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22 June 2010

Archives April 2009 : Jeweler of the Month

Jeweler of the Month:
Regina Imbsweiler

I decided to become a jeweler about one year after finishing high school when I realized that my first career choice, engineering, was not what I really wanted. I was inspired by traveling craftspeople and imagined that it was a free and independent life style, and that I could be my own boss.

From 1974 to 1976 I attended the Goldschmiedeschule in Pforzheim, followed by a one year apprenticeship with a master goldsmith, Herbert Munsteiner. This training was technically rigorous and led to my certification as a goldsmith through Handwerkskammer Karlsruhe in 1977. I am still grateful for this thorough training even though I have gone on about my work in a more artistic way.

I started marketing my own work in 1980, while still working for a jewelry company in Germany. 1985 I started showing at US Galleries, among them Geode in Atlanta.

My family moved here in 1991, and I started Goldsmiths Gallery, with the help of my then-apprentices Leigh Griffin and David Vrooman who are both accomplished jewelers now.
In 1998 I moved to Irvindale Studios in Chamblee, mostly working for galleries and occasionally participating in retail shows.

My teaching experience includes two years as an instructor at Chastain Arts Center and training numerous apprentices. One of them, Vickie Cole, is now an instructor herself.
In 2009 I will have a trunk show at By Hand South, Decatur, during the Decatur Arts Festival and will be part of the Atlanta Contemporary Jewelry Show in November which I also help organize.

What was your first piece?
My first piece was a replication of an ancient Roman bracelet that I had seen in the Jewelry Museum in Pforzheim. It had a carnelian cabochon in the center and two links made out of wires on each side, connecting in the back.

What is your creative process?
My favorite process is combining silver and gold, creating different textures and surfaces. Within my "vocabulary" there are more classical and more free-flowing forms. I sometimes use fusion, and often 22k gold wire and gold balls. Occasionally I have prototypes cast and use them in variations for my production pieces. Tourmalines are definitely my favorite stones because of their most amazing color variations and their "inner life".

Who are your jewelry heroes?
I am strongly attached to the European art jewelry of the 70s and 80s. Some names: Paul Preston, Herman Juenger, Michael Zobel.

Among American jewelers: Harold O'Connor

Where do you find design inspiration?
This is a hard question. True inspiration is intuitive, which means you don't know where it comes from. I pick up bits and pieces of imagery from nature (like almost everyone), microbiology, and geology. One way to get inspired is to look at my stones, and the stuff that is on my bench, and put them together in ways that just happen, spontaneously.

What is your favorite part of making jewelry?
I could be on the torch all day! I am very passionate about fire.

What is on your bench now?
About 8 large rings and a couple of necklaces for my next show at Edgewood Orchard Galleries.

What is your most indispensable tool?
A small curved burnisher which I use to open up bezels when I size rings.


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