Timo Krapf

1st Place - 2019 Emerging Jewelry Artist 22 Years of Age or Younger


Based in Rochester, NY, jewelry designer and maker Timo Krapf uses a combination of a metal forming technique called anticlastic raising and traditional goldsmithing skills to produce exceedingly light, hollow forms which look simple, but are technically very challenging. He draws inspiration from form to create pieces with elegant, flowing lines and organic movement. Timo is currently a senior in the Metals and Jewelry Design BFA program at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Artist Interview:

What/who was your inspiration?
This piece came from my exploration of anticlastic knots. It is a companion piece to a ring that was a tighter knot.

What obstacles did you have to overcome?
Setting was a challenge. I had to create two supports underneath the stone to hold it and to give it structure.
Forming the piece itself was also a challenge. Polishing wasn’t too bad since it was so open. I had done very
little stone setting prior to this piece and that was a challenge.

Will this piece inspire other pieces?
Yes. It has already definitely inspired pieces directly and indirectly that I have made, and it is inspiring some pieces that I am working on now.
I am currently finishing my thesis at RIT, and these pieces will be in that presentation.

Who did you tell first about winning?
I told my mom because she was in the room when I read the email. She was the person who encouraged me to enter the competition.

Have you won other awards? If so, what?
Cultured Pearl Association of America (CPAA) Design Contest.

Name a fun fact about yourself.
In the summer I am a canoe trip guide. This year I guided a 17-day white water canoe trip with 14-year-olds.

Describe yourself?
Hard worker. Easy going. Go with the flow. I enjoy sports. Being active outdoors has inspired my work.

Of all the arts and crafts, why did you choose jewelry?
My mother is a jewelry designer, Barbara Heinrich. I grew up in the jewelry world.

What was the first thing you ever made?
A ring. A cousin from Germany came over to do an apprenticeship in jewelry, and she helped me make a silver band. I was very young at the time.

Who do you think has been the strongest influence or inspiration on your work?
My mother and Michael Good. I did two summer apprenticeships with Michael in 2016 and 2017.

Do you have any advice for those starting out in the jewelry world?
I am just starting out myself, but I would say that it is really important to develop and perfect your metalsmithing techniques and skills. All those skills are important in this profession. With strong skills, your pieces will look more professional and well done.

What one thing or experience sparked your interest to make jewelry?
I grew up with it. When I was younger, I never knew I would grow up and make jewelry. The end of my junior year in high school I began to think about colleges. Around that time I ordered 400 meters of steel wire and made a chain maille shirt. I found I really enjoyed working with my hands and metals. I knew about the industry and had connections in the field so it was a good place to start.

What makes you passionate about metalsmithing/design?
I really like working with my hands and interacting with the tools and the metal. Most of the actual work and designing comes from working directly in the metal.

What was your training/academic background in metalsmithing?
I had three years at George Brown College in Toronto. It was a certificate program, and then I had two more years at RIT to finalize my BFA in Metals and Jewelry Design.

What is your favorite tool?
My hammers and stakes.

Is the product or the process more important to you? Why?
At this stage definitely the process. For me it is learning about the metal as much as I can. Often times when I am working on a piece I might scrap it because it is not turning out the way I want, but the process is more important, and I have learned something from just making it.

What metals, gemstones, processes are most important to you?
Anticlastic raising. Gold is the most fun to work with; it moves so well, it is a dream to work in. Silver has good color but it tarnishes after a while. I love gold.

Interview by Marlene Richey