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This past summer in Vienna, my children and I went to the Leopold Museum to see the early twentieth century art from this great cultural capital. In the gift store, I was struck by the delicate plastic flowers suspended from thin plastic wires, to be used as gift adornments or jewelry---I couldn't decide which.


Then at the magnificently restored Albertina-perhaps one of the most beautiful museums in Europe, I saw some rings in the gift store that were silver bands with wire wrapped tiny pearls and crystals. I simply had to ask who the artist of these rings was. I was given the name "Stossimhimmel" and an address, 3/1 Stossimhimmel in the center of town. It was a very hot Saturday afternoon, so I got out my map and took a chance. In an old building, a young woman answered the door. We introduced

ourselves, and she turned out to be Heike Wanner, one of the seven artists who comprise the atelier "Stossimhimmel". Not surprisingly, the creator of the plastic flower jewelry, Eva Tesarik as well as Claire Caró, the creator of the wire wrapped rings were among the group of young jewelers who make up this daring and hip studio. Formed in 1995, the atelier is an entire artistic process of design, production, presentation and above all inspiration. The jewelers collaborate with video artists and dancers, and present national and international forums for artist communication through lectures, discussions and exhibitions. They have exhibited in Tokyo, San Francisco, Baltimore, Zurich and Düsseldorf, among other cities.

On the day of my visit, a shrine to "My Little Pony", the soon to be re-released favorite toy of children from the eighties (my own daughter included), was set up in a display case. My Little Pony, a splendid version in gold and white, was given every bit of adoration and respect as a Virgin statue in a church. "Did you love My Little Pony?" I asked Heike, needlessly. I immediately embraced the atelier and the ethos of this merry band. Max Grün, the cooler than cool "Ring King" was sitting at a computer in a corner of the atelier. "I think the Albertina needs my Hourglasses," said Heike, referring to her hour glass "wrist watch", which was displayed in the main room. I quite agreed.

"Once upon a time there was an enchanted piece of jewelry and a prayer…" So goes the first sentence in Stossimhimmel's description of themselves. Why not?

Editor's note: we have just learned that the Albertina Museum gift store, in an effort to promote "internationalism" will not be working with the Viennese group Stossimhimmel for the time being. This is truly a pity, as the work of Stossimhimmel was clearly among the best the gift store had to offer.

Stossimhimmel is:
Caroline Ertl
Max Grün
Susanne Matsché
Eva Tesarik
Heike Wanner (HYKE)
Birgit Wie.
Lucia Ganzer
And guest member Claire Caró

Stoss im Himmel 3, A-1010 Vienna
Telephone: +43-1-535-69-82





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