With the degradation (perhaps too strong a word ) and liberal
misuse or abuse of the English language, everything has become an
art. I've heard a number of people define themselves as artist.
And I don't know what that means. If one paints, one is a painter.
If one sculpts, one is a sculptor, not necessarily an artist.
IMHO, "artist" is an honorific. It's a term that is bestowed upon
someone by another. We don't claim it for ourselves. I don't mean
to offend anyone; but what we do is not art. We are artisans,
designers, craftpersons, goldsmiths, silversmiths, lapidaries,
metalworkers, but what we produce may be very fine but it is not
art. Someone else may designate what we do as art, but that's
merely flattery. It takes some distance (as in time) to determine
what is "art". "
Hi “kp” (I don’t know what your name is), I couldn’t possibly agree
with you less! But then, that’s why we’re all so lucky to have an
open forum like this (thanks, Hanuman) for the exchange of ideas and
opinions. While I’ll agree with you that superlatives like
"groundbreaking", “unique”, “absolutely amazing” and “genius” are
certainly honorific, the notion of not identifying oneself as an
artist (or artiste) is as foreign to me as that of not considering
myself a man. To you, this may seem purely subjective – a case of
semantics, more than anything else – akin to deciding what color to
paint your workshop but, to me, it’s the very essence of what and
who I am. I don’t just “do”; I envision, design, plan and create.
While I suppose there could well be members of this list who simply
solder jump rings all day long, according to pre-set instructions,
or who only repair jewelry – and neither design a single piece of
it, themselves, nor ever need to put their creative juices into
overdrive to overcome challenging obstacles, I’m inclined to believe
that they are the minority, here. For the rest of us, IMHO, if you
create – that is, if the products you produce are even partially
the result of your own imaginings – then you are an artist. In my
case, what else would you call an individual who designs and carves
one-of-a-kind, curvilinear sculptures from gem rough, or who designs
and facets gemstone designs which no one else has yet produced? (The
answer seems rhetorical.)
All my best, Doug Douglas Turet, GJ Lapidary Artist, Designer &
Goldsmith Turet Design P.O. Box 162 Arlington, MA 02476 Tel. (617)
325-5328 eFax (928) 222-0815 email@example.comFrom: “Guy Payton” firstname.lastname@example.org
In simple terms “Art” has a definition and what one calls art is
Human effort to imitate, supplement, alter, or counteract the work
The conscious production or arrangement of sounds, colors, “forms”,
movements, or “other elements” in a manner that affects the sense of
beauty, specifically the production of the beautiful in a graphic or
A system of principles and methods employed in the performance of a
set of activities:
Skill that is attained by study, practice, or observation: the art
of the baker; the blacksmith’s art.
Skill arising from the exercise of intuitive faculties:
=93Self-criticism is an art not many are qualified to practice=94 (Joy=
Hope this helps. Guy Payton
From: “Jim Reitze” email@example.com
Another of those threads I just can’t stay out of anymore. I like
this definition a LOT more than the one it is objecting to. I have
nursed a small sore spot for years that there has been such a
division between ‘art’ and ‘craft’. Throughout this thread, I have
been thinking of what my definitions would be. Perhaps a craftsman
is one who has achieved a level of proficiency in creating pieces,
not necessarily of his own design. The workmanship is certainly
there. The craftsman can create something with excellent results in
the field of his choosing. Then, perhaps, one ‘crosses the line’ to
being an artist by being able to create something of his own design,
as opposed to simply making excellent copies of another’s design.
Another 2 cents worth. Jim from still rainy western NC.
From: Peter W.Rowe PWRowe1@attbi.com
If you agree that the composing of music, the writing poetry and
novels, the painting of paintings and so on can be art (which is
obviously so), why would the making of jewelry not classify as art?
The key is that art is not defined by the medium. There is music
out there that doesn’t qualify as art, and there are paintings too,
that don’t either. (think of the mass produced factory painted,
almost “paint by numbers” decorator crap sold at those hotel lobby
type “starving artists” sales, and you’ll know what I mean. That’s
product, but it sure isn’t creative, nor does it deserve the title of
art. It’s the creativity and personal input an artist puts into a
work which elevates it from the ordinary to the unique; from craft
to art. This can be any medium. Paint, notes, gold or silver, or
bubble gum for all it matters. Art is in the minds of the creators
thereof, and in the minds of those who view or otherwise experience
the work. Jewelery can be art, but just the fact that someones
hands made a thing don’t automatically qualify it as such.
I like the mental test of asking whether a piece has anything to
teach or show to it’s viewers, that they don’t already know or expect
to be there. Those things that exist only to deliver what we
already expect, fulfilling preconcieved notions, are not as likely
to be creative works deserving of the notion of art. Sometimes
they’re just ordinary common commercial items, sometimes they might
even deserve to be called kitch (which is not always a totally
negative term, by the way). But art distiguishes itself by being the
product of an individual mind at work, showing something of it’s
genesis, the makers vision of why it should exist.
I've heard a number of people define themselves as artist.
And I don't know what that means.<<snip but what we do is not art.
We are artisans, designers, craftpersons, goldsmiths, silversmiths,
lapidaries, metalworkers, but what we produce may be very fine but
it is not art. Someone else may designate what we do as art, but
tha t's merely flattery. It takes some distance (as in time) to
determine what is "art".
That latter statement is really tough for me to swallow. An artist
is a person with a unique vision who transforms raw materials in such
a way as to communicate that vision to others. There will always be
room for disagreement between individuals as to whether or not any
one person or product is or is not art, but I refuse to let anyone,
any organization or an y collective consciousness tell me what has
significance to me. Why do we have to wait on someone else to tell
us who is an artist? Am I no t sufficiently aware of my own
conscientiousness to understand what art is? I f you can tell the
difference between a dictionary and a work of fiction, you can
determine what is and is not art.
So if this is my definition of an artist, who is an artisan? An
artisan is one who translates an artist’s vision. Many artists do
not have the ability to do all the technical steps. Even the great
masters had apprentices to do grunt work. But the vision was from
the artist. Michelangelo did not pour his own bronzes, he did not
mix and pour the plaster to make the mold; he ha d artisans do that
Who is a craftsperson? This has changed over time. Originally, a
craftsperson was an artisan type who made functional, utilitarian
goods like chairs, smoking pipes, clothes, coffins or doors. (the
fact that traditionally a jeweler/goldsmith was considered a
craftsperson is rather interesting to me. What actually is the
function of jewelry other than the fact that it functions as
jewelry, as ornamentation? What kind of function is that? Ah,
that’s another thread) Craftspeople were separated from artist s by
the conventions of the times. Then came people like the Shakers.
Craftspeople who brought a vision of design to their products. These
people were recognized as artists. As time passed, we looked back
on the products of antiquity. Many of these items were unique
because they were made by techniques abandoned for more modern
manufacturing means. Soon it was realized that many contemporary
craftspeople had the exact same qualifications as “artists,” but
their medium was utilitarian. Today, craftspeople still make
utilitarian objects, though at the edges the boundar y between craft
and art can become blurred. I am a craftsperson. I am proud to be
The definition of a goldsmith is fairly straight forward, as is
silversmith and the other “smiths” of the world.
To me the word jeweler has significance. The important aspect of
the word i s “jewel.” A jeweler can be one who makes jeweled objects,
sells jeweled objects or who has a great deal of specific information
about jeweled object s and their components. My definition of jeweler
is broad and I do not wish t o narrow it too much, but some
goldsmiths, though they are rare, are not jewelers because they do
not work with jewels (and some stone setters are not
jewelers because their knowledge is too concise and focused.
“Jeweler” has become a rather catchall phrase and because of that
recently those who traditionally would have been called jewelers
have redefined themselves as gemologists, which is not a bad thing
(but they are still jewelers). I do not mind sharing the title
jeweler with my retail brethren who have never made a single piece of
jewelry. We can both be jewelers just as a Chihuahua and a Great
Dane can both be canine.
One of the limitations of the English language is that it can lack
concise definitions. For example when it is freezing cold and frozen
precipitation is falling outdoors, we English speakers call it snow.
We have only one wor d for snow. The natives of Alaska, in their
native tongue have over a dozen different words for snow.
In closing I am a goldsmith because of the product I make and the
techniques I use, a jeweler because of the knowledge I have
accumulated and use, an artist because of vision I bring to my work
and even a scientist because muc h of what I do is technical,
repeatable, based on empirical formula and not subject to
interpretation and a craftsman due to the utilitarian nature of m y
work. Do I need a degree to be called a scientist? A century to
tell if my work has vision? No.