Door Monika Auch
Essential jewels in a remote place
Alvik, Norway – 5th of June 2022
I am finally contributing to your fabulous website from the far out corner of Hardangerfjord in Norway. As ‘artist in residence’ I shall focus on weaving and writing, to start with this short mail and instant fotoshoot about jewelry to be worn in the middle of nowhere.
Of course my suitcase was heavy with materials, tools and clothes for a two month stay. Some traditional jewelry pieces, mementos of life events and heirlooms are always with me. Just to mention the antique Indian ring with one of the nine stones missing. They symbolize the moon, the sun and planets. I bought it after the first sale of a woven 3D sculpture and it is always on my finger. Yet I want to feature some contemporary pieces, selected as an interesting contrast to the natural, breathtaking scenery of the fjord.
There is a stunning necklace by Uli Rapp which I love for it’s visual and conceptual properties and the soft nestling around my neck. Equally eye-catching is the moth brooch by Jeannette Jansen, best shown on a patterned background. Slightly modified by me are the earrings by Ela Bauer and Paul Derrez, brought to jazz up my working days in the studio. Warwick Freeman’s pendant carved out of New Zealandish bone with it’s indigenous aura would have resonated well here and fit in with the scenery perfectly! But it stayed at home with pieces by Ineke Heerkens, Jantje Fleischhut, Tota Reciclados, Andrea Wagner, Tanel Veenre and many others.
My fascination with contemporary jewelry started at the end of the 90’s while I was studying textiles at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy. We were just five textile students and I often visited my fellow students in the popular, dynamic jewelry workshop run by Ruudt Peters. In 2002 I participated in his summer workshop COW NOW and experienced an ‘aha-moment’ about the essence of my work – a combination of art and science. During that formative week I grasped the communicative potential dormant in form, use of materials, aesthetics and humor. I also started collecting and acquired contemporary jewelry at exhibitions. I acquired pieces in exchange for a text, exchanged it with my own work or even received them as a present.
At times my work as a writer and an editor about the material and technical aspects of making can morph into an almost voyeuristic, scientific curiosity. The studio visits and even the occasional gastronomic offers during an interview are the atmospheric extra’s for an interesting article. In 2011 I talked to Ted Noten about his 3D-printing research (1) and he first served a delicious cake and then a Miss Piggy ring at the end of the visit.
I love to wear outspoken pieces at representative events to profile the artist, to convey a message – thank you, Madeleine Albright – or simply, to get attention. The silver whistle on a pink satin ribbon by Yu-Chun Chen was the arbiter accessory in case discussions got heated at board meetings. Memories are attached to each: about a place, a person, an experience. Each new acquisition is a compliment for a fellow artist, maker and his or her passion, skills and fortitude.
Monika Auch, ‘3D printen: het nieuwe ambacht?’ [3D printing: the new craft?], kM tijdschrift 79 (2011): 20–3.
Monika Auch moved from her native Germany to Amsterdam where she studied and practiced medicine while studying textiles at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy. (BA_2000)
Since 2000 she works as a visual artist with a focus on weaving. She researches and publishes about ‘The Intelligence of the Hand’ in two long term projects: STITCH_MY/YOUR_BRAIN and WeefLab.
Since 1999 she was member of the board and chair of the organization ‘Vrije Vormgevers’ who merged with the Dutch Association of Designers (BNO) in 2007. She represented jewelry and applied arts in the council of advisors and as member of the board until 2011, initiating and editing the BNO publication ‘Mapping Dutch conceptual crafts’ (2009). Since 2010 she is editor of Dutch kM journal featuring content about artist’s materials and techniques.
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