mdby……SIMONE TEN HOMPEL
Getting to the end of the year….I show you a very special work by SIMONE TEN HOMPEL, based on metal, let’s see what you think about it, I hope you like it, it is great!!
Simone, after studying jewellery and silversmithing, and a MA at Royal College of Art, you decided to focus on metalwork, which was the key that pushed you to it?
After I had finished an Apprenticeship in black smithing I did study jewellery at the FH in Düsseldorf, but when I started at the RCA I focused on metalwork and ever since I have not really done jewellery. Having finished Düsseldorf I knew that I had not got to the stuff which was still within me and I simply looked for a different challenging space where I could develop from within and through stimulating debate.
The key for making is in the hand or in the desire to work -sometimes hard and long, sometimes against the restriction of the body- the metal material seems to have been there for working with me always. I believe so.
Did you have a mentor or someone that has guided you?
As I am an excellent dyslexic, I should think that this illness was my mentor. With 11, I and my illness made an arrangement and ever since, we work together. The arrangement therefore was: I’m not good at reading and writing but I am allowed to make stuff with my hands. In that way I owned some form of recognition.
Most of your production is based on spoons, as the first and the last thing we use in our life, it is a metaphor……
Yes and no, The metaphor is for the beginning and the end, therefore Alpha and Omega as a baby we learn to use how to eat with a spoon and we may use that ‘tool’ the spoon most likely as the last implement.
So you really are a writer, that instead of using paper, you use metal…
I do think of metal as my first language and then, I speak English and German.
There for, I see it, not as writing but as a voice. It is a negotiation between hand, heart, head and material. The content of its voice is reporting back from a store, that memory is either in the molecules or embody.
The stuff = memory, stuffiness, and sorry if it is not a proper word, but its content, how it feels, what I hold from it, how I make use of that information or data, the materiality = the substance flesh and blood or just a person with all that this person remembers.
It is a very spiritual concept, about the meaning of spoons, what are your basics in life and work? Do you even divide them in those two areas?
The first principle of the spoon is like a hand and an arm. Sometimes joined, sometimes morphing into one or the other. One is not recognizable without the other. The handle of the spoon and the spoon bowl are one. Would you think about spooning something into your mouth is work and the acted of eating from the bowl represents life?. That moment when the food is lifted and travel until your mouth. Both handle and bowl, as life and work have a belonging.
Do you write the story of each spoon or object somehow? It will be a good work about metal language …..
It is inscribed in the work and therefore for an onlooker to be read as a deciphered.
What does metals give you that perhaps you have not found in other materials?
There is a dialogue between the metal and myself. Wood may smell better, ceramics is malleable, but metal has an empathy with the capacity of forgiveness. However, I work with all sorts of material only, not that closely.
Metal is a hard material, does it take too much energy from you when you are working on them? Or you take the energy from the metal?
It’s a matter of technique; therefore work’s method does not need to be hard or strenuous. When metal is worked with its changes and becomes hard, it is not over work, as it would crack, because if it gets softened by heat, the work can continue. Therefore I have to read the metal, its conditions and act accordingly. Different properties require different reaction. The energy can flow either way between us.
Do you have any favourite type of metal to work with?
By now I possibly understand silver best. Like chocolate, it comes in different varieties. It can be rich in flavour, texture and smell. I work with gilding metal also, it has similar properties that I understand and it is my advantage
Do you design all your objects before you begin to create them? Or you have the idea in mind, and you just work with the material?
There is no formula to work. Sometimes it is material driven, other times it starts with a memory, then it could be an issue around function. I am interested in solving good problems. The juxtaposition between them, content driven issues and problem-solving solutions hold my attention and get my thinking.
You have never glazed any piece?
Here and there I have worked with a bit of enamel. The main metal can maintain its own, pure and simple with all the varieties of colours.
What about colours, you do not use them, tell us if there is any reason, or you just want to show the aim of the metal.
There are different material with colours and ornate colours within metal. Sometimes I put this side by side, the otherness of materials and colour.
Do you fabricate by commission?
Each piece is fabricated by hand, so each piece is a unique piece; do you mark them in some way?
All my pieces are hand marked, different kinds of marking and recognition.
For whom do you fabricate these pieces? Do you ever imagine the final client?
Yes, there is a dialogue and imagination ongoing whilst I work.
How do you deal, as an artist, with the highs and lows?
Not sure. I like to make and then I keep going. The making occupies the mind very well.
Do you work by your own, do you feel good working alone all day long?
I share the workshop with two other people, but I also feel good working for days on my own.
Which would be your ideal project?
I once made a piece with 108 spoons. That held my attention. I would like anything that has an open end, a space for discoveries about materiality and form. It seems i like variations and multiplicity.
What about the money? Do you always succeed in making it work or is it something that’s not so important to you?
Money is important, but when I make, I don’t think about it. However it is a sign of recognition.
Do you spend time in your work to publications or other media to make yourself know and increase sales, or you have someone to help you?
I do all the work in my business. Therefore I try to do a bit of all, but I like best to make.
Which is the most difficult thing in your work?
All things that deal with writing. After all, I am a very good dyslexic.
And the one you like more from your work?
Everything that involves my hands, making and think.
Which one has been your biggest success?
What writing on making? That’s a no-brainer I am a maker. The body of work I made which was subsequently reworded with prizes like the Jerwood in 2005 or the Bavarian Stats Priese in 2012.
Tell us, how a normal day in your work is?
I don’t like to have that sort of pattern.
What is beauty for you?
When you look at my book ‘inside’ you might get the gist of where my beauty lies.
Make from the heart using head and hands.