This picture was painted by my daughter almost twenty years ago, shortly after we first saw the Mexican “Dia de los Muertos”, the Mexican version of All Saints / All Souls. Since then, the picture is on my shelf and from time to time I look at it intensively. I’m always amazed how exactly she captured this Mexican tradition. Two indigenous women are obviously on their way to the cemetery to commemorate the deceased. They are accompanied by numerous children, the little ones are tied behind their backs. In the background there is a pyramid on the left side and a church on the right side, Mexico lives still in this tension between pre – hispanic tradition and the Christian heritage of the conquerors. In addition, she painted two oversized corncobs, the staple food of the Mexicans in general: without Tortilla no meal is conceivable. Above all stands the skull, reminding us that death is part of our lives. P>
I am glad that this picture has survived all our moves and is still with me today.
My girlfriend Claudia works as a psychiatrist near Heidelberg. When I asked her to put on her favorite piece of jewelry in order to take a picture of her, she did not hesitate for a long time. She took her mother’s bracelet out of a drawer: a beautiful wide silver bracelet made by a goldsmith. It has been elaborated with an old goldsmith technique, where every element has been chiseled to give it three dimensionality. It consists of several identical elements, which are connected to each other by eyelets to guarantee the mobility of the bracelet. With this bracelet Claudia’s father proposed marriage to his future wife, so it is an extraordinary engagement jewelry piece.
Unfortunately, Claudia lost her mother very early when she was still a teenager. So the bracelet is a very important memento that remained from her mother and connects her with her while wearing it.
About a year ago I bought the notebook “Steal like an Artist” by Austin Kleon. After having done some exercises, I put it in a shelf and completely forgot about it -contrary to the explicit use instructions of the author-, who says, that you should always carry it around and do the exercises regularly. While searching for new inspiration and approaches for my work as a goldsmith, the book suddenly fell into my hands again and I was very surprised to see the exercises I had already done and couldn’t remember at all.
“OK. I’ll try again,” I said to myself and started the next exercise! Cross out the words, until you have written a poem, was the instruction for this new exercise. “I can not do that!”, flashed through my head! And certainly not in English! Somehow I then hang onto the words and took different approaches and went several times mentally in different thematic directions.
At some point, a special combination of words prevailed, and it is hard to believe, at the end of the exercise there was left kind of a poem. This was completely surprising for me, because I had never written poems, except maybe once in school when I was a teenager. Something had happened by staring at the words, as if the words had suddenly come out of the context and made up their own story. I was so excited about this exercise that I decided to carry the notebook around with me from now on.
On this day I went full of energy to my workbench and tried out a technique that I had had in mind a long time, but I had repeatedly postponed. The “playing” with words helped me in other ways to solve my blockage.
Sophia is the daughter of a very good friend my mine. I’ve known her since she was sitting in her stroller. That’s why I’m especially happy to introduce her here with her favorite jewelry.
Sophia studies Cultural Studies in Frankfurt / Oder, but lives in Berlin. In the photo she is wearing almost all the jewelry that was left after renting her apartment for a long time … That’s how she most likes to wears her jewelry: many rings, earrings and chains made of silver, that are all combinable and harmonize with each other. For Sophia, it’s important not to think long about what she’s going to wear in the morning. For this reason, she chooses more intuitively than consciously pieces of jewelry, that all have a similar formal language. Most pieces of jewelry are travel memories from Argentina, Mexico and Holland. The silver ring with two small rings in the centre, which she wears on the right hand, comes from Ushuaia, the southernmost city in Argentina – also called the end of the world. Sophia made a trip towards there after studying in Buenos Aires for a semester. P>
Sophia wears a very special piece of jewelry on her skin in form of a tattoo on her right arm. It is the Latin saying: Ecce Nova Facio Omnia (See, I’m making everything new!) in the handwriting of her grandfather, who is a very important person in Sophia’s life. P>