Regine (b. 1939) and Frank Juhls (1931- 2020)
Juhls’ Silver Gallery is located in Kautokeino, in the very north of Norway. The story of Regine and Frank Juhls is a quite romantic story. In the 1950s Regine, who is originally from Germany, studied at a theater school in Wienna, Austria, when she started her journey to escape urban Europe, and find a place more favourable to her creativity. Up in the north of Norway she met Frank from Denmark, that was pursueing the same ‘non-urban project’. They have stayed so far. In 1959 they started a small workshop in the mountains. This was in the earliest years of the Studio Silver Movement in Norway. The workshop developed over the years into a gallery in a large building with interesting architecture, reflecting the shapes of the mountain tops.
The Juhls were fascinated by the nature on the tundra, and by the Sami people (Laplanders) who lived there. They started to repair silver jewelry for them and this developed into a renewal of the tradition of jewelry used with their folk costumes. Some of this jewelry, inspired from old grave treasures, have animal shape and are similar to modern studio jewelry with naivistic influence.
However, it is the exclusive modern jewelry of the Juhls’ workshop that has been internationally acknowledged. Regine’s modern collection, named ‘Tundra’, in her own words ‘inspired by the eternal Wasteland of the arctic’, has a tough elegance. It is the result of a life in isolation, far away from large cities, in fascination for the nomadic lifestyle, near to nature, stones, bones, lichen and moss, from which it has borrowed it’s shapes.
The collection is characterized by uneven surface texture, negative space, raw unpolished white silver surfaces, and sometimes brightly colored stones. The very earliest pieces and the prototypes are made of small pieces of silver hammered and then soldered together.
Some of the pieces from the ‘Thundra Series’ were exhibited at Expo 67, the Montreal World’s Fair in Canada, where Regine Juhls and Tone Vigeland were chosen to represent Norwegian art of jewelry making.