Herbert Hofmann Prize 2020

Reading Time: 

1 min {{readingTime}} mins

The International Craft Fair in Munich, planned from March 11th to 15th, was unfortunately cancelled due to the spread of the coronavirus.

Nevertheless, for the 47th time the coveted Herbert Hofmann Prize of the SCHMUCK special show was awarded to three goldsmiths and jewellery designers writes Ilaria Ruggiero.

The jury, consisting of Prof. Otto Künzli from Munich, Prof. Jantje Fleischhut from Düsseldorf, Dr. Gert Bruckner from the Danner Foundation Munich and Dr. Sabine Runde from Frankfurt, met virtually on Friday, March 13, 2020 to select the three award winners: Melanie Isverding and Katrin Feulner from Germany and Carla Nuis from the Netherlands received the Herbert Hofmann Prize 2020.

"Melanie Isverding's large-format necklace with palladium-coated circular discs impresses with a very sophisticated graphic reduction and exciting composition," said the jury in its reasoning.

The fine-tuned black tones of the ebony frame, the woven cotton field and the blackened silver hanger contrast with the circular panes. The symmetrical frame also contrasts with the two disks, which could be interpreted as a celestial body, they suggest the movement of planets. When dealing with weaving processes, reference is made to the Greek mythology of weavers. The creation of textile fabrics is seen as a metaphor for the creation of structures of thought, stories and a design to look at the world.

Katrin Feulner's pieces of jewellery from the "Cut" series are made from found metal objects. The starting pieces have geometric shapes such as circles, profiles or bars. The individual elements are cut into slices and reassembled. "As a result, a certain rhythm, balance and tension can form," said the jury. The basic technique of sawing with different goldsmith's saws creates a slightly moving surface, which is softened by grinding, and emits something soft and gentle that invites you to touch it. A very simple means of design, namely through a targeted sawing movement, turns jewellery pieces that are originally made of raw steel into cuddly jewellery that is nice to wear. The inner and outer processes play a role in the work. The process of working is just as important as its result.

At first glance, Carla Nuis gold ring looks massive and heavy. In fact, it is made of wafer-thin gold sheet that has been welded. The ring is therefore hollow and light as a feather. A first handshake would deform and change the worn ring. This reveals its real character: fragility. This convinced the jury, so that they also awarded Nuis a Herbert Hofmann Prize. "This work shows the never-ending interplay between appearance and being. The ring is not intended for eternity, but for changeability, from the claim to infinity to finitude."

SCHMUCK was supposed to bring 802 goldsmiths and jewellery designers from 61 countries to present their works at the renowned special show. Organized as an international competition, the event is one of the most important exhibitions of contemporary jewellery design and serves as an important platform for exhibitors to gain worldwide recognition and make new contacts. The presentation of the Herbert Hofmann Prizes to three outstanding jewellery designers is the highlight each year.

The curator of the show was Chequita Nahar, Director of the Academy of Fine Arts in Maastricht, the Netherlands. 

Her selection has been, among other things, a tribute to her recently deceased mentor, the well-known art historian Marjan Unger.


The requirement is that the objects must touch in a special way. They have to stand out because of their shape, their idea, their colour, their material, the type of design or their crazy expression. You need to raise questions and think about what we do and where we are”, said the curator Nahar.

In the end, the choice fell on unique works by 63 artists from 29 countries in a mix of both well-known and young jewellery designers.

About the «Handwerk & Design»

“Handwerk & Design” was created in 2008 as part of the international craft fair. The idea behind it is to bundle outstanding achievements from handicrafts and design under one roof at the International Handicraft Fair. During the International Crafts Fair in Hall B1 on the Munich Exhibition Centre, everything 

revolves around the combination of craftsmanship and good design. «Handwerk & Design» is characterized by numerous special shows, such as EXEMPLA, SCHMUCK, TALENTE or MEISTER DER MODERNE.

Winner photo credits

Katrin Feulner
Necklace: CUT 05, 2019
Found metal objects, steel wire, steel sheet.
Photo by: Katrin Feulner
Awarded at: Herbert Hofmann Prize 2020

Carla Nuis
Ring: Furl5, 2019
Photo by: Eddy Wenting

Awarded at: Herbert Hofmann Prize 2020

Melanie Isverding
Necklace: Simul, 2019
Ebony, silver, cotton, leaf palladium.
Photo by: Marcus Biesecke

Awarded at: Herbert Hofmann Prize 2020

Other photos

Paul Adie, home home
Gabriella Goldsmith, Goldsmith Eyes
Donna Brennan, Brooch Hortus Conclusus © Richard Valencia
Helen Britton,TheKeys © Dirk Eisel
Veronika Fabian, Biglink
Maria Hriesik Nepsinská, Like a broken record © Peter Ancic
Gisbert Stach, Smuggler-Mercedes-Benz Unimog yellow

About the Contributing Writer

Ilaria Ruggiero is a cultural manager and curator working in the field of contemporary art. She is the founder of Adornment - Curating Contemporary Art Jewelry, a curatorial integrated project dedicated to contemporary art jewelry. It aims to develop the knowledge and consciousness of contemporary jewelry as artistic discipline and as ground search for technique, aesthetics, and philosophy.



Rebecca van Rooijen


{{'2020-05-15T11:49:30.4100194+00:00' | utcToLocalDate }}
comments powered by Disqus