An Inspired Connection
How art jewellery creates an inseparable bond between artist and viewer
BY DUNCAN PARKER
THE IDEA OF USING IMAGINATION AND CREATIVITY to make something that excites the viewer is an important part of artistic expression. The excitement may be one or more of a range of emotions. Art may induce anything from tears to laughter, shock to sheer pleasure. Or, it may produce an inimitable, highly emotional connection between the artist and his or her client. As a whole, art jewellery tends to fall into the last category.
A Rare Vocation
While there are many types of jewellery, art jewellery is a very particular thing. These elaborate works are usually invented, created and built by artists, rather than jewellers.
Every generation in every country has had jewellery artists. Often, these craftspeople work in forms, styles, and materials that are unconventional, creating wearable pieces that are extremely unique.
These small works of art are occasionally commissioned by the buyers, but are usually an independent statement of the creator. The pieces are often bold, like runway fashion, and are not something you’d typically see in a chain store. Rather, they are one-of-a-kind objects that implement a creative bond between the artist and the client.
Art jewellery will rarely generate speculation about dollar value as, say, a diamond piece would, but it almost always opens a conversation. Owners of art jewellery usually know who designed and made it: they have developed a personal relationship with the creator. The creator has described and explained the inspiration and process involved in arriving at the final product to them.
Additionally, these pieces are not “off the rack”—they’re one-off custom works. They may represent interpretations of architectural forms, adventures in nature, calculations in geometry, or experiments in unusual materials.
Meet the Artists
At auction, these works of art are commonly featured. The offering of these jewels is an emotional process, like offering any jewellery for sale. Art jewellery tends to be offered at auction because the owner feels deeply about the art, but doesn’t wear it much. There’s a real desire to find a new owner with strong enthusiasm for it.
Below are a few of the artists who have recently been featured at the Dupuis auctions:
WALTER SCHLUEP: This Montreal artist was proud of his creations. He was an artist who worked from his own inspiration, and had
a strong following. Anyone I’ve met who is an owner of a Schluep piece has been able to explain to me the inspiration that led to its creation. The owners of Schluep pieces knew the artist, and wore the jewels regularly and proudly.
KARL STITTGEN: Stittgen arrived in Canada in the 1950s and established a reputation as an artist. His work was an inspiration to other designers to explore and experiment. His out-of-the-ordinary shapes and textures created excitement in the art world, inspiring other designers to explore their creative sides.
TONI CAVELTI: A Vancouver native, Cavelti created designs that both moved him and met his client’s needs and tastes. Often, Cavelti would incorporate gems that he was very excited about into his designs: his works contain some of the nest emeralds that I have seen.
DORRIE NOSSITER: The British artist was most active in the 1930s, and was known as a second-generation arts and crafts jeweller. Her jewels were a statement in design, and expressed a love for colour and texture. Nossiter was part of a movement whose aim was to produce items of beauty, and keep craft alive. Her pieces show evidence of having been hand made, and jewel was unique.
Art jewellery provides an opportunity to have and to wear something distinctive and unique. Jewellers around the world have a love for their art, and some of their proudest work is the single individual expression of beauty that a proud wearer will put on at every opportunity. As such, art jewellers must be applauded for the true creative wonders they are. CJ