|1945||Born in Zurich, Switzerland|
|1952 - 1964||School education in the Basel area, Matura type A|
|1965-1973||Zoology studies in Zurich, Diploma und PhD|
|1974-1975||Research positions at different USA universities|
|1976-2010||Research and teaching at the University of Zurich|
|since 1985||Courses and self-directed training in the art of jewelry making|
|1999||Exhibition at Werkgalerie, Maur CH|
|2010||Group exhibition Prima Vista Due, Horw CH|
|2018||Group exhibition Prima Vista Tre, Horw CH|
|2019-2020||Group exhibition "Matchbox" vom Forum für Schmuck und Design,|
|.||Touring exhibition in Germany and Switzerland|
|2019||Christmas Exhibition at "Friends of Carlotta", Zürich|
Motivation and background
As a zoologist at the University of Zurich (until 2010), I studied animal nervous systems, in particular the function of the faceted compound eyes in insects. Although doing scientific experiments and writing scientific articles are quite creative processes, I often missed the artistic challenge of using my hands to create objects. I enrolled in my first jewelry class in the mid-eighties and ever since, the art of jewelry making has remained a most fascinating activity for me. On the one hand, I owe my jewelry skills to my teachers at Migros Klubschule in Zurich and Lucerne, Renate Meier-Schalcher, Bruce Zihler, Moritz Camenisch and especially Albert Jung, On the other hand, I have invested a lot of time in self directed studies focussing on the theoretical fundamentals of the craft.
I love the process of designing a piece of jewelry as much as its manual creation. Many of my designs are created just once, and I find it difficult to part with these pieces. The people who wear my jewelry mostly belong to the circle of my relatives and friends, both in Switzerland and abroad. I have presented my work in only few exhibitions so far.
Professional education and a life-long occupation as a natural scientist have strongly influenced my jewelry making. They promote an experimental approach in the design process and support a deliberate, accurate working style in the production phase. However, the strict, scientific way of thinking of the scientist, which is based on facts and logical principles, can sometimes inhibit creativity. In such cases, a playful approach, in which I let my hands -- almost independently -- construct models from raw materials such as cardboard, sheet aluminum, styrofoam, wax or little mirrors, can be more fruitful. I create my pieces almost exclusively in silver, a material that appeals to me because of its bright and comparatively warm shine. In addition, the cost effectiveness of silver allows for more unrestrained experimentation than gold.
I mostly use the classical techniques of jewelry making, some of which I have studied in some depth: I am fascinated by the sand-casting technique, a low-tech method which allows the silver casting of wax models with minimal technical equipment. I have also spent quite some time exploring the possibilities of surface treatment using imprints of textile and paper structures. Many of my designs are inspired by my scientific background, such as the "metamorphosis rings" and the "optical jewelry". I am equally intrigued by abrupt contrasts and continuous gradients in form, color and structure.
I enjoy giving names to my various creations. The names either refer to the shape or other, sometimes hidden attributes, or they indicate a specific function, such as in the "optical jewelry". With a few exceptions (marked by "Hommage à ....") all the designs shown on this website are my own.
I have a well-equipped private workshop: here I make up my designs, and work and finalize my pieces of jewelry. For processes involving much heat and noise (casting, forging) I can use the workshop of a local goldsmith. Here I also can obtain technical support.
- Thomas Labhart
- Brunnmattstr. 16
- CH - 6048 Horw