chen, Untitled brooch (1), 2010, paper, paint, graphite, plaster, glue, brass, stainless steel, mixed technique, 15 x 95 x 65 mm, photo: Mirei Takeuchi The current jewelry show of Doris Betz and Attai Chen seems a very proper first blog post for Galerie Spektrum. Both jewelers attended the Akademie der Bildenden Küenste and live

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Nancy Worden: Smiling Faces

Nancy Worden Traver Gallery in Seattle, Washington, shows a large variety of artwork, including painting, glass, and ceramics. Nancy Worden is the only gallery artist who has consistently worked in a wearable medium, but she stands out as one of the most successful. In 2009, Nancy’s work was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Tacoma Art Museum called Loud Bones: The Jewelry of Nancy Worden, and was accompanied by a catalog. Nancy has been contributing to the art community in the Pacific Northwest for many years, and it is always interesting to see what she has been thinking about.

Susan Cummins: Why did you choose the title Smiling Faces?

Nancy Worden: A few years ago, my cousin was visiting and we were looking at old family photo albums. She made a comment about a group picture from the early 1970s of herself, her parents, and her siblings. Everyone in the picture was dressed up and smiling, but my cousin’s remark was, “I was SO miserable that day.”

People will smile for a camera because that is what is expected of them, regardless of how they’re feeling at that moment. I’m interested in the stories behind the smiles.

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Thai jewelry designer joins forces with Belgian fashion house Capara to create prize-winning collection  Noon Passama Sanpatchayapong Noon Passama Sanpatchayapong The winning collection is a rare collaboration between an art jeweler and fashion designers. Noon Passama partnered with Capara, an Antwerp-based clothing line founded by sisters Vera and Olivera Capara. The Capara product is presented through video,


Julia Maria Künnap: Interview

Julia Maria KünnapAaron Decker is a recent graduate from Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine. He is using a grant from the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design (CCCD) to travel in Europe and interview artists. Aaron has been traveling in Portugal and Estonia, and in this, the fourth interview, he talks with Julia Maria Künnap. Aaron is now back in the US and living in Maine with plans to return to Estonia in the future for school. 

Aaron Decker: Julia Maria Künnap is an Estonian artist whose work I can only characterize with the word ‘wonder.’ Striving for perfection, she utilizes techniques that are time consuming, laborious, and intensely meticulous. Her work bridges the gap between the instantaneous and infinity, catching time like a snapshot in a material as eternal as stone. Not looking for words to describe her work, she hopes viewers see it in person, but not just see but look and let the work hit them at their core. Julia Maria Künnap is a graduate from the Estonian Academy of Arts and a practicing artist in Tallinn, Estonia.


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