I am winding down a long career in education and trying to move
toward a more professional involvement in the jewelry arts. It is
my passion.. everyone says you are supposed to do what you are
passionate about the second time around :)
Way to go!
I’m a full time software developer and enjoy it too, plus it pays to
much for me to switch to “struggling artist mode” yet. But I expect
to be in your shoes in 15 years, so feel free to give advice to me at
that time! J
As part of the process of... well.. making a radical career
switch.. I am applying for membership in the KY Guild of Arts and
Crafts. That just scares the holy crap out of me because... well..
I don't know what to expect and if I am "good enough".
It doesn’t matter if you’re good enough or not! If you aren’t, keep
working at it in your now copious spare time and you will be. J
You have to decide why you are making the items.
If you are making them to make a living, it matters whether people
with the money to buy them at your price point like them or not. Other
than human vanity, it only matters if someone else likes them if
they would be willing to give you free publicity or give you retail
sales space in their establishment.
If you are doing it for your own pleasure, it matters whether you
like them or not.
I just want to work on the technical aspects right now...
Sounds like a good plan. If you are planning to do this to make a
living, concentrate on aspects that will improve the marketability of
your work and reduce the labor or material cost to make it.
If you are doing this because you just enjoy it, concentrate on
aspects that you want to get better at.
the whole business aspect scares me worse (and I have an MBA).
If you’re planning to make a living as an artist, it should! Making
a good living as an artist is hard. Otherwise, it’s just business math
and contracts. Sales, cost of goods sold, taxes, etc.
And the whole jury process scares me... do I.
I suspect the answer to that varies with the jury. Why not ask them?
I don't appear to fit the contemporary mold very well...
Neither do I. I have an interest in ancient and medieval pieces and
how to re-create them using period-appropriate techniques (modified
as necessary by safety, budget, or time requirements).
Most modern jewelry, other than the Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau or
Art Deco styles, leaves me cold. I respect that many others like it,
and I admire the technical and design quality of it (when present),
but I don’t usually care about it one way or another.
how the hell is someone going to wear that? Form follows
function... if you can't wear it... why make it?
The Iron Law of Bureaucracy is “Form follows function - and often
I have heard that craft guild people are snobs.... perhaps from
those who... well.. are less than prepared.
Some are, some aren’t. Be nice, be friendly, be honest and do your
best. If that’s not enough for them to be nice to you, stuff their
attitude where the sun doesn’t shine. J
I am less interested in "making the cut" than finding some like
minded people. If any one of you suggest I find a local crafts club
I will personally hunt you down and pull your underwear over the
top of your head. And..I have been so out there and alone with this
forever because I live in the middle of nowhere and no one does
this in rural freaking KY. Have you ever tried to make neilo by
yourself... it would be nice to have a community to belong to where
I could call up a friend and we could do those things together...
and people not think I a crazy.
Aside from making sure folks know about your interests and desire
for kindred art spirits, you might want to check out the following:
A community college or technical community college for continuing
education classes. Might be a good way to meet folks if there’s one
within driving distance.
College art classes, ditto.
Professional groups. SNAG, Enamelist’s Society, and vendors who
conduct classes or sponsor meetings. (Thompson Enamel is in Newport,
Historical reenactment groups. Some members are goobers, but
others are surprisingly knowledgeable about things like niello,
because they want to have a Viking war axe with niello engravings
just like the real ones. Most of them are composed of pretty nice
folks. One is called the SCA, www.sca.org is the website. They have
a number of groups in Kentucky plus the surrounding states. Plus they
won’t charge you to teach you what they know, which is might darn
helpful when learning on a tight budget.
Hope that helps!