Functional Art vs Non-functional Art:
This is a debate that has been going on for probably thousands of
years. I am a traditionally trained goldsmith, and I make my living
creating work designed to be worn, for the most part, on a daily
basis by those who purchase and/or commission these works. Just
because they’re wearable doesn’t mean that they aren’t “artistic”. I
don’t follow fashion, but follow my own Muse. Luckily, enough people
enjoy the direction I have chosen and are willing to support my
journey by purchasing my work.
I also create work that is solely intended for exhibition. My
personal artistic criteria still demands that the work be wearable,
but it may not be practical to wear on a daily basis. It makes me
stretch intellectually and technically. It also brings me recognition
as an Artist/Metalsmith. And, I really enjoy making these pieces.
Sometimes they sell. Sometimes they just hang around for years. I
I also create another body of work, that is not even meant for
exhibition. It is only for me. For the Pure Joy of creation. To
challenge my own rigid beliefs and knock down those barriers. To
experiment, and sometimes fail boldly. To speak to the Mystery.
Sadly, too many of us choose to live only in one camp, and reject
the others. I used to be one of those people, but I escaped. I wonder
now how I could have possibly survived with the old constraints that
I placed on my work. The truth is, the work that some would call
"impractical" somehow finds a way into the work that I do for my
clients, and that gives me an edge over my competition. It is also
the reason I still love this craft after 30 years of long hours at
One of the best ways to expand your work is to find a "theme" and
create a piece of work that addresses that. We have a show in my
gallery called “The Art of the Martini.” Every year, I invite
jewelers and metalsmiths to create martini related work: martini
glasses, olive picks, etc. Some of these have really pushed the
limits of the theme, but they are always inspiring. Making ART just
for the pure joy of it! What a concept! Perhaps we could have a
similar “Virtual Exhibition” on Orchid. Pick a theme: “Erotic
Jewelry”, “Weapons of Mass Destruction,” “Time,” “Clouds,” “Wheels,”
“Secrets,”–all of these have multiple layers of interpretation.
I hope I haven't suggested something that would pile a mountain of
work on poor Hanuman. I would be happy to host an exhibition in my
gallery, and I’m sure other galleries would host it as well. The
"Traveling Orchid Show." Anyone interested?
35 N. Market St.
Frederick, MD 21701