Margaret Munchheimer (Lakeport, California, USA)
Margaret is an art jeweller who originally trained as a Goldsmiths in Italy. This labor-intensive, trying, and highly physical experience guides her critical thinking about craft as a tacit “body knowledge” that resides within the brain and muscles. This discourse takes on a new perspective in a digital era, where hand-based technologies are often rendered obsolete, and where jewelry can seem like a very old-school practice where touch, pressure, and unmediated tactility play a huge role. Margaret’s final project at Challenging Jewellery, entitled Alphabet of Touch, is an inquiry into how physicality is translated (or not) in a digital age of design. Her material research journey has led her to working with iron that she manipulates into outlines of hands, which, when put against a white backdrop, resemble line-drawing made in 3D digital image rendering software. Ironically, their shadow on the wall is then a 2D version of a 3D object. Considering Plato’s allegory of the cave, Margaret imagines how we can explore the messy space between vision, perception, materiality, and virtuality. Since the onset of the pandemic introduced isolation and the prohibition of travel, she has additionally been working on a podcast series exploring the social act of audio sharing, which still aims to connect around certain talking points, even if not in a one-on-one conversation. Margaret has applied this methodology to a documentation service to the Challenging Jewellery cohort, producing an oral history archive for a unique program and social experience executed under the most unusual of circumstances.