Wubbers University Instructor Spotlight: Uschi Dittmann

Uschi Dittmann

We hope you enjoy our delightful interview with the multi-talented Uschi Dittman, our first international teacher from Germany.  We have students from all over the world enrolling in our classes, and that tremendously pleases us.  Uschi shares her thoughts about making jewelry in Germany, and German designs.
One of the best jewelry school in the world is in Pforzheim, Germany, and Uschi recently had a chance to study in Pforzheim.  Her Chrysanthemum Keyhole Clasp is available as a downloadable PDF in German for those of you who wish to see and share with German-speaking friends.  –Lexi Erickson
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How long have you been making jewelry? What inspired you to start making jewelry?
It was end of January 2006, when I started jewelry making. Just as a little child I already wanted to make jewelry as a Goldsmith, because I loved stringing beads and decorated my dolls and myself. Because of having bad eyes (strong astigmatism and several other bad eye-values) I was told better to do an office-job, so I became a merchant in wholesale and exports. Today I know, that being creative is the thing I love more, but my job-experience helps me a lot.

Tell us about your jewelry heroes, who do you admire and why do they inspire you?
I do not have any real heroes, but I love the jewelry of Sydney Lynch, Petra Class, Lexi Erickson and Sieglinde Kugler. Their jewelry is unique, outstanding and not comparable with German jewelry. I do not like German jewelry as it is a bit boring, looking one like the other. Sure, there may be some really good jewelry makers with creative ideas, but till now I did not find them. When I visit a German website I see all the well-known companies but very seldom you can have a look of special made unique jewelry pieces in the website’s galleries.

Do you have a favorite artistic quote you can share with us?
I may not have a specific quote, but I like Jugendstil (a German Style originating in the mid 1890’s continuing through 1910) and Art Deco. I like pictures and works from Erté and Alphonse Mucha and I love Millefiori, the old Italian glass art from Venice. And sometimes I find inspiration there.

If you weren’t a jeweler, what would you be doing?
I would be a photographer today, which already is my second hobby besides jewelry making.

Do you listen to music in the studio, and if so, what kind?
Oh yes, I must listen to music. All time my radio is playing and making noise. I have not any special music to listen during work, it is only the sound I need. On Saturday afternoons we have a sports time with soccer reports. When all the boys are running fast and the reporters are talking faster, I can work really well.

What was your first piece?
My first two pieces were a pair of flower earrings and a matching pendant.

Do you have a favorite tool or tools?
I like my tube-cutting jig, because otherwise I cannot saw really even tube and wire pieces.

Can you share your favorite jewelry-making tip with us?
I like to work “green” without acids and poisoned material. My pickle is of alaun-powder and warm water. I keep it warm on a teawarmer heated by a tea candle.

Do you have one piece which is your favorite? Why is it your favorite? Do you have a photo to share with us?
My favorite pieces differ. Often the just finished one is the favorite. So in the moment I highly love my ring with a pink prassiolith and two peridots which I made in Pforzheim (the leading jewelry school in Germany) with a little help of my master goldsmith there. It is my design and I love the color combination.

What’s your favorite color palette?
Oh, my favorite colors are violet or lilac (like amethysts), pink, rosé, blue, nearly all bluish cool colors, as I am a mix of summer/winter type, so I need cool colors.

What do you do for relaxation? Is it something which inspires you?
Jewelry making is my relaxation, furthermore reading, travelling. Everywhere I can be inspired, by a picture, structure, nature, architecture. Sometimes I have strange ideas during my yoga-lessons. That’s really funny, breathing through a movement (in Hatha-Yoga) it makes Pling and I have an idea or know how to manage a jewelry piece. That’s so funny and strange.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received from your mentor?
Do not be afraid of fire and heat for soldering and stand for your ideas. Everything is possible, do not be shy.

Is that the same advice you would pass on to your student?
Yes, I would, in case I would have students.

What give you the greatest joy in making jewelry?
To do something with my hands, to alter a flat metal sheet and simple wire to another nice form.

Throughout history, jewelry has been assigned a status, for example, it shows wealth, political power, employment, marriage status, spirituality power, etc. Do you feel your jewelry has any type of symbolism?

I don’t think so, but I hope people who buy and wear my pieces feel being nicely decorated with a unique piece.

What’s in the future for you? Would you mind sharing a few of your goals?
I hope, I shall have lots of ideas, find a lot of inspiration everywhere and that I will be able to realize a lot of them. This is also depending a bit on my purse’s capacity.  🙂  And then I hope people here do more respect the hand made things and accept their value. And you know, I already share my goals in form of clasp tutorials with your university, which I love so much to do. For this case first of all I love to find a mechanism to work on and find out how I can build a nicely looking claps with it, and then to find explaining words for it. This is something like brain-jogging, writing a tutorial first in English and then translate – yes really translate – it to my mother language German. That is a lot of fun.

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Posted in Interviews
2 comments on “Wubbers University Instructor Spotlight: Uschi Dittmann
  1. Hallo Uschi,
    ich habe mit grosser Freude Dein Interview hier gelesen.
    Ich bin deutschstaemmige Amerikanerin und freue mich auf viele Interviews mit Dir und vielleicht koennen wir unsere Erfahrungen mit dem Silberschmieden auch mal gegenseitig austauschen.
    Ich lebe und arbeite in Santa Fe, New Mexico, ganz im Sueden der USA.
    ganz liebe Gruesse nach Pfortzheim aus Santa Fe
    Heike Strobel

  2. Rachel Ison says:

    What a wonderful artist, So fresh and comfortable with her ideas.

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