Lightness. Reviving the filigree

Exhibition  /  08 Jul 2004  -  06 Oct 2004
Published: 26.01.2006
Ana Campos. Piece: Elements to built jewels. Gold, silver, silicone. Diameters:_40 mm, 20 mm, 10 mm. Ana, CamposPiece: Elements to built jewels, 2004Gold, silver, siliconeDiameters:_40 mm, 20 mm, 10 mmVila Nova de Gaia, Portugal.  . Producer - Custódio GomesVila Nova de Gaia, Portugal.  . Producer - Custódio Gomes. Ana Campos
Piece: Elements to built jewels
Gold, silver, silicone
Diameters:_40 mm, 20 mm, 10 mm

Ana, Campos
Piece: Elements to built jewels, 2004
Gold, silver, silicone
Diameters:_40 mm, 20 mm, 10 mm
Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal

Producer - Custódio Gomes
Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal

Producer - Custódio Gomes
© By the author. Read Copyright.
genèric expo.
genèric expo

© By the author. Read Copyright.

Artist list

Alexandra Serpa Pimentel, Ana Campos, Carmén Amador, Cristina Filipe, David Huycke, Francisco Providência, Inês Sobreira, Judy Mc Caig, Kadri Mälk, Ramón Puig Cuyàs, Silvia Walz, Tereza Seabra, Former and current students from ESAD Ana Andrade, Carl
Let’s once again consider the origin of the filigree, in Latin filum and granum.
Traveling, as memory nomads, we reuse a common heritage, transforming it into matter in order to foreshadow creative dynamics to build projects.Lightness: reviving the filigree is a partnership project of ESAD – College of art and Design, Matosinhos (Porto) Portugal – and the Travassos’ Gold Museum in Póvoa do Lanhoso.

Lightness: reviving the filigree

“If I were to choose a votive symbol to enter the new millennium, I would choose this: the agile leap of the poet-philosopher which rises above the weight of the world, demonstrating that gravity contains the secret of lightness while many assume to be the vitality of the times, tumultuous, aggressive, devastating and thundering”.
“Lightness”, Italo Calvino, 1994:26

In jewellery, filigree should bring to mind lightness. Filigree, from the Latin word filigrana, derives from filum, a metal wire, and granum, grain or bead, describes a process of technical associations, hinting at a primordial practice of ornamenting the wire work with small metal spheres (small grains). Therefore, initially it incorporated the granulation technique, although filigree may consist only in wirework. However, in Portugal as in other countries, what happened to this technique, originally light, was that, visually, it became heavy by being full of baroque ornaments. Because this happens still today, it makes filigree jewels out-dated. Stagnated. They don’t belong, as Calvino says, to the world of software, bits, DNA, they aren’t based upon delicate entities, and they are not, in any way, a votive symbol of this new millennium.

To revive the filigree, ESAD (Superior School of Art and Design, Matosinhos, Portugal) and the Gold Museum of Travassos outlined a joint project.
ESAD, working in the interface art/design, devoted itself to the introduction of new project proposals that, leading to the reproduction of pieces in series, allow for the realization of an itinerant exhibition. The Museum of Gold assumed the role of mediator between the traditional practice carried out by traditional jewellers and the expenditure of modern design. Together, seeking to reinterpret and revive filigree, looking to stimulate the production of the jewellers of Póvoa do Lanhoso, in order to show that Portugal has roots and future in this area.
Professors of ESAD and a selection of students and former students worked in dialogue with the local jewellers. Various other Portuguese and foreign jewellers joined this project, establishing dialogues to break the distance and working in their own workshops.
To reinterpret this technique, using it as an expressive means in today’s world, there was a need to reflect in order to understand the delicacy of its main matter - the wire - to reintroduce lightness in the jewels to create.

Resorting to lightness as a concept or, as Ortega y Gasset says, as “a mental instrument to build concrete things” and, in this case, to create, turning filigree jewels into expressions of today’s world, in the same sense as Calvino expressed, other routes were chosen. From a technical point of view, following traditions, the wire was, in some cases, worked in transparency, welded within a frame, on a printed support or a plane metal-sheet and associated to granulation, printing or enamel.
However, by wanting to introduce new creative dynamics, even the techniques, in other cases, were challenged to become expressive means of the ideas. Without ever forgetting the need to establish a dialogue with whoever produced the pieces, respecting his/her knowledge in order to learn, three-dimensional wire pieces were created. For the lined pieces, printing processes were reinvented which allowed for the creation of new forms, using as a resource electroforming, computer processes or quick prototyping. New and unforeseen materials were associated.

In order to face the changes that occur rapidly, like globalization, we tried to, as Ramón Puig says convert ourselves into “memory nomads (…)” wanting to establish a “new humanism that illuminates us in order to pass through the new paths of change” (2001). Following this conceptual plan, creativity, in this project, was also motivated by the reflection about this historical heritage common to all participants in this exhibition. We acted according to what Marc Augé designates as supermodern thinking, questioning the consequences, in today’s world, of the over dimensioning of factors, characteristic of modernity, considering that in the human memory, foundations to introduce new creative dynamics in the present context can be found by working it and reusing it, changing it into a material with which projects can be built.

Ana Campos
Head of the Jewellery Department of ESAD


Several exhibitions are programmed.
The first one will take place at Travassos’ Gold Museum on May 8th at 4.00 PM.


Póvoa de Lanhoso - Museu do Ouro de Travassos
Porto - CRAT Centro Regional de Artes Tradicionais
Caminha - Biblioteca Museu da Câmara Municipal
Idanha a Nova - Centro Cultural Raiano

Mértola - Sala de Exposições da ADPM
Lisboa - Museu Nacional de Etnologia
Coimbra - Pavilhão Centro Cultural Participants

Former and current students from ESAD

Ana Andrade, Carla Castiajo , Carla Gomes , Catarina Martins, Evelyn Silva, Joana Caldeira, Liliana Guerreiro, Luciana Pereira, Margarida Teixeira, Mariana Carmona, Marta Diogo, Raquel Bartosch, Rita Paixão Dinis, Sónia Canossa, Suzana Rezende, Telma Oliveira, Tiago Almeida, Vera Manzoni
David Huycke. Object: Pearl flock. Silver 925. 14 cm X 14 cm X 3 cm. Antwerp, Belgium. David Huycke
Object: Pearl flock
Silver 925
14 cm X 14 cm X 3 cm
Antwerp, Belgium
© By the author. Read Copyright.
Francisco Providência. Brooch: Untitled. Coimbra, Portugal. Francisco Providência
Brooch: Untitled
Coimbra, Portugal
© By the author. Read Copyright.
Kadri Mälk. Piece: FATA MORGANA XXXIV. Phalanx,. silver and cibatool. Tallin, Estonia. Kadri Mälk
silver and cibatool
Tallin, Estonia
© By the author. Read Copyright.
Ramón Puig. Brooch: Sem titulo. Silver, wood, plastic. 65x55x10 mm. Barcelona, Spain. Ramón Puig
Brooch: Sem titulo
Silver, wood, plastic
65x55x10 mm
Barcelona, Spain
© By the author. Read Copyright.
Tereza Seabra. : Insigne. Gold. Diameter: 39 mm. Alcobaça, Portugal. Tereza Seabra
: Insigne
Diameter: 39 mm
Alcobaça, Portugal
© By the author. Read Copyright.
Carla Castiajo. Pin: Cut. Silver and gold. 36x41x4 mm. Porto, Portugal. . Producers - Joaquim e Guilherme Rodrigues da Silva. Carla Castiajo
Pin: Cut
Silver and gold
36x41x4 mm
Porto, Portugal

Producers - Joaquim e Guilherme Rodrigues da Silva
© By the author. Read Copyright.
Mariana Carmona. : Natura. Gold, photographic enamel over copper. Diameter: 40 mm. Producers - Custódio Gomes e José Alberto Jorge. Mariana Carmona
: Natura
Gold, photographic enamel over copper
Diameter: 40 mm
Producers - Custódio Gomes e José Alberto Jorge
© By the author. Read Copyright.
Rita Paixão. Pin: Miragem. Gold, silver, oxidized silver. Several measurements. Lisbon, Portugal. . Producer - Delfim Marinho. Rita Paixão
Pin: Miragem
Gold, silver, oxidized silver
Several measurements
Lisbon, Portugal

Producer - Delfim Marinho
© By the author. Read Copyright.
Suzana Rezende. Necklace: Ampliador de emoções. Silver, lens. 25x30x30 mm. Suzana Rezende
Necklace: Ampliador de emoções
Silver, lens
25x30x30 mm
© By the author. Read Copyright.