2016 Legnica / P
A review of the International HammerClub Meeting in Legnica
Friday May 20 until Sunday May 22, participants of the HammerClub had a fantastic meeting in the Polish town of Legnica. This year’s program of the HammerClub Meeting was a combination of the culmination program of the Legnica Jewellery Festival SILVER, organized by the Gallery of Art in Legnica, and typical HammerClub events. The participants joined the different exhibitions, openings, shows and the seminar. Apart from the Festival SILVER, some events were specially organized for participants of HammerClub 2016.
The days in Legnica were wonderful with fantastic weather and lots of fun. The HammerClub group counted 38 people from eight different countries (Poland, Germany, Belgium, Danmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Taiwan and the United States). It was undoubtably an international meeting.
Friday 20 May 2016
The first event on the HammerClub program was a visit to the Legnica copper mine and refinery. However, the new management of the plant is not interested in contemporary craftsmanship and therefor cancelled the visit just one day before we arrived in Legnica. As an alternative the visit to Jawor, that was planned for Sunday, was brought forward to the Friday. So instead of visiting a mine, the HammerClubbers went to Kosciól Pokoju (Peace church). A chartered bus brought the group to the church. This is the largest wooden religious building in Europe and listed as an Unesco World Heritage Site. The church built in 1653 made a big impression on all participants. In the bus, on the way back to Legnica, we enjoyed Polish sweet buns and savoury biscuits, bought at a local bakery.
Back in Legnica the meeting and registration of HammerClub officially started in the courtyard of the Akademia Rycerska (Academy of Knights). This was also the place where the official opening of Legnica Jewellery Festival SILVER took place.
At 4 PM the Silver Procession with the Golden Finger Dwarf (the patron of the Festival) entered the courtyard of the Akademia. During the opening ceremony the first hits were hammered on the sheet of fine silver that was brought for the common bowl. As guest to the Festival SILVER Janjaap Luijt was invited on the stage to perform the opening act together with the renown jewellery artist Vered Kaminski.
After the inauguration a part of the HammerClubbers followed the tour along the exhibitions, while others got involved in hammering the common bowl. One of the participants had brought an artificial, titanium hip that could be used as a ‘stake’. Allan Scharff immediately suggested to use this stake as the main tool to hammer the common bowl. On a draft note he made a quick sketch. The bowl would have lobs, just like a traditional Akeleibecher.
During the afternoon the participants of the HammerClub visited the HammerClub Exhibition 2016 in Muzeum Miedzi (the Copper Museum) and voted for the HammerClub Awards. The exhibition (with 17 entries) was well organized. The museum even made us a printed catalogue with an edition of 350 copies. All pictures from the catalogue can be seen on the website. The introduction in the catalogue is also published on the website of the Galeria Sztuki w Legnicy (Gallery of Art in Legnica).
Voting was possible until 5 PM, because then the museum closed its doors (actually they did 5 minutes earlier without handing over the ballot box, but this problem was solved). It was a pity that some of the late comers were not able to vote. However the differences between the winners were significant enough. The votes of the late comers would not have made the difference.
Brian Williamson, Orange, 2014
Charlotte Duckwort, Pipkin Cream Jug, 2015
Daan Brouwer, Transformation I & II, 2015
Daphne Spiegel, Hidden City, 2016
Eva Bauer, Main Frankfurt, 2016
Georges Cuyvers, Shadow V, 2016
Josephine Lutzel, Basalt 1/2014 & 2/2014
Ludwig Menzel, Dolde 2, 2016
Maja Houtman, Cartoon City, 2016
Min-Hui (Elsa) Lee, 20 x 20 Shape, 2016
Ru Runeberg, The sacked Royal Symphony Orchestra members street band, 2014/16
Seamus Gill, Flowing Curves, 2016
Teresa Lewoc, Bowl, 2016
Veerle Keijzer, Major Mayor, 2014
Achim Heinkel, Urban Flower, 2016
Andreas Decker, Little People, 2016
In the evening the annual HammerClub dinner took place in restaurant Ratusowa, in the basement of the town hall. The restaurateur had made a beautiful buffet of traditional Polish dishes. Although several tables were prepared inside, everyone looked for a place on the terrace outside. During the dinner the winners of the HammerClub Awards 2016 were announced. The top-5 was as follows: Eva Bauer finished 5th with Main Frankfurt and Maja Houtman finished 4th with Cartoon City. The third prize of 400 grams fine silver was won by Josephine Lützel with Basalt 2014 and the second prize of 600 grams fine silver by Ludwig Menzel with Dolde 2. With a convincing difference in votes, the first prize of 1 kilogram of fine silver was won by Achim Heinkel with Urban Flowers. For the occasion the sponsored silver granules (with courtesy of Agosi from Pforzheim) were put in a small bottle and preserved in Polish vodka.
Saturday 21 May 2016
Saturday morning was filled with a seminar in one of the meeting rooms of the Qubus Hotel. The seminar was completed with a lecture about silversmithing in 21th century Europe by Janjaap Luijt and a second lecture by professor Chunghi Choo from the University of Iowa about her work and that of her students.
Meanwhile in the courtyard of the Knights Academy, it was a coming and going of participants who joined in to hammer the common bowl. Around 4 PM the bowl was (almost) finished. By that time all HamerClubbers gathered in the courtyard for the annual plenary sitting. Achim Heinkel gave a brief presentation of Porfzheim as host for HammerClub 2017, followed by a preview of Hanau as host for HammerClub 2018 by Andreas Decker. In the meantime Allan Scharf completed the bowl on the background.
Time was running out, because at 5 PM the wandering Festival SILVER would visit the HammerClub Exhibition in the museum. The HammerClubbers arrived just in time. During the speeches the common bowl was offered to the Galeria Sztuki w Legnicy as a gift for the collection. On behalf of the HammerClub Janjaap Luijt told the story about the artificial hip the silversmiths used as a hammer and as a stake. Referring to the former owned of the hip, this year’s common bowl was named ‘Aunt Annie’.
Later that evening the Festival SILVER was concluded with the Silver Party in Restaurant Ratuszowa. There was a really good cohesion. Everyone had great fun: we ate, drank and danced.
Sunday 22 May 2016
On Sunday a group of HammerClub participants left early to visit Wroclaw, some others went to Jawor to visit Kosciól Pokoju (Peace church), because they missed it on Friday, or to see it for a second time. In the morning Allan Scharff gave a short expose about his 3D-printing adventures. Sunday was a hard day, because we had to say goodbye again. Everyone was waiting to say goodbye, because we all knew that if we departed, the meeting was over. Nevertheless, in the end it was time to leave. To postpone the moment of really leaving Legnica, four HammerClubbers also visited the vernissage of an exhibition of contemporary religious jewellery in the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church.
The HammerClub Meeting in Legnica was an unforgettable experience: we all enjoyed it, and we are all looking forward to see each other again next year in Pforzheim.