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Diving into the traditional and giving it contemporary expression and shape will be a very exciting journey. Susanne Matsché interviewed by International Summer Academy

Interview  /  Artists   Workshops   Technics
Published: 26.04.2019
Susanne Matsché, photo by Franziska Hauser.​ Susanne Matsché, photo by Franziska Hauser.​
Author:
International Summer Academy
Edited by:
Klimt02
Edited at:
Barcelona
Edited on:
2019
Susanne Matsché. Brooch: The Second Icon, 2017. Silver, enamel, steel pin.. Photo by: Johannes Zappe. Susanne Matsché
Brooch: The Second Icon, 2017
Silver, enamel, steel pin.
Photo by: Johannes Zappe
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.

Intro
Since about a decade I have been teaching workshops in Filigree in various countries. For me it is wonderful to see, how students transform the old technique of Filigree into something new, contemporary and often so playful. I am an admirer of old craft and knowledge. It is my mission to keep this old trade alive and thriving, and to counteract the general pressure to do things efficiently, economically and fast. Filigree is well suited for this lesson, it takes time!
The workshop holds by ISA from Aug.12th to Aug.16th - Filigree, spinning it further with Susanne Matsché is still available to apply.
You are a teacher at this year’s International Summer Academy in Idar-Oberstein. Every teacher is specialized in something and has a different background. Please tell us more about your profession.
I studied product design in Vienna, my diploma piece was a huge soft flower for people to sit on. It was so gigantic, it hardly fit in a normal living room. So I needed to downsize because I wanted to travel. During my studies, I had a one-year scholarship to study in Moscow, then the Soviet Union. I was very young and naive when I went there and had no idea what to expect. I just knew that I wanted to live in Russia and escape my design studies for a while. I did, but in a different way than I thought: when I realized that everybody in the jewelry department at the Stroganoff institute was making fligree jewelry, I was shocked. It was a clash of cultures, of philosophies and of sense of beauty. How can a plain surface possibly be beautiful? It was wonderful, to dive into this sea of opulence! 
The confusion was perfect after I returned to Vienna and my professor got mad at me when he saw the pieces I had made, he called them tasteless and a waste of time. One of the first pieces I made after my return was a piece from a dream: a necklace, half steel scissor, half filigree scissor. It was dangerous!


Scissor necklace by Susanne Matsché. Material: silver, stainless steel.


After my diploma, my path led me to different countries in the world (I have lived in Holland, the USA, India, and since 15 years I have been living in Berlin). Jewerly has always been the thread that connected all my experiences in all the different places like beads on a necklace. 
I am trying to find a balance between making a living with smaller, wearable pieces, and bigger pieces that I take a lot of time to design and to produce. It is a challenge, but it has always been an exciting journey. 
Since about a decade I have been teaching workshops in Filigree in various countries. For me, it is wonderful to see, how students transform the old technique of Filigree into something new, contemporary and often so playful. I am an admirer of old craft and knowledge. It is my mission to keep this old trade alive and thriving and to counteract the general pressure to do things efficiently, economically and fast. Filigree is well suited for this lesson, it takes time! 
But I am also a fan of breaking the rules sometimes, to question things, to attract attention and to pose questions, maybe to provoke a smile…


ISA: For the fifth time the International Summer Academy (ISA) has invited a group of international artists to hold a series of workshops. Speaking to your “future students”, what can they expect from your course?
Learning the basics of Filigree technique will be the foundation: we will prepare decorative wires from fine silver, make solder alloy for the powdered solder, create special elements from the prepared wires and connect them by soldering the many layers with a soft and busy flame.
The excitement of working up all the elements from scratch into a delicate, three-dimensional piece provides a great source of inspiration for the participants’ own work. Plus, it’s an opportunity for them to integrate this knowledge into their own previously acquired skill sets.
In many ways, the Filigree technique differs from other commonly used techniques in metalsmithing. The thin fine silver wires we will use are very soft and delicate (and nevertheless result in amazingly stable pieces), and also are an unusual material to start out with. Quite often ideas from other crafts and arts come into play. For example, textile techniques like weaving, binding, stitching, or the wire being treated as a line, are an invitation to think of the piece of jewelry as a graphic expression.
Diving into the traditional and giving it contemporary expression and shape will be a very exciting journey. I look forward to joining the students on their journey during this five-day workshop.


ISA: What do you expect from the atmosphere and possibilities of the ISA 2018, centered in the city of Idar-Oberstein and the Departement of Gemstones and Jewellery?
I am very much looking forward to intensively working in such a special place, with so much tradition but also a very exciting contemporary side. Aside from the intense working days, I am curious to meet students and new collegues, as well as catching up with people I have met before. As opposed to a jewelry event like Schmuck, the ISA is situated in a small town and this makes it very intimate and special, more concentrated and with fewer distractions, and I think it will be a very inspiring, wonderful 2 weeks...


Have you been already in Idar-Oberstein, or do you have visited the Campus? What are your favourite things about it?
I was teaching a workshop at ISA in 2015. I thought the workshops on Campus are well equipped and the working atmosphere was great. The rooms are spacious and light, and everything was easy to reach (also the bars in the evening, and the places where we stayed) I thought it was great that the students get the opportunity to visit local gem cutting places and that they get a discount when they buy supplies. Last but not least I thought the lunches were perfectly organized, and I enjoyed it so much taking a break, catching up with people from other workshops, and sharing food and drinks!


ISA: Something else we should know about you?
Generally not included in CVs, because considered a private fact, I nevertheless wanted to mention that I have two children. My profession is so closely interwoven with other experiences in my life which are nourishing my creativity and the spirit that carries me on, but also posing challenges, of course, my kids are part of it all…
 

About the Interviewee

Susanne Matsché (*1969) studied Design at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, Austria, Jewelry at the Stroganov Academy in Moscow, Russia, and the Pforzheim School of Design, Germany.
She has lived and worked in Austria, the USA, the Netherlands and in India; since 2004 she is based in Berlin, Germany.
Susanne has taken part in numerous exhibitions throughout Europe, the USA and Japan.
She has specialized in promoting and teaching the art of Filigree and has taught workshops in schools and institutions such as the Gerrit Rietveld Academy Amsterdam, Alchimia Florence, the Design Studio by Azza Fahmy, Cairo, the International Summer Academy Idar-Oberstein, 92Y New York and UIUC Urbana-Champaign (USA).
In 2017 she was the winner of the First Prize of the Legnica International Jewellery Competition Identity, Poland.
Susanne Matsche. Necklace: Her New Underwear - a journey between genders, dedicated to P.X., 2017. Fine silver, sterling, silver chain. Filigree technique.. 7 x 5 x 3 cm. Awarded at: Identity: Legnica International Jewellery Competition 2017. 1st Prize, Grand Prix of the Minister of Culture & National Heritage . Susanne Matsche
Necklace: Her New Underwear - a journey between genders, dedicated to P.X., 2017
Fine silver, sterling, silver chain. Filigree technique.
7 x 5 x 3 cm
Awarded at: Identity: Legnica International Jewellery Competition 2017
1st Prize, Grand Prix of the Minister of Culture & National Heritage 
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Work by Susanne Matsché, teacher of the filigree workshop at Summer Academy in Idar-Oberstein..
Work by Susanne Matsché, teacher of the filigree workshop at Summer Academy in Idar-Oberstein.

© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Susanne Matsché. Ring: Untitled, 2018. Silver, fine silver.. Susanne Matsché
Ring: Untitled, 2018
Silver, fine silver.
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Susanne Matsché. Necklace: Siamese pendant, 2018. Oxidized silver.. Susanne Matsché
Necklace: Siamese pendant, 2018
Oxidized silver.
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
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