Johan Dahlbäck - Alumn




"Take advantage of your time"

What did you do directly after you graduated from HDK?

– I grew up in an artist home and knew that career would be tough, but it was also one of the reasons that made me invest in my own business. I think it is important to invest from the beginning; otherwise it's hard to feel professional. I was lucky and got a large public commission of 150 square meters just when I graduated.

What are you doing today?

– It is a very exciting time that lies ahead of me. My experience-based knowledge is at the greatest now; so right I invest in a new workshop.

 – I have also continued to work as a silversmith. A few years ago a congregation ordered a flagon of silver. It was a fun challenge – just over a kilo of silver to handle, which were to be intermingled with a lime from the Renaissance.

How did you end up there – how has your career path been like?

– After I graduated in 1988 I have mainly worked as a flute technicians with maintenance and repairs. At the same time, I am driven by the idea of developing the flute area and have tested various metals such as titanium. Some of my new solutions have fallen into production.

– In the beginning I also did jewellery and stone sculptures, but realized I did not have time with everything. Now I'm more frugal at the jewellery section, and do mainly jewellery to order.

During your study time, did you have some kind of strategy to influence your future career?

– Jag gick in med tanken att utveckla mig som flöjtmakare, men fångades av bredden som erbjöds och ville lära mig allt. Jag gick in helhjärtat i alla discipliner, vilket har gett mig en förståelse för konsthantverk i stort.

– I started at HDK with the idea to develop me as a flute maker, but was caught by the width offered at the school and wanted to learn everything, which has given me an understanding of the arts in general.

Did you get international experience during the study time/training that has been helpful in your career?

– I was part of a group that exhibited both nationally and internationally, which has led to a network of colleagues in Norway, Denmark and Holland. During my years at HDK I spent nine months in Gothenburg and three in Japan with one of the world's best flute maker. In Japan I learned different techniquesfor example how to filing metal, which I can use as a silversmith.

Your strongest memory from HDK?

– It's an unlikely thing. I was often among the first at the school and one morning it was hundreds of pairs of shoes lined up in a corridor. It turned out that one of the teachers had seen how the shoe store opposite Valand threw quantities of footwear, which was only used at one time. Our teacher dug them out, matched them and put them on a long line. It was clearly an odd sight!

What is the most important lesson from HDK-period? Any special tools/skills?

– During the first year we had to try all the different workshops, which has given me a. great advantage of understanding the different disciplines.

If you were to give one advice to a prospective HDK-student – what would it be?

– Take advantage of your time - you will never have the same time later in life.

Johan Dahlbäck

Job title: flute maker and silversmith

Born: 1958

Comes from: Göteborg, Sweden

Education at HDK: MFA in Crafts

Graduated: 1988

Other education: music, biology and pedagogics