“Fabric or skin?”
Necklace, 2019. Silver and soapstone.. Goldsmithing, waxmodeling, casting, ﬁling and sanding the stone and mosaic. mm 60x20x90. Credits: artist
I interviewed Elwy Schutten, one of the seven winners of Preziosa Young 2020, the international contest organised by Le Arti Orafe since 2008, which gives to emerging talents more than one occasion to show their work and to take part in the contemporary scene of research jewellery.
This year the jury was composed by jewellery experts, like goldsmith artists or teachers, namely Giovanni Corvaja, Eugenia Gadaleta, Kazumi Nagano, Cóilín O’Dubhghaill, Renzo Pasquale, Carla Riccoboni, Sam Tho Duong.
A selection of the winners’ pieces was displayed in the PREZIOSA space at Inhorgenta fair 2020 (Munich, 14.02 – 17.02), while the complete exhibition and a high quality catalog will be presented during Florence Jewellery Week 2020 (Florence, 28.05 – 4.06).
Stay updated because the prizes still at stack are many: LAO SPECIAL PRIZE will give one of the selected candidates the opportunity to spend three months as “artist in residence” in Florence. Furthermore, thanks to a collaboration agreement between LAO and the Inhorgenta fair, one of the selected artists will get a free exhibition space for its 2021 edition (INHORGENTA PRIZE).
Fabric or boxes
Brooch, 2019. Silver, wood and alabaster. Goldsmithing, waxmodeling, casting, ﬁling, sanding, and mosaic.. mm 50x10x75. Credits: artist
When dealing with contemporary goldsmith artists or jewellery designers, the first curiosity is to know how one has chosen ornament as the main means of expression. Why jewellery in particular and what was your training in this field?
ELWY SCHUTTEN: The skill and quality that rest in one small jewellery piece. Something that people will cherish all their live and like to keep with them at all times. A part of their identity. I was fascinated how such a small item can hold so many things and also tell them to other people. I wanted to know how to put this information into the jewellery. In addition, I use it to ask people questions.
First I studied at the goldsmithing school Vakschool Schoonhoven, thereafter I went to the art academy to study jewellery design at the Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts and Design. Both academies are in the Netherlands. At the art academy I got fascinated about identity and how/if we can “read” it.
Fabric or identity?
Necklace, 2019. Silver and old fabric. Goldsmithing, waxmodeling, casting, cutting the fabric and mosaic. mm 60x30x85. Credits: artist
If it is true that jewellery – and fashion in general – is a way to express our identity, then you rightly ask yourself to what extent a jewel or an item of clothing really defines who we are. Could you tell us about that?
ELWY SCHUTTEN: You choose your own jewellery and clothing, or you change them to make them perfectly fit to your identity. But how do you choose them? How do you know your identity? Or is it more what you find appealing? And is yourself who really choose them?
Identity is a mystical and formless thing. It is hard to describe it in a few words, words that don’t really fit you as a person. Through images, clothing or jewellery it is equally hard, because today you want to represent this while tomorrow, a different day, with different tasks, you would like to show your identity in a another way. Besides that, we always have items that don’t perfectly fit ourselves.
In my work and as an artist I am curious to these questions. I hope that whenever I find a sort of answer I could help people to discover their suitable jewellery piece.
Skin or clothing?
Brooch, 2019. Silver, soapstone and old fabric. Goldsmithing, chiseling, milling, ﬁling and sanding the stone, cutting the fabric and mosaic. mmm 70x35x60. Credits: artist
What materials and techniques do you use to realise these pieces?
ELWY SCHUTTEN: Mostly I use soapstone and silver. In my latest series I also use wood and old fabric. I chose soapstone because when you feel it, it’s really soft. You could say as soft as skin. It is similar to skin in colours too. I see skin as the place where your identity manifests itself. It is the first place where your own thoughts and feelings become visible. Then you have the layers of clothing, jewellery and accessories. The skin is something personal, visible from the outside.
Mask or groups?
Necklace, 2019. Silver, soapstone and alabaster. Goldsmithing, chiseling, milling, ﬁling and sanding the stone. mm 90x30x80. Credits: artist
Is there an artist or an artistic tendency that inspires or influences you particularly?
ELWY SCHUTTEN: Not particularly. I learned a lot from my teachers and my intern teachers. But mostly my inspiration comes from philosophy. Reading about it, having questions is what drives me to make new work. To ask the questions I ask myself to the public.