"Peter Schmitz is a metal designer who is working successfully in various fields. His works include furnishings, jewellery, furniture and articles for the everyday use as well as free projects. On his continuous tightrope walk between experiment and well calculated aesthetics Schmitz finds new surprising sometimes provocating solutions in design and material. The jury selects his bowls and baskets from his complex work. Schmitz succeeds in creating metal works of transparence and ease never seen before".
So far the jury protocol which concludes with the fact that the "Niedersächsische Staatspreis für das gestaltende Handwerk 1991 " (National Prize of Lower Saxony for Arts and Crafts 1991) is awarded to Peter Schmitz.
Born In 1959, Peter Schmitz is one of the youngest artisans who has been awarded with such a high-ranking prize. It is not least here the time to put his work in the right context that is to mention the people who discovered and supported the creative talent of Peter Schmitz.. During his studies at the Fachhochschule Hildesheim Holzminden in the department product design/metal design these people were Prof. Werner Bünck, Prof. Arndt Heuer and Jan Prütz the, according to Peter Schmitz, "most genius smith of our time". In terms of figures the smith has become an exotic among the craftsmen with only a potential option to more important once modern design will influence education and thus dally work more than now.
It was our time that had it that young talents in this profession were influenced by two very different aspects.
The smith. craftsman and professional but without a great chance to develop the necessary design potential. The metal designer influenced by his design studies acquiring craftsmen skills along his education. Peter Schmitz belongs to the "second kind" to the creative, intellectual, universally working kind for whom the command of a skill is only secondary in the beginning. Learning by doing is the key to a skill! New ideas are the result of carefree testing.
His double-walled bowls and basket made of welding wire are the result of this experimental work. The artistic basis of Peter Schmitz is very broad. Apart from metal design painting is very important to him. Conceptional work, planning and interior design have already become a major part of his work due to actual orders. Here in these complex structures we will find his future alms more often..
The fact that iron is of special importance to Peter Schmitz, that it is more to him that just a raw material is manifested in his previous works.
Iron means genesis. Meteoric iron the major part of the core of the earth consists of iron. Cosmology. myths. fairy tales wonderful cultural and technical achievements and no end of sorrow are linked to the short chemical formula "Fe".
Iron can be flexible and brittle. Soft and hard and shows a wide range of colours in its different states of oxidation. Iron is so rich in contrast and such a lively material that its esthetics just has to fascinate a designer.
Peter Schmitz is one of those persons who cannot leave a "thing" untouched if it only has the slightest meaning, has been formed by somebody or maybe has a "soul". Thus, he Is accumulating "things", at random it seems, if they only might serve for designing something. He is collecting tin toys, knifes, coins, writing utensils, trumperies, folk art, souvenirs, devotional articles and design in a cheerful jumble...
That every little thing has a soul is something he is sure of and that every thing needs a special place... even in his own living room.
On the cupboards there is a collection of African sculptures, masks, stele, guarding everything. His alliterative national service ten years ago in the Afrika-Manyatte-Museum in Hildesheim still seems to have an effect...
The commitment of Peter Schmitz beyond his own work is concentrated on his gallery "Pande". The gallery is meant to present subjects between art and design, especially the experiment", in a show-case to the people of Hildesheim.
In this conglomerate of activities, daily work, painting, gallery, exhibitions, contacts, travelling and burocracy a seeming chaotic force is driving him where everybody else would give up. Not Peter Schmitz. Thinking positively is his strong point Order is chaos and chaos is order, Peter Schmitz the philosopher, artisan, designer, doer...
With his very special temperament and a detached view towards himself and others Peter Schmitz will reach his aim. He has been honoured and awarded for his existing work but I still think that this Is only the beginning. The motto of his teacher Jan Prütz "one rivet Is not a rivet" will push him ahead.
Text: Handwerksform Hannover "Die Niedersächsischen Staats und Förderpreise für das gestaltende Handwerk 1991"