December 6, 2016
Nelson Giesecke, owner of Object Design Studio, is a Denver native with a worldly perspective. His studies, travels and genetics gave way to an intense interest in metallurgy and artifact restoration. Here, he discusses some of his favorite custom pieces, and the importance of symbolism and history in his intricate work.
Motion and function play a big role in many of your creations. Why?
In the field of sculpture, a piece of art that moves appears to be alive. This is true for jewelry as well. We all grow up believing in magic rings, bracelets that give us special powers or science fiction inventions that can transport us to another world. I want my jewelry to carry that kind of magic, so one of the ways that I achieve this is by adding motion to some of my pieces. Good art should always tell a story and the motion in my work helps guide the viewer through that story.
Many of your customers want a one-of-a-kind piece chock full of symbolism that is very personal to them. Tell us about one of your favorite custom creations.
A new watch I recently completed is probably my current favorite project. The customer was looking for a completely handmade watch that spoke to the area of Florida where he lives and defined an intricate landscape by the sea. Maybe it is a favorite because it was so complicated to build. More likely it was because it helped me realize a long-term goal in my art. Since I was a kid, I wanted to make art that would somehow describe the day: how does the sun fall, what direction is the wind blowing, how do the clouds change? This particular watch did all of these things because the mechanism is able tell time as well as drive a disc of clouds across the sky. The seascape on the dial is based on a photograph provided by the buyer. In metal, it shows a specific coastline in Florida, including the sky and the waves rolling in with the tide and cross currents. On the back of the watch is another seascape with an egret that flies across the sky and dives into the water.
You also have a unique offering for engaged couples wanting to be very “hands on” in the process of creating their wedding bands…
Some couples really want the experience of making their own wedding bands so I have been conducting workshops for the past five years where they hire me to guide them through the process. It takes one day. You pay for the materials and the studio time. It is a great way to learn how to work with precious metal and to create something that is personal and unique to you and your partner.
As a skilled metallurgist, you recently stumbled upon an entirely new line of work with antiquities restoration. What kinds of things are people asking you to repair?
Antiquities restoration has been a unique part of the services offered by Object Design Studio. Not many people have the technical background to rebuild Greco-Roman artifacts. This is something I have been doing for numerous years. I’ve rebuilt helmets, urns and various pieces of jewelry to the highest museum quality. There are only a few people in the United States and in Europe that have the capacity to do this kind of work.
In addition to this, I do complete restoration on all sorts of antique silverware and hollowware. My interest in the history and metallurgy has a lot to do with what drives my curiosity.
How has your location in Cherry Creek North influenced your business?
Cherry Creek North has always been a magical place for me. When I was a kid I used to come here to visit all of the eclectic shops and galleries. As this area changes and grows, I think it will continue to find its own distinct culture. Cherry Creek North pushes me to be more creative in the things I want to make.