Interview with Britta Schwalm

Winner of Jewelry and Art Design Awards

Award Winning Designer Britta Schwalm shares insights


Interview with Britta Schwalm at Wednesday 26th of October 2016:

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
BS : I completed my education as a goldsmith as best of my course. After some time of practice I went to university to study design. I always wanted to be a designer and I love designing jewellery the most.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
BS : I design jewellery according to the customers wishes - unique pieces for individuals. I´m specialized as a goldsmith to design adaptions. For example, if a customer inherited an outdated golden brooch with pearls from a beloved person I transform it into a pearl ring. If a customer inherited an outdated golden ring with an amber from a beloved person I transform it into a cute brooch. I love to (re-)design beloved outdated jewelry. To find out what fits to each single customer is a exiting design process. The shining in the eyes of the customers when treasured old jewellery gets a new makes me feel good.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
BS : A good design is not happening by chance. It´s an evolution dealing with the processes and the persons the design is made for. Good design can be developed in the context of new materials or new technologies. The relevance of the available economical resources is getting more and more important. Everyone should invest in good design because it should fit the needs of each single person.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
BS : My joy in designing jewelry is to 'challenge' the audience to have a second look: 'Eve's Weapon' consists of apples which you won't notice at first glance. 'Glueckskind®' (blessed-child) play's with a baby-theme, top secret, if you wish. My secret ingredient is that my designs are meant to certain emotions.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
BS : Johannes Schreiter, painter designer and glass sculptor. I´m deeply impressed by the self-effacement of his glass designs matching the surrounding architecture.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
BS : Glückskind® - love letter to mother and child. Two rings with a baby one outside and the other one inside the ring. The baby snuggles faithfully against your finger, either visible for all or hidden on the inner side. In German "Glückskind" is a person that has good fortune in life. The closest in English was "blessed child", which is not the same, but some words aren't possible to translate exactly. A baby ON a ring is a quite new idea. A baby IN a ring is unique. The wearer of the ring with the baby outside (Sam) has the chance to show how proud a mom/dad can be. The wearer of the ring with the baby inside (Jamie) might have a secret or keeps things more discreet. He or she can decide whether or not to reveal the baby. For me, all the deep and very private feelings I get as a response by my customers show me the greatness and uniqueness of my design.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
BS : I would have become crazy. Unhappy. Insane.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?
BS : ART should be an essential expression of deep feeling that move people. Art is where the artist has given a piece of himself. And if it is art, than it transcends language, space and time. DESIGN should follow this principle: "form follows function". And making jewelry is a balancing act between art and design.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?
BS : My imagination. I can see jewellery before it is made.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
BS : Concept: „Meaningful Heart“ Pendant and more The jewellery consists of preloved gold or silver and of diamonds or precious stones which were part of the jewellery melted for this project. The material of the pendant is 100% recycled gold or silver, depending on the client’s wishes, no new material has to be mined. If necessary the jewellery is cut into smaller pieces by hand and arranged as needed. Heating and melting with gas flame. Polishing again by hand. Precious stones are mounted by mechanical work only, such as drilling and hammering. In addition to the environmental savings „Meaningful Heart“ saves and secures emotions and memories. People taking care of their feelings and history usually take care of the environment as well.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?
BS : I´m working on a brooch containing 10ct of diamonds showing the coat of arms of the Duke of Hohenzollern.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
BS : The ‚Glueckskind®‘ rings can be a way to express our precious memories of a baby who is not alive today. Some babies were stillborn, died during or shortly after birth or through abortion. Whichever tragic circumstance, these babies are never forgotten. Some people find it comforting to have something physical to remember the baby by, particularly if there hasn’t been a wake or a grave. If I can enable an emotional link between mother and her missing child, I´m deeply grateful.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?
BS : Carpe diem, carpe noctem.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
BS : I use all kinds of equipment: Medieval equipment like saw and hammer and modern software such as CAD/CAM and 3D data and printer.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?
BS : I: Leonardo da Vinci. Well known universal genius butt also a goldsmith! I would like to watch ihm work. II: Albrecht Dürer. German Painter and Graphic Designer in medieval times. His graphics are clear and prominent. At the point. Again, I would't like to talk, just observe.

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
BS : I´m very proud of the awards I got. It´s an extraordinary feeling if someone recognizes me from the TV shows and newspaper articles.

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
BS : My favorite place are the Highlands in Scotland. The Scottish Highlands combine my favorite color scheme in nature – the light ist fantastic! As well as the food and the culture. Being there is holiday for my mind, body and soul.

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?
BS : The design of Eve's Weapon gave me the experience of being part at a delegation trip. During that trip to Milano we visited the Triannale Design Museum. During this visit our Secretary of State for Trade and Industry congratulated me on my jewelry exposed at the EXPO and presented a bottle of noble wine to me.