Teachers of the International Summer Academy 2018 in conversation

Interview  /  CarolinDenter   Education
Published: 19.06.2018
Teachers of the International Summer Academy 2018 in conversation.
Carolin Denter
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Idar Oberstein
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For the fourth-time Campus Idar-Oberstein opens its workshops during the International Summer Academy to jewellery designers and students from all over the world. These summer courses are also held in the historical industrial monument Jakob Bengel as well as in the stone cutting workshop of the vocational school in Idar-Oberstein. In nine different workshops, instructed by renowned artists, participants will be able to discover new artistic horizons and techniques to be implemented those into their own artistic practice.

The Summer Academy talked with the workshop instructors from Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany and Spain about the possibilities and contents of their very unique workshops.
ISA: For the fourth 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?
JUDY MCCAIG: This year for the first-time, ISA will hold a class in the ancient Jacob Bengal factory. Steeped in history, the old chain and costume jewellery/art deco production factory will set the backdrop for this 3-part course. The students will work amongst the ancient tools and manufacturing machinery from a bygone era. They will be privileged to use century old stamping machinery to create their press formed samples and experiments. Introduction to the many patinas and finishes will allow them to combine various colours and gold leafing techniques to these stampings if so desired. The use of different types of rivets connect these results into layers, juxtapositions, collages, volumes, static or movable. A wide range of wonderful materials can be incorporated to create individual, striking pieces of jewellery. Students produce several finished pieces and many more unfinished fragments.

Pamela de la Fuente working on some pieces in the workshop of Judy McCaig during ISA 2016.

TANJA FALKENHAYNER: I want to invite my student to the virtual world of 3D design. Experimenting with two 3D modelling Programs. Seeing the advantages of both of them and also the differences. Starting from a constructive point going to a playful organic tool.
The possibility of bringing the virtual objects to life is also possible, the 3 D printer Form 2 is prepared.
PETR DVORAK: In the PUK workshop, we will talk about complex constructive solutions and these can then be practiced on examples. You have the possibility to create your own models, with all the materials you bring along, there are no limits to your creativity. The work is based on the application of the new PUK welding technology, which offers many new approaches for working in material mixes. The welds in all metals and in combinations of stone, wood, ceramics, and plastic give the designer much more freedom. With your imagination and the constructive PUK design, we want to promote new ways and processes in your work.

Example for working with a PUK: Necklace made from Agate and stainless steel by Petr Dvorak.

MARTINA DEMPF: The Summer Academy is a wonderful opportunity to meet with passionate jewelers from all over the world. The open and inspiring atmosphere created by Tabea and her team enables us to share cross-over ideas during workshops and between students and teachers alike. Idar-Oberstein as a jewelry and gemstone location and the excellently equipped Department of Gemstones offer a broad spectrum of facilities for studying technology, and inspires participants and lecturers with new and creative design ideas.
DANNI SCHWAAG: Participants learn the main steps in enameling, so that they could continue enameling home, if they have a kiln. Also, experimenting with the material and seeing and reacting to surprises or „accidents“. We will look for solutions how to make enameled pieces’ wearable.
so, in the end, every person will be able to carry at least one (jewellery)piece with them!
Main thing: having fun!
PETER VERMANDERE: With the practical hands-on approach of this course I hope to offer the participant a deep understanding of the transformational process which casting is. We start from a variety of basic ancient and actualized medieval possibilities and work towards contemporary and advanced mixed techniques. Do’s and dont’s, tips and tricks will hopefully lead the student to integrate new possibilities in his or her own personal artistic practice.

In action: the casting workshop with Peter Vermandere prepares its first casting in aluminium.

JÖRG OBERGFELL: Seeing wood as a material of the future and deeply getting in touch with it’s properties in theoretical and practical terms. Sometimes wood seems to be a rather stubborn material that requires a lot of adaptation from the shaping hand. But this also offers a lot of inspiration that lies within the material itself. And the carving techniques with a simple knife we will practice can be transferred to other materials and utilised without a special workshop or equipment. Also inspiration from an overview of wooden miniatures from figurative to abstract works in order to analyse and support own ideas in this field and deepen the understanding of 3 dimensional forms.

Prof. Jörg Obergfell is working mainly with wood, and in his workshop, he will introduce his special way of working to the students.

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?
JUDY MCCAIG: Numerous workshops and stone factories and shops add to the interesting and fascinating experience that is the summer academy in Idar-Oberstein.
TANJA FALKENHAYNER: The atmosphere last year was great!
Idar-Oberstein is a peaceful place and the creativity in the workshops is boiling. The Department is nice and tiny so everyone gets in contact.
I´m also looking forward to the lectures this year.

Tanja Falkenhayner in the setting of the historical monument Jakob Bengel in Idar-Oberstein.

PETR DVORAK: The old gemstone and jewelry city Idar Oberstein offers knowledge and innovation through the combination of tradition, material, and technology. This creates a unique climate with creative potential. This potential is strongly condensed in the space of the university, a mix of cultures and fields of tension.

DANNI SCHWAAG: Working in a special and concentrated atmosphere, being together with artists and creative people. To get in touch with others, with new techniques and ideas and of course with international people.

Danni Schwaag in a talk with one of her students during the enamel workshop during ISA 2016.

PETER VERMANDERE: The uniqueness of the environment lies in the fact that the city of Idar-Oberstein and the Department of Gemstones and Jewellery breathe gemstone working and metal artefact production since ancient times. Knowledge and understanding of these two major streams are indispensable for everyone working in our creative field, This is the place where the tradition and future crosses in the present.
JÖRG OBERGFELL: An ideal setting for a bustling time of creative exchange. Meeting likeminded people in a concentrated working atmosphere. Looking at wood sculptures from a jewellery design point of view and vice versa should create new ideas, forms and fruitful transfers.
ISA: Thinking about your experiences, what is your favorite thing about the Summer Academy in Idar-Oberstein?
JUDY MCCAIG: Different courses run simultaneously creating an exciting and productive atmosphere. Meeting with other professors and students encourage the sharing of ideas and forge lasting friendships.
TANJA FALKENHAYNER: I loved the relaxed and hardworking atmosphere, it was always possible to visit the other workshops and see what`s going on there.
Also, meeting everyone at lunch break and hear about the progress was something I enjoyed.

Artist Anna Medarska was happy with her first steps in 3D modelling with Tanja Falkenhayner.

PETR DVORAK: The Summer Academy is thought of as a mutual exchange in which one can learn, in an ideal combination of professional knowledge and enthusiasm. The Gemstone and Jewelry Department and the beautiful jewelry city Idar-Oberstein, in combination with the curious Summer Academy participants, will help to collect the complex experiences and take them home as input for your future work.
MARTINA DEMPF: When I joined the Summer-Academy 2017 for a lecture the first time, I was overwhelmed by this wonderful social event. Meeting with students and teachers at the various workshops and at the meals, was a welcome chance to exchange ideas, make new friends and extend the professional network for future projects.

Global Identity and Fusion Design, a topic with a lot of Zeitgeist, workshop held by experienced Martina Dempf.

DANNI SCHWAAG: to meet interesting people!
having the possibility to work and learn in a special atmosphere in such a small town in the middle of nowhere. People who haven't been there can't imagine the strongness of that place. It's really unique!

Danni Schwaag is mainly working with enamel, but she likes to play around with mixing materials and colour!

PETER VERMANDERE: I don’t know many places where the spirit of open-minded learning and sharing knowledge is so compactly organized as during ISA. Time after time I am amazed and deeply moved by the outburst of creative energy which happens within these two wonderful weeks.
JÖRG OBERGFELL: That different people from all over the world meet at a relatively small, remote place with great working facilities and get the chance to communicate ideas and techniques in a very concentrated atmosphere. I think there’s hardly a more rewarding set up for really recovering when spending one’s holidays ; )
ISA: Something else we should know about you?
JUDY MCCAIG: During my time as artist in residence in the Bengal factory, I discovered what an enriching and inspiring experience it is to work in such a historic environment.

Brooch by Judy McCaig.

TANJA FALKENHAYNER: I have fun supporting the participants on their Ideas, so bring your ideas we try to build it in 3D.

Tanja's Designs are clean and full of details and surprises.

PETR DVORAK: I am always happy to meet interested colleagues and test with them the new unlimited possibilities of jewelry design, in a discourse as well as in applied examples.
MARTINA DEMPF: My workshop Global Identity and Fusion Design also includes the emotional aspect of being a modern nomad. For triggering our imagination, we need to have space and time for contemplation: about who we are, what has shaped us, and what our place is in a globalized world.
PETER VERMANDERE: I can show and speak about how I make my personal works but I cannot tell you how to make your own. But I hope to be able to help you discover and develop your own personal way to continue creating.

Peter Vermandere, the teacher who dedicatedhis heart to the Summer Academy, he will give his workshop already for the 4th time.

Works by Peter Vermandere, experimental casting.

JÖRG OBERGFELL: I found a big part of my more abstract subject matters through working with wood. Knowing a material in detail helped me to develop ideas which then could be transferred to other media even video or photography. I hope my course will trigger these kind of “aha experiences”.
More works of the teachers you find here:

About the Interviewee

Peter Vermandere
Peter comes from Petros and means rock. He grew up between his father's studio and his mother's kitchen. His father captures large sculptures in stone and as a child, he knocked the briquaillion into pieces in search of fossils and crystals. Take that interest in stone and mix it with his mother's sense of cuisine and recipe and you'll come a long way to know where his artistic heartbeats. He prefers the interesting to the beautiful. Only interesting things can be better communicated if they are also beautiful. Between these two polarities is his work. The sculptural, the aesthetic and the craftsmanship are important, but always at the service of the story that the work wishes to tell. In a highly personal continuous process of searching, finding and being surprised, he explores boundaries within the wearable context
Danni Schwaag
German-based Jewellery Artist, living and working in Bremen. After a trainee as a goldsmith she studied Jewellery design from 2004-2008 in Idar-Oberstein. In 2006 she spent an Erasmus year in Barcelona at the Escola Massana. Since that time her main material “enamel” had become a higher value – solo and in combination with other material like ebony, mother of pearl, plastic and acrylic paint. Danni’s work is present in different international galleries. In 2013 she won the Bremen advancement award for applied art for her collection “l’art pour l’art” – an ironic view on the fine art scene.

Judy McCaig
Edinburgh-born designer produces mixed-media designs inspired by her travels and her reactions to natural phenomena. Now a resident of Barcelona, Judy studied in Dundee, Scotland, before completing an MA at the Royal College of Art in London.
Recipient of many awards, Judy Mccaig’s jewelry has been exhibited internationally at venues in Germany, France, Spain, in United-States and Canada. She currently teaches the Art in jewellery program at Escola Massana, in Barcelona and is often a visiting artist in different schools of Europe and abroad.
Jörg Obergfell
Jörg Obergfell has had several gallery and museum exhibitions, including at the Gallery EM and at the Pippy Houldsworth Gallery. Since 2018 he is Professor at the Department of Design at the University of applied sciences in Trier.
Tanja Susan Falkenhayner
Since 2001 Self-employed graduate designer for jewellery and gemstone. Regular participation in exhibitions and presentations at trade fairs with own collection. Design assignments in the fields of jewellery design, product design and graphic design.
Since WS 2007 guest lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences Trier, Department of Gemstone and Jewellery Design in Idar-Oberstein, lectureship CAD.
Petr Dvorak
Studied art school in Turnov, majoring in jewelry design. Dvorak later was a jewelry designer in Prague before working at an independent design studio in Vienna, Austria. In 2014 he received his MFA from the University of Applied Sciences, Trier/Idar Oberstein, Germany.
Martina Dempf
Jewelry designer and ethnologist. Her imaginative creations are inspired by the traditions of exotic cultures which she personally experienced and explored during her research expeditions and workshops in Africa, the Near East and Asia. Nature is another source of inspiration for Martina Dempf, who confronts the electronic “noise” of the information society with authentic artifacts that bear traces of their maker’s hand. Each object has a story all its own. I hope it will spark the curiosity and imagination of its beholders and make them want to explore its story, take the object in their hands, try it out and adorn themselves with it, says this versatile designer, whose objects are not created for quick consumption.

About the author

Carolin Denter completed her training as Goldsmith at Master School for Craftsmen in Kaiserslautern in 2013. In 2015 she made an Internship at Klimt02, where she is working since 2016 as Content Manager. In 2017 she graduated with Bachelor of Fine Arts in Gemstone and Jewellery at University of Applied Science Trier, Campus Idar-Oberstein. After her graduation, she started working part-time as Marketing and Design management Assistance at Campus Idar-Oberstein in the Gemstone and Jewellery Departement.