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Art and Jewelry

Hi Julia, I have wondered the same things that you brought up in
your post. I have to say that , in my opinion ( for what it’s
worth), the appreciation for true hand made wearable art started its
decline at the beginning of the industrial revolution. It wasn’t
immediately apparent at the time but, after years and years of the
mindset that developed with mass production and mass marketing, most
people no longer appreciate the notion of hand-made wearable art.
Everyone wants " a little necklace just exactly like the one I saw
Nicole Kidman wearing at the Oscars." Ok, not everyone, but still,
it seems that we have become a nation of imitators (in the U.S.). I
see it in the youth where they insist that they are trying to show
their individuality but they dress in all the latest styles, just
like everyone else. It’s hard to be an individual when you’re neck
deep in the herd instinct. That’s part of why I find this site so
refreshing. I have no intentions of trying to be a metalsmith to
earn a living but still, here at Orchid, I find tons of inspiration
by looking at the galleries of these artists. I consider the folks
here to be true artists. In my short time of working with jewelry
scale metalworking I have become absolutely convinced that this is
wearable sculpture and not “just jewelry”. To be sure, there is
money to be made in multiple castings and mass production work. I
understand that and even respect it. There are a lot of folks making
an honest living in the production of these works. There’s no shame
in it.

However, I do think that it has had a detrimental effect on the
concept of individuality and the notion of jewelry as an art form
instead of mere adornment. You’re correct, I too see a lot of bare
necks that, while beautiful on their own, could be accentuated by
some wearable art. That goes for arms, wrists, hands and ears as