1000...ummmm....Rings

OK - so maybe in middle age I’ve become hopelessly square when I used
to be hopelessly hip. After reading about the book “1000 Rings” on
Orchid I bought a copy. I just spent some time perusing the photos,
and the only thing that came to mind in most cases was : Why ?

Brian Corll
Brian Corll, Inc.
1002 East Simpson Street
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
Tel.: (717) 691-0286

Why not? Have an open mind. People express themselves in many
different ways. This book celebrates that.

Joel Schwalb
@Joel_Schwalb
www.schwalbstudio.com

I agree! I thought this book would be wildly inspiring and to think
back on my perusing, my lingering images are of label makers messages
and poofy fluff. There were quite a few “cover worthy” rings, but it
seems that to live up to the book title it went ahead and encompassed
all audiences. We are a totally different audience afterall. Perhaps
if more of the members here would push themselves back from their
benches for a minute and get their photos submitted, we’d have books
that we want to pick up again and again.

Jaye

I read that, and just about choked!! LOL! My wife calls that type
of jewelry, “rescuing things from the land-fill.”

The answer to “Why” is “because they can.” Unfortunately it is all
too easy for publishers to put a book together when there’s little
more required than sending out the word for jewelers to submit their
pictures.

Writing a real book, with background, history and a well thought out
theme message requires real work.

Before you spend your hard-earned money again, take a look at the
author’s credentials and try to get an idea of the book’s purpose. If
the book only has an editor, rather than an author, you’re probably
in for another one of these “cut and paste” jobs.

There are lots of real jewelry books out there, well worth your
money.

Ettagale Blauer

I personally applaud the 1000 (insert object here) style books that
have been circulated within the past few years. I look forward to
them when I hear of a new one coming out. There are designs that run
the gamut of what’s happening now in the high caliper art metals
community. Life’s not all diamonds and mokume, and these books
reflect that. They reflect the various disciplines of fine art that
people take in their approach to metalworking, and that should be
encouraged, not made fun of and called “land fill jewelry”. I’d
rather wear “garbage” than diamonds anyday…less people die while
mining garbage.

Ettagale,

The answer to "Why" is "because they can." Unfortunately it is all
too easy for publishers to put a book together when there's little
more required than sending out the word for jewelers to submit
their pictures. 

And you would suggest… which books?

First, the book only has 20 rings - and then 980 variations. More
importantly, though, if you go to a bookstore you’ll find “1000
teapots”, 500 quilts, 1000 spoons - I really don’t remember what
all. They have not confined themselves to the jewelry business…

Jaye,

it seems that to live up to the book title it went ahead and
encompassed all audiences. We are a totally different audience
afterall....perhaps we'd have books that we want to pick up again
and again. 

The book started out as 500 rings, but because of the high number of
quality entries–in the opinion of the juror-- it was expanded to
1000. So perhaps they were not padding the numbers after all.

And, for the record:

I Am a member of Orchid and I am NOT a totally different audience. I
DO pick up the 1000 Rings book over and over…

Just what type of audience do you consider Orchid to be? Please,
speak only for yourself…

Andy Cooperman

Ettagale,

Your response to this thread surprised me. Your implication that
these books, 1000 Rings, 500 Bracelets, etc., are not “real” books,
is difficult to understand. There is room for all kinds of books.
What is wrong with a book made up only of photos and no words other
than those crediting the maker of the work? The words that you seem
to be missing are the words that, as viewers, go through our minds
as we internally experience the image on the page. We can all respond
to the image in any way that we choose. We don’t always need a
writers, or a critics, interpretation of the image. There are already
plenty of books that do that. I sometimes find written descriptions
of other peoples work to be a lot of noise. These are “real jewelry
books” and I believe that they are “well worth your money”. Actually,
they are very modestly priced, maybe because there are no writers
salaries involved.

Joel

Joel Schwalb
@Joel_Schwalb
www.schwalbstudio.com

Why not? Have an open mind. People express themselves in many
different ways. 

And, believe it or not, some of those ideas actually make it into
general circulation. This past season fur rings --silver rings with a
band of fuzzy stuff of one sort or another in the middle-- seemed all
the rage here in Paris. Obviously they’re disposable but there you
go.

That said, I totally agree about the “WTF?!?” factor of some of the
items in that book. I like the book too, if for no other reason than
it shows me about a bunch of directions I certainly don’t need to go
in. Actually I like the book for a lot of other reasons but that’s
one aspect that I’m faced with every time I crack it open.

Cheers,
Trevor F.
in The City of Light
Visit TouchMetal.com at http://www.touchmetal.com

if you notice, Bob Ebendorf was the juror and introduction writer
for that book. he is part of the original american jewelry art
movement. he is the jewelry professor at East Carolina University.
He has numerous works in permanent art collections around the US. he
is an established and recognised jeweler.

The editor is Marthe leVan. She is a highly educated professional in
Jewelry publishing. Marthe knows tons about the technical aspects of
making jewelry as well as the artistic aspects. she is thoughtful
and precise about all her work.

i also have a ring in that book. it was made using marriage of metal
and hollow form. i did not find it in the garbage heap or the
landfill.

The book celebrates artistic thought and ability. It shows
possibility and innovative thoughts. It is full of work that pushes
your mind to think about what jewelry really is, what it can be. I
find this book inspiring because it makes me think of different ways
to approach making jewelry. Not all jewelry has to be
everyday-wearable. i also think it covers a wide range of jewelry
styles and techniques.

i know for certain that this book was not produced in a “cut and
paste” fashion, that there was much thought and care put behind each
ring choice.

the book is indeed meant to help people open their minds to
different kinds of work, and also to celebrate those that are
already free thinkers in this fashion.

joanna gollberg

Although some of the designs stretch the limits of what I would call
a “ring”, I thoroughly enjoy this book. As I look at the various
designs, I think of the love, heart and soul, the designers put into
their art. I wonder what experiences they had. What influenced there
decision to make the ring the way they did. I marvel at the great
care and skill it took to make so me of the designs. I also enjoy
looking at all the fabrication techniques used. I think it’s
wonderful that jewelry gives us such a great opportunity to express
ourselves.

Marty

As I see from the responses to the original email and to my
contribution, there is an audience for every kind of book. However,
as a writer (paid far less than you would imagine), I have been in
the position of reviewing a book that also had some good credentials.
In this case, the book purported to be about the history of rings. A
cursory look revealed that it was a collection put together by a
Japanese man, with most of the rings bought at auction. He never saw
most of the rings before he bid on them; he bought them from
catalogue pictures.

The book then was a catalogue of his rings. He secured a foreword by
a well known jewelry designer – whose work was part of his
collection. That is hardly objective.

It seemed to me that the main reason to have the book published was
to give his collection the appearance of historical significance. He
did not own the best examples of the periods; in the case of the
1960s, the work was extremely inferior and not representative.

Such a review gives the potential book buyer the tools to make an
informed decision. I think that’s fair. That was some of what I had
in mind when I wrote my comment on “1000 rings.”

As to which books to buy, that list is endless. I know many on this
forum have contributed to a discussion on "you must have this book."
In my own jewelry book library, I have some basics that I turn to
often for quick definitions, or to remind myself of a technique. “An
Illustrated History of Jewelry” by Harold Newman is probably the one
I use most frequently but my needs are very different from jewelry
designers. I also have Oppi Untracht’s “Jewelry Concepts and
Techniques.”

After that, I have many volumes on specific makers and jewelry
houses such as Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Harry Winston; various
periods of jewelry making, and the history of diamonds.

I love books and I admire the work that goes into them. As the
author of a book on jewelry, one on watches, and one on African
crafts (as well twenty books on African countries), I know how
difficult it can be to get the end result you want. For these reasons
and many more, I am more critical than most readers about the
contents of books.

Ettagale Blauer

Ciao from Arizona-

I’m just wondering if all the people who are griping about this book
series are the same people who had their britches in a bundle over
the designer/maker debate?

We all have our own way of being in this world of
metalsmithing/jewelery/lapidery/sculpture/whatever…some of us are
techies, some designers, visionaries, business people…AND we all
see things in our own way ( thank goodness- I personally don’t want
to see another "diamond is forever commercial- but I know many value
that aspect in jewelery) What these books do are take many (1000
rings…500 bracelets) viewpoints and put them together in a concise
collection for reference…of the whole community (OF those who take
the time and effort to send images to the publisher).

These books are valuable for all to view- just as many people get
caught up in looking at Architectural digest and watching your home
improvement channels…all these images have the possibility of
provoking imagination and -GASP- perhaps even innovation!

I’m sure if there was this type of forum around during the times that
anything new was being made, we would have a similar response from a
similar group of traditionalists. And there is something to be said
for tradition- especially in handcrafts- But… put traditional
craftspersonship together with innovation in design and
materials—wow—where will we go next? pretty exciting I think.

No- I do not have any work displayed in the series (yet) I’ve been
busy raising my son—however I am happy to curl up with these books
and do a little dreaming.

Thanks for letting me put my 2 cents in-
Ciao- Maureen Brusa Zappellini

NICE! Kudos to Cooperman and Goldberg for their rational and
intelligent responses to the playground mentality criticisms. Kudos
to LeVan and co. for continuing to produce such beautiful portable
galleries.

Jewelry and Art can overlap, and often do, but they are far from the
same thing. I do hope in the future people with criticisms consider
this before they post in such an antagonistic way. Offending people
who have spent years refining their craft and who have achieved
international status for their work is not very interesting reading.

I personally know several artists who have rings appearing in this
book, and work in other books as well. Let me be the first to tell
you they could make “fine jewelry” as well as anyone in the trade. It
is this mastery of the basic metal working techniques that allows
them to push the envelope and the definition of what modern jewelry
and adornment can and should be.

Not everyone is going to like what artists put out into the world,
and with art comes criticism. It’s natural and healthy to the maker
and the viewer. However, let’s make sure to leave the trash talk
(literally) out of the forum. This forum used to be about tips and
tricks of the trade, not an open air session…which is what is
has become (and yes, I’m bitching and I’m aware of the irony). Please
be thoughtful and respectful before posting… healthy critical
opinion is one thing, but derogatory comments are not welcome or
helpful to anyone.

First, the book only has 20 rings - and then 980 variations.

So John, please enlighten the rest of us. Which are the 20 rings?

Joel
Joel Schwalb
@Joel_Schwalb
www.schwalbstudio.com

I agree with Joanna about the value of the work shown in "1000
Rings". 

This book is about ornmentation related to the finger, whether it is
practical or not. It is inspiring. This book, with a few others, are
ones I’ve selected to show my students at the beginning of my
classes, to give my students ideas for their own work.

I urge my student to purchase this book, because it is so full of
ideas, from the “mild to the wild”. It’s a very inexpensive book,
with professionally done photographs, and I endorse it highly.

Jay Whaley UCSD Craft Center

[Big rant]

Wow. I am utterly flabbergasted at some of the…I can’t put this
any other way…blinkered responses I’m seeing here, and from people
whose work and whose intelligence I hold in high esteem. And I
thought I was a stick-in-the-mud when it comes to “conceptual”
jewelry…

I love the “500/1000 whatevers” books, and it surprises me that
anyone could get so flexed over their mere existence. As I see it,
the goal of “1000 Rings” is simply to give 1000 examples of how
contemporary jewelers have answered the question, “What is a ring?”
Clearly, there is going to be a huge range of responses to this
question; some will be traditional, some avant-garde, some serious,
and some silly. There’s nothing wrong with that. Search my posts in
the archives and you’ll find me kvetching about objects that are
only called rings because you can stick a finger in them, but I think
that, considering the goal of the book to represent the entire
spectrum of “ringness,” they had to be included.

It is shameful to say that all the rings in this book are worthless
pieces of schlock, or “landfill jewelry,” or whatever. Look at the
back cover, where there’s a ring in high-carat gold with cabochon
stones and beautiful granulation, all quite traditional (heck,
downright ancient). Check out the interlocking wedding set by Anneli
Tammik on page 54, the technically demanding and gorgeous Moebius
ring by Klaus Spies on page 59, or the mindblowing assemblage of
teeny gold components by Cathy Chotard on page 72…the list could
go on and on. These are not gimcrack; they’re innovative,
well-executed, beautiful rings that took a lot of time and skill to
create, and these artists deserve a hell of a lot better than to
have their work dismissed as trash.

If you want a book with more textual content, say a book that
describes different techniques used in making rings, there are plenty
of those. That’s not the purpose of the Lark books. I return to them
again and again to get me unstuck when I find myself short on ideas,
and I’ve probably been just as inspired by some of the “WTF” rings as
by the “Wow, that’s gorgeous” rings.

People come up with different ideas. Don’t fight it. Enjoy it.

[End of big rant. For now.]

Jessee Smith
www.silverspotstudio.com
Cincinnati, OH

The reason I really like 1000 Rings is because of its diversity, and
because there are some REALLY BEAUTIFUL rings in it!

Every time I flip through the book, which is how I like to read this
one, I discover something new and provocative. I find beautiful
jewelry, clever solutions, new spins on old ideas and lots to think
about. Of course, some are more appealing to me than others. And
while there are items I do not particularly like at all, there are
many more that speak to me in some way.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Helfried Kodre on page 157 - for its graceful drama
Etsuko Sonobe on page 164 - for compartmentalism
Christopher C. Darway on page 166 - form meets function
Fernando DeLaye Villalever on page 175 - recycling meets geometry
Kim Buck on page 208 - surprise and simple beauty
Manuel Vilhena on page 212 - for drama and surprise
Abrasha on page 221 - for its precision aesthetic

Just to name a few…

What about you?
Which ones do you like?
Why?

Alan

Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts, Inc.
760 Market Street, Suite 900
San Francisco, California 94102 USA
tel: 415-391-4179
fax: 415-391-7570