Jewelry and Dusseldorf
Following contemporary jewelry I came to Dusseldorf. It is a city where the University of Applied Sciences is – the academy which educates and trains inter alia the product design and jewelry design. I was lucky to be allowed to visit not only the building of the university but also to take part in the preparations that preceded students defending their diplomas (Bachelor or Master).
Apart from the multitude of richly equipped studios and the atmosphere in the workshop of jewelry – for example, students can prepare their lunch there – my attention was drawn to the age of people studying there. It was explained to me that a popular option in Germany is first learning the craft and gaining work experience, and only secondarily learning to design at universities – hence such age diversity among students.
I was invited to Dusseldorf by Nicole Waniowska, a young designer from Poland. However, before I move on to the further part of my report from Dusseldorf, I would like to encourage you to read a short interview with Nicole:
J: How did it happen that you invited me to your diploma defense in Dusseldorf?
Nicole: I came to Düsseldorf thanks to the Erasmus program. My university, the Academy of Fine Arts in Łódz, had a contract signed with the university in Germany. From the stories of the previous exchange participant I knew that the school has a very good reputation. Knowledge of German language made the decision easier for me. After the year of exchange, I decided to try to move to Dusseldorf permanently as I had always been drawn to industrial design. And the school offers classes, as a part of the cathedral design, not only in jewelry design, but also the product. In this way I could combine my interests.
J: Your diploma is not just a bowl-like shaped jewelry but also kinds of objects. What was the keynote of your project? Where did the idea for a diploma come from?
Nicole: The idea came slowly. I was inspired by the work, which had been created earlier in the project “Dissapearing jewellry” – I made a necklace from rice, which was then eaten during the filming of the video.
Nicole: My diploma is an extension of this idea, treating food as a measure that aims to bring people closer and allow interaction. Jewelry becomes a vessel, to facilitate the integration of people in a creative and new way, using a medium that is known to everyone and which at the same time most of us have positive associations with. For some, sharing food is a ritual that brings us closer to the other person and creates a bond.
J: It’s been a while since your defense. You had time to distance yourself from your project. If you had a chance, would you change anything in it now?
Nicole: I think most students looking back on their work, feel the desire to improve it. l am constantly learning and improving. I see potential in my diploma to further develop the theme. If I had more time, I would like to carry out live actions with the use of my jewelry and examine the response of the users.
J: If you had to name three main differences between your Polish university, and the one in Dusseldorf, what would it be?
Nicole: Academy of Fine Arts places great emphasis on general arts education. The school in Germany has only figure or technical drawing classes, color theory, typography. If anyone is interested, you can join courses in printmaking at the graphics department. However, there are no classes in sculpture or painting. In Germany, there is greater emphasis on presentations during the exam. Students prepare folders to illustrate the design process and arrange the diploma exhibition. The school in Germany also organizes open doors at the end of each term, when students show all their work which was created during the courses. I believe that such an initiative would be useful at the Academy. lt would give the opportunity to present and confront students work with the recipients.
J: What are your plans for the future?
Nicole: I am currently doing an intensive course of product design in Sweden. Later I would like to start working as a designer. My portfolio addresses also entrepreneurs in the jewelry market.
I have to admit that I was impressed by “greater emphasis on the presentation during the exam,” mentioned by Nicole. The work and its exhibition constituted a single, coherent body. It was evident that each of the graduates thought through with great attention to detail the issues of presenting their diploma. In the pictures below are some examples:
It turned out that Dusseldorf has a lot to offer as far as the interesting jewelry is concerned. After a brief exchange of emails, I was welcomed in the workshop of Michael Berger. He told me about his work and presented his amazing kinetic rings made from steel and gold. If you’ve never heard of this outstanding artist, you should be sure to watch the video below:
During the trip, with every step my attention was drawn to the windows of jewelry shops and galleries. I decided to elevate window-shopping to a new level and document several outstanding exhibitions and designs.
And at the end a little extra something in the form of art installation, which I came across by chance in the urban space, in the center of Düsseldorf. If you are curious what the other projects were created by four artists who are a part of group inges ideas, I encourage you to visit the group website inges idee