photography by minnseo kim | S/TUDIO

photography by minnseo kim | S/TUDIO

Never mind the doldrums. Escapism: we can make it out of there.
Sing softly to us. Muted lips will mimmic any melody. As the humming seizes, tools can be noticed in the distance. A faint hammering of sorts, determined, unfazed by the looming storm. Here only the mind rages. Cunning crafters are united, in a pure collaborative effort, where product remains subservient to emotion. 

Collages of the songs we once forgot, appear eternal at the benevolent whims of the creator. Elements of him. Elements of you. Tightly bound in silvery stillness. 

Werkstatt is Klaus Lohmeyer. Unmistakably. A rock n roll master of some sorts, calmly conducting his foundry orchestra. These are not coincidental pieces, they embed a soul, a sense of life. To engage them is to pay homage to their journey. Such are these humble individual trinkets, propelled to the exterior, ready to become appropriated. Form is you. Form is me. Together we shall witness another break of dawn.

Birth. Klaus, we all originate from somewhere. During your younger years, what triggered your imagination?

I felt triggered by music, philosophers that provided theories about life and various kinds of sports - skiing, BMX and football.

Kindle. Coming of Age. A time or recognition. When did you first realize you would pursue your current path of creation?

Creating and being able to realize your original idea means freedom of choice and the independence from the talent of others. You imagine something and you just do it. Whether the result is as beautiful as your idea, depends on how hard you insisted to achieve it. 

Punk. If we look around us, today, perhaps we live in an increasingly homogenous society. Do you still see room for subcultures and identity?

I am observing the opposite concerning society. Our society gets less and less homogeneous. If we take into account education or wealth (or the correlation between the two), you will see huge discrepancies. Subcultures today are more readily accessible across the globe and have become much quicker in their turn-around. You have the immediate possibility to connect with likeminded people around the world in a split second. You can share ideas and dreams immediately even if you live in a place, where it is hard to find people with a similar mindset. I appreciate this .

Nowness. That truly is a wonderful observation. But how do you perceive the volatility often found in such ‘’electronic’’ connections?

If we use social media in a reasonable way, we could be even more connected and closer.

Yet, I see people disconnected to themselves or their surroundings by constantly living in a virtual reality. In the end, it is our responsibility to invent rules and manners also for social media, as we did before for all the analog things. Furthermore we need to clarify and question our language: can one really have 2500 true “FRIENDS”?

Salonfähig. Let us return to the calmness of the craft, perhaps shying away a little from our contemporary society. Both the atelier in Munich as the Parisian foundry where you present your work are both so rich in character and tradition. What is the meaning of these spaces to you?

A beautiful surrounding can help to bear a beautiful mindset. It is the heritage of craft and the respect of making things by hand in the BEST possible way, that resonates from these places. Things were made here, are made here and will be made here. In the past, craft just cared about absolute beauty and the best possible function. Craftsmen were generous with time and material, to do the best, not he most efficient. These walls transport this spirit  and I like that.

Silversmith. On closer inspection, one cannot help but to observe your deliberate choice to opt for silver as a versatile base material?

Silver is the most beautiful white metal existing on our planet. It has the warmest white tone. I like its scent, I like its softness and I like its meaning as a true and valuable throughout all periods of history.

Artistry. Working with silver as a base for crafting each hand-made piece, must mean you invest a lot of time and energy in tactile research. How do you switch between concept and creation?

I have something in my head and then I start “playing”. I try every possible solution and transfer these from my head to my hands. Then I see and feel the sketches. If I discover beauty, I follow the path optimizing the technique until its done.

Rock‘n’Roll. Perhaps the truest foundation of your universe. Something that I find most personal and sincere, from the visible lyrical scribblings to subtle embossed details. What musical arrangements have the most meaning to you?

Music has always been the inspiration for my work, if not through lyrics then through the aesthetics of the musicians. For me, it is very hard to pinpoint my personal top ten. What I can say for sure is, that is rock music that resonates the most inside of me. The rhythm that keeps me going. The lyrics are never ashamed to show true emotions. We took fragments of Led Zeppelin’s “Thank You” for the current collection. The song’s first line expresses this limitless love I cherish so much: “if the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you...” Beautiful!

Emotion. If we allow ourselves, another personal escapade, I would also like to ask you what truly rattles your core, when it comes to your work? 

Creating pieces with meaning is essential to me. All our pieces have a soul. Pieces without meaning are just useless decoration. Jewelry does not have to be expensive. It can be a coin that you found on the sidewalk, that reminds you of a certain moment. The emotions attached to each piece, make them what they are, each piece has a unique journey.
I like to make people happy... and they are if they discover beauty.

Planets. Klaus, your first turn at exploring jewelry design, came after you could not find anything to wear yourself. So how does it feel to reflect upon your own work?

This was one of the reasons for me to explore creation. I couldn't find simple, handmade, masculine pieces. To have our jewelry means that you own a piece, that is well created and manufactured in the best possible way.
Even if you are not an expert, you should be able to feel the quality. In best case you just like it and can't exactly tell why that is.

… That is touching people...

Product. The end-game for any creator. Is there a final chapter to each creation?

We create pieces, the difference from my point a view is: for a product you need a designer and a producer. An artist will do conception and the process of building in a fully integrated way. 

I think there is a time for each piece. So, YES, there is a final point for each piece to stop in a particular moment for this particular collection.

Still, it is possible that you continue to work on exactly that particular piece another day, maybe years later, and push it into another direction, maintaining another point. So, NO, in general, it is never final, it can always lead somewhere. We all cannot deny a certain zeitgeist....

We are not like them. I can fully understand your reasoning, but the pieces do embark on individual journeys and therefore connections are built. May I depict the ‘‘Werkstatt’’ universe as a thorough contribution to a more sincere world?

I think we can serve as an example of sustainable work. Our pieces should be valid and valuable for a long time and the process of making these was accompanied by a warm atmosphere and good music. We are a successful example that exploitation is not necessary and we help avoiding waste. It is just a decision if you buy a 20 EUR ring each month, that wouldn't feed you and therefore you will throw them away, one by one. Or if you acquire a piece that touches you and you will keep it… The turnover would be the same, the satisfaction so much bigger - no waste means no exploitation!!

OK! J’ai Compris. To unwind, let us step out of the atelier and dwell on two notes of closure. The first one:  In hindsight what would you have liked to have learned earlier?

Boxing and playing the piano.

Bang Bang. And secondly, one often feels that to listen is to be heard. What were the last words you heard that stuck closely by you?

“Being vulnerable is needed most of all”

(taken from Queens of the Stone Age’s “The Vampyre of Time and Memory” on  “...Like Clockwork”)

A polite bow to Klaus and Johanna. 
All images shot for S/T courtesy Werkstatt unless stated otherwise.

Interview & text by Marlo Saalmink | S/TUDIO