official selection 2017 NZ International Film Festival
A LIFE WORK
KOBI BOSSHARD: GOLDSMITH
a film by Andrea Bosshard & Shane Loader
“A quiet, unhurried, loving film, gorgeously well shot, a beautiful example of style serving subject: Kobi’s bone-deep belief in patient craft infuses every frame… it’s a small story with the weight of a large one”
DAVID LARSEN, METRO MAGAZINE
“One of the year's loveliest films, a lyrical evocation of rich unhurried life”
BILL GOSDEN, DIRECTOR NZIFF
"A deeply emotional and immersive journey, [and] meditation on human creativity and love." (see full review)
MANDY HAGER, WRITER
IN A MODEST WORKSHOP IN A BEAUTIFUL Central Otago landscape, Swiss goldsmith Kobi Bosshard, approaching 80 and widely regarded as the grandfather of contemporary New Zealand jewellery, continues to produce works of classic simplicity and elegance. Daughter Andrea Bosshard’s lucid and loving film portrait of her father – and of her mother Patricia too – is one of the year’s loveliest films, a lyrical evocation of rich, unhurried life.
Kobi moved to New Zealand in the early 60s, with goldsmithing in his blood, and there’s no mistaking the work ethic or quiet single-mindedness underlying his subsequent life of creativity.
Super 8 home movies brim with flowers and sunny days and evince an idyllic view of a fresh landscape and a young family in the New World. Plentiful archival footage reminds us of the days when TV broadcasters covered the arts, while readings from family letters take us into the heart of the family. This may be a very personal history, but it’s perfectly pitched for an audience of strangers: the filmmaker inscribes her own presence in the inspiring story of her parents’ lives with unusual grace.
An abundance of jewellery is alluringly displayed for the camera. The beauty of a lifetime’s work is proclaimed by a succession of true experts: women and a few men for whom Kobi has fashioned rings, broches or necklaces, who speak eloquently about the pieces they have worn and treasured. It seems unlikely that Bosshard set out to recruit new customers for her father, but be warned, you may leave this gentle tribute to the simple life with a hankering to shop. (NZIFF release)
"Our film, we hope, articulates the notion that one's life is the context of one's work; that where we come from, how we live, what we eat, what we read - the combination of the fixed and voluntary elements of our lives - form the backdrop or canvas to all work."
"The maker cannot declare his or her work to be art. It is the viewer, the listener, the reader who will know whether the maker has, through the work, been able to share some of their world. When art is present, we are moved and our world expands."
as the daughter...
AS A CHILD, my favourite occupation in Kobi's workshop was to look at his collection of gemstones which he kept in small white packages in an old silver chocolate tin (more of that tin in the film) - rubies, emeralds, sapphires, garnets, beryls and my own favorite leaf green peridot - even the names enchanted me. If ever there is a metaphor for a person's life, and in this case, Kobi's, it is in the many cut facets on a gemstone, each facet contributing to the colour, the luminosity and sparkle of the whole. Or it could be in one of his elliptical bangles, the 'bread and butter bangle', as it transforms seamlessly from a flat to a vertical surface and back again with no defined beginning, middle or end. Such is life, and such is the multi-facted portrait that Shane and I are working on.
The documentary gives insight into goldsmith Kobi Bosshard's heritage, his thoughts, his preoccupations; the influence of people, places and events that enabled him to produce such a phenomenal body of work over fifty years. It is not intended as a primer on goldsmithing technique, nor is it an analysis of his jewellery. Rather , it is a portrait which we hope articulates the notion that one's life is the context of one's work; that where we come from, how we live, what we eat, what we read - the combination of the fixed and voluntary elements of our lives - form the backdrop or the canvas to all work.
In the Southern Alps, 1962, the new Swiss immigrant with his girlfirend, Patricia Browne. Two years later they became my parents.
Characteristically modest, Kobi has no pretensions about being an artist and has none of the attendant squeamishness that so many jewellers and craftspeople have about calling their work 'craft'. As the renown American designer, Charles Eames said, "Calling yourself an artist? That's up to others to decide, not you. It's like calling yourself a genius."
Kobi is now seventy eight year old. He is a man who has made a living from his work; who for all his working life, has practiced his craft free of the influence from fellow jewellers, both within New Zealand and abroad. A commitment to dedicating his life to his trade, a faith in the ability of his hands, a respect for the daily practice of the craft and to those who eventually wear his jewellery, have combined to create an enormous and diverse body of work, treasured by those who wear it, and honoured by institutions such as Te Papa, the Dowse Art Museum and the Auckland Museum for its hugely significant role in the shaping of New Zealand contemporary jewellery.
My intention with the film was always to acknowledge my own role within the narrative as both filmmaker and daughter, in order to make an intimate, evocative and poetic portrait of Kobi, and in his own words, "for it to be authentic and convincing enough..." for the audience to fully share and celebrate his world.