In times, characterized by temporal and rapid changes in many values, it is necessary to hold on to tradition, particularly in the field of arts and crafts. Imaginative projects can be enticing, but they should also be feasible and practicable. This is equally true of the field of manufacturing and also the aesthetic appearance.
The foundation of a drawing school in 1776 for the metal designing professions of the time in Schwdbisch Gmund can be seen as a pedagogical nucleus. The desire to decorate oneself and ones immediate environment can be seen as an elementary necessity of human life, just like food and clothing. Goldsmiths satisfy this desire. But in the same way that the standards of decoration have changed over the course of time, the circumstances of the professions have also undergone transformation. In addition to the techniques that have been tried and tested for millennia, such as silversmith work or enameling, there are now also high-tech methods in the “basic skills” required of goldsmiths. The simple desire to wear decoration spread into the demand to design accessories for artistic self-expression. The Academy of Jewelry and Equipment in Schwiibisch Gmund has faced up to this demand for many years and sees itself as a direct successor to the former Work Art School that molded many generations of artistic craftsmen. Meeting this goal is not lust providing a high-quality artistic and crafts education and training, but also giving the students an adequate appreciation of life that leads on to this philosophy. In addition to the general and specialist theoretical subjects, the curriculum places particular value on the design and the realization. In order to ensure that “good material” for the design turns into “quality”, forms, colors, order and arrangement are examined, tested and varied in terms of their rules. The field of “presentation” has its own space in this; it demands that the idea for an item of jewelry or a piece of equipment is given an appropriate, vivid language. Therefore, sketches for design must be drafted quickly and securely and must satisfy the customer’s imaginativeness.
Furthermore, an additional aspect is to convey a deeper understanding of the practical work of a gold and silversmith. Depending on the requirements, various special techniques can also be offered, such as gemstone setting, engraving, enamel work, CAD and electroplating. An inherent feature of the crafts orientation in Schwabisch Gmund is that technology is a main focus. Ossa-Sepia casting is a good example of this, as are inlaying and niello work.
At the same time as the teaching, students are also prepared for their master’s examination as gold and silversmiths. Graduates from the academy are exempted from the specialist part of the master’s examination; the master’s piece is recognized as graduation piece and the two year course at the academy counts towards the journeyman period. The master’s examination is completed before the Chamber of Crafts, Ulm.
The success of the school concept is also apparent in the quality of work. Numerous students have been successful participants in competitions. The academy regularly takes part in exhibitions – for example at the Inhorgenta –, confirming that Schwabisch Gmünd is a lively city of gold and silversmiths. Information and application forms for this course, which is interesting in many different ways, can be accessed on the Internet.