A lot of the bench-jewelers seem unhappy with the job, while a lot
the self employed craft-jewelers seem a lot more content. Why
don't more people switch to doing the art show, gallery type
Eric, As a jeweler who has been in the brain draining bench jeweler
job and who also has been trying to break into the “art show,
gallery type jewelry” set, I can tell you why more people don’t do
it…It’s damn hard! There is a lot of competition in the arts,
smart competition, experienced competition, better connected
competition who all seem to have deeper pockets than next.
And always there more people wanting to get into the arts. To get
into this field one needs to have capital for inventory, money to
pay the bills in the time between producing your inventory and
selling it, an ability and/or time to market yourself (or pay someone
to do it for you), an ability to do your own accounting (or pay
someone to do it for you), the ability to survive the emotional
rigors of putting your soul into your work and having it rejected,
rightly or not, and an immense amount of patience. Oh, and being
able to make killer jewelry that is unique enough to get you into
shows and at a price point that will get you into galleries so that
actual people will spen d money on your work is no walk in the park.
A steady economy where there is no threat of war or terrorism so
people will feel good about buying somethin g as trivial as art is
helpful, too. The bottom line is, if it were so easy you would see
more jewelers getting into it—but, it ain’t.
You have to love it. It has to be in your bones and a part of your
life. I t may well be your hobby, but are you ready to make it your
life as well? Personally, I am willing to put up with it and enjoy
the chess-like qualitie s of the business. And there are a lot of
benefits too. I don’t want to deny or belittle that, obviously if
there weren’t benefits no one would want to get into it, and I
wouldn’t be in it now. But, you don’t seem to need convincing of the
benefits, so we move on.
Forgive me if I am getting the titles wrong, but it can be
very confusing for a newbie to understand which job is which. My
goal is to eventually sell one of a kind items at Galleries, Craft
shows, and Art shows. What would I be called: Art-Jeweler,
craftsman, or something else?
A guy who comes to your house and fixes your roof is a carpenter.
The guy who installs the windows in an office building is a
carpenter, the guy who goes on TV and shows you how to build your
own barn or rocking chair is a carpenter. Even though the carpenters
are not exclusively using wood, they are using the tools and
techniques of a carpenter and so that is what they are called.
Similarly, if you make things using the techniques and tools of a
goldsmith, you are a goldsmith, whether or not you sell your own
work, or who you sell it to, or whether you use silver or brass or
gemstones in your designs. Whatever else you call yourself is a
matter of whether or not it communicates to others a better idea of
who you are. But never forget that you are a goldsmith. That is my
opinion. Viva! the goldsmith!
Beware of what you wish for, you just might get it. Good luck