If one studies a flower it is far from perfection but in its own
unique way it is beautiful. Handmade jewellery possesses this
property. CAD/CAM product probably exceeds handmade jewellery in
every way except looking natural and to some people it is the most
important property there is.
I share your apprecation for the beauty of nature. However, it’s
interesting to me when a piece of jewelry is deemed to possess the
quality of “artistic” or “natural looking”. Some of the time it
deserves the accolades, but some are wont to romaticize
hand-craftsmanship, praising the personal imprint of imperfection by
those who posesses skills lesser than that of a master craftsman.
Being a less than a masterful craftsman myself, I too, see artistry
in imperfection, but I also understand where the limitations of the
hand leave off and artistry begins.
Whether its relatively simple or highly refined, construction
technique becomes the basis of artistic creation when it’s consistent
and uniform in execution. You can create a ring with a very
naturalisitic looking flower motif by hand, but you are still bound
by the constraints of proportion and structural cohesiveness as it
relates to a good piece of jewelry.
While I agree with just about everything you’ve postulated about the
elements of successful jewelry design, ex.“appropriate design and
correct use of tools and technique”, your views about the
limitations of CAD point to what I percieve to be a common
misconception regarding the creative potential of computer aided
Jewelry made by the CAD/CAM process has a well known reputation for
technical perfection, uniformity, symmetry, etc. The next breath
often declares that it lacks the highly-valued stamp of approval for
work showing artistic spirit or the human touch, deriding it because
it looks “too perfect” or else, badly made by machine.
This is probably true in many cases, but sometimes, it’s not a good
design simply because conceptually, it’s a not a good design, not
because it was done with CAD. CAD is a tool that “works” pretty
well, even in the hands of those who don’t even aspire to be artists.
Their goal is to quickly crank out a product to make a sale or to
make a generic looking thing for mass comsumption.
CAD/CAM as it relates to jewelry is a relatively new art
form/technique, so it’s my feeling that it’s currently being
exploited for it’s technical possibilites. As it matures as an art
form, the creative potential of the technique will blossom with more
artistic expression. CAD programs for jewelry design are becoming
more sophisticated and specialized. If you look at the work being
produced by artists using 3D modeling programs for character
creation and animation, you might say rather than naturalistic, the
work is super-natural in it’s detail and creative exploration. The
potenial is there in CAD jewelry design as well, although not many
jewelry designers are taking advantage of it, yet.
CAD programs such as ArtCAM JewelSmith and Freeform
http://tinyurl.com/6nry7y have the capability to do very
natutralistic modeling. There is nothing to stop a jewelry artisan
who wants to digitally sculpt a piece, that in the best sense,
emulates the qualities of a hand-crafted piece, using a very
naturalistic style while being respective of what is best done by
hand, and not going beyond what the software is good at, and at the
same time, conforming to the elements of good design.
In fact, I suspect there are jewelers using CAD who produce award
winning quality, unique-looking artistically “imperfect” design work
who don’t neccesarily talk about the process for reasons of their
JDK Jewelry Design