Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Hand made was Detecting quality


#1

I posted this last week but somehow the FTC was removed
and it is the heart of the posting…

In the US the FTC has some comments on the use of the terms hand made
or hand wrought (it does not draw a distinction between the two)
23.3 Misuse of the terms “hand-made,” “hand-polished,” etc.

(a) It is unfair or deceptive to represent, directly or by
implication, that any industry product is hand-made or hand-wrought
unless the entire shaping and forming of such product from raw
materials and its finishing and decoration were accomplished by hand
labor and manually-controlled methods which permit the maker to
control and vary the construction, shape, design, and finish of each
part of each individual product.

Note to paragraph (a): As used herein, “raw materials” include bulk
sheet, strip, wire, and similar items that have not been cut,
shaped, or formed into jewelry parts, semi-finished parts, or blanks.

(b) It is unfair or deceptive to represent, directly or by
implication, that any industry product is hand-forged,
hand-engraved, hand-finished, or hand-polished, or has been otherwise
hand-processed, unless the operation described was accomplished by
hand labor and manually-controlled methods which permit the maker to
control and vary the type, amount, and effect of such operation on
each part of each individual product.

So if you even solder on a cast or die struck setting the product
cannot be called hand made or hand wrought. it must be made from bulk
sheet or wire. So in the US any cast product cannot be called hand
made or hand wrought.

Jim


#2

Hi Jim, Probably no one will agree with me and also, who am I to
criticize the law of this great nation. But if you take it to it’s
limits, it doesn’t make sense, or does it? It surely wasn’t the
intention of the Founding Fathers to include casting in composing
this paragraph, but do they succeed ("a) It is unfair or deceptive to
represent, directly or by implication, that any industry product is
hand-made or hand-wrought unless the entire shaping and forming of
such product from raw materials and its finishing and decoration were
accomplished by hand labor and manually-controlled methods which
permit the maker to control and vary the construction, shape, design,
and finish of each part of each individual product. - Note to
paragraph (a): As used herein, “raw materials” include bulk sheet,
strip, wire, and similar items that have not been cut, shaped, or
formed into jewelry parts, semi-finished parts, or blanks. ")? So, a
tube of wax is not excluded (they probably forgot the word ‘metal’),
nor is carving it (which controls the construction, shape, etc. by
hand), and I would say that I control my (centrifugal) casting
machine manually. Indeed, a casting produced from a mold cannot
called a handcrafted piece by any definition. For me, an originally
casted piece is as much handcrafted as a ‘handcrafted’ piece in the
bogus sense above and I suspect that those who do not agree with this
have interests to defend which are not necessarily the interests of
the public. God thank most people just make their stuff the way they
deem best according to their personal competences and to the
requirements of the individual piece they have in mind. Thanks for reading.
Best, Will


#3

Jim, I don’t know if I would go so far as to interpret the FTC
wording to completely exclude all types of casting. PRODUCTION-level
casting methods would absolutly be excluded by the wording, but
certain “heritage” casting methods wouldn’t be. For example,
cuttlebone or sand castings, where each item is individually carved,
hand-melted, hand-poured, and then hand-finished would not be
excluded from the designation. These methods typically produce
one-off or very limited “runs” of items, where the result is manually
controlled.

The way I read the text, there’s nothing in there that would exclude
these types of casting techniques.

Anyone else read it that way?

Karen Goeller
@Karen_Goeller


Handcrafted and Unique Artisan Jewelry


#4
    (b) It is unfair or deceptive to represent, directly or by
implication, that any industry product is hand-forged,
hand-engraved, hand-finished, or hand-polished, or has been
otherwise hand-processed, unless the operation described was
accomplished by hand labor and manually-controlled methods which
permit the maker to control and vary the type, amount, and effect
of such operation on each part of each individual product. So if
you even solder on a cast or die struck setting the product cannot
be called hand made or hand wrought. it must be made from bulk
sheet or wire. So in the US any cast product cannot be called hand
made or hand wrought. 

I am not a lawyer, I’m a metallurgist, but…

My reading of the intent of the rules is that a thing should be
"hand made" if every step of the making - that could alter the
character of the piece - is manually controlled such that infinte
variation in the character is possible at the whim (or error) of the
maker (i.e. there are infinite possible outcomes for the finished
work and no two will be identical). A casting should satisfy that
criterion if it it is a faithful first generation copy of a hand
made non-reusable pattern and is finished by hand methods.

Even if the casting process is “mechanical” it should not detract
from the hand-madeness of the piece because there are no variables
in (successful) casting that can be altered by a hand maker - either
the cast is faithful or its a reject. The maker cannot “control and
vary the type, amount, and effect of” casting on a piece (except by
their input into the pattern) - they either cast it right or they
don’t. The maker’s controll of the casting process is entirely
through the pattern, so if that’s hand-made and manually controlled
then the casting process is manually-controlled. Just as a forging
made with a powered hammer is still hand-forged if the smith
controlls by hand when the hammer drops and what angle they are
holding the work at when it does - even though they have no controll
over the angle the hammer comes down at.

I think that you should ask the FTC for clarification on whether an
article’s “hand-madeness” is defined by its compliance to the intent
of their rules (which would allow a hand-made cast product) or its
compliance to the letter of the examples they give.

The fact that they show the intent of the rules and give examples of
its application implies that they are aware that the wording cannot
apply neatly to all possible situations in the real world.

Iain Fielden
Sheffield, UK


#5
 I like the concept of "sole authorship" 

Me too! However, on the subject of “hand-made” and “hand-wrought” .
. . I use the term “hand-fabricated”. Yes, this could mean
"hand-made" but it could equally mean “hand-constructed” (another
good term). Seems to me the FTC might not object to
"hand-fabricated" since it doesn’t necessarily denote that all
parts are necessarily hand-made; or do you think I am just
splitting semantic hairs? I guess there would need to be a few test
cases before any of these issues could be settled, but I’d prefer it
remain untested and ambiguous myself :-).

Beth


#6

Certainly the design and carving the original wax should qualify as
hand made. Do we make the distinction then between a one off casting
from a wax and numerous castings made using a mold taken from an
original wax? Most of the castings that I use are one off from my
original model. I would like to consider them “hand made”. Does that
change if I make 10 or 100 or 1000 pieces from my original wax?

Joel Schwalb
@Joel_Schwalb
www.schwalbstudio.com


#7

I read this differently. I see nothing that would preclude wax &
cast. The wax is formed by hand from bulk material, it is invested
by hand, cast by hand from shot, which is raw material, then
finished by hand. While it does not specifically state "metal shot"
under raw materials, shot fits nicely into the "similar items"
designation.

I think the note to (a) refers to starting with a blank produced
with machine production methods, not findings. The intent seems to
me to be that the forming and finishing has to be done with tools
that require the maker to control and vary the results. If casting
were prohibited I think they would state so.

Remember, anything which is not expressly forbidden is permissible!

Spike Cornelius
Portland, Or.
RC ArtMetal


#8

I haven’t followed this thread very faithfully… But isn’t it the
APPLICATION of the process rather than simply the process itself
that determines its provenace as hand made? As always, it boils down
to a matter of intent. Casting, like tumbling, rubber moulding or
electroforming, can simply be a step, or a tool, in the process of
building a one of a kind piece. It can also be used as the main
mechanism for reproducing, over and over, many generations of product
from an original, hand made, model.

I recently adressed something (briefly) similar during the
Professional Practices session at the SNAG conference. While melting
some scrap to pour an ingot, I noticed that a scrapped disc of silver
took the shape of a crow’s head as it was melting. I turned the torch
off and rescued this bit from the melt. It was a wonderful form and
many applications came to mind. Rather than commit to just one, I
rubber molded it and used the sterling original in a piece titled
"Fred’s Crow". Years later I shot another wax, cast the item in 14k
and built another piece titled “Bound Crow”. Both pieces were one of
a kind and totally handmade, employing what is traditionaly thought
of as a mass production technique.

Andy Cooperman


#9

I think “Hand-Crafted” is a more inclusive, but legal, description
for work that has some measure (unspecified) of individual attention
from its maker. Like “natural”, it means whatever you want it to…

Andrew Werby
www.unitedartworks.com


#10
  Most of the castings that I use are one off from my original
model. I would like to consider them "hand made". Does that change
if I make 10 or 100 or 1000 pieces from my original wax? 

I like to carve/create waxes, then i make molds, and one of my
favorite chores is to cut some of the metal castings into any
interesting sections, and hammer, twist and bend and solder them
into findings for my wood jewelry; things, like bails, carved up
jump rings, etc., I also like to juxtapose a few of one casting into
different arrangements and solder, especially for rings, or
pendants. It’s amazing how many different designs you can make with 3
of the same casting, or is it me? My favorite ftc compliant design
however, is when i throw a few pieces of silver, wood, and stone into
a hat, and pull out a rabbit! By the way, does anyone know where
i can get 100 wood bangles cast? dp


#11

I don’t know about anybody else, but this whole thread is getting me
a bit frazzled. I understand what the letter of the FTC rules are,
and I really don’t have a big problem with that. The only problem I
have with the Feds at this level is that I see far too many ‘unfair
trade practices’ in every walk of life that seem to go completely
without reaction. Misleading advertising abounds in todays
marketplace, and there doesn’t seem to be any reaction on the FTC’s
part except in the most flagrant cases, which usually means those
cases which draw the most complaints.

What is frazzling me is this. On my production line, I choose (from
both preference and current necessity) to have an outside contractor
do my mold making and casting. Yes, I do know how to do it, but have
never had the time, opportunity or even desire to perfect those
skills. To make the investment of time and money to purchase the
equipment, hone my skills and inventory the raw materials is out of
the question for me right now. Maybe someday in the future. Even if
I did my own casting work, it seems that I could not call my pieces
’handmade’ if I am pumping waxes into a rubber mold, even if I made
the original, and do all of my own assembly and finishing. So for
now, it is more cost effecient for me to farm out the casting work.

A distinction I think we need in the marketplace is one between
folks like us who have a ‘production line’ that keeps us eating while
we work on the really nice stuff, and the folks who buy up huge
numbers of castings from some supplier, do a bit of finishing, glue
in a stone (or do rudimentary setting work) and then try to market
this as ‘handcrafted’ jewelry. They are purchasing settings that
they had no part in either designing or creating, cheap gemstones (or
imitations), then doing some finishing and assembly work that is at
the lowest end of our skill levels. They then market these things in
a way, and at a price, that has a very direct and detrimental effect
on our livelyhood as craftspeople/artists. I don’t make nearly as
many one-of-a-kind pieces as I would like to these days. I don’t
mind somebody requiring that I distinguish between my completely had
fabricated pieces and my production pieces. But, I don’t like it
when my production pieces (which are my own designs, made from my
original models, assembled, stone set and finished by my own hands)
are dumped into the same kettle as the cheap imports being sold as
’hand crafted’.

As a side note, how many of us really can call everything we make
’handmade’ by the strictest FTC guidelines. From prong heads to jump
rings to earring posts (and backs) to pin hardware, can any of us
honestly say we don’t use any commercial findings (and still make a
good living purely from our jewelry sales)? It is one thing to have
the skills to make it all, another to do it at any practical level in
todays economy, I think. Have the skills, but know when to buy the
parts. Use the skills where it really counts, and where you can’t
get what you need from a catalog. Jim


#12

Hello Orchidland, FYI, our local microbrewery calls their beers
"hand-crafted." Sort of a misnomer. I don’t think they actually put
their bare hands into the brew as that would introduce who knows
what! As Andrew Werby said, "it means whatever you want it to…"
Judy in Kansas


#13

I knew this would stir the pot a little but that was the intention.
I think it is important to think about these things.

Two points I want to make.

  The first being that the FTC "Guides for the Jewelry, Precious

Metals, and Pewter Industries"
(http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/guides/jewel-gd.htm) are to advise anyone
involved in the industry who offers for sale in the US jewelry,
precious metal products, pewter etc. (this includes the individual
designer / craftsperson about what the government considers
deceptive practices in the sale of jewelry etc. It is worth reading
and it is not really too hard to understand. In reading you will
find it is aimed more at the larger manufacturers and sellers and
not at all to the designer / craftsperson but we are still bound to
adhere to the guides. I am not sure any designer craftsperson has
ever been contacted by the FTC about deceptive practices so there is
probably not much enforcement of the guides on the scale business
that most of us are involved in. However if there ever is remember
that ignorance of the law is not an excuse. I personally would like
to see it revised to somehow include designers and craftspersons
work to cover things like if you have multiple precious metals in a
piece you cannot legally stamp it with their various quality marks (
I know we have already beaten this particular subject to death but I
use it as an example). I also think the area we are currently
talking about needs clarification. I know that industry groups like
the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC) lobby the FTC about revision
of the guides but they are again representing the larger businesses
and not the designer/craftsperson. I think this is where SNAG could
be of some service to the working smith but they still seem to be
focused in the academic world. So for right now we don’t seem to
have a voice in these matters.

The second point is the more controversial one from the replies I

have seen so far but here goes. Casting is by definition a
duplication process. It does not matter if you do a one off wax
casting or carve into cuttle bone or sand or whatever. The metal
piece that results is a copy. Does that mean it is not good or a
piece of art or whatever you intended it to be? No of course not,
but is it hand made? My tendency is to say in the strict
interpretation, no it is not. The reason I say this is that once the
makers hand creates the master or carves the mold any competent
worker with a crucible of molten metal can fill the mold and it will
make no difference to the outcome of the casting. If it is done with
the requisite basic skill it will be a good reproduction of the
original model whether you make only one copy or ten thousand. The
pouring of the casting will not alter the line, shape, or quality of
the original item. It will either be a faithful reproduction or it
will not and if not most often is scrapped to try again. Whereas if
the object is a fabrication from sheet and wire then every stroke of
the file, every blow of the hammer, every cut with the saw puts the
final result at risk. How is that different from the carving of the
original for a casting? Our customers don’t wear the wax model or
cuttle bone.

Jim


#14

Perhaps the FTC guidelines are more easily understood through the
analogy of a different discipline. If I paint a painting, then have
prints made - which have to be signed, numbered, carefully framed and
so forth - are those prints the same as the original in principal?
Are they “handmade”? Should a differentiation be made?

John de Rosier
(who is just getting into all this…)


#15

Jim, I like this discussion, but I want to be pragmatic. I do not
think that too many customers know a lot about how jewelry is being
made. I assume (on the basis of what I often hear) that many of them
intuitively value handmade work more than work that has been casted -
which sounds ‘industrial’ and ‘modern’. And this is, as Jim Reitz
also explained, where the troubles begin. Several points can be made.
To address yours: you say that, in the strict interpretation (which
is, without doubt, the one of the FTC), a piece that has been casted
cannot be considered handmade because a) casting is per definition a
duplication process; and b) the original model is made in wax. I
wouldn’t say that casting is a duplication process. I see it as a
realization process. The result is not a duplicate of the wax model,
for the simple reason that it is in metal: it hopefully has the same
form, but it doesn’t have the same nature. The purpose of casting is
not to make a duplicate but to realize the final model so that the
thing can be considered as being jewelry. The purpose of mold making,
on the other hand, is to arrange things so that countless duplicates
can be made. I still fail to see why carving a piece in wax - which
is a very demanding skill - should be any less considered to be
handwork than to construct a piece from metal sheet, etc. The fact
that there is one final step, the casting, before the piece actually
comes into being as a piece of jewelry does, in my opinion, not make
the wax carving any less handmade than any other handwork. Why would
it? Also, I consider the fact that, after the wax model is made, any
competent person can cast the piece not relevant as the same (or
approximately the same), can be said about the soldering process for
fabricated (handmade) pieces. Nor do I consider the fact that, when
fabricating a piece, every wrong effort (hammer blow, file mark) can
ruin or almost ruin the piece to be a relevant distinction because
exactly the same can be said about the wax model. If you ruin it, you
have to start all over (it surely doesn’t need a hammer blow). While
you say that you do not make a distinction in quality between a
casted piece and a handmade piece, I am sure that many customers do
so. In my mind, I see two jewelers. The first one casts her pieces
and cannot call her work handmade while the second one calls her work
handmade while pulling the sheet through the rolling mill (or maybe
using a bonny doom press) - and, after all, where does this sheet
comes from? Where are her wires, chasing tools and dies coming from?
Probably from the same dealer which sells the casting grain. This
fails to make sense to me.

From a logical point of view, I find all of this rather strange.
Casting has been with us for thousands of years. I’m sure that books
about archeology can be found wherein casting is given as an example
as a handmade process in human evoluation. I think that the clue in
all of this is that we (and certainly politicians (but oh boy) and
lawmakers) need to realize that alot of traditional distinctions have
become outdated. Try to give an example of nature, devoid of any
culture or of something societal without any nature involved - the
fusion of it is the history of modernity (though it is not it’s
agenda). Try to think about any craft which has not been
industrialized and routinized. Still, some of us still make beautiful
things and that is what counts, except when you consider jewelry
making solely as a means to make a living. For all practical matters,
I think that it would be best to drop the distinction between
handmade and not handmade altogther because this distinction doesn’t
make sense and it surely isn’t honest. And while I believe that life
can be hard in societies like ours for people who want to make
beautiful and lasting things, I do not think that using wrong and
confusing labels is a productive strategy. Best, Will


#16

If you take “handmade” to level that you, yourself, have to actually
make everything used in the piece, there is very little that any
artist makes in any field that would qualify. As a visual artist
with over 20 years in the visual arts field, I can assure that while
I do make paper, I have never made my own printmaking paper. I don’t
make my own steel or copper plates for etching or monoprinting - I
create the image on the plate, but I didn’t make the plate itself! I
don’t “make” the canvas I paint on - nor do I make the stretchers it
is stretched on. For convenience sake I don’t even stretch them
myself anymore. Not cost productive. I don’t make my clay, or my
glazes. I buy them - then make a piece with them.

So when I buy an already cut gemstone and set it in an already made
setting, I am doing the same thing. Now usually, I do more than just
set a stone and run a nice chain through the bail - - if that was
all I was doing then they could go buy that at Wal-Mart!!! I don’t
have any problem with beginning with a pre-cut stone and
prefabricated setting and moving in my own direction from there
though. When I bead, I don’t make either my gemstone beads or my
delicas! I buy them, then use them to create something of my own.
These ARE still handmade items, and handmade by me.

I think the issue is being quite clear with the customer as to what
YOU made, and what you didn’t. It is very obvious which settings I
have purchased, and which I have created myself - they don’t look at
all alike, and customers have seen plenty of the purchase type
settings all over. They know I don’t make my own tiny chains. I
don’t make all of my own clasps - some designs are beyond my ability,
and it would not be very cost-effective either! My “creation” comes
in how I put together the purchased “ingredients”, and the customer
buys based on the final creation. If I were to just string together
purchased components with no artistic input, the selling power of the
piece would certainly be a reflection of that! People buy my jewelry
because it IS unique, I make only one of most things, and it is NOT
something they have seen, or are likely to see, anywhere else. My
work reflects my artistic vision, created using jewelry materials,
just as my paintngs or prints or handmade paper or fiber pieces
reflect my artistic vision created using those materials. And it is
just as handmade!

Best wishes to all. Beth in SC where it doesn’t seem to know it
should be summer weather by now!


#17
The reason I say this is that once the makers hand creates the
master or carves the mold any competent worker with a crucible of
molten metal can fill the mold and it will make no difference to
the outcome of the casting. If it is done with the requisite basic
skill it will be a good reproduction of the original model whether
you make only one copy or ten thousand 

Well, that’s what knockoffs are all about! You can fabricate a
lovely piece and an unscrupulous customer can purchase it and have a
mold made of it, have it reproduced ,sell dozens of the copies
outside of your venue and make a much greater profit than you ever
did off your original design without your knowledge

My mother was a purist. Early in my jewelry studies,every time I
showed her a piece I had made, she would say, “Did you cut the
stone?” And I would reply, “No, and I didn’t mine it either. But I
chose it for its quality.I am not a lapidary. That is another skill.
I fabricate.” " Then why do you call castings your work?" she
would ask, “If you send the stuff out to be cast?” Reply: " Because I
make the wax exactly as I want it reproduced in metal. The wax has
my unique touch. If I make no mold, it’s a one-off. If I make
several pieces and destroy the mold, it’s a limited edition. Casting
is another skill. When you sew a dress from a pattern, is that your
dress? If you sew on commercial buttons or a zipper is that
original? Where is handmade and where is manufactured?"

I think I have -sort of- solved the problem to my own satisfaction.
If (for example) I fabricate a ring which, by its nature, requires
manufactured fancy bezel wire, or if I have a one-off casting (no
mold and no mold intended) made, I label it “original creation” or
"one-of-a-kind created by…" That kinda sidesteps the handmade,
handwrought, hand-crafted controversy and leaves the customer and
the legal eagles to worry about the semantics.
Dee


#18

I can address John’s question about paintings and prints, as an
artist with over 20 years in both painting and printmaking. The
painting is the original art work. The prints are, in spite of all
marketing hype, NOT original works of art! They are not even
original PRINTS! They are COPIES of an original, made by essentially
the same printing process that creates magazine covers, just done on
better paper. An original print is a print that was conceived as a
print, has never been a painting or a drawing, and was created from
start to finish using a printmaking technique, whether by being
etched on a metal plate, or drawn on a lithographic stone or plate,
or formed on a silk screen.

To me, this is the whole distinction between what is genuinely
"handmade" - the original print, or painting - or in jewelry the
casting made by the artist who carved the wax to make the casting -
or something that is a “production copy” of an original - this would
be the large edition commercial prints of an original, or the large
edition commercial castings of an original.

So maybe instead of handmade, those using casting in jewelry should
try “original work of art”? If you conceived the piece and carved
the wax and made the casting, it is certainly YOUR original work of
art! Even if you had it commercially cast, and then YOU finished it,
I would think in terms of the casting as sculpture, it is still very
much in the historic tradition of “original sculpture”. As I
mentioned in an earlier post, it is only quite recently in history
that sculptors actually cast in metal or carved in stone their own
designs. Many sculptors today still don’t do their own casting and
carving - yet their pieces are quite definitely considered
"original". It is when the “original” moves into mass creation that
it loses its distinction as an original, and much of its perceived,
and for sale purposes real, value.

Beth in SC


#19

Another very interesting thread. Again, I can’t help but jump in
here.

First of all, whether or not an item is handmade is not determined
by who handmade it. It is determined by whether or not it is
handmade. So whether the artist offering it for sale was the one
who handmade it or whether it was handmade by someone else does not
determine if it qualifies for that label. Naturally, if you are one
who makes jewelry, I would think you would want to be offering
jewelry that you yourself made, but maybe not exclusively anyway.

Second, I must say to Beth that buying a cut stone and setting it in
an already purchased setting does not qualify as handmaking. It
qualifies as assembling. The purchased setting could be handmade by
someone else and thus qualify as handmade in and of itself, however.
The stringing of purchased components together to create a necklace
would come a lot closer to handmade because the individual
components in their original form did not even come close to
resembling the finished product. However, technically this may
still be assembling.

Third, to John, the prints of the original painting are the same in
principal but they are definitely not handmade. They are prints of
an original handmade painting. Even though it would be obvious, if
you were buying a print, how would you feel if someone were to
represent it as an original painting? Yes, a differentiation should
be made.

Fourth, just because an item does not have the designation of
handmade does not mean it does not have artistic value or merit.
Although a customer may value an object d’art more if it is
handmade, it still embodies the artistic vision and design skills of
the artist even if it is not handmade. The handmade designation
does not refer to the end value of the object, but rather the
process by which it was arrived at.

Fifth, as Beth said, what the customer knows and doesn’t know about
who did what is the very heart of the issue. It is about not
misrepresenting what you are offering the customer so that they know
exactly what they are getting for their money. Some may not care,
but I think it is up to us to clearly represent the facts and let
the customer do with them (the facts) what they will. Stretching
the definition of what can be considered handmade just so an item
can be given that designation I think does not serve anyone well.

Six, casting does present some gray areas. I agree with Will that
carving a wax model and then casting it should not disqualify a
piece from being considered handmade. The casting is one step in
the creation process. Perhaps the line should be drawn as he
suggests when a mold is made and multiple “duplicates” are produced.

Lastly, it seems to me that, despite its shortcomings, the FTC
regulation’s very intent was to protect our ability to label
something we create as handmade while excluding those who mass
produce items from being allowed to apply the same label. As
methods of mass production become more widely available and more
widely used, more are affected, including some of us. If we can’t
even agree amongst ourselves what handmade means, how can we expect
a bunch of bureaucrats to figure it out? So I challenge my fellow
Orchidians to come up with a more suitable wording for the
regulation.

Respectfully,
Dale


#20

I doubt that what I have to add to this thread is productive, but
the reductio ad absurdum has been frying my brain for days. I made a
sweat soldered “landscape” piece but I cut out the moon with a disc
cutter–something obviously designed to make perfect, identical
circles. Is the piece no longer “hand made”? I guess I should have
bought a pre-cut disc from Rio (and, honestly, I wish I had).

If I actually go to the (to me, absurd) trouble to saw out a bunch
of circles to make beads, but I form them in a dapping block–also
obviously designed to make perfect, identical hemispheres–are they
no longer “hand made”? Maybe I should buy Rio’s round beads instead.
Or maybe I should forget about round and buy some of their
"bench-made" melon beads (no provenance) or their “handcrafted” beads
from India.

If I carve a ring in wax and cast 100 of them, they aren’t
hand-made. Can I avoid this problem by buying enough ring stock to
make 100 identical size 7 1/2 wedding bands?

And if the imported jewelry I see is made in tiny workshops in
"underdeveloped" countries where they still use blow torches–and
clearly fits the FCC definition of “hand made”–is it still “junk”?

I now have a couple dozen of these questions running around in my
head. I think it’s called ADD or OCD or something like that.

Lisa Orlando
Aphrodite’s Ornaments
Benicia, CA