You could be forgiven for believing that Tom Rucker, a maker whose white, immaculate workspace more closely resembles the cockpit of a spaceship than a jeweller’s workshop, who in some circles is known as Mr Laser and whose work bears titles such as ‘Geo Galactica’ was a visitor from another planet.
Writing in the 2009/2010 issue of the Goldsmiths Review, journalist Sally Dodson described Munich-born master goldsmith Tom Rucker as having, ‘crash-landed on the London jewellery scene like an alien spaceship bringing new forms and a strange technology.”
Tom describes his own making process as sitting in a small, dark room which has to be, for health and safety reasons, entirely isolated from the outside, staring through a microscope and firing repeated laser shots into a micro-cosmos of geodesic structures. In fact, Tom has a passionate and very human approach to his work. “Despite my interest in and use of state of the art laser welding technology,
I am very much an old school designer and maker and a strong believer in handmade jewellery.” Inspired by the light but incredibly strong structures found in architecture and aeronautics, the many joints in Tom’s highly intricate pieces are so fine that each piece has to be constructed under a microscope.
Widely acknowledged to be the leading authority on creative laser welding applications, Tom introduced the laser spot welding of platinum to the UK in 1997, working closely with laser welding suppliers to adapt the technology for the UK jewellery industry. Most of his pieces have more than 10,000 single laser spots, with some containing up to two million single laser spots.
“Despite my interest in and use of state of the art laser welding technology, I am very much an old school designer and maker and a strong believer in handmade jewellery.”
The highly polished structure reflects light from any source at hundreds of different angles, comparable with the brilliant reflection of a diamond and creates a fantastic three-dimensional light effect.
Platinum is central to Tom’s work and recently his experimentation with producing colour in platinum has paid off. The details of these experiments are, needless to say, top secret but what he can divulge is that he is now able to ‘influence’ the colour of this famously white metal.
“This is a huge and very exciting step for me,” says Tom, describing the unique effect of these colour experiments, “It isn’t a coating. It’s still a metallic surface – a colour with lustre.”
His most recent work features brilliant pinks and bright blues that are entirely unexpected in the context of platinum, unless provided by an accompanying gemstone. The eye-watering precision, hard-earned technical skill and ceaselessly innovative approach to making that characterise his work will no doubt serve Mr Laser well on this enterprising, new voyage.