“Everything popular is wrong.” Oscar Wilde
I’m coming back from Alchimia and, all ready for my long night flight, I struggle answering to Dan Pierșinaru‘s dare, of writing an article about my experience there. Leaving Florence, with its blinding lights disappearing in the dark horizon, I try answering to the initial questions which preceded my decision of studying at Alchimia. Why did I go there, what did I want to lean, how will it influence me what I’ve been taught or will I ever come back, how is the future of contemporary jewellery like? And the first thought that crosses my mind makes me smile; it’s a quote from Oscar Wilde: “Everything popular is wrong” (It should feel nice being such an honest person).
Presently, we are the witnesses of a great shift of the human kind, with implications in all areas: social, economical, technological, cultural and artistic. In this contemporary setting, it’s common sense that the jewellery, a mini-masterpiece should answer other necessities and guides itself after different values. Maybe before, a bracelet bought from a supermarket in Paris would have made one stand out, as no one on a radius of 500 kilometers would have had the same model. Today, people travel between countries, the mass production has multiplied millions of times and uniformisation is far too evident. I think that these are some of the reasons that got to the rise of the need of uniqueness, of statement objects, of designer jewellery, be it a brooch or a piece of furniture.
Coming back to the topic of Florence, I liked everything; the school, the town, the food, the Italian language, which I’m trying to learn and the people that I’ve met and I revisit with great pleasure every time. The city breathes refinement and luxury, of all kinds.Through itself it’s a continuous source of inspiration and beauty.
The workshop I have participated at was about jewellery made out of resin and the course was held by Yoko Shimizu. As I did not have much experience, it was interesting for me to find out secrets which help you improvise and discover new valences of this unique material.
As a rule of thumb, at Alchimia you have complete freedom of creating your own project and with the guidance of teachers, one can express himself/herself by experimenting with any material that crosses your mind. Every object that comes out of Alchimia is unique. The only common element is the conceptual side. Each piece has behind it a story, a feeling, a meaning.
Last month, I was delighted to participate to a workshop held by Ruudt Peters. Its theme was: the colour red. Working with Ruudt Peters is truly amazing, he forces you to use the right side of your brain and to rethink everything in other dimensions.
Determined by culture and education, people are tempted of depending on conventionality, on rules and patterns. A broom is just a broom, the dessert is served after the main course, a ring is precious only if it’s made out of gold or silver etc. It’s not necessarily wrong; thinking in patterns helps you become more efficient and even satisfied with your work, with your life. But, when it comes to contemporary jewellery, the patterns have to be closed with seven locks.
When you come here to study, you open up a secret gate in your thinking system. It’s like a bottle of champagne; once opened, the perfumed liquor gets out and fills everything surrounding it. Behind that hidden door, there are horizons that one might have not suspected, and so, a broom becomes a statement object, dessert tastes better as a starter, and rings can be precious even if they are made out of a rusty wire, a wood washed away by rain or a fragment of a toy.
Basically, any object, apparently insignificant, can become a jewellery, or a precious object. Besides, isn’t this the key feature of alchemy? Of transforming the common metal into gold, or other said, the not-so-precious into precious? Yes, it was worth coming, and I shall return. I found out answers and experimented with new materials, including other approaches of the metal. I’ve met people famous for their works and had the opportunity of learning from them. I cleared my mind of the conventional distortion and, more than anything, I enjoyed every single moment of it.
Alina Carp, 21st October 2012