This is a very interesting discussion.
Jon, with the massive layoffs GM just announced, you probably did
make the right decision. It's sort of the opposite with me - have
the day job, and the health insurance, but that's only while I am
working - and I am very lucky to work for a company that pays for
I make jewelry because I love it. Looking into the not-so-distant
future when I reach the age of retirement, I hope to be good
enough, with well developed skills, to have something I both love
doing and can make some kind of living with. Certainly, I can't
picture myself at the age of 70 doing a day job like I have now.
Retirement? There really isn't one for me. I will have to work until
I drop dead, and will probably live to well into my 90's.
There is much to be said for craftsmanship - it does seem like many
people want to skip the work, the effort, and the time it takes to
learn and develop the skills necessary to really know what they are
doing - but I don't think it's exclusive to this industry. I think
it's the American way. We want it fast, and we want it now!
But fortunately, there are plenty of people who do appreciate well
crafted work. They do know the difference between stuff
mass-produced by underpaid laborers and the work most of us care
about. Personally, when I start thinking about all the stuff
marketed as artisan made which really isn't, I drive myself nuts.
Discussions like this bring it back to the sense that all I can do
is what I love, keep the desire to continue learning, and understand
that the only thing unique about my work is that my hands actually
I agree with whoever said that eventually many of the "designers"
will be weeded out.
There was one such designer that was everywhere, and I mean
everywhere, in CA - in small little coastal shops and high-end
jewelry stores. In a couple high-end stores the sales people tried
to pass it off as artisan made, even tho anyone with half a brain
had to know it was mass produced overseas. Eventually this designer
disappeared - there was such a glut of this jewelry I think people
got sick of seeing it everywhere and it stopped selling.
We should take pride in our desire to keep craftsmanship alive and
well. While it won't make us rich quick, our work will outlive us,
and that's way more than many of these non-artisan designers can
And Elaine, wish I had seen that Onion article! They amaze me with
their dead-on satire.