August 2013

Henriette Schuster: Almost Invisible

Henriette SchusterHenriette Schuster is a quiet jeweler, and the title of her show at Gallery Funaki Almost Invisible is perfect. She makes simple pieces with delicate domestic references or pure abstractions. There is nothing big or boisterous about her or her work. It is just humble, quiet poetry.

Susan Cummins: Henriette, what is your story? What compelled you to become a jeweler, and what was your path to learning how to do it?

Henriette Schuster: I have known I wanted to be jeweler since the age of six or seven. My grandfather built pianos, and I used to watch him at work when he handmade the keys using ivory, ebony, felt, bone, glue, and shellac. He didn’t say much, but one day he handed me a pair of his working pliers and a piece of wire. It was here that I began making jewelry.

I went against my parents’ wishes by dropping out of my studies in architecture and following the recommendation of Hermann Jünger to take up training in gold- and silversmithing at the renowned Neugablonz Fachschule für Glas und Schmuck (Neugablonz College for Glass and Jewelry). After completing my degree, I was accepted into the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich as one of Otto Künzli’s first students in 1991. I graduated in 2000. Simultaneously, I have worked in my own studio in Munich since 1988. 


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New Horizons: Craft, Academia, and the 21st Century— A Polemic

The Identity Crisis Begins in School Craft is at a crossroads. We are at a moment when fields are expanding and constantly in flux, when departments are being defunded or cut entirely, and when academic programs are constantly forced to justify their existence. In the face of these demands, academic craft is in the crosshairs,

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Warwick Freeman

Warwick FreemanWarwick Freeman is a New Zealand jeweler who is widely recognized outside of his country. At Schmuck 2013 in Munich, he was the featured master with a case devoted exclusively to his work. In 2002, Freeman was awarded both the Françoise van den Bosch Foundation award and The Arts Foundation Laureate Award. An exhibition of his work called Given travelled to Amsterdam and around New Zealand museums in 2004–2007, accompanied by a catalogue with text written by Damian Skinner. And besides all that, Freeman was a partner in the well-known contemporary jewelry cooperative Fingers, which opened in 1988. His street cred is excellent. This show with The National gallery in Christchurch, New Zealand is a mini retrospective of his work.

Susan Cummins: How did you learn to make jewelry? What attracted you to it?

Warwick Freeman: I usually make the claim that I’m an autodidact because I never went to an art school or attended any type of jewelry course. It’s basically the truth, but that belies the actual story which involves myriad contacts with workshops concerned with both the manufacture of the industrial and art. Learning tricks, observing ways of working—learning the habits of making.

But, when I think about the moments I developed some of the distinctive characteristics of my practice, I think I was probably alone, finding my own way by trial and error. I think that experiential learning was actually one of the things that attracted me to jewelry making, the workshop part of jewelry making anyway.


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Flora Sekanova: Project Schmetterling 2013

Flora SekanovaFingers is a gallery of contemporary art jewelry located in Auckland, New Zealand. This August, Kvetoslava Flora (also known as Flora Sekanova) is displaying selected works from her most recent project Schmetterling (Butterfly), in which she continues her exploration of newspaper as a material. Born in Slovakia and currently attending the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, Flora prefers to leave room for the imagination in her responses from our recent interview.

Missy Graff: Can you please describe how you came to be a jeweler?

Flora Sekanova: I became a jeweler on the way to finding my true expression of what this life is about.

You have lived in a few different countries. Do your travels play a role in your work?

Flora Sekanova: Yes, I have lived in a few different countries so far, but as a jeweler I was born in New Zealand. My previous experiences with different cultures have shaped me as a person. So in this sense, yes, my travels play a major role in what I make.


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Jiro Kamata’s Workshop

A piece of reality, contemporary jewelry as a memory system February 16–20, 2013 Taller Tierra y Plata, Tlalpan Centro, Mexico City, Mexico This workshop then traveled to Guadalajara (Mexico), Santiago de Chile (Chile), and San José (Costa Rica). Kamata’s workshop is the second in the series Taller Viajero organized by Otro-Diseño Foundation (Mexico), Walka Studio

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Framed—The Exhibition as a Self-Portrait

Poster, Framed – the exhibition as a self-portrait, 2013, Stedelijk Museum ’s-Hertogenbosch, ’s-Hertogenbosch, design: Ben Lambers/Studio Aandacht Choosing Ted Noten as the first Framed curator establishes the museum’s position as a museum of the twenty-first century with a self-appointed mandate to merge fine art, design, and crafts. Ted Noten’s work is very eye catching, and he himself

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Willemijn de Greef: Recollection II

Willemijn de GreefWillemijn de GreefWillemijn de Greef’s summer show at Galerie Marzee in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, just ended, but I wanted to know more about the large gem-shaped ceramic brooches she produced and about her thoughts on work she has done in the past. In particular, a large gold earring AJF featured in the show Geography has always intrigued me. The story behind it is very moving. I am impressed with the large scale of Wilemijn’s jewelry and the interaction she has with folk traditions.

Susan Cummins: I understand that much of your work relates to where you grew up in Zeeland, The Netherlands. Can you describe it?

Willemijn de Greef: Only Weefsels, the collection of work I made for my graduation, and Zeeuwse knopen, some rings that I made before my graduation year at Rietveld Academy, are related to Zeeland (Sealand), a region in the south of The Netherlands. My parents and I moved there when I was seven years old. It was the beginning of the 80s. I remember the 70s craftwork of my mother decorating the house, some macramé pieces and several ceramic objects. I’ve combined my love for craftwork with traditional costumes from that region. The shapes are free interpretations of the jewelry worn with the costumes. I’ve enlarged them to create the link between the jewelry and the costumes. I also love the small mistakes and flaws in handcraft. As jewelers, we are always working in detail, erasing as many errors as possible. I love those tiny mistakes. I like to make them visible.


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