Artist Gésine Hackenberg transforms ceramic plates, bowls, and dishes into exquisite pieces of jewelry. Using dinnerware as her raw material, she extracts small discs from them and strings them together like beads or inlays them among metal for earrings and rings. Hackenberg tends to focus on the decorative part of a plate or bowl, such as popular Delft patterns, which results in colorful and unassuming pieces of wearable art. If you didn’t know the story behind this ceramic jewelry, you’d never realize they were once used for enjoying a tasty meal.
Hackenberg’s work is a reframing of ordinary objects into the perspective of jewelry. “Coming from a goldsmithing background,” she says, “I think I got… kind of bored working within the classic parameters of ‘jewelry.’ ” This is when she began experimenting with materials, in both a conceptual and physical sense. By changing the context of where we see the earthenware, Hackenberg is giving it a new and unexpected existence. In cutting up the dishes, she is putting a twist on what’s possible for beading.
Hackenberg’s plates and bowls come from secondhand shops. After she’s selected the pieces she’ll use for her jewelry, she uses a manual drilling machine to form the beads, or as she calls them, “pearls.” Once the extraction is done, the small elements are then arranged into wearable pieces. They are never fully divorced from the source, however. When not being worn, the art jewelry is meant to be near the dishes with holes punched in them.