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It's Necessary to Develop One's Own Handwriting in Jewellery. Interview with Andrea MAXA Halmschlager by Klimt02

Interview
Published: 29.03.2021
Andrea MAXA Halmschlager Andrea MAXA Halmschlager
Author:
Klimt02
Edited by:
Klimt02
Edited at:
Barcelona
Edited on:
2021
Andrea Maxa Halmschlager. Necklace: SW 2, 2015. Border trimmings, snap fasteners.. 37 x 20 x 13 cm. Photo by: Andrea Maxa Halmschlager. From series: Bordabesques. Andrea Maxa Halmschlager
Necklace: SW 2, 2015
Border trimmings, snap fasteners.
37 x 20 x 13 cm
Photo by: Andrea Maxa Halmschlager
From series: Bordabesques
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.

Intro
My pieces often look more experimental than technical. This may be a result of my working process: remanufacturing out of accumulated material. I often switch between work series as well as art disciplines. I am fond of experimenting, drawing, making collages, photographs, or objects. All these different fields influence one another. 
Tell us about your background. What were your first influences to be creative and become an artist and what has drawn you to contemporary jewellery?
Both of my parents were very creative, my mother made lovely embroidery and other textile works mostly for our private home. My father was a teacher in mathematics and physics. Physics was his favorite subject, and by developing mechanical instruments for the physics department he worked with almost every material: from metal, wood up to textile. Both created an open atmosphere for arts in general in which my sister and I grew up. They always encouraged us to express ourselves. As a child, my favorite expression was to invent and tell stories, and of course, I drew a lot. 

Around 1975, my father started with enamel. He installed a workshop in the attic and invited us to join him. That's where I started to make jewellery. I made simple brooches inspired by the paintings and drawings I loved, using, therefore, paint enamel. Some of my favorite artists then were Albrecht Dürer, whom I loved for his genius drawings, the Fauves and Pierre Bonnard for their use of color, Paul Klee for his portraits and storytelling images, and Friedensreich Hundertwasser for his colorful spirals. 

In 1980, I started my studies at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. I was accepted at the metal-department where I first continued with more refined brooches in enamel. I learned to enchase them and to make my own pin mechanisms. Soon, the atmosphere of the department and my colleagues influenced me strongly and changed my work. I abandoned enamel and threw myself into different metal technologies and furniture design. Carl Auböck, my teacher, often invited guest teachers, such as Max Fröhlich, Eugene Pijanowski, and Peter Skubic. Peter spent only two weeks in Vienna but changed my jewellery world the most, encouraging me to work with paper. I developed my own way of papier-maché: using colored silk paper, layer upon layer and combining this with metal. These paper works represent my first steps into the world of contemporary jewellery. 


How has your work changed over the past few years and what are you excited about these days?
Concerning material, shape, and idea my work has changed quite a lot since my paper brooches and bracelets in 1984-86. Yet my passion for storytelling and colors has always dominated my work. My pieces often look more experimental than technical. This may be a result of my working process: remanufacturing out of accumulated material. I often switch between work series as well as art disciplines. I am fond of experimenting, drawing, making collages, photographs, or objects. All these different fields influence one another. 

At the moment I am very excited about my work-in-progress Bordabesques during the first lockdown in 2020, I started with Bordabesque_37 Fringes, which is an utterly slow process. At the same time, I continue working on a group of textile brooches. I am still fascinated by the pattern-meets-pattern subject, particularly with regard to jewelry and clothes. 


What are your general thoughts on the contemporary jewellery world, (education, market, development...), where do you see chances, and where are dead ends?
Today there are many possibilities for an excellent education in making contemporary jewellery. This may be one of the reasons why the community of contemporary jewellers is spreading with a much stronger dynamic than the market. Just on Instagram, I can find many amazing pieces from colleagues all over the world, however, also a lot of similarities among the work. It’s getting more and more difficult but remains absolutely necessary to develop one's own language/handwriting in jewellery. Moreover, contemporary jewellery should be more accepted as a self-contained matter within our society. Possibly, this current crisis could turn out to be a chance to reduce the quantity in favor of quality. The most important goal is finding new enthusiasts for contemporary jewellery outside the scene.
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