Beate Klockmann: Our days are not really divided into studio time and relaxing time. The studio is the center of our house. So, everybody is doing things there, such as listening to music or reading books. We discuss things there as we paint, often with our daughter. Philip also has apprentices, and he makes music there, too. The studio is also the place where the birds are living. So, there is a lot of interaction. If all goes well, it creates a good atmosphere for making jewelry along with other things.
Philip Sajet: Our hours differ. I am a daytime worker, and Beate likes the nights. In a way, we work shifts. We do interact, of course, but usually it is small talk. We do ask each other for advice, but more often than not, it is not followed. But, a major thing we give each other is courage. When one of us wants to make a piece, we spend a lot of materials and time in making it very particular, which turns out to be very expensive as well. So, there is an inclination not to do it, but we say to each other, “you really must make that piece.” That is very nice.
Give us a description of how your workday goes.
Beate Klockmann: Because I am a teacher at the Zeichen Akademie in Hanau, I have only one to two days a week to work in the studio on my own work. I like to work together with Philip, and sometimes with an apprentice, but the daytime can be very chaotic because of our daughter Jura. That’s why I like to work during the nighttime so much. I have the illusion that I have endless time to work, and I can be alone with my work for a while.
Philip Sajet: I have the luxury of getting a late start. I wake up at 8:30am, have coffee in bed, then shower and do administrative chores. At around 12:00, I might finally start working. Then, two hours later, I make lunch. Right now, the daily meal is brown rice in the Japanese rice cooker, peeled aubergine, tomatoes, sesame paste, seaweed, eggs, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pepper, thyme, garlic in the peel (en chemise, as it is called in French), and at the end, I add oil olive and sea salt. It’s so easy. Just throw these ingredients in, close the lid, and half-an-hour later, it’s done. I try to get a full six hours of work. My best hours are my last one-and-one-half. If I get that a minimum of five days a week, I can reach my aim of an average of one piece a week.
Philip Sajet, Portuguese_split, 2013, ring, replica of the diamond “Portuguese,” rock crystal, gold, silver, enamel, 37 x 33.5 x 12 mm, photo: Beate Klockmann
What questions do you ask yourself when preparing to make a piece?
Beate Klockmann: I look at my messy table and ask, or better, I try to feel which piece motivates me to work on it, and then I simply start to work on it. In general, I am just happy if I am working, so I try not to think about it too much before I start.
Philip Sajet: Is it technically feasible? Is it pretty or ugly? (Not that one or the other might decide an outcome.) How high are the investment costs? Will it fall well on the body? Does it have a meaning? Is there a necessity?
You both seem interested in unusual materials and stones. How do you decide, for example, to use the sole of a shoe in a necklace?
Beate Klockmann: Once in a while, I like to take bigger risks in my experiments, also in choosing materials—such as glass, textile, enamel, paper—but after a while, I always go back to working with gold.
Philip Sajet: In my case, in my mind’s eye, I put everything I see in a circle. So, the inside curves of the soles placed that way make an almost perfect, big new circle. Then, the next thought is, “Oh this is really too awkward, and nobody will ever wear that!” There is also a reference to the Paul Simon song (I recently discovered that we have the same initials) Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes. Well, diamonds would have been a lot of investment, so I went with rubies, and it was a more affordable one. Also, the color went well, the red with brown.
Do you think you influence each other, and if so, how?
Beate Klockmann: Sure, we influence each other. The good thing is that I always have a highly critical public in the house. So, I feel well trained in handling the different reactions when I exhibit my work. On the other hand, Philip gives me special compliments if I have a bad day. In general, we both try to support the other in whatever strange thing we are doing. If we didn’t, then everything would become boring.
Philip Sajet: Yes, definitely. We maintain a high level of quality, and we judge how major a piece is and whether it is boring or not. We aren’t shy about saying what we think to one another.
What have you seen, read, or heard lately that has excited you?
Beate Klockmann: I read a little book called Montauk by Max Frisch. I liked it because it was full of wisdom and very nicely written. But really, to be honest, the highlights I get at the moment are the intelligent expressions of our daughter. At six-years-old, her drawings, conversations, and so many essential things are on the table, and with such a surprising clearness, that I enjoy it a lot.
Philip Sajet: Lion Feuchtwanger’s The Oppermann’s is deeply disturbing and dramatically describes the destruction of a family in an intolerant totalitarian regime. But there are so many magnificent books. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis is also a magnanimously written novel about a very ugly person.
The music I listen to a lot lately is from Nils Frahm, and always Bach, of course.
I know it’s very fashionable, but I love (almost) all the movies from the Coen brothers.
My absolute favorite is No Country for Old Men, and my absolute favorite scene is where Anton Chigurh (Xavier Bardem) confronts the gas station man by flipping “his” traveling quarter.
Beate Klockmann, Squashed 1, 2013, necklace, 400 x 150 x 2 mm, photo: artist
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