A New Use for Silver Wire – Interview with Dabin Lee

silberdraht, goldschmiede, schmuckdesign

Silver wire is an integral part of the tools of every goldsmith. Be it in jewelry making or repair, silver wire is used continuously. Jewelry designer Dabin Lee from Belgium, the current „Designer in Residence“ scholarship holder at the EMMA Creative Center Pforzheim, has taken the chance to experiment with silver wire by using it outside of its intended purpose in the practice of so-called “tufting”. She emphasizes that environmental pollution is a clear focal point of her work, and the result is amazing.

Dabin, could you describe the technique of carpet making using “tufting”?

Tufting is the technique of pressing a bundle of threads through the material in a U-shape. The bundles are then altered by cutting the threads short or leaving them long. By tufting the  bundles in different colors next to each other, you can create drawings such as the ones seen in carpet designs.

Why did you decide to use silver wire in this technique?

Silver is a very soft metal. I wanted to challenge myself by using thicker and softer wire than the very thin copper wire I had previously been using. I also wanted to use silver wire because I thought it would strengthen my concept. The colour of the silver wire is very pure, shiny and light. I used it to tuft an image of a seagull, which stands out well from the background because of the excellent texture of the silver. Thus, the most valuable part of my tufting work is the silver Seagull. The remaining colored wires are made of copper.

How do you work with silver wire?

The silver wire can be tufted into a beautiful design. Because of its thickness, it leaves more space in between each individual thread. In this way, the image becomes a bit translucent but still very luminous. I haven’t been able to create such an effect with other wires.

Are you satisfied with the result?

I am very satisfied.  The technique worked well right from the beginning, and I was able to discover new possibilities by using the silver wire.

Finales Werk, Copyright EMMA Kreativzentrum Pforzheim, Foto: Winfried Reinhardt

In your work, you deal a lot with the topic of environmental pollution. Why did you choose this topic and how long have you been focusing on it?

As a contemporary jewelry designer, I believe jjewelry can be more than just something beautiful to look at; it goes beyond luxurious wearable objects. For me, jewelry is a way of conveying a message.

I feel it is very important these days to stimulate political awareness through art, jewelry and design, so I was pleased to become acquainted with the family business C. Hafner and discover more about its sustainable use of precious metals. It is very important to recycle existing precious metal and bring it back into the cycle of reusability. It is a delight to see that artists and companies can share the same vision.

Thanks for the interview, Dabin. We are looking forward to your final work at the Vernissage at 7pm on June 27th at the EMMA Creative Center Pforzheim.

The work of Dabin Lee will be exhibited at the show in EMMA Creative Center Pforzheim from June 28th to July 7th and at Haus der Wirtschaft in Stuttgart from September 17th to October 17th.

Dabin Lee, born in South Korea in 1991, currently lives in Belgium where she holds a master’s degree in jewelry design, gold and silversmithing from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp (BE). Dabin Lee deals with social issues and everyday issues in society, and her bright, engaging and colorful works convey a message and are created to compel the beholder to consider their own perceptions and opinions.