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Conceptual Jewelry


#1

Was: Smithonian jury results

I am a metalsmith and I make items that are practical to wear. Yes
it is fun to see some far flung items that I would call jewelry but
they are something that can actually be worn. This is half the
reason I buy Metalsmith at the bookstore. So I can see if it is
worth my hard earned money for something worth wild or just
flattened silver serving pieces. 

I have mixed feelings about conceptual work. I do like pushing out
the edges and seeing it done. I think it expands our world. Much of
what we all love today was once unacceptable conceptual work. Think
about the Impressionists…poor Van Gogh. He sold 2 paintings in his
life time.

I agree with many who have expressed their frustration with work
that is wild and “out there” but unwearable. But I also resent that
conceptual work gets so much more “press” then jewelry that can be
worn. I can come up with all sorts of wild ideas, but it’s
unwearable. I think making a wild idea-wearable now that’s the
trick. And one that needs to be rewarded. That is where the real
skill lies. Making that interface between the jewelry and the wearer.
Making a piece comfortable, durable, and beautifully designed is the
real challenge and frankly where so much skill lies (lays?).

I have ordered the 500 Necklace book. I can hardly wait to see page
375 & 389.

Carla
www.carlamfox.com


#2
I have mixed feelings about conceptual work. I do like pushing out
the edges and seeing it done. I think it expands our world. 

“Conceptual Art” is a short way of saying, “I can’t actually DO
anything, so I just wing it.” Also, “I am so vedy, vedy much better
than you all.” What, the rest of art isn’t conceptual?


#3

Hi

"Conceptual Art" is a short way of saying, "I can't actually DO
anything, so I just wing it." Also, "I am so vedy, vedy much
better than you all." What, the rest of art isn't conceptual? 

I think different people mean different things when they use the
term conceptual. Here is what I think of as conceptual
www.giovanni-corvaja.com Mastering a technique and then using it to
push the limits of creativity to take the work into a new direction
altogether. That’s what I think of as conceptual.

This man is young too. He was born in 1971. To have accomplished so
much in his chosen medium by his age. It just amazes me.

People create different things for different reasons. Because a
certain style is not to my taste doesn’t make it “bad”. I laugh at
the movie critics. how can they possibly tell me how much I am
supposed to like or dislike a film? I can make up my own mind.

If someone would like to make a neckpiece from stop sign material,
it should be ok. It’s ok with me. Actually, someone said a fragment
of a stop sign would make a good background in a bezel for a ring.
That actually sounds pretty cool to me. A local artist makes jewelry
from vintage dice and typewriter keys. People love it.

The whole reason I make things (good bad or whatever) is because I
like to celebrate the fact that I am an individual. The work is not
outstanding, but I enjoy it very much.

It doesn’t have anything to do with how I care to compare myself to
others either. It’s a within thing.

My husband asked me “what do you want? Do you want a business or do
you want an art?” I said “I want to create something beautiful and
come back the next day…look at it again and still think it’s
beautiful” This is my conception right? How I perceive my work. Isn’t
this how one would define “conceptual”? I may be way off…now I’m
thinking that everyone’s work is conceptual.

Sorry to ramble, no sleep last night.
Kim


#4
"Conceptual Art" is a short way of saying, "I can't actually DO
anything, so I just wing it." Also, "I am so vedy, vedy much
better than you all." What, the rest of art isn't conceptual? 

Wow, what a judgmental way of looking at art! Conceptual work is
exactly what its name implies: an exploration of a concept. It
doesn’t necessarily have to be functional or even successful… just
exploratory. That means forging into new areas, trying new things,
and seeing what outcomes can be achieved.

The purpose of conceptual work, whether in the automotive industry
(perhaps the most famous) or in architecture (Frank Lloyd Wright, for
example, or Frank Gehry - whatever you might think of his designs, is
working clearly in the conceptual arena), is to cause the current
practitioners and observers to view their work differently and see
new possibilities.

Without conceptual work, we wouldn’t have anything new in this or
any other field. And, as a bonus, viewing conceptual work can inspire
our brains to create new neural pathways, linking previously
disconnected bits of thought, and causing each one of us to view the
possibilities in our own work from a slightly different perspective.
THAT’s why it’s so important.

It’s not about being “snooty” or elitest; it’s not about avoiding
doing the functional and practical work. Rather, it’s about
stretching ones limits and, in an ideal universe, stretching the
limits of the collective knowledge we have about ornament…
technique, approach, materials, design, or whatever.

Now, having said that, it doesn’t mean that all conceptual work is
successful or is something that resonates in a pleasant way with me.
Some I like, some inspires me, some I dislike intensely, and for some
I just don’t “get” what the artist was trying to convey. But it’s all
worth a look, just on the chance that a stray technique, color
combination, material, or aesthetic will spark something in my own
work. It’s the same reason I love looking at the work of the ancients
or indigenous cultures in museums!

Karen Goeller
No Limitations Designs


Hand-made, one of a kind jewelry


#5
And who's to be the judge? You? Me? 

Yes. I’ve already written, today, more of what I’m trying to get at.
Michael Tilson Thomas is the conductor of the SF symphony, and he
has a new 4 part series about music on PBS. One of the things he says
about music and emotions is interesting. He says he likes popular
music just fine and enjoys it. When one is listening to the latest
hit, what it does is make you think, “I’m happy today”. Classical
music, without getting into what “Classical” means, evokes real
emotions:(It’s only an analogy, don’t take it literally). I’m
outside, and it’s a fine day, but is there danger here? I remember
my childhood, and my mother making cookies, oh, there’s a bird, look
out bird… Etc. and etc. That humans actually have complex emotions
and thoughts at all times, and that’s the roller coaster that
classical music tries to address. He says it more eloquently than I,
but hopefully you get the idea. When I spoke of “conceptual art”, I
wasn’t talking about some piece of work, or that it’s all useless,
I’m talking about The State Of Art Today. Most of that sort of art -
because art is wide-ranging - is actually a one-liner. “This is a
point”. “This is a concept”. Well, sure, OK. Is that all? Did I come
to the Met to hear one-liners? Throwing paint at a canvas isn’t a
statement. Painting another Guernica is a statement. There is a
Chagall sculpture that was conceptual before the word was born. It’s
a chessboard with an arm coming up supporting half a face, pondering
the position (sculpture). It speaks volumes. And this is really what
I’m trying to put across. It is made with great skill and care and
thought. It is sculpture in the true sense - made from nothing by
human hands, and as deep, thoughtful and meaningful as a thing can
be. And the thing I’m saying is that we as a society look to our
museums to show us that greatness - other things, too, for sure.
It’s not that there’s no place for some of the other things, it’s
that in recent years those who choose the things to show seem to have
lost sight of that, and the greatness has been pushed aside in favor
of one-liners. Finally, I’m talking about the big picture. It’s not
that the art isn’t there, it’s just that you need to go looking for
it, sometimes.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#6

I don’t think you are rambling at all Kim and what you say makes
complete sense to me in a world of Art which is often not based on
making total visual sense. I live in Cleveland and have had the
opportunity recently to see the exhibit at the Art Museum called
Barcelona. As I viewed some of the pieces of Picasso and Gaudi for
example, which seem very tame by 21st century standards, I had to
remind myself what an uproar they caused during their time and how
they are now considered cornerstones and masterpieces. I do believe
there is a difference between Artist and Artisan even though at
times they completely overlap - I make no judgements, neither being
better than the other - they are what they are and each has its own
appeal and merits, beauty or shock value. Just my 2 cents…

Grace Stokes


#7
If someone would like to make a neckpiece from stop sign material,
it should be ok. It's ok with me. Actually, someone said a fragment
of a stop sign would make a good background in a bezel for a ring.
That actually sounds pretty cool to me. A local artist makes
jewelry from vintage dice and typewriter keys. People love it. 

There are at least 3 jewelry artist who use typewriter keys and
"found objects" including pieces of

stop signs in the Cleveland, OH area. I don’t see anything unusual
about this. I’m not sure why

this style is so “loved” or is it because these items are relatively
inexpensive?


#8
I'm not sure why this style is so "loved" or is it because these
items are relatively inexpensive?

I don’t think it is really the price as the items I mentioned are a
bit on the expensive side. You mentioned that other people do this
kind of work as well and that you don’t see what’s special about it.
I don’t really see anything in particular special about it either,
but people love what they love. That is the point I was trying to
make. People buy what they buy.

I think when we’re marketing to the majority of the buying public
(notice I said majority) we have to take into account that women
usually want to be different, but not too different. If one woman was
wearing typewriter keys and thought to herself “this really unique, I
love this look”, I can pretty much guarantee that she would stop
wearing them (no matter how much she loved them) as soon as the other
women told her she looked weird.

I wasn’t saying that typewriter key jewelry was one-of-a-kind or even
limited, I was saying “different strokes (notice the typewriter
humor) for different folks”


#9
Simply stop buying Lark books, going to galleries that mount these
exhibitions, begin approaching venues and organizing your own
exhibitions or write thoughtfully about why some work should 

First off, I realized not long after I hit send that the chess board
I mentioned is by Du Champ, not Chagall. And all I’m talking about is
the above. We all “vote” by our patronage. And also, as I said
before, there is a huge wave of people who are voicing their
displeasure at having amateurish and inane art pushed at them by the
art establishment. That’s all, really. I’m not trying to restrict
art - that would be futile, anyway. I’m trying to elevate people’s
standards - “Remember that there is profound art in the world, even
if your venues forgot”. The message derived from ANY Rodin is about
the human condition. The message behind much contemporary art is “I
like grape jelly on my sandwiches.” Not that there’s nothing said,
it’s just, do we need to devote precious display space to that?

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#10

Hi Grace

I make no judgements, neither being better than the other - they
are what they are and each has its own appeal and merits, beauty or
shock value. Just my 2 cents...... 

Thanks for your reply. No one responded to my idea of conceptual
jewelry though…www.giovanni-corvaja

I was hoping we might be able to change the direction of this thread
(in view of the fact that we are entering a new year). It might be
inspiring and mood-lifting (for me anyway) if people might post some
of their own ideas of who/what is an inspiration to them. Which
artists do you admire? What are your ideas of conceptual jewelry? I
love to look at the work of talented people. It amazes me how many
different arenas people can operate in within the scope of their
artwork.


#11

Speaking of conceptual jewelry, in May there will be a show here in
Boston at the MFA called “Jewelry by Artists: The Daphne Farago
Collection”

Here is the link:
http://www.mfa.org/exhibitions/sub.asp?key=15&subkey=3597

Right now they have a small display of some of the pieces by Calder,
Art Smith etc. There are some truly incredible pieces in this
collection. A few years ago they exhibited her collection of textiles
(quilts, embroidery etc). It was amazing.

Coming from a fine art/graphic design background myself, I was
inspired to create jewelry not by walking past Tiffany’s but by what
I have seen of the “artists” who also make jewelry.

Plenty of room for the Tiffany-like jewelers as well as the rest of
us!

Roberta


#12
Thanks for your reply. No one responded to my idea of conceptual
jewelry though....www.giovanni-corvaja 

I think this work is fascinating and fabulous. I think, though, that
a significant portion of my fascination (though absolutely not all)
is because I don’t know how it is done. The non-jeweler will not be
likely to have much of this dimension to their interest. Still, I
think the work is very cool-- makes me jealous because I didn’t
think of it. And if I had thought of it, I wouldn’t know how to make
it.

Noel


#13
The message derived from ANY Rodin is about the human condition.
The message behind much contemporary art is "I like grape jelly on
my sandwiches." Not that there's nothing said, it's just, do we
need to devote precious display space to that? 

Perhaps the thing is not so much that we’ve lost a deeper soul
expression with our art, but that we Are reflecting our current human
condition. We are immured by quick items often poorly made in many
regards. These things are mostly dictated by an industrial profit
line [which has nothing to do with us mere citizens anyway] and eaten
up by people seemingly bred to accept this shallow aesthetic as our
best possible acheivement. AFA the average collective thought goes
today I’d wager “I like grape jelly” is pretty damn radical.
Contemporary art reflects everyone’s problem. [falling off my
soapbox;]

Happy holidays,
A-


#14
I was hoping we might be able to change the direction of this
thread (in view of the fact that we are entering a new year). It
might be inspiring and mood-lifting (for me anyway) if people might
post some of their own ideas of who/what is an inspiration to them.
Which artists do you admire? What are your ideas of conceptual
jewelry? 

Ok. This sounds somewhat pedantic, but my own life is my
inspiration. Suresure, I’ve got stacks of books on jewelry and period
art and gallery collectives and the ubiquitious shelf of Rio
catalogues… but these are not as critical as walking in the
wilderness, moseying down the isle at the market, travel near or far,
staring at toast. And in the balance it’s these quiet personal things
that will glue the mental slideshow of biennial presentations and the
Old Masterworks together.

But I do like Lori Talcott and Viki Ambery-Smith. I also enjoy
cruising online jewelry auctions [not eBay, the ‘good’ ones] and
riffling through their archives, esp. as their works are usually
categorized nicely with a price reference and range from all
periods. I can then easily save the images I like for my own
handy-dandy refrence.


#15

Hi Andy,

Regarding the conceptual vs marketable debate, I must agree with
you. Yes, some of the conceptual work that is out there does not
appeal, but it does often initiate thoughtful examination. What
aspects of the piece are satisfying to me as the viewer and potential
wearer? Subject? Materials? Proportion? Certainly craftsmenship. For
those of us who are more on the studio side of the jewelry business,
this can serve as inspiration for a new direction in technique or
even simply the ability to see one’s own work in a new way, one which
will provide growth and maturity in the pieces we produce.

That being said, there is plenty of room for all kinds of work
product, and the audience to which each will appeal. In my
retail/studio I have to produce some mainstream work for bread and
butter, but also allow myself the luxury of competitions that allow
me to investigate a new direction; sometimes marketable, sometimes
not. But those competitions always stimulate me to explore new
concepts, whose elements often show up in the more mainstream work.
So I view this as a win-win situation.

The kind of work seen in Metalsmith Magazine is of course largely
from the hands of academics, whose bread and butter is provided for
by a salary, allowing them the freedom to create without so much
concern for marketability. But what a feast! I pour over the articles
and am inspired by the images. I can’t really say that about any of
the other publications to which I subscribe. So I suppose that this
is about taste. I like spicy food, bright colors and rich textures.
Not everyone does.

There is plenty of room for all.

Susan Ronan
Coronado, CA


#16
I also enjoy cruising online jewelry auctions [not eBay, the
'good' ones 

What are the “good” ones?

Allan Mason
www.silvermason.com


#17
Perhaps the thing is not so much that we've lost a deeper soul
expression with our art, but that we Are reflecting our current
human condition 

I see LOTS of deeper art in the world - Angela’s point is true, but I
think that largely it’s not WE who have lost that, it’s THEY - the
people who make the decisions about what is shown and where - some of
the MOMA’s, certain galleries - there are plenty of people who have
more sense, for sure. I’ve heard people - collectors - who say
they’ve abandoned contemporary art altogether because of it’s
shallowness. Anyway - Kevin Kelly says it well, today, too. I think
that one of the things with jewelry specifically is really not so
difficult to grasp. As usual, it comes down to history and tradition.
Jewelry has been made for literally thousands of years. We all know
what a bracelet is - I don’t mean Orchid, I mean the entire human
race. And I don’t mean design, I mean, “A bracelet is a thing that
goes on the upper arm in something like this fashion.” When/if a
person gets some thing - let’s say the old Honda Civic, and calls it
a
bracelet, here’s what’s probably going to happen: 1) People are going
to think you’re from another planet. 2) It’s going to bring you
nothing but grief, and 3) You are never, never, ever going to
convince everyone that it is so. Because we all know what a bracelet
is, mechanically speaking. If you don’t actually do that, and call it
Art, or Wearable Art, or anything like that, then all of that just
goes “Poof”, everybody says, sure, I can see that, we break out the
champagne, and everbody’s happy. Or, as I like to say, “The fact that
you (someone) wants to pretend that the people around you are stupid
doesn’t mean that they are, it just means that you want to pretend
they are.” Trying to say, “This automobile is a bracelet because I
say it is.” is profoundly ignorant and self absorbed. Just call it
Art, and nobody will bat and eyelash.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#18

I have worked with typewriter keys, and now work with keys from
computer keyboards,. With absolutely no proof or idea on how to get
it, I reckon there are probably fewer typewriter keys in the world
than diamonds - and no one is going to make them again in the same
materials. When I first started using the typewriters the Salvation
Army gave them to me because so many were donated and they couldn’t
sell them in their charity shops, now they don’t get them and a
friend recently had to pay $20 from a second hand shop. Are they
therefore more precious than diamonds? I use the keys because I like
that I can ‘say’ something with them and that they are of an era.
They are probably not precious, but they give me pleasure.

alison
www.alialexander.com.au


#19

I also buy 2nd hand typewriters and have found that the supply is
indeed drying up.

Elaine

Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


#20

I thought I’d just throw this out there. This is a job offer from a
place in L.A.

“Environmental/Character Concept Artist”. It’s essentially an entry
level position. What does it have to do with jewelry? Nothing. But it
does illustrate what “state of the art” means in art these days. We
pretty much work at this level, in our field. I took great care not
to pick out supervisor jobs and TD’s and such. Just an everyday art
job.

From http://www.highend3d.com/, by the way. This is what you’re up
against, in the art world - oh, and it illustrates where that
"movement" is coming from, too. Yes, it’s “commercial”. I would
expect a non-commercial artist to have even more than this.

Major Duties:

-Demonstrate a broad range of excellent drawing abilities.

-Demonstrate complete mastery of game development software tools
needed for concept creation.

-Collaborates effectively with art leads during review sessions which
results in the finest artistic look possible.

-Meets project deadlines / milestones, as set by project leads, and
the producer.

-Consistently exercises sound judgment in all areas of expertise.
Requirements: Requirements:

-A demo portfolio demonstrating excellent drawing and texturing
skills. Work must clearly demonstrate exceptional ability in the
areas of artistic, stylistic and versatility.

-BFA or equivalent game development experience strongly preferred.

-Fine art skills, drawing and painting, lighting and color.

-2 years of professional experience working as a concept artist or
texturer in computer gaming or a related field.

-Proficiency working in Photoshop.

-Excellent organizational, communication and interpersonal skills.

-Must be receptive to art direction and perform well within a team
setting.

-Must be responsive to schedules and work well under pressure.

-Willingness to work overtime if necessary.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com