Fritz Maierhofer; an Austrian Jeweller’ was born in 1941 and had his first introduction to the world of jewellery at 14 years of age in the form of an apprenticeship. He has since remained in the trade, expanding and accumulating knowledge in the trade. His designs have matured and acquired an identity of their own. He has evolved into an “artist-jeweller” who perceives jewellery as a means to send a messages and signals. He was among the first crop of jewellers who challenged the status quo of jewellery should look like in terms of design as well as material. I quote; “What is relevant and most important to me is the inner, really true value of the material I am using. It should show its true characteristics: a clear, provocative statement without any compromises. Tin is pliable, plastic colourful and gold as strong as steel. “ 1He has also won several awards and has had a notable number of exhibitions.
Tin and gold pendant
I like the movement in this design. The way the sheet of metal is looks as though it is unrolling is fascinating and different because we don’t usually think of metal as a material that rolls and unrolls. This repetition creates a comfortable rhythm; your eyes go around the top part of the pendant as they take in the rolled part, then they travel down to the gold tip. The texture used for the tin matches the roll, its smoothness blends in with the effect the designer is trying to bring out. In fact I wonder if Fritz in this design wasn’t trying to challenge our perception of metal as static and inflexible. The gold point dominates the design subtly, the design leads to it, its different colour makes it stand out a little more than it would have if it were grey. There isn’t a lot of contrast in this design; the grey colour of the rope that the pendant hangs from just differs from the grey of the pendant in shade. I find that the pendant is not disorienting to look at due to the positioning of the various components and the arrangement of the lines. It would have been disorienting to have the roll leading to a gold tip above it. The roll gradually tappers till it comes to a point in the form of the gold tip, this again contributes to the rhythm and also influences the balanced appearance of the piece. The use of a consistent thickness of metal for the whole piece also contributes to the balanced appearance. Harmony is present in the colours used as well as the type of line used. The material used is unexpected –tin and gold where one would expect silver or white gold, tin is a suitable choice for this piece due to its flexibility.
corian® ring in red
I found this piece rather daring in how it doesn’t necessarily look like what most would take as a treasured piece of jewellery. Honestly at first glance it looks like a piece of plastic that was cut and ornamented with a bit of gold. The red colour is very bold and its combination with that gold makes it even more so. The cut itself is also bold and unapologetic, the sharp, steep angles even more so. The sharp, long angle on the right and the gold cylinder dominate the ring. I think the angle is the more prominent focal point; the way it juts out way above everything else draws more attention to it. There is repetition in the type of line used and angles whether they are 60 degree angles or 90 degree angles. These give the ring a geometric look. There is a contrast in between the angles in the corner and the circle in the middle of the piece as well as the cylinder on top. Interestingly the circles and the angles don’t necessarily clash and look disjointed and I think this is partly because both the circle and cylinder are done with crisp, straight lines (not wobbly lines) so they blend with the geometric look. Proportion is also interesting in this piece, none of the angles are exactly the same, and they are similar but not identical in size and length. The “circle” in the corian is much bigger when compared to the cylinder. It feels as though the designer in this piece was challenging our perception through the design and the use of corian-a non precious material in such a bold colour., nothing is quite what one would normally expect. Even the ring is not quite normal,one has to wonder how one would wear it since there is no hole for the finger.I would tend to expect identical angles and a material more prized than corian.
acrylic ring from the seventies
Variety is what first comes to mind when I look at this ring. It has such a myriad of colours and shapes and even materials to some extent. It took me a few seconds of staring to finally begin to dissect the various elements of the ring. Again the design is more geometric than organic; the strict lines of the circles the angles and so on evidence this. Dominance comes into play when you notice that the bright colours in the middle keep grabbing your attention, The rectangle with bright colours also acts as some sort of bridge; leading the eyes from this part of the ring to the next one. Thus the colours are contributing to the rhythm of the ring. The colours themselves are placed strategically; he placed side by side colours that blend in with and in other cases complement one another. The silver metal is a good choice in terms of colour because it is a cool colour as compared to the other bight, hot colours used. It helps to balance the colour aspect. Harmony is present in the colours used. I find the proportions of the various components of the ring interesting; the ring itself is smaller than what is on it, this makes me wonder just how comfortable the ring is to wear. Of course this also makes the ring look a bit unbalanced. Again the Fritz uses shapes with angles and shapes with curves, this means variety again. Harmony also comes in that the whole ring has a more geometric feel. The ring looks symmetrical and this helps it look a bit more balanced. I find this design peculiar, it jumps out to me a queer because it has a design that I perceive as queer. It’s a mixture of materials that are considered precious and materials that are not. Again questioning our perception of things…
Designer's website: www.fritz-maierhofer.com
Klimt02 website: http://www.klimt02.net/jewellers/index.php?item_id=669