This group is at its best when we engage in combined interest and
helpfulness. Someone comes up with some strange question or a photo
of an arcane tool, and we respond with our best or
advice. Sometimes we build answers one piece upon another, until we
arrive at a final answer, or many potential answers. In this regard
we are a community, and a strong, resourceful and unified one at
that. New or customized solutions are developed in tandem with the
resources and talents of one another, and it is great and powerful.
But there is another manifestation of this group, one that is
exemplified by this “Art Jewellery” posting subject, that is
judgmental, officious, sanctimonious and downright mean-spirited, and
that doesn’t “become” us.
You don’t like “art” jewelry. fine, but this relentless, endless
diatribe against the makers who identify themselves as artists and
their creations as manifestations of personal expression, and the
schools that approach this craft of ours as an artistic endeavor, is
self-righteous and unwelcoming.
It stuns me because it is the opposite of my experiences within the
jewelry/metals/artists/makers community that I’ve met as I’ve
learned and practiced my craft/art.
During the entire tenure of this “Art Jewellery” posting subject,
not one maker who identifies as an artist has pointed an accusing or
mocking finger at those who identify as “bench” jewelers. All this
bitterness and aggression is one-sided. And it is bitter. And it is
aggressive. And frankly, it’s pretty ugly.
You’re (YOU know who YOU are) going on about ‘craft’, making lists
of things that people better be able to do. or else. But if you
haven’t yet, try taking your eyes away from the masterpieces created
by Rene Lalique, and take a look at the jewelry pieces that Alexander
Calder or Harry Bertoia made as an extension of their monumental and
ground-breaking sculpture and design; the realized creations of their
brilliant, curious, artistic hands and spirit, would never pass your
tests, and yet. they are stunning and splendid and sublime. They are
transformational. They are historic. They are ART. Wearable ART.
For the record, I’ve had five main teachers during my journey
learning to manipulate metals into art/craft/jewelry/whatever you
want to call it.
Three taught/teach at the community college level, and two at adult
education classes. They have all, each and every one, been
accomplished and engaging and helpful and nurturing and prodding and
demanding. They have designed projects that allow their students to
build successive techniques into their repertoire and take risks with
increasingly challenging designs. And not one of them would ever be
so mean-spirited and dismissive toward a group of students, let alone
teenagers embarking on their first voyage into metal-working, as one
of the posters here, who cheerfully related his verbal evisceration
of these kids’ first attempts, in comments - made to the kids
themselves. Their teacher’s efforts to build interest and excitement
in these kids to do something with their hands besides texting and
playing games on their smart phones were undone by his thoughtless
and wildly unhelpful criticism. It may have made him feel good and
superior, but at the expense of those kids, who live and die
(metaphorically) with their peer image and sense of self-respect.
There was plenty of time, for those who might have been enticed into
continuing with metal-working, for perfectly sanded edges, smooth,
tight rivets, and a great finish.
If any of you are feeling put-upon and castigated by this post,
well, I’m writing this because that is how your missives have been
making me feel with your blanket dismissal of jewelry as art, writ
with smugness and scorn. I haven’t attacked your craft at all, only
your ridicule of others who create differently than you. I would
suggest that you look at wearable metal that is completely unlike
what you create with an open eye and heart, and, perhaps, take a few
minutes to read those terrible, awful, “how-dare-they” artist’s
statements, and see if you can find some small space for appreciation
of them in your version of jewelry. If you can’t, please just show us
the common courtesy of moving on and off of this subject. You’ve said
more than enough already. Thank you.