Master craftsman, Rudolf Heltzel in his studio on Patrick Street, Kilkenny PICTURE: Roland Paschhoff
The National Design & Craft Gallery in the Castle Yard, Kilkenny will celebrate an icon of Irish craft and design when it opens Rudolf Heltzel: In Precious Metal, a spectacular exhibition of sculptural pendants by the master goldsmith on Friday, February 2.
Rudolf, is from Berlin and was invited to Ireland in 1966 by the Irish Export Board. He set up and led the trail-blazing gold and silver studio-workshops at the Kilkenny Design Workshops.
In 1968, he established his own workshop and since then has gained an international reputation for the originality, quality and timeless aesthetic of his pieces. Each is created meticulously by hand using some of the world’s oldest jewellery techniques.
This exhibition will showcase many of his most ambitious and technically complex designs, presenting pieces selected from his personal archive alongside new work in three of his sculptural pendant collections – Rock Crystal, Tourmaline Butterfly and Druzy. Heltzel will also deliver a lecture, The Arduous Road to the Creation of a Jewel, on Saturday, February 3 in the gallery.
Coinciding with the Heltzel exhibition will be Bounded + Unlimited: Contemporary Jewellery, an exhibition of exceptional jewellery and goldsmithing by four contemporary jewellery artists from Ireland and China. It will explore the parallel working practices of these makers across design, techniques and materials in differing cultural context.
The two Irish jewellery artists represented are Eimear Conyard, a practicing contemporary jewellery artist, and Christopher Heltzel (Rudolf’s son).