Friedmann Buehler

I don’t think of Friedemann Buehler as just another wood turner like the sellers you might’ve seen at your local famers market. Don’t get me wrong, I love what those makers do with wood but this guy takes the skill to another level.

Carefully selecting sections from felled oak or ash trees, preferably from the forests of Holenlohe near Stuttgart in Germany, Buehler first removes his chosen blanks (the raw log sections) using a chainsaw and axe. Later in his studio these blanks are soaked in water and then shaped while wet on a lathe (and here’s me thinking all wood turning involved seasoned dry wood). The process is time consuming (some pieces can take years!) but the amazing organic forms he achieves are enhanced as the wood dries and sometimes cracks. And that beautiful stubbly grain is achieved through various brushing and sandblasting techniques before each piece is dyed. These ain’t your grampa’s wood turned bowls.

P.S. check out his work on Instagram here.

 

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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

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

Junko Mori’s Uncontrollable Beauty

Thank you Hilary Brown, for introducing me to the amazing work of Japanese-born, North Wales-based Junko Mori.

Using mild steel or fine silver Mori creates truly amazing sculptural objects drawing inspiration from nature, particularly her childhood fascination with life forming and multiplying under the microscope. And! she doesn’t start a project with a plan in mind. She designs as she goes!! That in itself just amazes me.

In her words…
‘I am always drawn to the visual impact of an aggregate assembled with many small components and find infinite possibilities of the form multiplied by the vital power beyond the physical space, such as cell division through a microscope.

My work consists of multiples of individually forged steel or other metals, and the subtle difference of each piece results from hand hammering. No piece is individually planned but becomes fully formed within the making and thinking process. Repeating little accidents, like a mutation of cells, the final accumulation of units emerges within this process of evolution.

The uncontrollable beauty is the core of my concept”.

Propogation Project; Small Petal, Bulb, 2012. Forged mild steel wax coated
Propagation Project; Small Petal, Bulb, 2012 (forged mild steel, wax coated)
British Hedgerow Cups, 2017 Fine Silver 999
British Hedgerow Cups, 2017 (fine silver 999)
Plants Exotica Chandelier, 2016. Forged waxed mild steel
Plants Exotica Chandelier, 2016 (forged, waxed mild steel)
Propogation Project; Bird Rusty Leaf, 2017 Forged Mild Steel wax coated
Propagation Project; Bird Rusty Leaf, 2017 (forged mild steel, wax coated)
A Silver Organism; Dense Larch, 2015 Forged Fine silver 999
A Silver Organism; Dense Larch, 2015 (forged fine silver 999)
Propogation Project; Roots, 2014 Forged Mild Steel, Wax Coated
Propagation Project; Roots, 2014 (forged mild steel, wax coated)

Almuth Tebbenhoff

I consider myself a sculptor of minuscule things; simple rings, earrings and the occasional weird link for a necklace. When I start a wax project it’s with the notion that the block or tube I’m carving holds an unknown object inside that my scalpel blade will eventually uncover, one slice at a time. This process of removing mass sometimes results in an interesting form, or the beginnings of one and I whittle away at it until I’m happy with it. At other times, if the blade slips or I make too deep a gouge I have to decide whether to repair the mistake (easily done with wax) or abandon the project. If I decide to abandon it it’s usually because I find the scraps I’m removing are more interesting than whatever I’m trying to uncover in the block or tube. I think that’s why I find the work of sculptor Almuth Tebbenhoff so interesting; her pieces are about removing mass, allowing light into and onto solid stone or metal, illuminating the intrinsic qualities of those materials. Gad, my wax is so boring now. I’ve decided that in my next life I’ll buy her ‘Indensity’ piece (see below) and put it in our garden where I’ll admire it for the rest of my days.

Tebbenhoff was born in Germany. She credits her father (a hobbyist blacksmith) with instilling in her an enduring awareness and appreciation for the vastness of the universe and our seemingly small place in it. It may be this aspect of her early years that informs her work as a sculptor today.

At the age of 18 she left Germany to relocate to the UK. She studied ceramics at the Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design in London (1972 -75) before setting up her own studio where she produced ceramics for the next six years. In 1981 she relocated her studio to an unused church hall, naming it Southfields, producing pieces made in clay or wood. And five years later, maybe bored with the contraints of the pottery wheel she enrolled at South Thames College in London to study metal fabrication (1986 – 88). Fast forward to 2018 and after much experimentation and risk taking (learning) you’ll find her amazing pieces installed or exhibited across the globe. The list of her achievements and accolades are longer than both my arms, including being elected a Fellow of the Royal British Society of Sculptors (2002) and receiving an Honourary Doctorate from the University of Leicester (2013). I’ve pulled this from her member profile at the RBS…

‘I weld steel, carve marble, build with clay and wax for bronze and I draw, because…..

One part of my story about sculpture making is to soften a hard and resistant material, to create a flow of energy. Whatever material I sculpt with, that intention is driving from the back of my mind. The other part is to grapple with the invisible and totally mysterious side of life. And then there is the concept’.

If you’re fortunate enough to travel to or live near where her work is, visit it. And if you’re like me (waiting to win the lottery) you can find her on Instagram here.

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Core, 2005  bronze
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Giocoliere, 2011 italian marble
Yellow mild steel
Yellow, 1996 fabricated steel, painted
Breakthrough No 2 pink portuguese marble
Lightbox, 2015 portuguese pink marble
Indensity,-2014
Indensity, 2014  portuguese pink marble