Wow. This is great. Finally some good discourse on art, jewelry,
critique and pushing boundaries.
There is another form of art which parallels jewelry in both camps
- the wearable and unwearable. Look at fashion. Each Spring in
Paris, fashion designers trot out their creations with skinny models
doing the "walk". Often the outfits are outlandish, barely
unwearable, and use untraditional materials like plastic or even
metal. It is that boundary pushing which is later extrapolated into
prete-a-porte (ready to wear). The same happens to jewelry. New
materials, new combinations like mokume-gane, reticulation,
bi-metal, keum boo, rubber, etc., all add to new and innovative
In my years of working for the Harvard Bio Labs, my lab, like
everyone's research survived on government grants. For several
years, outcries from bureaucrats complained that the research we
were doing, circadian rhythm studies, had no real practical
applications, and therefore, pure research should be disbanded.
Unless the research had proven conclusions, like drug research, no
money should be spent. From this pure research came Seasonal
Affective Disorder and understanding issues of sleep apnea, a
syndrome that afflicts me.
My point of this, is, that we look at all aspects of jewelry,
metalsmithing, art, adornment, embellishment, like fashion, or pure
scientific research, it is important to look at all of it with an
open mind. Dadaism, Surrealism, abstract art, Cubism, etc. were
publicly criticized. I couldn't think of a world of art without the
work of Brach, Picasso, Dali and DuChamp. Why should jewelry be
different? I am glad to see artists taking chances and bending the
rules. I am glad there are publications like Metalsmith to
represent rule breaking, and equally glad to see magazines like
Jewelry Connoisseur which celebrates embellishment.
I for one refuse to live in a world where mediocrity rules.
Thanks for letting me rant.
M E T A L W E R X
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
Ph. 781/891-3854 Fax 3857
Jewelry/Metalarts School & Cooperative Studio