[Opinion] Amaze yourself

allright i am not a woman so maybe i don’t really understand the
reality behind wearing jewelry, and i absolutely do not want to
generalize and corral everyone into one heap, but i want to step
out on a limb and say that too much of the jewelry that i see on all
these websites, is junk!!!, yes i know someone has put time in to
make it, and used some discrimination in the designing?? of it,
but why??, i mean make doughnuts or hamburgers, popsicle sticks,
or hair ties, or any other mundane piece of crap that people will
BUY so you can make a go at a buisness, this bead and finding
stuff is rediculously boring already, i mean, people, get a
talent, work at a talent, for years!, many years!!, not; “i
started making jewelry in the late 90’s and now i have a web and a
full fledged buisness”!, study art, nature, something!!, besides
what the market WILL BEAR, and combine forms of it to make really
intense, thought out, exquisite, unique pieces, you have got to do
i in this buisness for money’s sake syndrome bull, and don’t be
satisfied that yes i have a buisness consisting of… ,
keep learning, learning and studying things that will increase your
design skills so that you amaze yourselves, you must amaze
yourselves to be there, don’t be a freakin follower like the
driveup fastfood lines are full of, don’t substitute; juxtaposing
stones with metal processes and techniques for designs that, if they
came from your thoughts desires and hard practice, would be the
real gems, do this and see what comes up, you will amaze
yourself, and sit there in nirvana, dp


Don’t you wonder about the people who buy substandard “jewelry” and
actually wear it? Is this who you want as a customer? Case in point,
my training comes from working for some of the best jewelers in the
Cleveland, OH area. I’ve worked at places that custom made pieces
that are absolutely incredible. Flawless diamonds, 18K gold,
magnificent gem quality color, I mean the best of the best. My
family, however, shops at the chain stores, Kay’s jewelers, JB
Robinson etc. No mater what I do they will never appreciate or care
about quality, in design or materials used. They will buy cheap,
obnoxious, ugly jewelry forever. At first I was disgusted, now I’m
totally over it. Why waste my energy worrying about what everyone
else is doing, making, selling? I can only control me. Why not rise
above, and yes amaze yourself and the select group of people that
appreciate your talents and abilities. Stand tall and design what
comes from your heart. Who really cares what everyone else is
selling on the internet, I wouldn’t put my name on it, so who cares?
I think precious energy is wasted worrying about things that you
have no control over. Don’t misunderstand, I do agree with you 100%.
But the element that you are describing has always existed in one
form or another. Don’t sweat it.

Belinda Marquardt

Well, I sort of like to eat. Therefore I sell what people will buy,
whether I like it or not (and I don’t like a whole lot of it, but
they buy it, I have no idea why).

This finances the “really intense, thought out, exquisite, unique
pieces” (well maybe not so exquisite, but nevertheless…) that I
DO like, but which can take quite some time to sell.

The “junk”, much of which is NOT cheap (in fact I’ve found that
people will always buy my more expensive stuff and I’ve actually
sold NONE of my cheap stuff, but it does seem to serve to get them
looking at the rest) moves fast enough to keep me from going too far
into the red while I continue to equip a shop, retrain old skills,
and/or develop new skills.

Can’t agree with you. The “art for art’s sake” approach only works if
you’re independently wealthy, or already famous. And it might not
KEEP working for the already famous if they keep disappointing the
buying public.


Well gosh, dp.
Please don’t forget that each of us is on our own individual path
with our own individual points of view, and that we each do the best
we can with the materials and experience and time we have at each
point on the path. Our views and accomplishments are defined by
where we are on that path. It’s clear that the view from where you
are is different from the view where others are. What benefit do we
gain from learning that yours is different and that you believe yours
is superior? Would it benefit you to hear the opinions of those
further along the path than you and have them sit in judgement about
your work? Perhaps they too would have liked to shout in response to
your work, “get a talent, work at a talent, for years!, many
years!” I’ve been a professional writer for decades and it really
tries my patience to attempt to decipher your messages with no
capitalization, bad spelling, four commas, five periods, and no
attention to any kind of educated sentence structure. However,
because what unites us here on the Orchid list is a passion for
jewelry and the metal arts, and, I believe, respect for each other’s
work, advice, and opinions, and because most Orchdians are not
professional writers, I always attempt to wade through your posts to
find the heart of the message, to hear what you want to contribute.
Perhaps, if you applied the same level of attention and respect to
the work of others and realized that each of us does the best we can
with what we each have to work with, you too might amaze yourself and
sit there in Nirvana.


     Can't agree with you. The "art for art's sake" approach only
works if you're independently wealthy, or already famous.

I have heard “Do what you love and the money will come.” There are
people who do things for 20 or 30 years and then they have success,
they are visionaries and ahead of their time. Van Gogh never sold a
painting while he was alive.

If you remember the white gold wedding bands of the 50’s. They were
thick, bulky, clunky looking pieces. The current styles would not
have sold then, in my opinion.

Over the last 30 years, I have seen a shift, I do not know whether
designers lead the shift, or there is some sophistication that is
acquired over time.

Something I would like to pose. I don’t know what is happening where
you live, but I live in a wonderful 1915 Craftsman Bungalow, and
around here they are tearing down old ugly houses, and building new
ugly duplexes that are being sold for…$425,000, each side.

Daniel Brush, Andy Goldworthy, Ray Johnson (find the documentary How
to Draw a Bunny), and Harold O’Connor are some artists who I believe
do art for art’s sake".

When you are driven to produce your art, you will do anything to find
a way to survive, and produce. I did, I am, I will…

Thirty years doing jewelry on and off, the last 12 owning my own
business, and I have reached the point where it is not a struggle. I
have made a name for myself locally, developed the trust of hundreds
of people who recommend me, and now every day is more opportunity to

A metaphysical statement I believe, “What you focus on is what you
get, you get what you say you want, and you get what you say you
don’t want.” And I believe this is supported in the movie “What the
Bleep Do We Know”

Richard Hart

Dear dp,

You’re right. You’re not a woman.

Sometimes male jewelers remind me of all those good old male
gynecologists. I know I’m not the only woman on this list who
remembers that ice cold speculum. Now most of us have female
gynecologists, and the male ones get dumped if they don’t treat us
right. I wonder what would happen to this “industry” if we stopped
buying jewelry from men who have contempt for our taste.

Oh wait. You want us to attain nirvana. Maybe I should be thinking
of all the male gurus. Except they probably think jewelry is
frivolous, while you think it shouldn’t be.

Guess what? Sometimes we don’t want to amaze ourselves. Maybe we
don’t have the time or money. Or maybe… girls just wannna have
fun! Maybe a quick pair of earrings with a couple of cool beads are
what we want to make and want to wear. If you find this so
upsetting, why don’t you stop looking at it? Or maybe make jewelry
for men, who, on the whole, have more sophisticated taste?

As David Huffman (who can make my jewelry any day) said recently,
“Get over it!”

Lisa Orlando
Aphrodite’s Ornaments

     Why waste my energy worrying about what everyone else is
doing, making, selling? . Why not rise above, and yes amaze
yourself and the select group of people that appreciate your
talents and abilities. Stand tall and design what comes from your

belinda, i don’t give a rat’s… what they all want to do,
got no problem with it, was actually just trying to help out, with
opinion, new minds that can be creative, and want to, if they know
it is just as viable way to go as mainstream boredom, for the sake of
money. These newbie fertile minds can make great things if they
aren’t right away herded into the buisness corral, at the cost of
their unique imaginations, i was just trying to give the other
point of view actually. Sorry, but we are not here(on earth) only
make money and survive, feed families, house ourselves etcetcetc as
many of the pros profess, i say we are here to make beauty, to make
things that will keep driving us to explore further, invent, and
amaze ourselves, it’s a good thing, it is good for the mind, and
the outlook. I only found out about this perception after years of
studying art, and doing designs on paper for FUN, looking at
artworks in all fields, and loving so many of them, then doing a
neckaching, carpal tunnel promoting carving apprenticeship, in a
sweatshop for ten years, but after about 4 i was in awe of the stuff
that was coming out of me, making time for side pieces of my own in
between production for my boss, and btw my i learned this from my
carving teacher, as he always had cool things he was working on, on
the sly, and to this day i haven’t stopped thinking and designing
stuff that amazes me, and any layperson, show promoter, designer,
artist, of course they are a little far out, but beautiful,
one more thing that proves all this is that our boss got MOST of her
designs from my carving teacher, a russian granite sculptor, stuck
in this nyc carving sweatshop, and how did she get them?, well she
waited till he was out sick then ransacked/confiscated his whole area
to find jewels of design, that she made hundreds of thousands on
during the 80’s, dp

  Sorry,, but we are not here(on earth) only make money and
survive, feed families, house ourselves etcetcetc as 

Maybe not. But I’ll tell you what, it sures makes it easier to “let
your creativity flow” if you’re not sick, cold and hungry.

Sounds to me like you did your time learning the basics and then
were successful in striking out on your own.

So I’m really not sure what your beef is.

Filthy lucre is not the end-all and be-all, of course. But low
commerce goes a long way towards financing the tools, equipment, and
other overhead (such as food and shelter) that the artist needs in
order to be physically and emotionally able to create.


Lets see…30 years in the Bizz, have mass produced thousands for the
greedy guy. But in my own personal business, I have never made the
same ring twice unless it was to replace stolen or lost pieces. I
will never bow to the avant guard, but will continue to create! I
have sold every piece I have ever made except those that were stolen
or given as gifts! Tenacity, shameless self promotion, keep on kissen
even when it’s difficult, and always stand behind your product! That
and wise reinvestment in your self are the key to success. Don’t
allow ghosts of the past and doubting toms sway your coarse! doing
the unusual will get you fame, being a good craftsman doesn’t hurt
and always strive to learn. When you dig your own metal and stone and
create the piece from things you found will bring the circle

Ringman John

Van Gogh never sold a painting while he was alive. 

Actually, he sold one.

Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay

While I understand now that dp’s post was meant to inspire those new
to the trade to push themselves to new heights (I think), I believe
that it could have been done without the derogatory references to
people not on the same path as dp with his own jewelry. I sense a
lot of underlying contempt within this thread (from several people -
not just dp) for people doing things other than what some would hold
to be the altruistic jewelry path (i.e. one-off Art jewelry). Some
of the people on here are skilled smiths but do not profess
themselves to be great artists (or even very creative). Some of the
people on here have perhaps come to jewelry as a creative outlet -
something that they can do because they are good with their hands
and revel in the accomplishments of being able to wear (and sometimes
sell) the things they make. Perhaps they use beads and manufactured
components to achieve this, but for some who have never felt
"creative" before, this may be a huge accomplishment and one that
should not be looked down upon. Some on here design creative,
wearable, everyday jewelry and offer these in limited production.
Some choose to do full-out production. Fine jewelry, bridge jewelry,
fashion jewelry, beaded jewelry, wire jewelry, component jewelry, Art
jewelry, professional, hobbyist - it is all on here. We have the
gamut of experience and paths here and ALL of these paths are not
only necessary, but the RIGHT path for the individual who chooses to
walk it. Some of us are people with disabilities and thus limited in
the skills we can achieve. Some of us have kids, elderly and/or the
infirm that we must support and care for. Some of us fly solo and
can go without eating for Art’s sake. Some of us don’t want to, even
if we could. Not everyone on this list even aspires to create
one-off Art jewelry. What unites us all is that we use many of the
same tools to find refuge in the jewelry we make. And we are all

Yes, it is good to step outside the box and see what happens. It
often takes one’s work in new directions and it is vital to
preventing stagnation. But I think that there are better ways to
encourage this without putting down or making entire segments of this
list feel isolated, embarassed or otherwise ashamed to put their work
out amongst their peers for fear of a contemptuous attitude toward
what they do. This is such a generous, sharing bunch of people.
Perhaps if we take a look at things from a perspective other than our
own we can appreciate the achievements of others, meet them where
they are and then find words to inspire them to walk their own
unique paths.

Carrie Otterson

Please note that I wrote my post to this thread after midnight–not
a good time for me, especially when I’m feeling sorry for myself
because I still don’t have a studio, and I didn’t get to go to art
school or trade school, and I probably never will (structural
constraints do exist). I also think dp’s post reminded me too much
of a certain controversy (involving feminism and sex) in which I was
once deeply involved. I really don’t like it when people insinuate
that fun and pleasure and frivolity aren’t legitimate motivations.
It’s not that I don’t want to amaze myself, or hope that other women
will too–and I do love excellence–but I don’t like imperatives.

And maybe I’m too sensitive to historical issues. When I read stuff
about how jewelry, to be worthwhile, must adhere to some patriarchal
standard, rooted in the Renaissance, I feel like saying, “What do you
mean ‘we,’ white man?” The whole notion of “art”–and the notion of
an individual artist who “amazes” himself–is a product of history.
And a pretty bloody history it still is. Beads, on the other hand,
are a product of pre-history, and they continue to be valued by
cultures that prefer tradition and continuity to innovation and self-
expression (and big egos). And—beading is women’s work. I want
women’s work to get some respect.

Lisa Orlando
Aphrodite’s Ornaments

(Aphrodite is wearing a fabricated brooch that She worked on for
three months, a PMC ring, and beaded earrings She threw together
last night…)

    So I'm really not sure what your beef is. . . 

Hello Zen, David, Lisa and others;

I’m going to stick up for dp on this but I’m doing so based on my
own assumption of what I think his point was in his first post of
this thread. If what David is saying is that you need to challenge
yourself, that’s what I think also. It’s better, I believe, to keep
your day job flipping burgers while you learn by taking classes,
reading books and going to workshop, than it is to just pick up a
couple tricks and jump right in thinking you’re going to make a
killing in the home business jewelry market. You’ll never run with
the big dogs, rather, you’ll swim in the great sea of mediocrity.
Life is only so long, it’s worth it to take a shot at really
excelling at something, anything.



I had no idea about what the point of your post was, I thought it was
just a rant.

It seemed critical, but I am not sure of what, too many mundane
beaders maybe?

I have not seen your work, so I have no basis of comparison of your
work to the other work I have seen.

I have a retail store, and a few years ago I requested work from
Orchid members, to be be sold at my store, on commission. I got some
really good work, and pictures of some members work that I had to
tell them I could not sell their work in my store, and I carefully
told them why.

Some people have no sense of good craftsmanship, some have no sense
of good design. Some will blame others for why their work does not
sell, some will blame themselves.

Some people are very limited in their skill or ability, though they
have desire.

Either people find a niche they are happy working in, or they do
something else.

Stating that you don’t give a rat’s ass seems like a fairly uncaring
possibly hostile reply. That’s just my opinion, and my opinion does
not mean anything

I do not think the person you were responding to would be expecting
a reply like that.

There is a social responsibility inherent in being part of a
community, virtual, or face to face. Being clear and articulate about
what you thing or feel in a constructive way helps other people
understand who you are.

The tone and content of your post seems to indicate you want to
alienate others.

 Sorry,, but we are not here(on earth) only make money and survive,
feed families, house ourselves etcetcetc as many of the pros
profess,,, i say we are here to make beauty

The above statement is yours. It is an opinion. (I have no idea of
who your pros profess" are).

I agree with you about the beauty part. Possibly were are here to…
act in beauty as well, treat other people and what they do as part of
that beauty… Perception is subjective…

Best Regards,
Richard Hart

 Something I would like to pose. I don't know what is happening 
where you live, but I live in a wonderful 1915 Craftsman  Bungalow,
and around here they are tearing down old ugly  houses, and
building new ugly duplexes that are being sold  for...$425,000,
each side.

The exact same thing is happening here except that there is nothing
aesthetically offensive with what they are tearing down. One
gentleman decided to literally move his whole house 10 feet because
in doing so, he could sub-divide and build another home next door.
But, the ultimate is in Greenwich, CT where they are paying over $1
million for these lovely old homes, tearing them down and building
two $3 million townhouses in their place. I find it absolutely
horrendous and almost painful to pass these construction sites in
Greenwich. I must say that for years I kept saying “they aren’t
making land anymore”; so I guess this shouldn’t be such a surprise.

Also, there seems to be no appreciation for the past - - those homes
were exceptionally well made. I seriously doubt the new construction
will last as well or have such dignity 75 - 100 years down the road.
Just ask any township inspector what they think of Troll Brothers’
construction. What worries me is that the lack of appreciation may
be exceptionally indicative of society as a whole.

As for the townships who approve them: be careful what you ask for.
Years ago, a gentleman was running for Mayor in Key West. He sent
out a postcard showing what the island would look like based on
already approved buildings. No one believed him. Key West now has
about as much charm as Disney and as far as I am concerned: has been

My two cents for the day.

 It's better, I believe, to keep your day job flipping burgers
while you learn by taking classes, reading books and going to
workshop, than it is to just pick up a couple tricks and jump right
in thinking you're going to make a killing in the home business
jewelry market. 

Well while I certainly wouldn’t advocate someone starving to death
sometimes jumping right in IS the right thing to do. If I had waited
and kept taking classes and reading up on jewelry I would never have
gotten started. Much of my bench education came from accepting jobs
I didn’t have a clue how to do when I took them in. Spending the time
to figure out and actually do the jobs is a far better way to learn
something than reading every book in the world that describes it.
Doing something over and over again also is the best learning
experience there is in this field. You won’t get that type of
experience in workshops or reading books. Design development can
also occur over time as you learn more and have more confidence in
your own abilities. Not everyone is a born artist, but some can learn
to be. Also, in this business, art is always compromised by the
necessity of practicality. Jewelry, by definition, should be
wearable. Practicality is learned through actual work, not on paper.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140

Continue from:

Van Gogh never sold a painting while he was alive.

Actually, he sold one. 

Thank you for historical accuracy, point was, he did not get
financial support for what he was doing, yet he kept on painting,
and supported himself somehow to continue his passion.

Lisa, I liked your remarks about women’s work. Beading is, in my
opinion, now taking a place in the herstory of women’s handiwork
that was formerly reserved for embriodery, lace making, and quilting.
I don’t think that many people realize this, but I do take it
seriously, even the simple stuff that is put together of purchased
components just strung on wire. It is self-expression by women, and
it is not mass-media, but rather an individual’s own initiative that
drives the trend. And a huge trend it is! I have women who bead
coming into my booth all the time at craft fairs, showing what
they’re wearing. I am always very supportive and enthusiastic about
their work. I should probably start making bead components that are
easier to use than my Big Beads, which have about an 8mm hole in
them. Kind of hard to use for a beginning stringer. Hmmm…I should
give this some more thought.

It’s kind of like the difference between someone who likes music and
has a big CD collection, and someone who actually sings or plays an
instrument in their home, however well or poorly. By actually doing
it rather than just consuming the art, they enter into a new realm,
a much more creative space. In the case of playing an instrument, the
brain has been shown to be doing different things, and growing
pathways in it. This is empowering. That is why I like to see women
making things, even if just copied from pictures in a magazine. It
is a different activity than just being a consumer, and will
inevitably lead to innovation and creativity if pursued further.

M’lou Brubaker, Jeweler
Goodland, MN

Van Gogh never sold a painting while he was alive.

Actually, he sold one. 
  Thank you for historical accuracy, point was, he did not get
financial support for what he was doing, yet he kept on painting,
and supported himself somehow to continue his passion. 

Another point of historical accuracy: Vincent Van Gogh was
supported by his brother Theo. I’ve never heard any account of
Vincent waiting tables to cover his rent.

I think you should encourage such people. Some will attempt to
advance further as they become discontent with mass findings, etc.
They may move into being jewelers or they may not as their commitment
and ability dictate.

But all those who attempt become a much better market for the art or
individual jeweler. They have more appreciation of the skill required
and they know more about materials and design. Thereby they separate
themselves from the consumer oriented material and move into the
craftspersons’ market.

If I were running a craft oriented business, I would nourish and keep
careful eye on these potential customers.

Belinda Brockman