Karen Vanmol

Let’s be honest here…who likes laminate; the low budget, plastic and ugly imposter of natural materials like stone or wood that’s used for furniture and countertops? How about laminate as a material for jewellery? And how about jewellery that doesn’t rely solely on the intensive mining of gemstones and precious metals? Welcome to the world of maker Karen Vanmol.

Inspired by architecture and nature Vanmol designs using traditional techniques like hinging, threading and sawing to create her graphically bold pieces. And she’s fascinated with paradolia – the psychological phenomenon that describes how we humans try to make sense of random stimuli or patterns – if you’ve ever gazed at a cloud in the sky and decided it looks like a horse or a flower or whatever, or seen a face when you look at the moon, then you’ve experienced paradolia.

Necklace: AKA#ISEEFACES, 2018. Wood, Laminate, Blackened Silver, Cotton Thread

She describes some of her process here…

‘Protecting or imitating nature, the use of natural materials in architecture, the restoring of a road surface, accidental strong shapes on a construction site, these things I find very interesting.

On my way through town, I hunt and collect. I always encounter interesting images that I use as an inspiration. In addition, there is a certain choice of materials and colours, these are strongly influenced by memories. For example the necklaces, furniture in different colours, certain constructions. I have my story and the viewer projects its own story on top of mine.

I always start from my sources of inspiration, with these eyes I look around me. Next to that I make jewellery and I like to use my tools and try out how materials reacts to them. Eventually I work with materials, and that provides an additional factor. I find out the properties they possess and how I can edit them and this will count in the final result. Some techniques I use are common and you can find them in your house’. (via Klimt02)

I’m loving the intensity of her pieces, the colours, the shapes, the clean lines AND the fact that she’s able to use a material like laminate (so it stays off countertops). You can find out more about Karen on her website or Instagram.

Earrings : Koloro Gemo Collection
2 Finger Ring
Necklace : AKA#ISEEFACES, 2017. Wood, Laminate, Patinated Silver
Necklace : Fading Landscapes, 2011. Wood, Paint, Gold Leaf, Brass, Cotton

Ring : Under Construction, 2010. Wood, Concrete, Paint, Cotton, Silver

Katherine Bowman

My visit to Katherine Bowman’s Melbourne studio last month was a pilgrimage of sorts. Emails organizing the where and when of our meeting had been exchanged weeks in advance but when the day finally arrived I have to say I felt excited and just a tad nervous about it at the same time. Such was the buildup to being face to face with one of my instagram idols and a real practicing gold and silversmith.

Bowman’s studio/home is well hidden on a quiet street in one of Melbourne’s inner city suburbs. My husband and I and our two friends had taken a train and a tram and then walked several blocks to find it using my phone’s GPS. When we arrived at the location there was no signage indicating that a thriving jewellery business operated beyond the unassuming shop front with its metal flywire door and sandblast film window.

Beyond that flywire screen door Katherine and her sweet little dog Kiki welcomed me into the all white consultation area with its dining-sized wooden table and a simple up-cycled metal cabinet displaying her unique ceramic sculptures. The space was filled with soft music and and the scent of incense and I felt more at ease thanks to Katherine’s gentle manner and an almost spiritual approach to her work. She’s interested in ‘how we imbue an object with meaning and the consequent relationship the object has with the body it adorns’. So where I simply make pieces, Katherine gives anything she crafts a name and a purpose.

Let’s just say that my heart started to beat faster when she placed 3 black velvet sample cases in front of me. Kind of like the proverbial kid in a candy store scenario. Oh my! I wanted ALL of her rings and ALL of the gorgeous Australian stones she uses but after some discussion I commissioned a ring which she was able to have ready 2 weeks later before our flight back to Canada…sterling silver with a 3mm Australian parti sapphire called a ‘Journey Keepsake Protection’ ring which I’m thrilled with…

Bead-set Australian Parti Sapphire with Feather Engraved Band

Now, abit about Katherine who obtained a Bachelor of Arts with a Double Major in Fine Art History from the University of Melbourne (1988 -1991) and a degree with Honours in Gold and Silversmithing at RMIT (2001). She was given an Australian Post Graduate Award and completed a Master of Arts through RMIT as well. She’s also been teaching goldsmithing and silversmithing there since 2011 and is a founding member of Northcity4 which supports the Australian contemporary jewellery community (which would be cool if I lived in Melbourne). 

You can find out more about Katherine Bowman on her website and also on Instagram here. And now, some of her gorgeous work…

Ballad Ring


Ring Set With Austalian Sapphires
Lucky Ring Stack
Nomad Ring

Hidden Details on a Peacock Ring 
Large Emerald Ring

 

 

Philip Sajet – Let’s Make Something Beautiful

I once had a fellow design student ask me how to draw. We were gathered at a campus offsite from our own and were supposed to be sketching things around us. I described to her how I approached drawing; using the pencil as an extension of my eye, to move it over the paper as my eye moved over the object. It made perfect sense to me but I don’t think it helped her. Her drawing skills never improved over the 4 years. Don’t worry though, she graduated at the top of the class in the end. My point here is that we all have strengths and weaknesses. We can’t all be brain surgeons or jewellery makers or even interior designers ;-).

I’d say Dutch-born Philip Sajet’s (BA Jewellery, Edelsmeden, 1981) was probably born with the ability to combine and contrast colour, form and perceived value in his beautiful jewellery. And as a collector of rusty old washers on roadsides I have to say he’s an inspiration!

You can find him on Instagram here.

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Crescendo, 1998. Rust, Gold

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Collier Rouge 10, 2010. Glass, Gold

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Le Rock, 2009. Nare, Water buffalo Horn, Amethyst, Smoky Quartz Gold

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 Her Royal Roughness, 2017,  Red Glass, River Stones (partly sawed and polished), Flint Stone, Silver, Gold

Philip-Sajet-necklace
1990

 

 

 

 

 

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

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Brooch: Untitled, 2018. Oxidized silver, gold

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Brooch: Fan, 2016. Oxidized silver, gold 10.4 x 5.2 cm

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Ring: Untitled, 2011 Silver, lapis lazuli

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Sculpture: Untitled, 2009. Powder coated brass 15 x 15 x 15 cm

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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’.

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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
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Golden Elegance. 18k gold, pink tourmalines, pearls, carnelian
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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

 

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

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

Per Suntum

It takes 9 pages to cover the schooling, awards, grants and exhibitions on Danish Per Suntum’s website which translates into a highly skilled maker, who graduated from the Hans Hansen Silversmithy with a silver medal in 1965. Subtle, minimal and well crafted, Suntum says…

‘The basis for my work with jewellery is the singular moment,
where man meets material and
purpose stirs the soul
into expression’.

So if you’re into brooches, prepare to have your soul stirred.

belleblanche brooch 2007 silver
Belle Blanche. Brooch, 2007. Silver

calm luna brooch, 2010 silver, fine silver
Calm Luna. Brooch, 2010, Silver, Fine Silver

Savannah brooch 2013 shibuichi, 18kt gold, 18kt palladium-white gold
Savannah. Brooch, 2013. Shibuichi, 18kt Gold, 18kt Palladium-White Gold

closeup savannah
Closeup – Savannah Brooch

dive #2 brooch, 2005 silver, niello, enamel
Dive #2. Brooch, 2005. Silver, Niello, Enamel

interplay #4 brooch, 2011. Isolith, 18kt gold, silver
Interplay #4. Brooch, 2011. Isolith, 18kt Gold, Silver

pinfungi brooch 2005 silver, niello
Pinfungi. Brooch 2005. Silver, Niello

sea flower brooch 2005 silver
Sea Flower. Brooch, 2005. Silver

thisearth - this jewel brooch 2010 24kt gold, diamond cone
This Earth – This Jewel. Brooch, 2010. 24kt Gold, Diamond Cone

Fabrizio Tridenti

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 🙂

 

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Untitled, 2009. Bronze, acryclic enamel

 

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Anello, alluminio, pittura acrilica 2010
Untitled, 2010, brass, acrylic paint

Untitled, 2010 Brooch brass steel acrylic enamel
Untitled, brooch, 2010. Brass, steel, acrylic enamel

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Restricted Area, 2010, brass, acrylic paint
Restricted Area, 2010, brass, acrylic paint

 

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. 

Fabrizio Tridenti