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H A M M E R C L U B   M E E T I N G
2 0 1 1

Review by Maja Houtman
 

 
This spring, the Hammerclub held their annual international meeting in Antwerp, from April 26 to May 1, 2011. The Hammerclub originated in Germany.  A group of silversmiths met annually to exchange ideas and knowledge. The meetings were held in Hamburg, Berlin, Kolding (Denmark), Nürnburg, Chemnitz, ‘s-Hertogenbosch (Netherlands), Würzburg, and Kopenhagen.  This year’s event was organized by Silver Museum Sterckshof and the silversmiths living and working in Antwerp.
 

Seventy-one silversmiths attended.  They came from Belgium (13) , Greece (3), Germany (26), Denmark (9), the Netherlands (14), USA (1), Great Britain (2), Switzerland (2) and Sweden (1).
 

We arrived on Friday at the Sterckshof museum, where we were welcomed. An exhibition with the theme “Recycling” was sent in for a competition by about forty “members” of this Hammerclub meeting. We were asked to vote for the best piece during the next two days.

                                                     

From April 26-30,  David Clarke (GB) gave a workshop at the St. Lucas school in Antwerp, working with the recycling theme.  Everyone had to bring something he/she wanted to “redo.”  During the week, they decided to do a project about the (dirty) school toilets and recycling.  After the workshop, the results were put on display in the school in addition to the presentations students made of their jewel design projects.

Friday evening we had dinner in the museum garden, renewing or making contacts. I was very happy to meet Joost During there. We commissioned a tobacco jar from him ten years ago. At that time, he was immigrating to the USA, having found a job at Gorham in Providence, Rhode Island. For a couple of years he was one of the two last silversmiths working there. Since then, he and his wife moved to New Bedford, MA. They bought an old stone church and refurnished it as a workshop that is really worth a visit!

Joost During
"Twisted pitcher and cups"


 

Joost During
"Twisted teapot"

L E C T U R E S
David Clarke

Saturday morning, two lectures were held: by David Clarke (GB) and by David Huijcke (B).

 

David Clarke told us that when he started silversmithing, his intention was to get really rich with his work. After a few years, his work was very sought after and he became annoyed by how the galleries only wanted more of the (successful) same.  He withdrew all his work, asked a customer for a donation, and used half of that to travel through Japan. After that, he started all over again.

He used a scroll saw to cut thick plates of silver into curved slices, which he soldered together into sturdy wave-structured objects.

 

When he got bored with that, he explored the influence of salt on silver, heating them together to see what “damage” the salt did to the piece. When he put the pieces in the oven, standing in a salt solution, the work came out covered with a thick layer of salt crystals. This appeared to be very firm and doesn’t fall off. It changes color through the year, reacting to differences in temperature and moisture in the air.

 

Then he decided that a piece should not take too much time to finish, preferably not longer than a day’s work, and he introduced lead.  First, however, he had to ask and convince his workshop colleagues, because lead and silver are enemies.

He was allowed to go on and started with an old silver teapot, cut it in half.  He soldered a nicely fitting piece of lead in between the halves, lengthening and completely changing the form of the pot. This technique became the new fascinating theme he has been working with for the last couple of years, changing all kinds of bowls, tea- and coffeepots, jars, and spoons.
 

 

 

David Clarke
Salt on Silver

 

 

David Clarke
Spoon

 

 

 

 

David Clarke
Teapots, etc
.

 

 

David Clarke
Teapots, etc
.

 

 


 

David Huijcke

David Huijcke did years of research on granulation. He started his career as contemporary silversmith with series of bowls that fit into each other, then vases and vase-like bowls. When he discovered granulation, he studied the technique and made bowls only out of granules.
 

He showed us how it is done: little cut squares of silver are melted into granules in the oven in special melting pans. They look like a waffle griddle.  The granules are cleaned and thinly copper plated. This copper layer will lower the melting temperature at the surface of the granule. This will make them melt together at only one point.

 

David started with a refractory mold in the shape of the object he wanted to make. He began by melting granules one by one together, discovering during the process how the granules stacked themselves into the shape. Later on, he melted two by two together, combining them into a bowl. After that, he first connected three granules, making lots of these clusters, before melting them into a bowl. The same with six granules in a circle. Every bowl gets a different look, whether they are built out of loose granules or out of clusters of two, three, or six.

David Huijcke
bowl

 

David Huijcke
bowl

David Huijcke
Pyramid

 

By studying ancient granulation work, David found out that the figures used were quite similar. He discovered that granules have their own way of fitting together, and that by clustering them first (with three or more) you can manipulate the process.  When he started making clusters of three-dimensional pyramids, building up free three-dimensional forms, they turned out to be exactly the same every time he made them. The form of the initial cluster dictates the form of the final shape.

 

He always likes to work in black and white.  He makes two bowls connecting at one point, one made of silver plate, the other granulated. One is silver, the other is oxidized black.

 

David also experiments with steel granules, which have to be fused together. I have to say I don’t like that very much, because of the deformation of the granules. But I can understand the experiment of it. What will happen?
 

T O W N   F U LL  O F  S I L V E R

We had all Saturday afternoon to see silverware that was exhibited in shops, galleries, and workshops all over Antwerp. We (Janjaap and I) came by bike to Antwerp and were therefore able to visit every presentation.  It was hard work (very warm), but very interesting.  At the speakers’ corner, there was a video presentation by the students of Artesis, the Royal Acadamy of Arts, from the goldsmithing, silversmithing, and jewelry design departments.  Their project was titled “Voice of Silver,” and their products were for sale.  After that we discussed the sense and nonsense of obliged hallmarking.

 

On our way to dinner, we got a preview of the silver presentation of Silver Museum Sterckshoff in the newly built museum MAS.  Dinner was animated, and the prizes for the “recycling” contest were presented. George Cuyvers (B) won with his enormous bowl called “two golden birds.”  Willem Tredgett (NL) came in second with his “Look, you blind fools! A couvert for bankers dancing on the roof of their bank,” and Josephine Lützel (D) took third place with her “extraterrestrial running monster.”

George Cuyvers
"Before recycling"

George Cuyvers
"Two Golden Birds"
George Cuyvers
"Two Golden Birds"
(detail)
Willem Tredgett
"Look You Blind Fools!"
Willem Tredgett
Willem Tredgett

Josephine Lützel

Josephine Lützel

Josephine Lützel

Josephine Lützel
 


S I L V E R M A R K E T

Sunday, the first of May, was the day of the annual Silvermarket at Silver Museum Sterckshoff. Antique dealers, both schools, and contemporary silversmiths presented their businesses, ideas, and craftmanship.. During this day, the “Common Bowl”was hammered by the attending silversmiths, they all struck their mastermark in it, and at the end of the day the bowl was finished.

 

We had a wonderful silver weekend, met lots of interesting people, and are certainly planning to attend the Hammerclub meeting next year in Leipzig.

____________________________________________

 

in order of being mentioned:

www.hammerclub.de

www.zilvermuseum.be

www.yoastsilver.com

www.misterclarke.wordpress.com

www.davidhuycke.com

http://www.sintlucasantwerpen.be/ateliers/juweelontwerp-edelsmeedkunst/2011-2012/571/

www.georgescuyvers.be (there is a slideshow “the making off” at “other projects”)

www.tredgett.nl

www.jo-luetzel.de

www.mas.be

www.artesis.be

_____________________________________________

 

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Article by Maja Houtman

Web Deisign by Marbeth Schon
www.mschon.com


Edited by Martha Trachtenberg

Photographs courtesy of the artists

Copyright © 2011 Modern Silver Magazine