Monday, December 28, 2009


Even within the ruins of Germany's Heidelberg Castle, you can still get a sense of the structure's majesty and power.

Built a little over six centuries ago, the fortress has been used as a regal residence and a quarry. Germany is also the ancestral home of jewelry designer Ursula Woerner.

With metalwork and jewelry studies completed at Pforzheim University in Germany, and the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in the Netherlands, Woerner developed an unusual design aesthetic.

There is a great sense of whimsy and capriciousness in her design approach; qualities she shares with Dutch designer Joke Schole.

However, Woerner's incorporation of everyday items like rubber bands, bottle caps, and buttons in her creations is similar to Dutch designer Sasja Saptenno.

"Buttons are something so ordinary and part of everyday life that we pay little attention to them. I inherited my grandma's button collection, which she kept in an old cigar box. I use traditional goldsmith techniques and place the button on the settings where a precious stone would set."

Though she implements unorthodox materials, Woerner's jewelry maintains a traditional appearance that possesses a quirky kind of beauty. Her bottle cap pendants offset with pearl accents, for instance, are quite beautiful resembling a vintage charm.

Woerner also uses coins to fashion pieces, "Money and jewelry have been connected for centuries. I created a bracelet that turns the idea around by making jewelry out of money."

I enjoy this type of exploration where unorthodox materials bring an unusual concept to life.  "By adding other materials, drilling holes, blackening the silver and setting stones, the objects grow out of the natural world into abstract rings, brooches, necklaces, and earrings."

Woerner, as well as other designers who follow the same approach, demonstrate the heights of creativity.

I think her jewelry provides a gentle challenge for an observer to see the world in a different way, to see creative potential or value in materials that may not seem to have value.
Photo 1 (top right): Bottle Cap Medallion with Pearl, Brass and Silver
Photo 2 (bottom left): Brooch made with Silver, Iron, Veneer, and Pearls from the Zweite Heimat Collection
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