The National Drawing Academy: The Force of Talents
4 Minute Read
The National Drawing Academy in Hanau was founded as early as 1772. It is one of Germany's oldest education and training centers for the gold and silversmith trade. The traditions here include above all the high standards demanded of the graduates in terms of design skills and craftsmanship. The academy output, which has won numerous awards, is famous throughout Europe and way beyond the borders of Germany. In the design industry, the list of former students reads almost like a "who's who".
The modern courses are targeted at young people with a natural, creative potential. The curriculum enables students to create their own ideas under the instruction of lecturers, starting with defining the topic and progressing to creating a design concept and then manufacturing the finished product. The courses center on teaching in design subjects. The Drawing Academy has focused on three-dimensional design for many years now so as to ensure that students are taught broad-based design skills. The methods, in theory and also in the application of gold and silversmith techniques, are integral elements of the specialist courses.
Students at the academy can acquire modern, post-grad qualifications as "state certified designers" and masters in the gold and silversmith trades; the courses last two years. After completing their education, graduates from the academy have a wealth of professional options. They are above all at home with tasks relating to design concepts, business management, teaching professions and technical aspects. They can be self-employed or occupy an executive position in the industry.
Whereas a radical approach and working without limitations are among the privileges of art, social and functional aspects in the design of jewelry are always important factors at the Drawing Academy. New paths are consciously taken in creating designs; the current, established design styles only occupy a secondary place in considerations. A new form of creativity is not generated at the Drawing Academy simply by recreating the current jewelry trends. Innovative ideas and the associated market niches and opportunities are rather created with long-term effect. Later on, it is then easier to target new approaches in design at broader buyer groups, provided that an "extreme" design can be made "consumable" in appearance. The good education at the academy makes graduates fit enough to transform their unusual creations into wearable jewelry.
This always includes a clear reference to the social environment, the reflection of aesthetic processes and the knowledge of modern production methods and materials. Students develop a consciousness for the fact that their creativeness will unavoidably attain an inherent purpose, if the changes in communicative patterns and cultural shifts are mirrored solely in economic-design aspects.
Establishing productive ties between social transformation and modern design is seen in the Drawing Academy as being a process of entering into reflective discourse, a form that, as Mies van der Rohe once demanded, always has a result, but not a target.
The design subjects are based on courses entitled "Plastic design", "Objective drawing" and "Basics of design". There is then the more in-depth course in "Jewelry design", which, to meet the requirements of the profession, is always closely linked to studio work. The courses offered in the creative subjects enable a mentally inspired ambience in which ideas can grow. The academy consciously does without standardized design specifications.
The design processes in the subject of jewelry design are very frequently initiated using tasks with relevant topics. These include "rituals", "visual perception across directions / lying / standing / hovering / statics / mobility / gravitation", jewelry for the "visual interpretation of a film", jewelry as "furniture for the soul". They require intense critical appraisal of the topic's contents. The jewelry created in this way therefore has a basis in content. Jewelry becomes part of the intellectual horizon and therefore attains an absolutely inherent legitimization. Ideas that emerge from a task with very dominant contents enable an unheard of enhancement in the development and definition of forms. Visual messages are transformed into well-conceived symbols of a statement. The pieces created within this design process receive a very personal soul from the goldsmith. The graduation pieces at the academy confirm how the critical appraisal of contents in the topics the students set themselves can lead to an entirely deducible and graceful appearance.
At the same time, theoretic courses in history of art, gemstone studies, German, specialist technology and many more round off the program. Techniques such as typography, CAD, CNC and also jewelry photography or act drawing enrich the modern education.
by Axel Henselder
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