Evelyn Henschke – Artist – Jeweller
Evelyn Henschke – Artist Biography
Evelyn Henschke was born in Germany in 1971. A trained Gestalt Psychotherapist, Evelyn applied to the Academy for Glass and Jewellery in Kaufbeuren, Germany in 2002. Due to her outstanding artistic skills, exception was made by the Academy to offer Evelyn a place in the exclusive jeweller’s class where, at the age of 32 she was by far the oldest student. Evelyn enjoyed three fantastic years inspired by her internationally respected teachers and the exuberance of her young colleagues.
During this apprenticeship (2002 to 2005) Evelyn won several awards and took part in work experience with LINNEYS in Broome, this initiated a love of Broome and its’ people that ensured her return. With the prestigious jewellery retailer LINNEYS, Evelyn created a captivating combination of her handmade glass beads and lustrous pearls.
In 2006, Evelyn held a solo exhibition at PEARLERS ROW Gallery in Broome. Showcasing in Broome’s MONSOON GALLERY, MC ALPINE HOUSE and CABLE BEACH CLUB followed. Today, The FREMANTLE ARTS CENTRE and THE BAY GALLERY in Broome display her jewellery. In the South West, Evelyn’s work is represented by JahRoc Galleries in Margaret River. In April 2011 Evelyn was awarded 2nd prize at the Vasse Art Awards.
The history of ‘Bohemian’ glass
The following excerpt is from a speech made by Trish Pepper at the opening of my showroom in Broome in 2007, it tells of my journey since arriving in Australia.
I want to tell you a story. A story which involves courage, daring journeys, passion, tenacity, creativity, fine skill and integrity. It is a story of the glass bead from the Bohemian region of Europe. It is a story which goes back centuries to when a small group of German settlers discovered a fine place to make their glass products: the deep forests of “Bohemia” – Gablonz was found. It had the right minerals in the soil for glass making, oxides for making beautiful colours, forests and flowing water nearby for fuel and power to keep their furnaces hot.
Their industry flourished and the glassmakers became famous for their work. Their main problem was successfully transporting their bowls and cups and other large objects to market over the bumpy roads. Sadly, despite careful packaging in straw and wooden crates, many breakages caused the glass workers to re-think their product. Smaller was better in this case and the good people of Gablonz became the specialists in Europe for glass bead and button making. Their beads and buttons were keenly sought by the fashion houses of Paris, and the colours looked like precious gemstones, at a fraction of the cost. Fashion jewellery was popular and Bohemian glass beads headed the list. Gablonz flourished over the years and may have continued to do so but for the political turmoil it was forced to contend with. At the end of the Second World War, boundaries changed and Gablonz found itself in Czechoslovakia and the German residents were forced to depart as communist Russia took power.
Six hundred families bravely journeyed west and found a suitable place in Bavaria in Southern Germany. There they founded New Glabonz and with the same tenacity as their forefathers, set about their bead and button industry with renewed vigor. Still a cottage based industry with people working day and night at home and in community workrooms. During the 1950s a state academy was formed to preserve the precious skills of the silversmith, engraver, jeweller and glass bead lamp worker.
Evelyn was apprenticed to this academy, attending from 2003 to 2006 and soon discovered her passion was for glass bead making.
The next chapter of this story involves Australia and in particular Broome. Evelyn’s journey matches her forefathers. She has shown passion, incredible courage, tenacity, skill, creativity and integrity to journey to this point today. Travelling to Broome and setting up a workshop and gallery has been a labor of love for Evelyn. The showroom a testament to her absolute dedication to her craft. She is an artisan, a master. People of Broome: The passion and vitality that Evelyn breathes into her work reflects in each and every bead which forms around her stainless steel wire in the cool mornings and evenings as she sits at her bench behind her lamp. She fears not the fire. We are indeed blessed to have her here in Broome so we can enjoy and wear her jewellery.
The final chapter of her story was the introduction of pearls to her already gorgeous pieces. When a customer of Bill Reed of Linneys wanted something a little different and had previously seen amber and pearls set together, Bill suggested using Evelyn’s beads to create a unique piece of jewellery. It was a marriage made in heaven! How each complemented the other: The sheen of the glass and the lustre of the pearl. Alex Ogg and Penny Arrow at Autore’s Clipper Pearls personally chose pearls of “character” from their Quondong Point Farm at harvest this season. The pearls are divine and Evelyn uses them perfectly to highlight her beads. The beauty of each necklace is greater than the sum of its parts.
People come to her showroom and delight in her story, her demonstration and most leave with a custom made piece of Evelyn’s jewellery clutched tightly. Emails and cards arrive daily from happy customers saying how much they love their beads from Evelyn.
Trish Pepper Broome 2007
Many of the glasses I use to make my beads are still made according to centuries old formulas. There is glass that resembles amber, an other one looks like garnet, like ruby, emerald, one even has a mother of pearl sheen. But no matter how beautiful the colours are, more and more formulas disappear. They were always handed down from one generation of glass maker to the next. Today a lot of the glass production is wandering off to countries with cheaper production costs – quality and tradition disappear more and more.
I find myself very fortunate to still have contact with some glass workers in New Gablonz. They supply me with the precious glass only a few people have access to. It makes me very sad that once their cellars are empty these treasures are gone for ever…