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Rebirth of the Arts and Crafts movement?


#1
I am not exactly young myself, but I look forward to seeing the
re-birth of the Arts & Crafts Movement in the states and (I hope)
in the rest of the world. It is WE who will drive it, not some
outside force. Education is our tool, and our weapon against cheap
crap made 100,000 units at a time. There are ornaments for the
masses, and there is fine jewelry. The question is "Which market do
you want to be in?"  Yours for the promotion of Quality,  Mark 

Hi, Mark,

I just couldn’t let this go by. The originators of the Arts and
Crafts Movement were opposed to the distinction you make, i.e. they
wanted quality ornaments for the “masses”–or, more accurately, they
wanted to transform the “masses” back into craftspeople who could
make such things for themselves. There are a lot of people out here
filled with longing for a life like that (which is why the Artist’s
Way doesn’t stop selling–and for many people it is an excellent
educational tool).

I love to make ornaments for such people and hope I won’t be forced
to choose between the markets you are describing. Most of my clients
can’t afford the jewelry made by my idols, any more than I can (I
just tried on a silver and diamond John Iverson gingko brooch…a
month’s rent). I would like to see something that has never
existed–an economic system where the production and ownership of
beautiful things is open to everyone. Me and William Morris…

Lisa Orlando
Aphrodite’s Ornaments
Benicia CA


#2
    I just couldn't let this go by. The originators of the Arts and
Crafts Movement were opposed to the distinction you make, i.e. they
wanted quality ornaments for the "masses" 

perhaps that is what they intended, but that is not what happened.
only the well-to-do could afford their stuff

or, more accurately, they wanted to transform the "masses" back into
craftspeople who could make such things for themselves. 

impossible to do - and they knew it. To be a fine craftsman takes a
lot of training. not available to the masses then and not today
either! But training is the easy part, what’s rare is the mind set it
takes to be a Craftsman. To constantly strive to do better, to take on
new projects with the idea of doing it as good as anyone can, even if
its not in your bag of tricks, that is Craftsmanship.This is true in
all walks of life. The craftsman’s attitude is what set their work
apart from the rest. Quality thought always shows.

 There are a lot of people out here filled with longing for a life
like that 

Not everyone can make jewelry or paint or sculpt. But everyone can do
something. Apply that craftsman’s attitude (or Artist’s Way, if you
prefer) to whatever it is that you do. If everyone did this, there
wouldn’t be any shoddy products on the market. Or if they showed up,
they wouldn’t sell. And people would be proud of their jobs.

     I love to make ornaments for such people and hope I won't be
forced to choose between the markets you are describing. 

you will if you plan on making a living at it.

 Most of my clients can't afford the jewelry made by my idols, any
more than I can 

But they can afford work made by you. Why not give them more than
what they are paying for? Or don’t you think your work is as good as
your “idol’s”? If not, why not?

 I would like to see something that has never existed--an economic
system where the production and ownership of beautiful things is
open to everyone. 

It’s here now! If you can’t afford it, make your own. Who knows,
maybe you can do it better than anyone else!

In closing, I would like to say one more thing. If a piece of art is
not well crafted, then it is just another piece of s–t. It doesn’t
matter if it’s by picasso, or Duchamp, or any other well known
"artist" As my old dad used to say “if you’re going to do something,
do it right” Those people who say “it’s what the artist intended” are
deceived. It’s just the “artist” being lazy. Do it right folks!

Mark Thomas Ruby SunSpirit Designs Loveland, CO 970 622-9500 studio
970 622-9510 fax


#3
As my old dad used to say "if you're going to do something, do it
right" Those people who say "it's what the artist intended" are
deceived. It's just the "artist" being lazy. Do it right folks!

Here! Here!! I so totally agree. If it’s worth doing, it is worth
doing well. I’m so disheartened sometimes when I see things made by
younger folks who give a nominal attempt and say “it’s good enough,
it’s just crafting”.

Betty


#4

Well said Mark! Things can only be as good as the person working
on it tries to make them, so it is a good thing to take the extra
step, in any field of work.


#5

Something I read many(+) years ago while still in high school.

Why is there always time to do a job over, but never enough time
to do it right the first time?" 

Very insightful once you think about it. Especially if you are in
the business of “doing”. The first time, the customer pays. The
"do over" is on you.


#6

Hi, Mark

For thousands of years, before the Industrial Revolution and the
rise of capitalism, lots of people were skilled at crafts–some
because they made them for the rich, some for their own use, some for
trade. And before world capitalism took over everything, there were
still plenty of so-called undeveloped cultures that barely had a
class system–so they weren’t making crafts for the rich, i.e. most
people could “afford” what was made and/or had the time necessary to
learn how to make it.

I think you are defining shoddy in a particular way. Most of us
don’t look at tribal jewelry that doesn’t use soldering and/or is
uneven in some way and call it shoddy, although we may call it
primitive. Nobody has ever called my work shoddy, but for me to
develop the skills, and afford the materials, of my idols, I would
have to have an independent income. And not just because I don’t have
the capital–I don’t have the time. I’m living in a system where
nobody has time (that’s why most of my friends don’t make their own
jewelry, or their own anything else–not even dinner).

You are right that the Arts and Crafts movement didn’t work the way
it hoped to. On the other hand, many members of this list remember an
(all too brief) time–sometimes known as the Rhinebeck days–when it
did work. That time only existed because the state of the economy
enabled some of us to live very cheaply (and buy our materials
cheaply–I was a “textile artist” then, but I remember the price of
gold). As a result, we were able to support each other by buying each
other’s crafts, in a kind of symbiotic neo-tribal system. Little did
we know that, in a matter of years, the economy would blow most of us
out of the water.

I went to graduate school to try to understand what happened and
whether something could be done about it. I never found an answer.
Now, decades later, I’m back “in the crafts,” trying (quixotically,
no doubt) to recreate that time for myself, while my debt mounts.
SNAG made me feel hopeful, because the energy of the whole thing was
so 60s (as is Orchid’s energy)–people who are successful sharing
freely what they hope will help the rest of us.

But the solution to “making it in metal” offered by some of my idols
at SNAG was the opposite of that offered by William Morris. I think
of it as the Ikea solution–put lots of creative thought into both
beautiful designs and ways to make them using industrial processes. I
don’t think Ikea’s stuff is shoddy and I don’t think Don Friedlich’s
"clothes pins" were shoddy. The problem is, I want an Interference
Series brooch and I want to make things that involve that kind of
time and skill. But I may end up trying to go for the Ikea solution
anyway. I’m too old to still be this poor and frustrated and afraid
that it’s time to look for another day job. Never mind that, like Tim
McCreight, I still feel uneasy about making things that none of my
friends can afford.

By the way, I do wire work, usually incorporating beads. I cant even
afford the high karat gold wire I want to use, never mind the
full-fledged studio (I work in my bedroom) that would enable me to do
stone-setting. I bet I’m not the only person on this list who is in
this predicament. I’m proud of my work, but the chances of my
becoming a “studio jeweler” seem to have crumbled with the economy.
And, as Alan Revere so honestly pointed out at SNAG, nobody will hire
me as a bench jeweler, no matter how much training I have, because
I’m too old.

I do agree with your assertion that, if “everyone” took a stand,
things would change. But most people are too busy just surviving to
even consider what taking a stand might mean. And if “everyone” did
stop doing jobs they hate and start making beautiful things, the
"unintended consequences" might be that the system would collapse and
we’d all die of starvation, tuberculosis, etc. (that, unfortunately,
is what I learned in grad school).

Lisa Orlando
Aphrodite’s Ornaments
Benicia, CA