Jewellery in Case

Published: 29.03.2018
Jewellery in Case.
Yuxi Sun
Edited by:
Edited at:
Idar Oberstein
Edited on:

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There is an exhibition I always go to visit in the last three years during the Munich Jewellery Week: Schmuck und Hüll ( jewellery in case). It is an exhibition of an interdisciplinary collaboration because each finished collection requests being finished by a jewellery artist and a product designer. Schmuck und Hüll brings the new series of work at Gallery Gedok (Schleißheimer Str. 61) every year during the Munich of Jewellery week, then the same group of work will be moved to the IHM (International Handwerksmesse) the year after, which is the main fair hall hosting the huge number of visitors.

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Not surprisingly, at the beginning of this project, the artists were trying so hard to produce the most beautiful box for the most delicate jewellery. They interpreted the jewellery in case as jewellery is in a specially designed box - an additional high end customised object for the jewellery piece. However, after more and more artists joining in this project, the case began to show its diversity gradually. Since artists have started to rethink the relationship among jewellery, artist and visitor, the concept of the designing the case for the jewellery has been improved. Artists do not only focus on making the perfect outcome but making the case exclusive of the jewellery piece. Understanding the essence of the piece is the base for artists to create a completed jewellery set including jewellery and its case. The jewellery presented in Schmuck und Hüll in MJW18 really impressed me a lot with their case as an integral.

Before sharing the pieces from the exhibition, I have to mention the organisation Gedok that all the artists and designers belong to. This is an extensive non-profit organisation located in Munich. Gedok is the largest and most traditional interdisciplinary artist organisation in German-speaking country (mainly Germany and Austria), and all its 300 women members come from different disciplines (mainly from fine Arts, applied Arts, music, and literature). Gedok was founded by Ida Dehmel in 1926. Dehmel was a German poet, feminism and art supporter. She established Dehmel to promote the work of talented female artists, facilitate their access to the public, foster the link between artists and art promoters, and equate women’s cultural positions with institutional and practical help.

Ida Dehmel (1870 – 1942)

If the member of Gedok is interested in Schmuck und Hüll project, they will have to find their own cooperator by themselves who are as well from the organisation.

Three years ago, when I visited the exhibition for the first time, I felt the collaboration result was more like a commodity than the art piece. I still remember a non-designer friend commenting on those pieces: These are the most sellable piece I have seen today.

The images below are some pieces I caught during MJW16:

Collaboration between Hanni Weber and Maria Verburg, 2016.

Collaboration between Susanne Holzinger and Bettina von Reiswitz, 2016.

The only piece exhibited in 2016 impressed me is the following one because I felt the jewellery and case were connected, and they were seen as a whole art piece.

Collaboration between Susanne Elstner and Karin Traxler, 2016.

The dark black brooch was surrounded by the case made of matches.  When matches burn up, their black ash will set the brooch off.

Collaboration between Barbara von Taenffen Bach and Suse Güllert, 2016.

In 2017, I was impressed by 2 collections,

Collaboration between Gabriete von Miller – Lehste, Barbara Heigert and Cornelia Möbs, 2017.

We can feel the beauty of Japanese Shibu, Wabi-Sabi from the piece at first glance. Purely and peacefully, jewellery was set in the center naturally, like a Japanese squat (tsukubai) in the garden. The sculpt brings a sense of Buddhism to visitors - it is supposed to be here. On the bottom of each jewellery case is a groove specially made for rings, but it is almost invisible if we do not pay enough attention to it. Artists made its existence so harmonious.

Collaboration between Gottlinde Singer and Herta Lambert, 2017.

Collaboration between Monika Vesely and Nadine Rosani, left image: at Gedok gallery in 2017, right image: at IHM, 2018.

The piece above is the work I spotted at an IHM Gedok stand this year and it was exhibited last year at Gedok gallery. The case was made by the carpentry Nadine Rosani. The whole piece is like a seed, and the jewellery was the imitation of the hope of life inside the seed. The combination of jewellery and case presents the birth of life.
During the conversation with Nadine, she told me that she found it interesting to work with designer and artist who came from the different discipline. The cooperation was challenging. Both of them had to know each other well, adjusted the way of working and slipped into the working mode in a short time. Nadine described the collaboration between two artists/designers were like playing a table tennis game She was desperate to improve her skills in order to lengthen the time of the game. An excellent partner is an invisible encouragement to her. There is no compromise and she has to keep going, and this how they are able to create a perfect piece together.

When it comes to 2018, I feel there was even more work deserving sharing. The jewellery cases were no longer delicate craft works as they were some years ago, they became a part of jewellery creation, and the whole art story will not be completed without those cases.

Collaboration between Kerstin Becker and Irmengard Matschunas.

The artist’s silversmith skill is undisputed, but the jewels of this collaboration was quite traditional and brought visitors little surprise, but it was turned into an absolute lively and childish collection when they were set in such cases: they were like a suitcase or a house with the wheels and its walls were covered with the case was covered with  medieval aged pattern

Collaboration between Christine Demmel and Gertrud Hahn-Stracke.

This piece has different looks if you see them from two different angles. In one way, the multilevel piece echoed the countless images reflected by two mirrors. On the other way, viewers can only see themselves because it is a pure mirror.

Collaboration between Pia Duppich and Irmgard Kurz-Minisini.

Ceramic was commonly used as the case material in the past years, but the designers of this collaboration used it in a quite different way. They made ceramic a part of the jewellery in addition to the case. The artist bounded them together with cords to enhance the idea of integration. The silver part lied on the ceramic part. Thus, they challenged people's stereotype of a jewellery box, so the ceramic part became the display board for the silver.

Collaboration between Christine Vitzthum and Charlotte Vögele.

Charlotte Vögele is introducing her collaboration work to the visitor.

Christine Vitzthum and Charlotte Vögele are the nature supporters. Charlotte also works as a floral designer. Her life is engaged with nature in every aspect. Inspired by nature, Christine designed a small delicate jewellery.  The case designed by Charlotte was associated with nature tightly as well. The jewellery cases were made of two kinds of wood. The round one was made of buddha nut, and burrs were collected by Charlotte when she wandered in the forest. The jewellery pieces’ jumping out of the spiky nutballs reminds us how buddha nut fruit ripens in nature.

Image from the internet.

In the future
The exhibition from Gedok always brought me surprise each year. Frankly speaking, it may not be the freshest and exciting exhibition nowadays, but you cannot name another exhibition which can make so excellent collaboration between jewellery and its case.
Most jewellery designers have difficulties in finding a perfect box for their precious jewellery pieces. On one hand, they are afraid to use a fancy box that might take the attention away from the jewellery piece. On the other hand, a too simple box may diminish the beauty of jewellery. The most common way jewellery designers choose to do is packing their pieces a hard cardboard box with their own logos on it, and they are often in original color, white or black. Although we admire minimalism a lot today, we cannot forget the precondition of applying minimalistic design is enhancing the theme. If each single jewellery piece is packed in the same simple way, and then there will be no matching between any jewellery and its case.

The exhibition Schmuck und Hülle breaks the stereotype of the relationship between box and jewellery. The jewellery box should not only function as storage satisfying viewers’ eye, but they are a part of the creation process and are as important as jewellery pieces. The relationship between Jewellery case and jewellery piece is just like their creators from different disciplines. It is a table tennis game. In order not to drop the ball on the floor and bring the audience a long-lasting wonderful game, two co-operators should keep up and try their best to push the whole collection as far as possible.

About the author

Yuxi Sun completed her Bachelor of Arts in Jewellery design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in 2015. She is undertaking her Master of Fine arts in Gemstone and Jewellery at University of Applied Science Trier, Campus Idar-Oberstein till 2018. She made an internship at Klimt02 in 2017, where she is working since 2018.