Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Does subject matter determine if something is jewellery


#1

Was: Why CAD is it needed in our classes?

I suspect we have different definition of jewellery. 

More correctly the above statement should read :-

“I suspect we have different taste in jewellery.”

I found many, many pages of jewellery that is considered jewellery,
regardless of whether I liked it or not.

However the subject matter, in this instance a scorpion, can rob
people of the ability to view it as such. It didn’t do this with me,
and I could appreciate the use of a very special symbol, just
depends on the culture you’re from I guess.

There are a lot of symbols, objects and creatures that could be
considered distasteful by anyone, or awesome by anyone.

Regardless of how we view these symbol (objects and creatures), if
it’s sold as jewellery, then it is jewellery.

People’s thoughts? What would you consider “not” to be jewellery?

Regards Charles A.


#2
There are a lot of symbols, objects and creatures that could be
considered distasteful by anyone, or awesome by anyone. 

This is an interesting subject, and one I’ve thought about a good
bit.

Like most things in life, its all in how it’s done. As Lalique
showed, gorgeous jewelry can be made with spiders, bees, wasps, bats,
dandelion fuzz, all sorts of things.

So, what is inherently ugly?

Several years ago, I asked myself this question after becoming aware
of the Ugly Jewelry Contest, in which viewers vote on the ugliest
piece, so the makers are trying to make something ugly. I took part
once. It is surprisingly hard to make something truly ugly, in a way
that others will agree on. For me, a flower or a frog or an owl
covered in pave is unbearable, but others pay thousands for them.

Though I never entered the contest a second time, I thought long and
hard about inherent ugliness. I decided that a necklace made of photo
negatives, stapled together, of photos of cockroaches and spiders,
might win. But the idea I really liked, but could not bring myself to
actually make, would have been a graduated, symmetrical necklace made
out of cigar and cigarette butts found in public ashtrays. I think
those are ugly by absolutely any standard whatsoever. Even our
natural tendency to create balance and composition that pleases the
eye could not change that.

But the point is, there it’s almost nothing that cannot be adapted
to the pursuit of beauty. Scorpions, after all, are not evil. Same
for any other creature.

It might be tough to make beautiful jewelry that featured
earthworms, but I’m sure it could be done. OK, cockroaches might
actually be impossible.

Noel


#3
There are a lot of symbols, objects and creatures that could be
considered distasteful by anyone, or awesome by anyone. Regardless
of how we view these symbol (objects and creatures), if it's sold
as jewellery, then it is jewellery.

For how many millennia have symbols of phalluses been used in human
adornment? Isn’t that jewelry? I’ve actually seen some recently that
were really beautifully designed and made, but all they did for me
is make me giggle. It’s not what I would like to wear as jewelry,
but I’m sure others would.

As for scorpions, I actually think they can make for beautiful
jewelry, but I think that of most bugs and like critters. But you
have to make a design that exemplifies their beauty, in my opinion.
I have a good photographer friend who’s pictures of bugs and insects
inspire some of my jewelry and even paintings. Insects can be
represented as creepy or crass, or they can be gorgeous
representations of natures wonders. That can be so of a lot of
subjects. I love making equestrian jewelry, and I like how mine
looks. But a lot of horse jewelry I see out there is cheesy as all
get-out! But it still counts as jewelry, just not jewelry I like.
But if it weren’t for cheesy horse jewelry, I maybe never would have
started making jewelry myself. I saw so much of the bad stuff that I
thought, “I have got to learn how to make something better than this
junk!” A lot easier said than done, but I’m on my way.

I actually once saw a person wearing a pave© Homer Simpson eating a
doughnut as a pendant. Jewelry? Yes. Good jewelry? I guess that’s in
the eye of the beholder.


#4
OK, cockroaches might actually be impossible. 

Depends on the cockroach. Some of the neotropical ones are quite
attractive.

Debby


#5

Hi Charles,

I do agree with what you said, but I would like to slightly edit it.
You Regardless of how we view these symbol (objects and creatures),
if it’s sold as jewellery, then it is jewellery."

Instead, didn’t you mean, if it’s INTENDED TO BE SOLD AS JEWELLERY,
AND CAN BE WORN AS ADORNMENT/JEWELLERY, then it is jewellery,
regardless of the design elements and disregarding individual taste.
It is my understanding that, if an intended jewellery objet cannot be
worn, it just ain’t jewellery! Right?

Linda Kaye-Moses


#6
OK, cockroaches might actually be impossible.

Back in my school days I got my hands on a cockroach from the
biology dept. and replica cast it in silver to make a “roach clip”.
It was lovely to me then. Of course it went the way of all pot
paraphanalia. It was lost when we were stoned.

Have fun and make lots of jewlery.

Jo Haemer
timothywgreen.com


#7

There are three types of interest people have when contemplating
jewelry, conceptual appeal (subject matter), aesthetic appeal
(beauty), social appeal (status building). None of these determines
whether a piece is jewelry.

The question for me, as I posted some time ago, is when does a piece
of personal ornament rise into the realm of jewelry? Or, conversely,
when does a piece descend from the heights of jewelry and become
simply ornament? (Let us put aside for the moment the category of
costume jewelry.)

As an example, let us look at broad collars. The inlaid gold, glass
and fa?ence broad collar found in the tomb of Tutankhamun

is certainly jewelry. But what about the lace collars of the 17th
century?

They serve the similar purpose of framing the face. That they are
lace makes them an article of status, as lace is expensive. Like
jewelry, they serve no hard function, but are objects of ornament and
status building.

So, Tut’s collar and the lace collar are both ornament. What makes
one jewelry and the other not. If the lace collar is, in fact, not
jewelry.

Similarly, if one were to crochet a bunch of small cotton spheres
and string them on thread as though they were pearls, and wear that
as a necklace, would that be jewelry? And if a strand of cotton beads
were jewelry, why would a cotton collar not be jewelry?

As I said in my earlier post, that the French have two words,
joailllerie and bijouterie, where we have but one makes it a little
easier for them.

Elliot Nesterman


#8

Noel- you touched on a sensitive spot! Years ago I made a Cockroach
Pin in Sterling Silver with Ruby Eyes for a gentleman in Texas. He,
his wife, and I considered it to be a lovely piece of jewelry. I am
quite prepared forcriticism from “real” jewelry makers who consider
this work not to be “real Jewelry” because it is in Sterling Silver,
it is cast, and it’s subjectmatter is (gasp!) a cockroach. Well my
fleas, Japanese beetles, and all the other insects I can think of and
have made have a small but avid following. Many people are just
creepy about insects and wont wear them. That doesn’t mean that it
isn’t jewelry for those who do. I deeply admire the exquisite
workmanship in the complex high end precious metal and gemstone
jewelry that I have seen on Orchid, but not all of it is beautiful,
at least not by my sense of beauty. Beauty is a very variable and
subjective concept, and in my eyes, insects are indeed beautifuln
rally bautful among nature’s most beautiful designs.

I would really like to share the images of my Cockroaches with you,
and getsome comments or discussion about them. I just found a way to
attach the pictures to this email, but I am not sure that it is
acceptable so I am alsoposting a link to the web page it is on. (I
hope this is OK, Hanuman. If not, pleae let me know how to do it
properly)

The first two pictures on the page are of the Cockroach Pin.

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep7zvo

Sandra wishing a Happy New Year to everyone
Elegant Insects jewelry


#9
The first two pictures on the page are of the Cockroach Pin.
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep7zvo 

Well, I DID say “a cockroach might be impossible”-- not “is
impossible”.

I agree your pin is very cool. However, it looks more like a shield
bug (“stinkbug”) than a roach to me-- I grew up in Florida with the
huge, flat, shiny brown ones, and yes, those totally give me the
creeps. But as I said, like everything in life, it’s all in how it’s
done.

I suspect you already own this book, "An Inordinate Fondness for
Beetles"

but for anyone who has not seen it-- it is a beautiful book, with
gorgeous photographs and interesting text. Some of the beetles
already look as though they’re made of gems, gold and/or silver! I
recommend it.

Noel


#10
Back in my school days I got my hands on a cockroach from the
biology dept. and replica cast it in silver to make a "roach
clip". It was lovely to me then. Of course it went the way of all
pot paraphanalia. It was lost when we were stoned.

Bwahahaha! I remember back in the day when we all thought making
paraphernalia like that was really, really cool, and that no one
else anywhere ever thought to do it! And we always lost it. But I
bet you silver “roach clip” was pretty cool.


#11
Hi guess we are moving to believe it or not. OK, cockroaches might
actually be impossible. 

As a joke I did that about 30 years ago. I have a beautiful Biba
plastic cicada. I took a mould from it and made some modifications
and made it into a cockroach cast in resin. I sold them through a
shop called Gamebirds on Oxford street Sydney. The shop was owned by
Gretel Pininger AKA Madam Lash (on stage). I also had a metal
stamping of a flying cicada (Victorian I think), looked more like a
fly to me. Did the same thing. I did however make the resin embedded
with foil so they looked like black opal. I even saw a copy of my fly
made in London.

Sold quite a few, but hey that was the 80’s and fashion was over the
top.

Fast forward, I have a range of reticulated silver I made for bikies
as I did not sell much jewellery to men. On its first showing the
ladies told me how beautiful it wasee And they bought it, never sold
one to a bikie.

Now I mostly make what what my apprenticed daughter designs, I hate
to admit that her skills leave me so far behind. But what the heck I
like the cash. You just never know do you?

Richard


#12
if an intended jewellery objet cannot be worn, it just ain't
jewellery! Right? 

This is an interesting question. If you hadn’t asked it, I believe I
would have said exactly the same.

But then, just today, I shipped off my teapot to the Saul Bell
Awards folks. If you can’t make tea in it, is it a teapot?

To put the question more broadly, is it legitimate to make an
artwork about something, and consider the artwork to be that thing?
A teapot about tea (or that uses the feelings that tea/teapots evoke)
but that cannot be used to make tea, is still a teapot. An artwork
that looks like jewelry, and is in some way a commentary about
jewelry, or about, say, conspicuous consumption, or beauty, or
commitment, or any of the other things that jewelry
symbolizes/evokes. I would still be willing to call that jewelry.

Now, if it is intended to be worn, but is simply so badly designed
that it does not function, well, I certainly would not want to
include that as jewelry. I might call it “jewelry”, with quotes.

There has always been a continuum between craft and fine art, and I
cannot-- and do not want to-- draw a neat line between them. So I
guess I must come down on the side of the discussion that says, no,
it’s not that cut and dried.

Noel


#13

Hi Elliot,

Similarly, if one were to crochet a bunch of small cotton spheres
and string them on thread as though they were pearls, and wear
that as a necklace, would that be jewelry? And if a strand of
cotton beads were jewelry, why would a cotton collar not be
jewelry? 

The lace collar is considered clothing, and as you see from the link
you provided she is wearing pearls. No one in the world would view a
lace collar as anything but clothing.

In the example of cotton balls, then that is jewellery, as it cannot
be mistaken for clothing.

Maybe it’s the intent of the maker, tricky.

Regards Charles A.


#14
But then, just today, I shipped off my teapot to the Saul Bell
Awards folks. If you can't make tea in it, is it a teapot? 

Perhaps you should take a line through M. Magritte and title it,
“Ceci n’est pas une th?i?re.”

Elliot Nesterman


#15

Functionality is probably the best answer. Back in the day, sweater
guards were very fashionable. Was this a jewelry trend? These days
even safety pins are used as jewelry elements. It’s all up to our
customers. Give them what they want and let them call it jewelry. It
may not be ‘fine’ jewelry, but if it can be worn as such, then so be
it.

Margie Mersky


#16
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep7zvo

Hi Sandra, I took a look at your pictures. Cockroaches bother me,
but your workmanship is gorgeous. I really liked the dragonflies.
Keep at it. Sheri


#17

One thing to consider Elliot, is the costume of the day dictated
starched lace collars- definitely costume/clothing of the
aristocracy. never jewellery. Jewellery though, in context of modern
jewellery is far more broad and textiles are routinely incorporated
in adornment meant to be worn on the body. The real difference is
between American and European and contexts- for instance;some pieces
are designed to sit in a gallery, and be purchased for an
individuals’s art jewelery collection, or created specifically for a
museum’s show with a given theme. the work most of us that make
jewelry here in Orchid land are metalsmiths, goldsmiths or
otherwise- smiths, or those that are originally smiths expanding
their skill sets to include the use of technologies for production
runs., or non-one off pieces. and combinations in-between. For me art
jewellery has metal in it and that makes up 80 % of the piece- the
balance being precious or semi-precious stones or occassionally the
found object like a vitreous bit found on a beach tumbled for
centuries or perhaps a foil, or enamel. but that’s my tast. I would
not consider felt with a feather jewelry but ther are those that do-
felt set in a handcrafted bezel however fits my definition- so
jewellery is idiosyncratic definitions of what is acceptable in the
eyes or sentiment of the maker, or artisan. To judge anyone’s
definition is, in my opinion pointless, as each craftsman’s
definitions are idiosyncratic and sometimes affected by locale, and
whether or not they are making a living at it or doing it in the
first place as a hobby, or simply in retail jewelry
business.-reselling semi-mounts and other mass produced “cookie
cutter” designs found in retail jewelery chain stores across the
country. Those independents in business as jewelers would probably
differ in their definitions from those who are artists making a piece
of “jewellery” differing further from those in Europe making art that
is jewellery I would not compare them nor attempt to as they are as
different as the designers that create the pieces and the purpose
those pieces serve, as well as the market or target market that one’s
work is designed to attract. . rer


#18

I think that is like saying or asking if subject matter determines if
it is art. Jewelry being a subset of art.

IMHO, if the intent is Art/Jewelry and it is appreciated
(aesthetically)… then it is.

I mean, that as beautiful as Nature itself is, it isn’t art because
it does not have the intention to be so. Even for how appreciated it
is.

I can take a piece of nature and by intent turn it into art. take a
stick put a pin in it and call it a brooch. if it is appreciated
then it is art. if it is stuck in a box for nobody to ever see. then
it is not art.

There are a great many subject that I find distasteful, but since
others appreciate it. it is still art.

I can also build something that is strictly functional and not
appreciated it aesthetically… it is not art. (even in my ego
centric id, everything that I make is art ;))

Gets a little grey. say a lathe built in the 1800s. would have been
appreciated by it’s purpose of functionality and not as an art…
and wasn’t intended as such.

yet we today can think of it as a thing of beauty and regard it as
such. Not sure where that stands.

Cheers,
Christopher Lund
Neurascenic - Industrial Design


#19

Many, many (many. .) years ago, I took a short class from ceramic
artist Verne Funk. At the beginning I said “Do you make pots, or.
.”. His reply: “Well, pots, or statements about pots. .”.

BK in BWA


#20

Hi Noel: I guess nothing is really impossible- I’ve made two
stinkbugs, so far (and sold them both!) One a pendant and the other
a pin. They are really quite different from both cockroaches and the
cicadas. But I can imagine that when you see a big brown bug coming
at you, it would be pretty hard tostop and try to identify it.

Here’s a picture of the pin.

(I finally figuredout how to do the tinyurls.) My models were mostly
photos, drawings and other images, all a great deal smaller than the
finished product. I would have been thrilled to have a larger,
preserved one to look at, but here in NYthe are much smaller. In the
summer they eat through whole gardens, and they often gather in the
cold winter in large groups and try to enter houses where it is
warm. Needless to say, the tenants are not happy.

Thank you for suggesting the book. I do own it and love it. It is
one of the most beautiful Insect books around and you really get the
feeling that the authors were thoroughly enamored of them.

Best Wishes
Sandra
Elegant Insects Jewelry