The art of forging silver implements, vessels or containers has a long tradition. Its proponents include renowned artists, but the small number of silversmiths do not have an easy task. With the exception of exhibitions such as the international Silver Triennale or the competition of the “silver city” Schoonhoven and the recent silversmiths’ forum at the Inhorgenta Europe there are few opportunities to reach a broader audience via galleries and museums.
In view of the skill in design and craftsmanship that the silversmiths possess, the situation is an unfortunate one. The silver creations of great designers such as Christopher Dresser, Henry van der Velde, Joseph Hoffmann or Jan Eisenloeffel, from Georg Jensen to Matteo Thun shows just how strong the attraction is to give the material a timeless but nonetheless contemporary appearance. Individuality and expressive form is as much a requirement here as mastery of tools and material.
As in scarcely any other sector, differentiation goes hand in hand with reduction and functionality. After all: the pots, vessels, implements or containers must be capable of utilization. Despite this, creativity and the acceptance of risk must not be cast aside. The way that light plays upon highly polished or matt surfaces is a highly polished or matt surfaces is a highly significant design tool, not least due to the size of the objects. Ulla Mayer, silversmith and professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Nuremberg, sees a need for silver to be accepted in the social environment of the 21st century, in the cognizance “Life forms form silver forms”. Young designs, the overriding theme of current silver design, is generally a product of new technologies and materials. Where the two remain resistant it is necessary to examine practices and adopt new perspectives.
- Handbag by Aline Baumann. 935 silver, 18 karat yellow gold, palladium, brilliants, cow hide