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Is Jewelry Making Art?

John wrote: "Artists do, and have always used any tool or thing at
their command that makes work easier, faster, and more profitable.
" after the illustration of the camera obscura and the study in
ARTnews and in commenting about using the CAD/CAM in jewelry. 

Again, I contend, as a working artist in several media, and if I
might comment on the camera obscura hubbub, that the camera and
projector and any incarnation thereof are marvelous TOOLS. David
Hockney wrote about Vermeer using the camera obscura to get the
images right on his canvases. People got their knickers all in a
twist over it. So what!!! At one point in time I was one of those
"purists" refusing to use any shortcuts to actual drawing and let me
tell you…bollocks! The bottom line is the bottom line and it is
hard to get paid for your time. People are cheap and don’t want to
pay for it. So if you can get 'er done sooner, great!

The other thing about the tracing of images onto canvas is that once
you get that tracing, if you can’t paint it makes no difference how
the sketch was formed. It is only a guide to start because once the
first layer of paint goes on the drawing is lost. I truly believe
that a painter absolutely must know how to draw. It is the most
important building block for the technical craft of painting. Same as
with jewelry. If one doesn’t know the basics of metal forming,
structure and engineering of the materials, it is pretty difficult to
craft a successful piece no matter if it is first made from a wax
model, formed in metal or drawn in a computer. Once the basics are
known, then the artistry can flow much like John’s previously
mentioned jazz riff’s.

Sure, you could be fortunate enough to be a designer with only
designs in your mind and no knowledge of jewelry, Frank Gehry working
with Tiffany’s comes to mind, and you just give a sketch to the bench
jewelers and let them work out the kinks, wonderful. And one would
argue that Frank’s pieces are art.

How about the concept that we have evolved technologically and
financially in our world to be able to fashion just about everything
so that it pleases us esthetically, and everyone is a critic? Not
living in the caveman days anymore, well, except for car insurance. I
happen to be a form follows function sort of gal, but believe that we
are inundated with art and design in just about everything we touch,
see, taste, probably smell (even though I try to maintain a scent
free environment). How often to do use something only to be
disappointed or frustrated that it has design flaws? It is still
pretty though. The first words out of your mouth, that we can print
here, are “Bad design!” They made the object to be nice or
interesting to look at but failed in the ease or efficiency of

So to return to the main question…some jewelry that is made with
great effort and expertise just isn’t my taste. Some paintings, well,
the same can be said. Then there are other pieces that excite me,
cause my pupils to dilate and my heart race. I could gaze at them for
hours, evn though I wouldn’t or couldn’t wear them. But I would have
to say that all fall into the category of “art” for SOMEONE. Even the
hackneyed or crude.

OK…I need to get back to work…


Frank Gehry working with Tiffany's comes to mind, and you just give
a sketch to the bench jewelers and let them work out the kinks,
wonderful. And one would argue that Frank's pieces are art. 

Yes, Nel, I’d heard about the Hockney thing, too - I forgot till you
mentioned it. As for the above, I do that quite often, whether it’s
Frank, Joe or Susan. It’s a little game we play to let them walk away
thinking it’s “Frank’s Piece”, even though of course it’s John’s.
Pays the bills…