Lone Løvshal, oldermand. Kjøbenhavns Guldsmedelaug
Camilla Hey @Kjøbenhavns Guldsmedelaug
Interview

Education is needed to ensure a golden future for the goldsmith profession


Ethical diamonds, jewellery-related commentary on the current woke debate, jewellery and architecture, and a series of modern takes on the classic brooch. It won’t be long until gold, gemstones, and dazzling stories and debates about jewellery and jewellery art will shine throughout Copenhagen. On September 28th, the three-day festival, “City of Jewels”, will begin, where members of the Copenhagen Goldsmiths’ Guild will host no fewer than 33 different events in the form of open workshops, debates, exhibitions, and guided walking tours with jewellery-relevant themes.

‘The purpose of the festival is to show that there are a plethora of small workshops throughout the city that produce jewellery – both commercial and more artisanal in nature. But at the same time, we also want to show that the goldsmith profession and the art of jewellery are very much alive – and relevant today, even considering our long history,’ says the Elder of the Goldsmiths’ Guild, Lone Løvschal.

Lone Løvshal, oldermand. Kjøbenhavns Guldsmedelaug
Elder of the Goldsmiths' Guild, Lone Løvschal.
Photo: Camilla Hey

An Ancient Craft with Cutting-Edge Relevance

While the goldsmith profession has several thousands of years under its belt, the Copenhagen Goldsmiths’ Guild can boast of being one of the world’s oldest craft guilds with nearly 600 years of history. The guild was established in 1429, back then more as a political organization than today, where the association describes itself as a professional, festive, and philanthropic community for about 200 skilled members of all ages, typically based in Copenhagen and its vicinity. Today, one of its purposes is to communicate about the profession to the outside world and to distribute funds to the right recipients.

The profession today is adept at building on its long history with narratives and messages that are relevant for the present and future.

‘Like in all other professions, we focus on sustainability and resources, though the conversation is somewhat different since we don’t discard our used materials – gold, silver, and gemstones. Instead, it’s very much about where the materials come from. Are we sourcing diamonds and precious metals from places we can vouch for? Should we work with natural or lab-created diamonds? It’s a massive discussion – but important and intriguing in a world where many customers expect responsibility,’ says Lone Løvschal.

Lone Løvschal
Lone Løvschal's activist brooch is a contribution to increasing biodiversity.
Photo: Tegner Media

Brooches with Biodiversity

At the same time, the art of jewellery can also be used to comment on the major issues of our time, says Lone Løvschal, citing goldsmith Kim Buck’s works as examples of pieces that touch upon topics like religion, sexuality, immigration, and economic inequality.

Lone Løvschal herself has also expressed her concern for the global biodiversity crisis in a piece of jewellery.
‘I’m deeply interested in biodiversity, both globally and in my own garden. We have too few bees in cities because they can’t find food. Therefore, I’m working on designing a brooch that resembles a flower and contains seeds of native species. The idea is for the wearer to sprinkle flower seeds wherever they go, thereby promoting species diversity in the urban landscape,’ she explains.

Although the art of jewellery can have a political expression, the Elder emphasizes the relational dimension of jewellery as paramount.

‘Jewellery is a form of communication between people,’ she says. ‘It can tell a deeply personal story, be an heirloom, a love gift, a reminder of a significant day, or a mark of personal achievement. Due to its personal touch, it means a lot to people to think about how it can be passed down through generations.’

the framework for the profession's further development has also disappeared, namely the basic research and the establishment of a dedicated teaching staff that can define the framework for the profession,

Professional Expertise Under Pressure Following Education Closure

Lone Løvschal is not concerned about the justification of the goldsmith profession, but she is concerned about its professional future.
‘The advanced education for goldsmiths and jewelry artists, the Institute for Precious Metals at Copenhagen Business Academy, was closed in 2016, and it’s a significant frustration for us. Not only does it mean that no newly trained jewellery designers and artists are entering the market – but the framework for the profession’s further development has also disappeared, namely the basic research and the establishment of a dedicated teaching staff that can define the framework for the profession,’ says Lone Løvschal.

”Jeg frygter, at den røde tråd i vores fag forsvinder – samtalerne om faget og den stil, vi som stor smykkenation har opbygget gennem historien. Mange tager til udlandet for at uddanne sig og der kommer udenlandske talenter her til landet – men vi har ikke en samlet, dansk institution til formålet. Vi har været markante med store virksomheder og smykkekunstnere på den internationale scene – men jeg er i tvivl om, om vi kan blive ved med at være det.”

Med sin århundrede lange historie har det været naturligt for Guldsmedelauget at tage ansvar for at holde det faglige niveau højt i talentmassen.

”Der er naturligvis stadig videregående smykkeuddannelser som Smykker, Teknologi og Business på KEA, og Accessories Design på Designskolen Kolding. Men de skal nå utroligt meget på få år, og man kunne godt unde de studerende noget fordybelse og specialisering.,” siger Løvschal.

”Derfor har vi taget initiativ til at oprette en mentorordning, baseret på laugets ekspertise, og hvor fem faglige kapaciteter tilbyder et mentorforløb til lige så mange talenter, der kan få sparring på alle fagets dimensioner. Og det er fedt, at alle er med på at give den en ekstra skalle med at bevare og videreudvikle faget – også i de nye generationer.”

Lone Løvschal
Lone Løvschal på værkstedet.

Håbet om en gylden fremtid – måske på museum

På trods af den uddannelsesmæssige situation er Lone Løvschal alligevel fortrøstningsfuld for branchens fremtid.
”Kunderne er der – både den 15-årige dreng, der har tegnet et armbånd til sig selv, og nu skal spare sammen til det, og alle dem, der følger tidens commitment til personlig udsmykning. Så vi er i den grad i live – og vi har så meget at byde på! Vi er heldigvis mange i faget, og der er arbejde nok til os alle sammen. Når nogen lukker, så er der flere, der åbner. Så der er liv, om end vi trænger til noget mere interaktion og kunstnerisk udveksling.”

Guldsmedefaget er således ikke på vej på pension efter 600 år – men vil gerne på museum.

”Oh yes, det kunne være godt med et museum for vores fag. Der har været så mange dygtige smykkekunstnere gennem tiden, og vores udenlandske gæster, kolleger og fans spørger, hvor man kan se de historiske smykker. Der mangler et udstillingssted for både ny og gammel smykkekunst, og det kunne være fedt, hvis staten ville investere penge i sådan et. Danmark har været førende i smykkekunst i mange, mange år – og det vil vi gerne vise hele verden.” Afslutter Lone Løvschal.

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Torsdag den 28. september 2023 vil der være fælles åbning af SMYKKERNES BY på alle deltagende steder, som vil gløde af guld og ædelsten.

Arrangementet fortsætter fredag og lørdag den 29. og 30. september, og flere udstillinger holder åbent endnu længere.

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