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Opinions please?

In response to Raphael’s question; What you say really hits a
problem that I have had forever. I know that the famous designers
have a signature style and I agree that it seems to be a hallmark of
professionalism. Frustratingly for myself I have found it extremely
difficult to come up with a style of my own that is consistent.
There are so many styles that are amazing and enjoyable and I find
it hard to settle on one particular style for everything, and of
course this leads to a hodgepodge look when laying out all of my
work side by side. Maybe it’s an inability to focus on my part, I
get bored easily and want to try new things all of the time. Maybe
it is a commitment issue, having to choose and then think what if
it’s wrong and feel stuck with it. Would having a BFA be a way to
foster a style? (Or would therapy help! LOL) On the plus side, most
of my work has been one of a kind custom work which lets me be
versatile and flexible enough to work with a variety of people.

Thanks for any comments on this, Marta

I have been rereading “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron and came
upon the following quote:

Not all criticism is shaming. In fact, even the most severe
criticism when it fairly hits the mark is apt to be greeted by an
internal 'Ah-hah!'if it shows the artist a new and valid path for
work. The criticism that damages is that which disparages,
dismisses, ridicules, or condemns. It is frequently vicious but
vague and difficult to refute.

From the responses to Karen’s post, I get the sense that most of us
are aware of this difference and are committed to eschewing the
latter kind of criticism (exemplified by Karen’s “juror’s” comments,
at least in their vague and difficult-to-refute reference to those
poor first-year students!). I suspect that Karen’s courage in
offering her work for our comments was also an act of trust in
something that really can be trusted: the Orchid community’s
commitment not to shame its members.

I want to particularly thank Karen Christians, who is certainly an
Orchid Treasure (and should be declared a National Treasure), for
modeling the kind of critique every artist deserves. Those of you who
can study with her are so lucky!

Lisa Orlando
Aphrodite’s Ornaments
Benicia, CA

Hi, Marta,

You are definately not alone. I am glad to have this come up on this
forum, because it is a problem I have had “forever”, too. I do have a
signature style, bit I don’t want to only do that. I had a portfolio
review at SNAG with Marcia MacDonald, and she told me to focus on my
art pieces and just do those. I feel she is right, yet, as you say, I
love to try new things. On the same day I finished the elaborate
teapot piece that this group was such a help with, I finished a funky
welded steel “teapot” that, according to my welding teacher, looked
like it was made by the mortal enemy of the person who made the other

I suspect that if/when I get all my kids out from underfoot, and
force myself to be more disciplined so that I’m working in the
studio many more hours, all this will sort itself out. I think maybe
it is OK to have more than one “line” if you just don’t market them
together. Noel

I’ll give my two cents on this. The pieces seem to be completely
overworked. As someone else said, they are not sophisticated enough
to be considered as contemporary jewellery, yet they are very
complex. I’ve always thought that there is a relationship between
beauty, ingenosity and simplicity: many people search but only a few
are able to find. Often, the more simple the means, the bigger the
aesthetic impact of a piece.

Could Katherine Palochak please contact me
(@denayerofkinsale)? I lost your email address.

Best, Will

I guess I would also wonder if the high end designers with a
’signature style’ really do only that one thing. Maybe it is just
that the only things we see in the public eye with that name attached
are pieces that fit the style and quality niche that the designer is
noted for. Of course, many of us will take full advantage of a
successfule style, but few of us, unless we have gotten completely
unmotivated, could stand for very long without trying new adventures.
Experimenting is part of our makeup. And, is there anything
inherently wrong with straying off into a medium or style that may be
more primitive or ‘beginner’ than we usually do? I have been at
this for over 25 years, and there are still some fairly basic
beginner, 1st year student type of things that I have never had an
opportunity to try out. I learn new tricks all the time, but they
are usually new to me, not to the jewelry world. The pieces that
started this thread remind me of pieces my mother made years ago by
fusing silver wire. Nothing I would do, but I like the style. I
tend to be one of those who is perhaps too symmetrical and not
particularly organic. I’ve been told more than once that I need to
loosen up a bit. Maybe someday. Meanwhile, if something works for
you, do it. If it sells, keep doing it, and keep trying new things.
Growth is about being able to learn new things, whether or not the
follow that ‘signature style’. If it doesn’t sell, perhaps you will
get bored by it, but don’t be discouraged. Where would the world be
if the likes of Picasso had decided that he didn’t like nasty reviews
of his work and had given up?


What’s in a name? I’ve seen many so called works of art that were
only worn for the sole reason of the name. They didn’t look all that
good and some of the junk people call jewelry amazes me! how could
they have made it? Some of the stuff resembles somebody’s first
attempts and then the realization that is not their line of work
sets in. Truth is the accessibility of juried shows regionally is
scarce and very hard to enter so only those in the know can compete
and that results in a very lame representation of the talent that
goes by the wayside unnoticed and soon discarded as how can one make
a living unknown?

Ringman John Henry

I wasn’t too impressed at first. But your pieces made me keep
coming back - that’s good, isn’t it? My tastes are usually in
either the symmetrical or representational areas, but some of your
pieces are getting to me. I absolutely hated “fluid-organic 2” at
first - thought it looked like wire snips fused onto a piece of
scrap. But I keep returning to that one in particular. Right now I
think that if that chunk out of the lower right looked a little more
like a space-ship nose, the whole thing could be named “Panspermia”.
OK - I’m a beader. But I used to be a silversmith, so I do have
some feel for what’s going on here. Maybe your art is the sort that
sneaks up one people, and that judge didn’t have the time to be
snuck up on.

Tas <-- being ambushed