Rudolf Heltzel first came to Ireland in 1966 at the invitation of Coras Trachtala to establish a gold and silver studio at the government sponsored Kilkenny Design Workshops. If you believe that when a country loses its craft it loses its soul and when it loses its creativity it loses its future – Rudolf was an important import, a catalyst at a time when Ireland still struggled to elevate our international competitiveness after the stagnant years of trade protection.
His is an evolving narrative of timeless elegance and beauty. It is informed by a technical virtuosity and an expertise in those crafts of ages, ancient skills, that have been passed across decades, even centuries, from master to apprentice, even master to master.
”…an artist in our midst who, not for the first time, shows us how to use design to infuse our culture with a sense of beauty and our economy with a sense of hope.”
In 1968, he set up his own atelier where he, his son Christopher, their staff and apprentices still work today. Down all the decades since, many designer names have made headlines, wrapped in transitory celebrity or momentary sensation. In those 50 years or so, Rudolf Heltzel’s star has continues to shine unabated – illuminated not by the size of his PR budget, illuminated only by the enormity of his talent.
Mention him to his peers and invariably they speak of a gentle, modest man, a gifted designer blessed with an ability to find the voices of his materials and make them sing.
This ability is self evident in his Tourmaline Butterfly and Fire Opal collections. One of a kind couture jewellery, the designs of the pendants are dictated by the aesthetics of the unique stones used. Their realisation is honed through an equally unique personal skill, a craftsmanship that is the very essence of luxury.
The cut of the stones makes the pieces look alive !.
They are further appreciated when we see a woman wearing a Rudolf Heltzel piece insofar as we look at them both at once and as one ….that is the magic of this master designer, this master goldsmith.
As we refocus our understanding of luxury… as we come to know the difference between considered and conspicuous consumption … as connoisseurship is properly informed by innovation, imagination, quality and craftsmanship we are lucky to have such an artist in our midst who, not for the first time, shows us how to use design to infuse our culture with a sense of beauty and our economy with a sense of hope.