ST. LUCAS SCHOOL OF ARTS, ANTWERP
The Studio Jewellery Programme at Sint Lucas Antwerpen, in Antwerp, Belgium, approaches jewellery from the perspective of the relationship between the individual and the object. Jewels are not only worn for their decorative qualities, but also express how people give shape to their lives. A jewel can function as a social sign, as an expression of human vanity, as a repository of personal memories, or as an artistic means for the maker.
The department pays close attention to jewellery’s underlying purposes and explores their characteristics. By explicitly relating the discipline to social sciences like sociology, theology, material anthropology, or “design cultures,” students learn how to establish connections between jewellery and current trends in science, economics, culture, and society.
A complex and fast-changing world needs people that can handle creative processes. To be able to meet this complexity, it is necessary to be independent, to formulate your own positions, and to remain true to yourself. The department is well aware of this reality and that is why it focuses heavily on the development of the students’ identities. We not only impart an attitude of responsibility and an investigative mindset to students, but we also teach them to trust their instincts.
For students to be able to respond appropriately to the issues of our times, the department will confront them with the various facets of the discipline in its entirety. The curriculum is intentionally thematic: a team of permanent lecturers determines the content and organization of the curriculum. Several guest lecturers are also involved in each project, whether practitioners or theorists. Through discussion and dialogue, these lecturers stimulate the students’ learning process; they teach them how to connect theory and practice, whereby students literally acquire the theory “in their fingers.”
Each project starts out from a specific context. That can be a target group or a social phenomenon, a collaboration with companies or interaction with other disciplines, or it can proceed from the functional or inherent aspects of jewels. Acquiring new techniques and handling different materials are also part of a project. Technique and material are inextricably linked to image and content. Making becomes thinking. In this way, students also explore technical aspects from the perspective of content and learn in a short time how to generate ideas and how to realize them.
Students carefully document important stages in the work process by making use of various media such as photography and film. The presentation and documentation of works are developed at length in the conclusion of the project.
Thanks to this thematic methodology, students very naturally link their own design process to different work methods and research strategies. It ultimately involves a “total experience” composed of both reflection and intuition. The training imparts different frameworks, but the student is free to choose. An academic training implies that students find their own criteria and can work independently. This helps develop an open attitude, thanks to which graduates can work with others and find their own way in the world.
Hilde Van der Heyden, Hilde De Decker, Ludovik Colpaert, Saskia Van der Gucht, Irma Foldényi
Hilde Van der Heyden, teacher Hilde Van der Heyden is an artist who lives and works in Antwerp. She is a graduate from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (1982) and the HISK (1985) in Antwerp. She has been connected to the Jewelry Department at Sint Lucas Antwerp since 1983, as an artist, as a professor, and as an appointed researcher.
Van der Heyden has regularly exhibited her work since 1982; it can be found in Belgian museums.
“I find intense pleasure in adorning people as well as my environment through searching, researching, and the making itself, which are imperative for me.
Naturally I focus on jewels but, increasingly more, on objects. Seemingly trite objects can express moments or events in one’s day-to-day life. I want to highlight those moments with their underlying stories. This is often the result of a process where I mix and connect not only dream and reality but also elements from different worlds. This way, the objects I create acquire a strong subjective tension that can fascinate us, carry us away from banality, often dreaming of the beloved donor, all in a silent but rich narrative.”
Hilde De Decker, teacher
Hilde De Decker (1965) is a jewellery artist based in Antwerp. She began her education studying interior architecture at St-Lucas Ghent, and later obtained an MA in jewellery design at the Lucas School of Arts Antwerp. She has exhibited internationally and developed a critical design practice that deals with aspects of value, memory, and domesticity. Her initial interest in interior architecture still marks her jewellery and objects, in particular when she carefully orchestrates installations and environments.
Amongst other distinctions, in 2008 she was awarded the City Goldsmith’s Prize in Hanau, Germany. She was lecturer at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie from 2000 until 2008, and director of the Jewellery Design and Silversmithing Program at Lucas School of Arts Antwerp from 2008–2016. Her work features in private and public collections, most notably the Stedelijk Museum ‘s-Hertogenbosch (Netherlands), CODA Museum (Netherlands), Design Museum Gent (Belgium), and FNAC, Paris.
Ludovik Colpaert, teacher and workshop supervisor
Ludovik Colpaert graduated with great distinction from the St. Lucas School of Arts Antwerp in 1998 and received a mention from the Fonds voor Vormgeving for his graduation work. In 2000 he founded Atelier 11 together with Flor Janssens, a fellow alumnus of St. Lucas. Their fashion jewelry collections investigate the extent to which universally recognizable symbols, shapes, materials, and colors can represent a particular narrative or concept in jewelry that can be appreciated by a broad public. International fashion houses such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Raf Simons, and Carolina Herrera have called on the expertise of Atelier 11, from which multiple collaborations have emerged. Ludovik also teaches in the educational master in visual arts program at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp.
Saskia Van der Gucht, teacher and researcher
Saskia Van der Gucht studied at Sint Lucas Antwerpen and holds an MA in jewellery design and silversmithing (2014). She is an artist interested in themes such as shelter and the feeling of home. Through a combination of visual and conceptual aspects of jewellery and architecture, she translates these subjects into objects, small installations, photography, and drawings. Her work has been exhibited within different contexts as she questions the metrics of design, crafts, and visual art.
Irma Foldényi, researcher
Irma Foldényi (Hungary/Netherlands) is a designer and researcher working in various contexts of design. She holds an MD in social design from Design Academy Eindhoven (2012), an MA in product design from Moholy-Nagy University of Arts and Design (2009), and before that she studied as a goldsmith in Budapest.
She has worked since 2010 as a designer, researcher, and creative director for cultural institutions such as Philips Design Probes, z33 House for Contemporary Art, Design Academy Eindhoven, Open Society Institute, and MU Artspace, among others. Besides her studio practice, she teaches at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy Amsterdam (Linking Bodies – Jewellery Department), at the Design Academy Eindhoven Masters, and at Sint Lucas School of Arts Antwerpen (Studio Sieraad), where she also works as a researcher in jewellery at platform “Precious Dialogues.”
Foldényi is a co-founder of the research and design project “Jewellery Perspectives,” together with curator Evelien Bracke (supported by Stimuleringsfonds creatieve industrie NL). This project is particularly interested in researching the renewed definition of jewellery in today’s society, researching contemporary contexts and building new ones beyond the protective confines of the artisanal workshop. By mapping various fields such as science, economy, literature, politics, and film, among others, the project’s aim is to test and share new contexts where jewellery design could reset its worldly relevance.
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