The brooch belongs to me! I claim ownership over it with insistence! It was given to me by Sophie as part of a jewelry swap, at a delicate moment in my life, when my health, or rather the health of my right breast, was not at its peak. When I wear it, I am wearing …
Bettina Speckner is a German jewelry artist who studied under Otto Künzli and Hermann Jünger at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. She has exhibited her work in major galleries, and now hers is the first jewelry show at the Galeria Thomas Cohn in Brazil. This gallery, up until now, has been exclusively an art gallery, but has made the bold move to become devoted to a new art form (for him)—contemporary jewelry. Bettina is known for creating fresh yet nostalgic narratives by altering ferrotypes, some dating back to the Industrial Revolution, with a surgeon’s touch and jeweler’s eye.
Olivia Shih: This is the first jewelry show by the Thomás Cohn Gallery in São Paulo, Brazil. How did you connect with him in the first place?
Bettina Speckner: Thomas contacted me via email. When he told me that he had the idea to start a gallery of contemporary jewelry in Sao Paulo, I was of course interested and also fascinated by his brave idea. I was in Brazil 25 years ago for six months, and I had my very first solo exhibition there.
You were studying painting before you transferred to the jewelry department and studied under Otto Künzli and Hermann Jünger. How has this background influenced your work?
Bettina Speckner: I think it still does. My way of seeing is maybe with a painter’s eye—my jewelry pieces rarely are three-dimensional, and everything happens on a two-dimensional surface. Maybe even my use of imagery comes from there. It gives me the possibility to play.
It is difficult to overstate the influence of Dorothea Prühl on the field of contemporary jewelry or simply to trace its bounds. She taught many, inspired more, and enthuses seemingly everyone. It helps that her colliers straddle the fence between the figurative and the abstract. She is that bit of unmarked territory on your jewelry …
Svenja John’s exhibition Assembly is on display at Gallery Funaki this month. In this interview, Svenja provides us with insight about the complexity of her process and describes her philosophy on the use of modern technology by makers.
Missy Graff: How did you become a jeweler? Please tell me about your background.
Svenja John: I met a young goldsmith when I was on vacation on the Adriatic coast at the age of 14. I was fascinated by her natural glow and happiness. Her words were so passionate when she talked about her job that I decided, “This is exactly what I want to do!” It was neither a specific piece of jewelry, nor the concept of jewelry, that sparked my interest. It all started because of one person’s passion for making.
When I turned 16, I tried very hard to find an apprenticeship—against the will of my parents. At that time, it was an almost impossible desire. Without connections, none of my generation could reach this goal, simply due to the fact that there were too many people trying to enter the field.
I had to wait until 1985 to start my training as a jeweler and to become a student at the Staatliche Zeichenakademie in Hanau, Germany.
New Zealand jeweler Craig McIntosh is breaking all the stone-carving rules by turning the method around from a reductive process to an additive one. He works in a land where stone carving is a strong tradition, so this could be upsetting. His new show at The National in Christchurch gives us an idea of what this means.
Susan Cummins: You are a carver of stone and a maker of small objects and jewelry, similar to the Japanese craftsman who makes netsuke. What is your connection to that, and how did you get here?
Craig McIntosh: I was introduced to netsuke in the late 90s. I produced and exhibited a small amount of netsuke alongside making jewelry ’til about 2004. If you’re interested in carving, there is so much that can be learned from looking into netsuke—in fact, I don’t think I would make the jewelry I make now, or understand as much about working on a small scale, if I hadn’t explored netsuke.
But it became problematic. The more I became involved with making jewelry, and considering jewelry and its relationship to identity—particularly here in Aotearoa, New Zealand—the less appropriate it felt to be making something from somebody else’s culture. So I stopped, and have been focusing on making jewelry since. I think it has been one of the most rewarding decisions I have ever made.
Missy Graff: Please tell me about your background. How did you become interested in making jewelry?
Frieda Doerfer: After I finished school, I thought that goldsmithing might be an interesting craft to learn. I managed to get an internship and I knew right away that I had found the right job. So I moved to Pforzheim, in the south of Germany, to pursue my apprenticeship as a goldsmith at the Goldschmiedeschule. After that, I studied jewelry design at Pforzheim University. I graduated in 2013 and since then I have been a self-employed jewelry maker and artist.
During your many years of training you discovered guilloché, an engraving technique. Can you please describe what inspired you to use this technique in your work?
Frieda Doerfer: Indeed. It has already been a few years since I started to explore the old engraving technique guilloché, also known as “engine turning.” I am still fascinated by the huge variety of possibilities that are created with basic forms like zigzags or wavy lines.
Marzee Graduate Show 2014 August 17-October 19, 2014 Galerie Marzee, Nijmegen, Netherlands Gallery opening, Marzee Graduate Show 2014, Galerie Marzee, Nijmegen, Netherlands, photo: Michiel Heffels Every year, alongside the show, space is also given over to a small exhibition of work produced by the previous year’s prizewinners. The prize, a weeklong residency at Atelier Ravary …
Ann Culy has a thing for rings. Using ancient techniques for making them, she is showing a variety of rings at the Avid Gallery in New Zealand. Avid has recently joined the galleries who support Art Jewelry Forum. We welcome their addition, which adds to the texture and variety of the artists we interview.
Susan Cummins: Were you born and raised in New Zealand?
Ann Culy: Yes, in Lower Hutt, New Zealand.
Can you tell the story of how you became a jeweler?
Ann Culy: I discovered working with metal at art school, in the printmaking studio and in the sculpture department, where I worked on a small scale using lost-wax casting in bronze. The combination of melting, pouring, and manipulation of metal has been a constant joy and led me directly to jewelry making, where I can fuse all those skills together.
Yi cun guang yin (An Inch of Time) is a series of four pieces—four rectangles, two in gold, two in jade—seemingly abstract, aloof, distant. It’s a title that, from a Western point of view, alludes to a work by Otto Künzli. Is it an homage? First impressions may not do justice to the object of …
The Rings of Saturn June 6–October 19, 2014 Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester, England Take any length of string, wire, or chain, link it together at one end, and you have a necklace. This simple construction can then be embellished with, theoretically, anything, as long as it can be attached in some way to the necklace …
Toronto-based artist Patrycja Zwierzynska transforms metal into delicate, abstract sculptures that are inspired by natural forms. Her work is driven by exploring materials and processes in unique ways to capture form and volume, often leading to surprising results. The result of her most recent exploration is Ephemeras, an exhibition at L. A. Pai Gallery that centers on themes of ephemerality and impermanence and explores ideas about process. We had a chance to catch up with Patrycja to learn more about her work and how the idea of “ephemeras” is captured in her jewelry.
Bonnie Levine: Tell us about your background and how you found your way to being a jewelry maker.
Patrycja Zwierzynska: I went to art school without the specific intention of becoming a jeweler. Art was always something I was involved in, and I wanted to pursue my passion for it. In my second year at school, I took an introductory jewelry course and got hooked on working with metal and the finesse it required. I became obsessive about polishing and fitting pieces together perfectly. Working with the material really spoke to me, and pretty soon, the jewelry projects I was working on were all I was thinking about.