Helfried Kodré

Helfried Kodré is considered a pioneer of Austrian conceptual jewellery. Hmm. Soooo… what exactly is conceptual jewellery, Austrian or otherwise? According to wikipedia the term conceptual art (which I assume can be applied to jewellery) refers to art where ‘the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work. When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art’.

Yeah, you can disappear down an academic rabbit hole contemplating this stuff and you can get all mixed up between words like conceptual and contemporary…but I prefer to let the pictures do the talking. Soooo, the work of Helfried Kodré who studied art history while training as a goldsmith in 1960s Vienna, married the legendary jewellery artist Elisabeth Defner, took a break for 18 years and then returned to jewellery making in the 1990s is precise, geometric and beautiful. And let’s not forget c o n c e p t u a l.

Sculpture- Untitled, 2008. Oxidized brass 22 x 20 x 20 cm
Sculpture – Untitled, 2008. Oxidized brass. 22 x 20 x 20cm
Brooch: Untitled, 2018. Oxidized silver, gold
Brooch: Fan, 2016. Oxidized silver, gold 10.4 x 5.2 cm
Ring: Untitled, 2011 Silver, lapis lazuli
Sculpture: Untitled, 2009. Powder coated brass 15 x 15 x 15 cm
Ring: Untitled, 2014. Silver, gold, white gold, copper, amber

Claudio Pino

If I were to summarize the work of Canadian maker Claudio Pino into a few words intricate would be my first choice. Complex and refined steampunk would also come to mind.

Claudio grew up watching his father carve miniature ships from chunks of wood, a transformation that took months in front of his 7 year old eyes. Maybe it was that patient step-by-step whittling down of the rough wood to detailed form that influenced his approach to jewellery making. He obtained his Professional Jewellers’ Diploma from l’École des métiers du Sud-Ouest de Montréal in 1995. In 2011, with a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts, he pursued a master’s degree in the study of platinum at Holt Academy Jewellery in London and received intensive individual training from Master Jurgen J. Maerz, former director of Technical Education for Platinum Guild International, USA. He also trained in stone faceting at the Ashton Gemstones Studio in California. Whew!

My first thought when I came across one of his pieces was – how comfortable would that be to wear 🤔. Luckily…

 ‘During the creative process, I never forget that someone will be wearing the ring. Therefore, rings first need to be very comfortable and belong to the hand. My rings come alive only when they find their owners’.

Vena Amoris. 14k gold, 925 silver, amethyst, pearl, fire opal
Trilogy 2013 platinum, 14k gold, prasiolite, amethysts
Trilogy (2013). platinum, 14k gold, prasiolite, amethysts
platinum fleur de neige 2013 18k gold 950 platinum, amethyst
Platinum Fleur de Neige, 2013. 18k gold, 950 platinum, amethyst
Golden Elegance. 18k gold, pink tourmalines, pearls, carnelian
Magnificence Stellaire. 14k gold, 924 silver, opal, chrome diopsides, emerald, moonstones, pearls

Emanuela Duca – The Ruins of Rome

Yet another maker whose work I’ve admired for a long time, Emanuela Duca is the queen of texture and blackened silver as far as I’m concerned. Born in Rome and currently based there and in New York’s Hudson Valley, her pieces are beautifully minimal and ohhhh so tactile; ‘evocative of volcanic ash and the ancient ruins of her native Rome‘. Check out her lovely minimal website here.

ED49R Roccia ring, 18k yellow gold, blackened sterling silver, white diamond
ED49R Roccia Ring. 18k yellow gold, blackened sterling silver, white diamond
ED96B Burst Cuff Blackened sterling silver. 23k Keum boo, 18k yellow gold, rose cut diamond
ED96B Burst Cuff. Blackened sterling silver, 23k keum boo, 18k yellow gold, rose cut diamond
ED96R Floating in the Dark ring. Blackened sterling silver, 18k yellow gold, white diamonds
ED96R Floating in the Dark Ring. Blackened sterling silver, 18k yellow gold, white diamonds
ED104B Hudson VAlley bracelet. Blackened sterling silver, 18k yellow gold, white diamonds
ED104B Hudson Valley Bracelet. Blackened sterling silver, 18k yellow gold, white diamonds
ED22N Sand Necklace. sterling silver
ED22N Sand Necklace, sterling silver


My Work – Sandcasting

A note before I get started here – Thank you for following my blog. From today I’m moving it from twice weekly postings to a single post on Saturdays; not because I’m running low on makers but because I’m the first person to admit I get annoyed when my inbox fills with blogs I don’t have time to read. Do I hear monthly anybody?

And now, for this week’s post…we return to the fascinating world of sand casting. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know I’ve been attempting to learn this process, first with a delft 2 part aluminum cylinder flask that I had to modify by drilling a hole into each half to create a wider pouring channel…

$144 (CAD) for this and a 4.4 lb. bag of delft sand – horrors!

And then with this larger iron flask which already has a wide mouth for easier pours…

$55 (CAD) – and it works 🙂

With this new flask I’m finding my pours are more successful – in other words the molten silver fills whatever form I make completely. And, I’m having fun making my own forms out of whatever I find around the house, such as squished up tin foil…

tin foil form with resulting silver cast (bud removed) and the characteristic burnt sand after pouring

So now I have one more trick up my sleeve when it comes to casting which is what I wanted in the first place. The only issue I have now is getting my hands on enough silver to melt down, which means some of my earliest lost wax cast rings are finding themselves in the crucible 🙂

progress – sand cast link on a hand forged chain

Amber Cowan

There was a time when I used to scour thrift stores for cool stuff. It was something I did to pass the time between elementary school drop offs and pickups. And I don’t know if I’m being nostalgic here but I think my finds in those days were pretty amazing; I still have an Indonesian hand-carved, 3 panel teak screen (in storage in the basement) and several cream coloured English earthenware bowls that I love (I have a thing about bowls). I used to find gorgeous picture frames and cool ornaments that I still have on display all these years later.

Twenty five years on, if I go into a thrift store all I see is junk. Maker Amber Cowen though sees potential.

Cowen has been sculpting glass for 15 years. She has a BFA in 3D design and an MFA in glass/ceramics. She uses techniques like ‘flame working’ (sculpting glass by twirling thin rods of coloured glass over a gas-oxygen burner), blowing and hot-sculpting (hot glass shaped with blades, knives, shears and paddles). But the cool thing (pardon the pun) about her work is that she sources her material (usually American pressed glass) from thrift stores and flea markets and sometimes post production factory runs.
So all those glass ornaments and jugs and dishes that I’d call useless are given new life in these outlandish yet beautiful sculptures. Who knew?

Amber Cowan, Blue Feelings (goblet), flameworked:hot-sculpted American pressed glass
Blue Feelings (Goblet), flameworked, hot sculpted American pressed glass
Colander, copper colander, glass 2011
Colander, copper, colander, glass. 2011
Creamer and sugar, swans in sky (detail) 2016
Creamer and Sugar, Swans in Sky (detail). 2016
Peach blow away 2012
Peach Blow Away. 2012
reconstructions in green flameworked and hot sculpted american pressed glass 2013
Reconstructions in Green, flameworked, hot sculpted American pressed glass. 2013
Spike (detail) 2011
Spike (detail). 2011
Toledo workshop revisted, 2012
Toledo Workshop Revisited. 2012

Sharon Brill – An Expression of Beauty

Many centuries ago when I was in high school art classes were something you did as a distraction from what you were really there to learn; math, english, gym, social studies and all that other stuff. So when I came home from school one day all excited and told my parents that my art teacher had encouraged me to attend art school after graduation they were not very happy about it. I don’t blame them though. They were busy keeping the 7 of us clothed, fed and housed then and I can understand they were worried about the prospect of my ability to make a living as an artist. I didn’t go to art school in the end. I became a registered nurse instead and hated every minute of it.

Sharon Brill on the other hand attended the Neri Bloomfield Academy of Design and Education. After working as a graphic designer for 10 years (1996-2006) she says she returned to her old love, ceramics. Most recently she attended Skidmore College in New York (2009-2011). And now she makes beautiful, flowing porcelain sculptures that you feel you could dive into.

She says her work is ‘an exploration, a quest that combines spontaneous, intuitive work with meticulous accurate esthetics as an expression of beauty. Sometimes I feel like an archeologist, gently removing layers, peeling and exposing the hidden worlds waiting patiently, desiring to reveal themselves’.

‘The artworks created are abstract organic sculptural shapes. Their scale varies and some can be held in your hand and observed from any angle. The lines and movement lead the eye around the shape into it and all through it.’

Check out her website here to see more.

Untitled 4. Wheel thrown and altered porcelain
CONCH 22, 2012. Wheel thrown and altered porcelain
CONCH 23, 2012.‏ Wheel thrown and altered porcelain 
Conch 26, 2012. Wheel thrown and altered porcelain

Dorothea Prühl – One-off Exploration

Dorothea Prühl was born in Germany in 1937. She’s been a maker, teacher and curriculum influencer for a loooong time. Art School at the age of 19, a diploma at 25 and a teaching position at Burg Giebichenstein (the University of Art and Design, Halle, Germany) at the age of 29. I’m guessing that her experiences at art school; the rote learning of traditional techniques and styles later influenced her desire to teach her own students by ‘defying prescribed orientations towards design and without preconceptions about what constituted artworks.’ I imagine she must’ve ruffled a few feathers in the staff room with that unorthodox approach, but that didn’t stop her. In 1994 as director of the jewellery school at Burg Giebichenstein she started a more subjective approach, that of one-off exploration. I’m liking her already.

Prühl describes her own work as ‘spaciously gestural’. She says that it’s ‘based on a sculptural idea that takes proportion and scale into account. Concentration on essentials, empathy in the extreme and vigorous plasticity are the distinguishing features of these works. They are the critically reflected expression of an entirely subjective artistic agenda. More or less recognizable, the object visualized contains no subliminal messages; hence it permits no interpretations containing extrinsic references. These are works that are exactly what they purport to be. They are not ambivalent. There is no narration, none at all.

So, a departure from historical references, from cultural references? Modern? Individual? I get it.

I love this aluminum piece below even though it reminds me of pull tabs (which incidentally were invented in 1959 in case you were wondering).

Check out her website to see her full range of gorgeous one-off explorations. And maybe thank Dorothy Prühl, for helping to take jewellery design out of the hands of a few into the lives of many.

Collier aluminum 1966

Collier, aluminum. 1966

Star cherry wood 1999
Star, cherry wood. 1999
Tree animals gold, titanium 2002
Tree Animals, gold, titanium. 2002
Hawk, 2006 elm wood
Hawk, elm wood. 2006
Collar titanium stainless steel Gold 2014
Collar, titanium, stainless steel, gold. 2014

Jelizaveta Suska

Jelizaveta Suska was born in Latvia. She has a BA from the Art Academy of Latvia in Metal Design and is a graduate of the Academy of Design and Crafts, Gothenburg.

From Klimt02 her artist statement gives you an idea of why she crafts her unusual pieces…

You have probably heard of the fairytale Thumbelina written by Hans Christian Andersen. When I was a child I imagined myself being as tiny as her; the gigantic world seemed to me to be more beautiful and full of tempting adventures. I still think that, sometimes.

It’s striking where our imagination can take us. When I work on my jewelry I aim to be a demiurge, to create my own new world. At times, I craft my works so that if I were to become tiny and drop onto my jewelry, I would see a marvelous landscape. Such associations, are for me a vessel that transfer ideas to the material’
Very unusual interesting pieces.
From ‘Transition’ series, 2016 Row baltic amber, copper
Frozen in Amber crushed amber, polymer
From “Frozen in Amber’ series, crushed amber, polymer
frozen-dream- silver oxide, titanium, crystal
From ‘Frozen Dreams’ series, silver oxide, titanium
I walk in tokyo
Frozen Moment Polymer, crushed marble
From ‘Frozen Moment’ series, crushed marble, polymer

Anouk Van Puyvelde

This is some of the work of maker Anouk Van Puyvelde. And I must admit as a beginner sand caster I’m in awe of her aesthetic; liquid silver flowing in and around bits of stone or brass in gorgeous random paths. Or rustic silver forms on their own. All so inspiring for someone like me who’s still amazed when a simple ring form completely fills during my regular attempts at this haphazard process.

As you can see none of the pieces are titled as per her website. And for some reason my stupid translate option isn’t translating her dutch into my english so I’ve very little information to pass on here. All I can say is check out her website.



Luke Maninov Hammond

Have you ever wondered what the Biophilia Hypothesis is and what it has to do with jewellery? No? Me neither. But when I came across the work of Luke Maninov Hammond I decided to find out.

The word biophilia was first coined by the German social phychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist and humanist philosopher Erich Fromm and it means ones’ innate ‘love for humanity and nature, and independence and freedom‘. In other words, we humans are naturally drawn to the life force, to survival itself. It’s a concept that Luke likes to explore in his jewellery and I’m guessing that’s because apart from his work as a jeweller he’s also a neuroscience imaging technician who spends a lot of time in the realm of high resolution 3D microscopic imagery of cellular forms within the brain. So while his scientific side facilitates the study of things like sleep and consciousness along with diseases such as Alzheimers and Schizophrenia, his artistic side ‘is focused on reimagining biological form to explore themes of impermanence, consciousness and the connection between all living things. Through the study of organic structures that define life his novel creations instil a sense of wonder whilst also connecting complex biological and metaphysical ideas’.

Take a look and see what you think…because thinking is what it’s all about 😉

-gold-shield-ring_ 18ct white and yellow gold, austalian parti shapphire
Gold Shield Ring. 18ct white and yellow gold, austalian parti sapphire
cerulean-odyssey- object. sterling silver, gold plating australian spphirrs, london blue topaz blue apphites white saphhires 300 mm tall
Cerulean Odyssey Object. sterling silver, gold plating, australian sapphires, london blue topaz, blue sapphires, white sapphires. 300 mm tall
silver-cajal-ring_.jpgsterling silver,patina yellow australian sapphire
Silver Cajal Ring. sterling silver, patina, yellow australian sapphire
upright-towers-ring_9ct rose gold and white diamond 31mm x 10mm x 2.7mm
Upright Towers Ring. 9ct rose gold, diamond
LMH_Surfacing-earringsblue green sapphires 14 ct gold
Surfacing Earrings. blue green sapphires, 14ct gold
luke-maninov-hammond--graceful inner-islands-cufflinks_oxidized silver fused gold leaf
Graceful Inner Islands Cufflinks. oxidized silver, fused gold leaf