“Less is more” for ethical jeweller Ute Decker
By Tom Wildhern
Mobius arm sculpture
LONDON, July 11, 2010 – Ethical jeweller Ute Decker takes a minimalist approach to jewellery design in the belief that “less is more”.
And yet Ute, who is best known for her work in silver, does sculpture statement pieces.
“This is definitely jewellery you notice,” she told Jewellery Outlook in a recent interview after exhibiting her silver pieces at London Jewellery Week.“There are no small delicate pieces. But there is a minimalism in the language of shapes.”
Ute enjoys working with silver because of its malleability.
“Silver lends itself very beautifully to being shaped, and I like the subdued colour of it – it suits my aesthetic very well,” she said.
Ute is influenced by the Japanese aesthetic of Wabi-sabi, which is centred on the acceptance of transience. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.”
Ute began making jewellery because she could not find what she wanted to wear.
Faux sponge-coral necklace
“I have been making jewellery now for about 10 years – pieces that I liked to wear; then it extended to friends, and then some private clients.”
Ute’s work is on show at five galleries in the UK and Germany this summer.
“My aesthetic is very much ‘less is more’ – minimalist,” said Ute, who is originally from Germany and is now based in London.
Born into a family of artisan wine makers going back to the 16th century, Ute grew up in the Rhine Valley with a deep respect and passion for nature and craftsmanship.
Ute believes passionately in producing ethical jewellery and is raising her profile among the UK’s ethical jewellery community.
She will give a talk on ethical jewellery at the International Jewellery London (IJL) trade show in September.
Urban pathways necklace
“I have always been a very environmentally minded person,” Ute said.
“I could not make a beautiful piece of jewellery out of a material that has involved child labour, appalling working conditions, or that helped to fund a civil war in Africa.”
Ute sees a connection between ethics and beauty.
“No matter how beautiful a piece could be on the outside, if it is tainted with that (unethical practices), it can’t be beautiful,” she said.