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[Interview] Charles Lewton-Brain


#1

I recently had the priviledge of speaking with Charles Lewton-Brain
and I have to tell you he is so generous and sharing and very
supportive!

Please take a few minutes out of your day to read the resulting
interview on Jewelry & Gem Artisans.

Robyn Hawk


#2

Robyn

Thank you for sharing this with us, and I appreciate the approach to
the article, I think any other may have lost or confused what is an
outstanding message on life, not just an artisans view of his work,
industry and preparation for personal goals.

Very good, the message and the approach of the article.

Terry


#3

A thoroughly enjoyable interview with Charles! One can’t help
feeling inspired by his insights, I sure am anyway. A theory that he
touched on is something I’ve experienced and got to wondering if this
happens to the rest of you as well.

That when you make a piece you consider to be “bad” chances are good
that it’ll be a hit. When I finish something and am certain it’s a
piece of junk that even I, its own mother can’t love, then no one
else will like it either. And darned if that’s the first thing
that’ll get an Oh! I LIKE this one! reaction. What a strange
phenomenon this is.

Perhaps not liking a piece when you’re done is nature’s way of
making it easier for you to let go of it into someone else’s hands
after putting so much of yourself and time into it? Or just a case of
taste and “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure”. ??

I’d love to hear other thoughts on this! Happy Holidays from Carol in
cold & sunny New Orleans


#4
When I finish something and am certain it's a piece of junk that
even I, its own mother can't love, then no one else will like it
either. And darned if that's the first thing that'll get an Oh! I
LIKE this one! reaction. What a strange phenomenon this
is.......... 

Yeah, this is a weird phemonemon. There are very few pieces I make
that I downright don’t like (those generally don’t make it to the
finished pile), but there are those pieces that just fall shy of the
mark for me and I feel a little disappointed in them -sometimes it’s
hard to put your finger on what is “wrong” (if anything) with the
piece, but you just feel it didn’t turn out the way you had hoped
and I’m convinced that such a piece will never sell. But I, too, have
found that amazingly those seem to be the first pieces that go. Go
figure! Perhaps we are all too hard on ourselves. But it is an
interesting event and nice to know that others experience it as
well. And yes, the interview with Charles was wonderful. He’s
certainly an interesting person with so many facets.

Kay


#5

Charles Lewton-Brain, To know him, is to love him, and Orchid is far
richer for him. Hanuman and Charles are an incredible pair. Add Ton
into that equation, and we have a daily Treasury. Next add Alan
Revere, Brad Simon, and all the wonderfully generous contributors,
then it is easy to see Orchid in all its glory.

As we enter the Season of Giving and Sharing, let us remember
Orchid, and make a monthly PayPal automatic withdrawal into Orchid’s
account. Relatively painless.

Hugs,
Terrie


#6

Does Charles make and sell jewelry? I assumed that he’s a teacher,
writer, publisher.

I take the opposite position (a piece you consider to be “bad”); but
then I’m my harshest critic. I made jewelry to my personal
standards. ITIOFD: I haven’t read the article.

KPK


#7

Do we tend to sell our ugly babies at a lower price and bargain
hunters are the first to bite? Tho, I did just sell a piece (fairly
priced) that in the morn I looked at it and said to myself self I
said “that will never sell” I sold it that day. Go figger.

Lainie


#8

Amazing. I too have had the experience of making some pieces that I
just did not like. My inventory was low one year and I had a show
coming up, so I added them to the pieces I was showing, and to my
utter amazement, they were the first to sell.

Wish I knew what it was that attracted the customers to those
pieces. If I knew, I would then have the magic formula for a
successful
show.

Conversely, I have also had pieces that I just felt were really
good, only to have them attract little interest from the buying
public.

Alma


#9

Hi Gang,

Amazing. I too have had the experience of making some pieces that
I just did not like. My inventory was low one year and I had a show
coming up, so I added them to the pieces I was showing, and to my
utter amazement, they were the first to sell. 

I guess the above & previous posts along the same lines just goes to
show you that as artists we don’t know what the public wants

Dave.


#10
Does Charles make and sell jewelry? I assumed that he's a teacher,
writer, publisher 

Yes, he makes and sells wonderful jewelry! And is one of the most
knowledgeable, interesting, and generous (with his knowledge and
time) people I’ve had the joy of meeting.

Karen Goeller


#11

Hi Kevin - This topic started off a quote from Charles in the
interview with him on my Jewelry & Gem Artisans Interview blog
(first link in my signature). Check out the post and it will answer
all your questions! I really feel that you don’t have to be a
Jeweler to “get” something from his words.

Enjoy,
Robyn Hawk
http://jewelrygemartisans.blogspot.com


#12
I guess the above & previous posts along the same lines just goes
to show you that as artists we don't know what the public wants 

There is a book by Yefremov “The Edge of the Razor”. It is
classified as Science Fiction but incorrectly. The action does take
place in the future, but the book is about philosophy of Beauty. Why
we like some things but not the others. It could be a challenge to
find it in english, but the effort is well worth it.

Leonid Surpin.


#13

Yah, apparently they want Rick’s Fred Harvey bracelet! ha ha

Maybe the Ugly Jewelry contest of a couple years ago (the one Noel Y
had fun entering) should make another round. Were any of those pieces
actually sold?

CaroL


#14
I guess the above & previous posts along the same lines just goes
to show you that as artists we don't know what the public wants 

I think that’s not quite it, actually. As artists, I think we
sometimes limit ourselves by the baggage we bring to our own work. In
other words, we see that a piece doesn’t quite match the picture we
had of it in our mind’s eye as we were creating it, and therefore
reject it. Or it doesn’t match our own taste or “ideal” in some way,
so therefore we invalidate it as being “a piece of dung.”

That same piece, however, speaks to another viewer in a different
way and matches their ideal. We just have blinded ourselves from
seeing it because we’re overlaying our own “ideal” version of the
piece on what we’ve created.

This isn’t true in all cases, of course, but I’ve seen it over and
over again not only with myself, but with fellow jewelry artists that
I work with.

I’ve learned that even if I don’t personally “like” a piece, as long
as it is up to my standards in craftsmanship I’ll put it out at a
show - and someone will likely fall in love with it and buy it. If no
one has in an acceptable timeframe, I’ll pull it back in and, per
Geller’s excellent advice, either scrap it or redesign it. No sense
having dawgs hang around forever. However, that rarely seems to
happen.

Karen Goeller
No Limitations Designs
Hand-made, one-of-a-kind jewelry


#15
Maybe the Ugly Jewelry contest of a couple years ago (the one Noel
Y had fun entering) should make another round. Were any of those
pieces actually sold? 

I believe that contest continues annually, but it is strictly
amateur, pretty much just stuff on a string. The entries were
actually pretty disappointing, in that they were not very creatively
ugly. Seriously, it is not easy!

If the prize were anything I could use, I might have entered again,
because I had an idea I felt could not lose-- a necklace composed of
cigarette and cigar butts. If I could stand to make it! I kinda
liked the idea of making a visually balanced, even classic
composition of these revolting objects. But I’d have to touch them–
smell them-- and even if I won, all I’d get is some beads.

If anybody wants to check it out, it was the Ugly Necklace contest,
and I think the store that holds it is the Land of Odds.

Noel


#16
I think that's not quite it, actually. As artists, I think we
sometimes limit ourselves by the baggage we bring to our own work.
In other words, we see that a piece doesn't quite match the
picture we had of it in our mind's eye as we were creating it, and
therefore reject it. Or it doesn't match our own taste or "ideal"
in some way, so therefore we invalidate it as being "a piece of
dung." 

This is farther and farther from CLB, but Karen has touched on one of
the problems of making any art form and trying to sell it - I’d
paraphrase and call it “inbreeding”. I look at many people’s work and
they are doing “theme and variation” and it largely all looks the
same. What Karen touches on is actually good advise, and it’s also
one of the best reasons to get out and work in shops and with other
people - because it widens your horizons and gives you a larger
repertoire. The wider the variety of styles you can do, the wider
your audience will be. Maybe your experiment doesn’t fly so well, but
at least you will be reaching farther and growing. Most stores buy
from a variety of sources for this very reason - so their inventory
doesn’t all look the same.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com