April 27, 2022
Bayot Heer has a kind demeanour, there is no better way to put it. His words are carefully chosen and, in his lulling Swiss accent, lovely to listen to. There is a meticulous nature to his movements, a quality you would expect from a jeweller. Heer’s presence is one that makes you understand how fitting his craft is to him, but precious metals and gemstones weren’t always in his repertoire.
“Well in Switzerland, I started out as a furniture maker, then I did an apprenticeship in interior drafting, then I came over here,” said Heer.
“I was hired as a draftsman for a millwork company, and then soon after I started my own furniture company which was a little bit of a challenge.”
Heer described that he struggled with woodworking, he couldn’t find a flow state. If you have read our other artist features, you know that flow state for any artist is an imperative ingredient to the creative process.
When he branched out in his woodworking to make it feel better for himself, he landed on an art form that involved inlaying metals into wood.
“I decided I would draw on the Baroque period, where they used metal to embellish furniture.
“So I thought I would take it a step further and use precious metals. Precious stones to make it a little more exclusive,” said Heer.
“But that's a very tough undertaking, so I needed to learn how to work in metals.”
So he did, but moved forward without the woodworking part and never looked back. Most notably, he liked the control he could maintain over the metals. Wood offers up more challenges, many of which need to be worked around rather than with (depending on how you look at it).
“I was just fascinated by gemstones,” recalled Heer.
“The wood is a natural product, you can't control the wood.
“So in this field I am in total control, and the only person I can blame is myself if something messes up. I'm fine with that.”
But just as a woodworker honours the origins of the wood they work with, Heer honours the precious metals and gemstones that he utilizes.
“Mostly it's honouring the material because I know how much damage our way of sourcing material has caused, and is causing if it's not done right.
“It can be very damaging, and I am fully aware of that.
“So in order to honour that, I try to make it, the piece, with a long life in quality as well as design.
“That brings me to the simplicity and it's probably the best expression I can find.”
His pieces echo that sentiment beautifully. Stunning, lasting, timeless, and simple, all at the same time. Each piece allows the gemstone to shine, framed by metals that he himself hand forages in an equally appreciative supporting roll.
“My philosophy, or what I try to express, is the simplicity of it all. Just honesty and simplicity. And I think in shape and in form, wearability.”
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