how did you begin making jewellery?
during my studies i came across examples of beaded jewellery from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, which appealed to two of my main interests at the same time: ornamentation and textiles. when i was asked to restore an old piece of beadwork, i had to explore various techniques and simply became engrossed in this work. i’ve always had a predilection for handcrafts that may seem outmoded, and a weakness for craftsmanship that requires an adherance to detail and the specific needs of unique materials.
did your studies in european costume history influence your style?
it presumably influences my style in general, mostly subconsciously. i can sometimes trace colour combinations or forms to specific eras, but otherwise it has more to do with a basic awareness of texture and composition ingrained by my studies in costume history.
what can you say about your working process?
i start playfully, trying out colour combinations and patterns. as soon as a design surfaces planning sets in and my method becomes very precise. my favourite part is the moment when a tension arises and what was previously unconnected now forms a structure. it’s a meticulous, deliberate, rather meditative work that requires concentrated devotion, which in my case doesn’t happen without listening to opera: the more passionate the better!
what about the beads?
i love working with old beads, not only because of their subtle colours but even more so because of their irregular cut, which allows me to develop patterns over tapering spheres without distortion and to accomplish a truly precise structure. it’s time-consuming but rewarding.
aside from the technical ease developed over the years, i’ve learned to savour the restrictions of the material, plumbing its depths and exploring the limits. the reduced availability of old beads, their delicacy, the small dimensions of my jewellery — what are the possibilities of creating patterns on such minute playing fields?
how do people respond to your work?
most people react immediately to the beauty of the materials, the colours, the work. at one point or another, they ask about the amount of time i devote to creating each individual piece. i’ve noticed an increased understanding of the uncompromising nature of the workmanship over the value of the material. there’s sometimes still, albeit less and less, the disbelief that this is work created by a man, and often the assumption that i must be incredibly patient — i’m not.
(excerpts from an artist talk with dr. heike welz, held during galerie slavik’s 25th-anniversary exhibition series jewellery art in the tide of time in march 2016.)