The same problem existed in the late 19thC. Thus came about the Arts
and Crafts Movement - seperate from but a part of Art Neavaux.
Craftspeople no longer aimed to provide ther perfect finish that
machines could so easlity make. Instead they used methods that there
were no machines to duplicate. Tool marks such as those from a
planishing hammer were left on articles deliberatly so that the
surface could be seen to be finished by hand. Irregular stones, such
as opals and baroque pearls, came into favour and the emphasis went
towards indicating in the very design of the article that it could
not have been made by anything other than a human hand.
A friend (a jewelery designer) recently remarked to me that he loved
the way that you could see that my work was hand made, that there
would never be another like it. On the other hand I’m always
frustrated because I can see the mistakes and errors in finish and
line on my pieces.
As the cad/cam process begins to take over the scene maybe we too
should start thinking what extra value we put into a piece. If it’s
the impression of our hands, the mark of our tools, perhaps the
client/customer/buyer should be able to see that too. To be enabled
to value these as intrinsic parts of the work.
The delight of the machine made piece is often its perfection. I
love mexican silver for its rough finish, wonderful value and clever
designs. I love my colleauges work for the skill, thought and sheer
technical mastery that pieces show, and I also appreciate the
painstaking work of the amateur and beginner as they thrash their way
towards making concrete an idea using a table top and a few tools.
“This is a bargain! I made it all by hand from sheet and wire with
gems cut in Shri Lanka on a tin wheel, in a house, by a family. Look
how it shines, see how I made the catch. There will never be another
piece in the history of the world like this one. I spent a week in
making it and I ask you for the value of the material plus a weeks
wages and a little over for the packaging and my expenses. Thank you.
Shall I wrap it. How will you pay?”