Arts, Crafts, Life

Art and craftsmanship as the elixir of life! Can this also apply to entire locations? An example in the winter 2023 issue of Art Aurea.

There is no doubt that art and crafts are essential elements of a fulfilled individual life. The fact that they can also inspire and shape entire locations is shown by examples of villages, towns or districts that have become internationally renowned thanks to artists, workshops or manufactories and continue to draw on past glories today. 

Diessen am Ammersee is different. It is true that big names such as Carl Orff, who composed “Carmina Burana,” and Fritz Winter, who painted the “Driving Forces of the Earth,” are also part of the place’s history, but Diessen has much more to offer than just a pottery market that has developed into a European festival of ceramic art under the direction of Wolfgang Lösche. This market town also boasts an extremely lively art and culture scene, especially considering its relatively small population of slightly over 10,000 inhabitants.

Katalin Fischer wrote our article about Diessen, which is home to many artists and where art and crafts are vital components of public life. She is a theater director, instructor and author who has found a homeland for herself in Diessen, after having spent sojourns in Budapest, Munich, Paris and Tel Aviv. We are grateful to her partner Noah Cohen for the gorgeous photographs. 

Lives as an artist in Dießen. Katharina Andress works traditionally by hand and creates futuristic figures. “The wood is no longer recognizable, viewers think of plastic or ceramic.”  Photo Noah Cohen.

A mere 50 kilometers separate Diessen in Upper Bavaria from Kaufbeueren in the Bavarian Allgäu. About 18,000 people who had previously lived in Gablonz, which was a Czech region at the time, resettled in the Neugablonz district of Kaufbeuren in 1945, where they rebuilt their glass and costume jewelry industry in their newly adopted homeland. A state vocational school for glass and jewelry was also established there. Christiane Förster and her husband Norman Weber studied at the vocational school and afterwards at the Academy of Visual Arts in Munich. Both of them currently teach in Neugablonz. Julie Metzdorf and Ulrike Myrzik visited the artist couple at their home in Kaufbeuren. 

The shared workshop is the magnet of their home. This is where Christiane Förster and Norman Weber spend as much time as possible. Photo Ulrike Myrzik.

Repair it rather than throw it away! For many generations, this was the norm and contributed toward survival – until advertisers brainwashed us into thinking that having something new is the key to happiness. Marina Frey proves the opposite. A 19th-century chair, a gift from her parents, sparked her desire to learn how to weave plaited seats and chairbacks. Later she made her hobby into her profession and is now a frequently consulted expert whenever design classics or historical chairs need to be repaired. Jasmin Jouhar originally told this wonderful story for the online edition of the FAZ. Together with authentic photographs by Lucas Bäuml, we capture all this in print on the fine paper of Art Aurea.

Some chair weavings pose mysteries. To solve them, Marina Frey exchanges ideas with weaver friends, researches at museums and archives, and contacts scientists. The Neue Sammlung in Munich recommends he as an expert. Credits: F.A.Z.-Foto/Lucas Bäuml.

The other articles in this 54th edition of Art Aurea likewise involve the harmony between art, crafts and life, which we need more than ever nowadays and which, in the case of Diessen, can leave a lovely and long-lasting trace on an entire town.

Curator’s Coice – Selected by Renowned Gallery Owners

Alexandra Brachtendorf. She designs gold and silver in such a way that it radiates lightness and elegance despite its heaviness and value.

Alexandra Brachtendorf’s jewelry is characterized by formal austerity and expressive surfaces. Stülp necklace, 750 gold, photo by Eva Jünger.

Willem Speekenbrink. Is that possible? Profound, ambiguous sculptures and imaginative objects of use from one single hand.

Mirjam Hiller. Color and form, expressive, versatile and surprising: jewelry of convincing artistic quality.

Paul Müller. Candlesticks as spatial drawings or signs in space. Form follows function with a touch of transcendence.

Review – Competitions and Exhibitions

Danner Prize 2023. About the winners of the arts and crafts competition and a remarkable exhibition in the Heiliggeistkirche in Landshut.

Exquisite craftsmanship and spirituality, the exhibition of 41 selected competition worksof the Danner Prize 2023 in the Heiliggeistkirche in Landshut. Photo: Eva Jünger.

The MK&G Fair 2023. The sales exhibition at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg brings together top-class German and international arts and crafts.

Noa Eshkol. First she developed new forms of dance and a system of notation. Why she later only knotted tapestries is shown in two exhibitions in Berlin.

Installation, Noa Eshkol, June 2023, Art Basel. © Courtesy The Noa Eshkol Foundation for Movement Notation, Holon, Israel / neugerriemschneider, Berlin. Photo: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano.

What is the value of our clothes? The exhibition Critical Consumption at the MAK Gallery in Vienna focuses on the wastefulness of our time.

The Winter issue has 92 pages including the cover and is available in leading galleries and stores for 12 euros (EU 14 euros). For mail orders, please send an email to

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