Julia Funk creates jewellery that intersects with the realm of fashion – or, rather, the dressmaker’s art – and is great fun to wear. Her pieces all have a story to tell and challenge our perceptual habits, placing the conventional in new contexts and drawing our attention to what’s usually hidden from our sight. Her jewellery takes fashion seriously, yet at the same time is seasoned with a dash of humour – especially the details that turn out to be elements that are an integral part of lingerie items. In Julia Funk’s creations, however, they go beyond being merely functional, playing a decorative role as well. Garter or suspender clips and sliding adjusters – anybody who recognises these lovingly selected elements cast in silver surely can’t help but smile. “I pay meticulous attention to detail and superb handcraftsmanship, and attach major importance to high-quality materials and manufacture. I’m serious about the aspect of gaiety, so to speak. I want my pieces to have a feel-good quality about them for a long time,” explains the designer.
In addition to featuring these surprising, evocative details, Julia Funk’s handcrafted pieces also testify to her consummate skill in the dressmaker’s art. Some of her pieces plainly pay tribute to fashion, while the focus in others is on elements of bygone eras that are no longer a necessity, and have been reinterpreted by the designer as decorative embellishments. “Since the invention of elastic cuffs, socks stay up no matter whether the wearer has slim or muscular calves. They don’t require garters any more. But there are people who like them nevertheless, and for them I design analogous jewellery – pieces that have a story to tell and are a source of gaiety thanks to the unexpected about them.”
“When I was a child, I wrote in my friends’ autograph books, ‘career aspiration: writer of children’s books.’ So far, I haven’t published a children’s book, but the kind of work I do now feels exactly like I imagined back then writing books for children would be like. I invent something, I come up with something,” says Julia Funk. After training as a goldsmith at the State Vocational College for Glass and Jewellery Design in Kaufbeuren-Neugablonz, she studied Design at the University of Applied Sciences in Düsseldorf. In 2010, she won the Inhorgenta Europe Innovation Award. Conceptual work and the artisanal process go hand in hand, while her keen eye for the exceptional, for the surreal in reality, fires her imagination. A change in perspectives and her penchant for telling stories has brought the designer back to children – whom she doesn’t entertain with books (yet) but encourages to be creative. Julia Funk teaches classes for little artists, where children learn not only how to craft something but also to experience their own stories while experimenting and playfully exploring materials and ideas.
GRASSI Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Leipzig (DE)