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Couple teaches locals the art of jewelry

Published: 
Thursday, June 14, 2018
Student Sri Lata Nankissoon works with art clay at the Tabaquite class.

Nestled comfortably at the Buccoo Integrated Complex, Tobago Dorothee Hatzky-Wuenstel and her husband Frank Wuenstel are teaching nationals the fine art of jewelry making. The couple moved from their native Germany over a decade ago and have made Tobago their home.

They offer classes in Art Clay jewelry-making, with certification; as well as services in 3D Printing and 3D printed, and castable wax-model from personalised CAD design.

Frank, a trained goldsmith, expanded his vision to create the Academy of Jewelry and Art in 2011 with the objective of combining traditional processes with modern technology. The duo has conducted training with YTEPP in the trade of precious metal design. They also lend support to the National Training Agency as a lead body member for developing curriculum in the jewelry industry and assists the UWI with their jewelry workshops.

Guardian Media recently visited one of the workshops held in the rural community of Tabaquite where participants were using a product called Art Clay to create silver jewelry. Dorothee, who is a certified Art Clay teacher and artist at Tobago Gold Creation Limited, explained that Art Clay technology allows for unique designs since Art Clay is molded and shaped into patterns and ornaments.

She explained: “Art-Clay Silver is a fine silver powder mixed with cellulose based binders and water, originally produced from recycled pure silver. When fired, the binders burn away, leaving a fine silver piece.

There are no allergies attached as the end-product jewellery is pure silver and contains no base metals like nickel which causes the allergy in jewellery.

“It is easy to step into jewellery making with a precious metal for beginners with Metal Clay. Metal Clay is available in silver, gold, copper and bronze. It is ideal for hobbyist but also the professional goldsmith can challenge himself for new design possibilities with this innovative material. Once you dip a toe into Metal Clay, and you get addicted, there is a possibility for further education in a Level Certification.

The Level Certification is a seven-week class where several techniques and projects need to be accomplished, with classic goldsmith knowledge and Metal Clay knowledge combined ”

Dorothee added that the artist can also use various moulds with pre-determined designs. The creation is then fired in a kiln where the binder melts and the silver remains fused to form an item of jewelry.

Frank, who is CAD/CAM designer, noted that the academy is providing vocational education focusing on the latest prototyping technology and digital fabrication. He added: “We also offer a unique services for jewelers to ease up their manufacturing process to make a 3D print in high resolution wax.

“The Digital Manufacturing process is more cost effective and time-saving, still unique in its design possibilities. By sending us the design idea in picture or drawn, we use the latest digital manufacturing technology to design for the clients a ready to cast wax-design.”

Sri Lata Nankissoon, 27, of Princess Town who attended the class in Tabaquite, said she started classes with the duo in Tacarigua. Nankissoon said: “I have been a student with Dorotheè and Frank since 2016.

They are amazing teachers who are extremely generous with their knowledge of this fine skill.”

Nankisson continued: “Art Clay is, in essence, self expression molded into timeless silver. I learn something new every day because they constantly challenge and guide me to achieve greater projects.”

The Wuenstels can be contacted via email [email protected]

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