Rebekka Notkin on exploring her craft
When Rebekka Notkin trained as a goldsmith 25 years ago, she received a medal from Queen Margrethe II of Denmark for her well-executed craftsmanship. It was the starting point for a long and successful career as a jewellery designer. Since then, Notkin has been busy honing her skills. Recently, she has begun to explore new materials to refine her craft.
I have great respect for the traditional craftsmanship techniques of my profession. I was schooled in them and they are always my starting point when making jewellery. For me it's about processing a metal: stretching, bending, hammering, forging and rolling it into a shape that eventually becomes a piece of jewellery. The balance between material, dexterity, composition and the use of tools can take the metal to an exciting place.
I strive to make jewellery that exudes quality—where you can sense that each piece has truly been a labour of love and the raw material has been worked into its most beautiful form. My jewellery shows the craftsmanship behind it, which I believe lies in the finish. For me, good craftsmanship is when a product can speak for itself and radiate quality and a sense of both the timely and timeless.
I am proud to have mastered goldsmithing. It’s my foundation in life. I have gained a general understanding of design and the use of tools so it made sense for me to begin to explore new materials. When I started making woodcuts, it felt like a direct extension of working with jewellery. It was still about using tools, shaping and skill. The result is made by carving the material to create an image at surface level that I then print. It’s so satisfying to see the motif develop within the wood.
Woodcutting is a new take on my artistic expression and has influenced my approach to goldsmithing. It has set it freer. The different processes are inspiring and teach me new skills. I also paint — and sew and build furniture in my summer house.
It has been a natural progression crucial to my growth after 25 years as a goldsmith. The new materials have given me more possibilities for expression. For example, my Carved series began life as woodcuts, but I later discovered that it had a volume and composition which I could translate into jewellery.
Printing the woodcuts onto textiles such as tablecloths and napkins has been an enjoyable process. I think it’s wonderful that what I have created has a place in everyday life. I like to surround myself with aesthetic details that add personality and originality to my home. Setting a table also reminds me of making a piece of jewellery, like a small artwork that strives for perfection. It’s the starting point for everything I do.
Things must be connected by a common thread. This is also what I do when I print on a tablecloth: I need to sense the finished composition when the table is set. I don't just see my work with jewellery through a small lens. That's how I view everything in life.
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