Multi-layered, Complex

“I do not dominate the material, but rather cooperate with it and include its specific characteristics in the designing process.” - the artist

Cold Blue II Brooch, 2017. Collection „vielschichtig“, Plastic bags, foil, silver and stainless steel. Photo credit: Tobias Fuhrmann

Cold Blue II Brooch, 2017. Collection „vielschichtig“, Plastic bags, foil, silver and stainless steel. Photo credit: Tobias Fuhrmann

Q: What led you to become a jewelry designer?

A: Originally, I started my apprenticeship in metal design with the goal of becoming a restorer. However, during my training, I quickly realized that I have more fun in creating something new, rather than preserving something old. Therefore, I continued by studying at the Munich Academy for Design and Crafts, where I actually started my experiments with plastic bags and foils.

Thus, these experiments formed the basis for my final assignment and the first pieces of jewelry developed. In retrospective I really cannot tell, what drew me towards jewelry - it was no conscious decision for or against jewelry or other topics. At some point, it was just clear to me that I wanted to design and create jewelry. I guess it was the multitude of possibilities of design that I found in jewelry, but also of course the results of my experiments.

Monochrome I Brooch, 2018. Plastic bags, foil, silver and stainless steel. Photo credit: Tobias Fuhrmann

Monochrome I Brooch, 2018. Plastic bags, foil, silver and stainless steel. Photo credit: Tobias Fuhrmann

Q: Where have you studied and/or exhibited your work?

A: I was already aged 35 when I began my apprenticeship in metal design with graduate metal designer Berndt Schweizer. In 2016 I graduated as designer of crafts at the Munich Academy for Design and Crafts.

Meanwhile, my works have been presented in various galleries in Europe, e.g. in the Galerie Ra in Amsterdam, the Galerie VundV in Vienna or in the Alternatives Gallery in Rome. My brooch "cold blue II" is part of the permanent collection of the AGC in the Cominelli Foundation. Other important exhibitions in 2018 were the Shanghai Triple Parade, Autor in Bucharest and Just Plastics in Karlsruhe.

Untitled I Brooch, 2018. Collection „überdreht“, Plastic bags, foil, silver and stainless steel. Photo credit: Tobias Fuhrmann

Untitled I Brooch, 2018. Collection „überdreht“, Plastic bags, foil, silver and stainless steel. Photo credit: Tobias Fuhrmann

Q: Where do you derive your inspiration from?

A: I am fascinated by the material poly ethylene in the form of bags and foils. For more than two years now, I have been intensively experimenting with it and I am still discovering new ways and possibilities of processing it. Because of that I can create new shapes, patterns and effects all the time. I suppose, it is exactly this pleasure of discovering some new aspect that is inspiring me.

Dark Red Brooch, 2018. Collection „vielschichtig“, Plastic bags, foil, silver and stainless steel. Photo credit: Tobias Fuhrmann

Dark Red Brooch, 2018. Collection „vielschichtig“, Plastic bags, foil, silver and stainless steel. Photo credit: Tobias Fuhrmann

Q: Your work is created using foils and plastic shopping bags. Can you elaborate on your technique and explain your process for us?

A: I am using traditional techniques that I have adapted to the characters of the material. The constant experimenting also allows me to further develop these techniques. It is essential that I do not force these techniques on the material, but rather cooperate with the material and let it lead me by its proper qualities.

For example, when for the collection "vielschichtig", the first steps of processing consist of folding and pressing - just like in Mokume Gane or Damscene -  color-themed foils. The finished stacks will then be cut and arranged in a strictly geometrical way. And yet, in the next processing steps, the material is allowed to free itself out of the boundaries I have set before which leads to the creation of the strong, free shapes and patterns.

For my collection "überdreht", I take the material to its limits of stability - there is an extreme tension which the piece of jewelry reflects as if you could even feel it. In case I take this too far, the piece is destroyed for good because I neglected the material's point of breaking.

Monochrome III Brooch, 2018. Plastic bags, foil, silver and stainless steel. Photo credit: Tobias Fuhrmann

Monochrome III Brooch, 2018. Plastic bags, foil, silver and stainless steel. Photo credit: Tobias Fuhrmann

Q: Is there an underlying message with regards to the materials you choose to use for your designs?

A: We are surrounded by packaging foils and plastic bags on a daily basis without seeing anything beautiful in them. But by processing this seemingly worthless waste, I want to bestow a new value on the material.

To me, this is one of the most important aspects of my work.

Untitled III Brooch, 2018. Collection „überdreht“, Plastic bags, foil, silver and stainless steel. Photo credit: Tobias Fuhrmann

Untitled III Brooch, 2018. Collection „überdreht“, Plastic bags, foil, silver and stainless steel. Photo credit: Tobias Fuhrmann

Q: What do you hope for viewers to take away from your designs?

A: First of all, I would like that viewers like my work - also without knowing the background story. As it is my aim to conceal the basic material in the finished objects further explanation is necessary. I wish that through this my jewelry will kick-off discussions: about my jewelry, waste and seemingly worthless things that received new value.

Untitled II Brooch, 2018. Collection „überdreht“, Plastic bags, foil, silver and stainless steel. Photo credit: Tobias Fuhrmann

Untitled II Brooch, 2018. Collection „überdreht“, Plastic bags, foil, silver and stainless steel. Photo credit: Tobias Fuhrmann

Q: How do you view your art career in five years?

A: The best thing would be, that in five years' time I will not be able to work with plastic bags any more, because there aren't any left. As this will, unfortunately, probably not be the case, I wish that I feel the same fascination for my work as I do now. Oh, and making a living with it would also be very nice...

About the artist:

At the age of 35, I started my apprenticeship in metalworking design and afterwards went on to the Academy of Design and Crafts in Munich, from where I graduated with honors in 2016. Directly after my graduation, I began designing and manufacturing jewelry out of plastic bags and foils. Already during my training at the Academy in Munich, I was highly enthusiastic about this seemingly worthless, inconspicuous material. Despite the fact that we are accompanied by the material in our daily life, we only rarely observe it as being beautiful. It is my aim to create pieces of jewelry that do not betray any traces of their origins. In order to achieve this, I do not dominate the material, but rather cooperate with it and include its specific characteristics in the designing process. I.e. the material is allowed to free itself from the initially imposed limits resulting from my geometrical arrangement, which creates free and strong patterns. Every unique piece reflects the numerous and complex structures to which this collection owns its name: vielschichtig (Engl.: multi-layered, complex).


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