Frieda Dörfer studied gold smithing, watchmaking and jewellery design for 10 years before branching out on her own in 2014. I came across one of her unique pieces the other day and assumed she’d hand-engraved its surface and, being totally inept at using a graver in my own work, I was impressed with her accuracy. It turns out she’d engraved those precise lines using a 17th century contraption known as a guilloché machine.
So what exactly is a guilloché (pronounced gee-oh-shay) machine? Even if you don’t know what it is you’ve probably seen what it can do…
Yes, it engraves patterns of lines onto metal or in some cases currency paper, faberge eggs, fountain pens and antique cigarette cases. Also known as a rose engine, geometric lathe or engine turning machine it was invented when someone modified a wood lathe, replacing the standard blades that cut away wood material with 2 polished burs that removed a thin line of material from a metal surface. It became a popular look on metal long before the invention of plastic everything and it took great skill to execute, something Dörfer has learned with practice and patience. She operates the guilloché using both hands, one to turn the hand crank and the other to apply even, steady pressure onto the metal surface. To create evenly spaced lines that are equal in depth and without shadow she has to know when and how much pressure to apply, no easy task. If you’d like to see more of her captivating and unique pieces check out her website here.
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 😉
If I could understand the Italian language I might be able to make sense of this makers’ artist statement (see below) which I’m guessing has been translated from Italian to English. Sadly I don’t understand so all I can tell you about Fabrizio Tridenti is that he was born in Italy, that he graduated from the Istituto Statale d’Arte, Penne, in Metals and Jewelry Design in Italy in 1982, that he apprenticed between 1983 and 1992 and that he opened his own studio in Pescara in 1993.
So let’s let his work speak for him; the twisting, rusted, industrial clash of angles pushing in all directions…bella!
p.s. I apologize for not having titles for some of the images here. Hopefully you’ll enjoy them anyway 🙂
Artist statement from klimt02
Jewels cannot be confined within the limits of their function. Through liberating jewels from these limits, infinite experimentation fields are opened, which may lead to fruitful artistic experiences. The founding assumption of these attempts is the wish to return the central role to the intangible aspect in relation to the tangible aspect of jewels.
By asserting the primacy of the intangible aspects, jewels are seen from a different perspective, an entire scale of values is refounded, with the privilege for the finest perceptions.
Another aspect combining these attempts with conceptual art is the indifference towards the aesthetic value, which is strictly connected with the formal value.
The main purpose of this work is to provoke reactions, start discussions, rouse considerations, and open new debates on jewels. The point is shifting the focus from the aesthetic to the intellectual experience, or rather the aesthetic experience is the intellectual experience.
To obtain this result, the direction followed was to confute the traditional aspects of jewels: the functional, formal, and aesthetic values.
“Virtual” is a way to create the visibility of what cannot be realized in the tangible dimension. The new technology offers these new expressive opportunities.
The idea of the body or body parts as jewels also develops: a sort of zero degree of jewels. It can also be considered as an inversion operation: the body changes from traditional support of jewels to jewel itself; from background, it turns into protagonist (subject).
In the photo “the room as bracelet”, the concept of jewel is reversed: traditionally, hard materials are made to surround the body. On the contrary, in this case the body is an accessory of an architectural structure. This inversion appears not only as a limitation of movements, but universally as the present condition of human beings suffocated by structures produced by the society. A house is not considered as a shelter and protection, but as a limit to our ability to move, expand, an inorganic, static, and unchangeable shell for an organic, dynamic, and continuously growing creature. In this condition, these barriers can only be crossed through thought.
In the photo “ring”, the concept of ring is brought to the extreme consequences of dematerialization. Not only the ring does not exist, but also the part of the body supporting it is removed. The visual result is anyhow that of a ring, a ring of “absence”. However, while the object is self-limited in a shape, here the absence of the object gives space to the observer to imagine something, a personal ring. Therefore, this creatively activates and interacts with the observer.
I want to exploit our bigger attraction for what we cannot see, for what is not there, for what is indefinite.
“It seems to me that ’Nothing’ is the most powerful thing in the world”, said Robert Barry.
For me, art is not an exact science. There is no evidenced truth. Art is a field where creativity experiments infinite directions towards freedom. Art responds to the stimulations of contemporary culture and uses the scientific and technological progress and knowledge in all their branches.