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Venting about "Designers"


#1

There have been several posts lately about jewelery designers
looking for someone to manufacture their designs. I have several of
these people as customers. And I could really make do without them.
I am so tired of so called jewelry designers that have never worked
a piece of metal in their lives, they just have lots of ideas for
jewelry that they want someone else to make. Please, go learn the
skills that so many of us have done and are doing, then go make your
designs yourself. I have more ideas for jewelry that I want to make
than I ever will complete in my lifetime. Plus these designs that
come from people who have never done the work always have to be
re-designed because they don’t understand the properties and
limitations of the materials. I don’t think anyone should be calling
themselves a jewelry designer until they have learned to carve,
cast, finish, solder and set. Along with drawing a picture, which by
the way is the very last thing I learned at Gem City College when I
went there to be a jewelry designer almost 30years ago.

John Wade
Wade Designs
wadesigns@aol.com


#2

Hi John;

You’ve identified the problem succinctly. Let me add my ideas. I
think there is a lack, in education, of people who have integrated
the most basic concern of design into their teaching methodology.
That is, you must learn to design within the parameters of the
technology you understand. If one doesn’t want to take this tedious
and disciplined route, then they must learn the other caveat: You
must defer to the expertise of the craftsperson executing your
design, in degree, inversely proportional to your ignorance… in
other words, the less you know about what you’re doing, the more
you’ve got to leave it to the discretion of the real artist to make
it happen. Sorry if that seems a little sharp.

David L. Huffman


#3

I’m confused. How does one get credentials of being a jewelry
designer if they’ve never done it?

I guess I’m naive.

Miachelle


#4

When Jean Claude and Christo made the Gates in Central Park, they
visualized them and others created them - in fact they do that with
most of their art. Is the vision really less than the craft or
skill? Think of architects, industrial designers or even furniture
designers - without manufacturers these people would have no way of
expressing their vision.

I market, sell, and design my jewelry and pr material. I used to
make every prototype myself, but now I prefer that my contractors to
do a mix of development and fulfillment. My time is well spent
selling or developing 50 rings rather than making them. But that is
my preference.

I suppose your point is that you design and create everything
yourself, ergo you are a jewelry designer. Which is a fine point;
however, I disagree.

Janet Cadsawan


#5

John,

Let me add a word or two on this subject. You are dead right that
designers seldom have the practical feeling for manipulation of
metals. This is not to say that they don’t have artistic
capabilities; after all , they are idealists who dream in images,
not in materials, It is up to us as the ultimate maipulators to draw
the line between practical and infeasible. I say this, not because I
deal with designers, but with the general public. My clientele often
fancy themselves to be designers and their perceptions of "doable"
designs can often be just as outrageous as those who who conjure up
concepts that are drug induced.

I have given a lot of thought lately to the subject of practical
considerations about the design and fabrication of jewelry and plan
soon to pontificate on the matter. Those of us who have to repair
the bad judgement of other jewelers have a lot to say. Suffice it to
say that when we, as jewelers, put out a bad product that would, in
any other venue, be classified as a recall., it is time to
reconsider our vocational reposnibilities.

Ron Mills , Mills Gem Co. Los Osos. Ca


#6
Please, go learn the skills that so many of us have done and are
doing, then go make your designs yourself..... designs that come
from people who have never done the work always have to be
re-designed because they don't understand the properties and
limitations of the materials. I don't think anyone should be
calling themselves a jewelry designer until they have learned to
carve, cast, finish, solder and set. 

john Wade, i congratulate you for precisely evaluating the problem
and for concisely expressing the opinions held by many of us on the
subject. thank you,

ive

who knows it isn’t what you claim you can do but what you actually accomplish
that defines you.


#7
How does one get credentials of being a jewelry designer if they've
never done it?

By actually making some jewelry with a decent design.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140
@Daniel_R_Spirer
www.spirerjewelers.com


#8

Hmmm… I see everyone’s point on this one and it’s something that I
too have vented about with other designers. I know of "designers"
that have never touched wax or metal and are producing a product
that they claim to have made- I don’t think that only drawing the
idea on paper is the same as actually making something.

Read on, am I a hypocrite?

Here’s my thing…

I do my own wax carving, but I have my bench-worker solder my
jumprings and my caster casts my work for me. I could do my own
casting and soldering, but due to lack of time (time = money) I
choose not to. I have someone to reproduces the beaded aspects to my
pieces, but I always do the prototype first. My caster,
bench-worker, and bead-goddess work at a very reasonable rate and I
prefer to spend my time pursuing the more “fun” aspects of
designing: drawing, wax-carving, getting the correct finish on a
cast piece, designing the finished products, designing my postcards,
designing my booth layouts (wholesale shows), etc… My thing about
having my own business and working for myself is that I choose the
aspects that give me pleasure and do them and farm out the others. I
couldn’t possibly do everything myself so the line has to be drawn
somewhere. However, I still consider myself a “jewelry designer”.

Here’s the questions I’d like to pose to : should I not consider
myself a “jewelry designer” because I don’t do it all? Am I being
hypocritical because I criticize the designers with jewelry lines
that they don’t carve, hammer or forge?

I’ve thought about this a lot, have talked to other designers and
would like some more insight. For the record, I’m not going to stop
calling myself a jewelry designer, my self-worth isn’t that shaky,
and I’d like some honest feedback from the folks that have been
doing this a lot longer than myself.

Thanks!
Amery


#9
I suppose your point is that you design and create everything
yourself, ergo you are a jewelry designer. Which is a fine point;
however, I disagree. 

I have to say that I am with Janet. Dale Chihuly isn’t a
glassblower, but he directs a team of blowers and assemblers to
realize his vision. Certainly hasn’t made it cheaper or less sought
after. I have seen loads of jewelers that make everything themselves
who’s designs are so bad it makes you wince. I have seen brilliant
designers work, who couldn’t solder a bezel themselves, with someone
else standing over their shoulder directing them, and I’ve seen loads
of variations in between. So have you. Just a different way of going
about the end result to me. Oh…in case you were wondering, I
fabricate everything myself, even make my findings, and some of my
chain. There is room for everyone. Just because I am capable of
making every itsy bitsy thing associated with my work, doesn’t mean
that it will be beautiful, well made or salable, although I hope it
is of course. There’s room for everyone.

Lisa, (my deployment readiness date is tomorrow, guess I should be
hearing something soon, Especially with this new storm coming.Keep
your fingers crossed for the gulf. It isn’t looking good…sigh)
Topanga, CA USA


#10

Hi Janet,

I suppose your point is that you design and create everything
yourself, ergo you are a jewelry designer.

No, that wasn’t the point at all.

I used to make every prototype myself... 

But that is! The fact is that you learned how to make the pieces
yourself, even if you no longer do so. That means you understand what
it takes and what is possible given the nature of the materials used.
This is light years different from the “designer” who has never laid
finger to a file or a torch or a mold or whatever the case may be.

Beth


#11

Ohhh… designers… This subject is something I am particularly
sensitive about. When I was in art school it started with the
feeling of resentment towards particular students who happened to be
able to draw but were in the art school because they thought it
would be “easy”. The older I have gotten the more I have realized
that being an artist is in the heart. Its about being passionate and
loving what you do. I found out a professor (though not a jewelry
professor) at my school did not create her own work. I was furious.
I couldn’t believe it.

After I finally met her I realized that she is an artist. She lives
and breathes creativity. I realized that what is right for me is not
right for everyone. I cannot imagine the day I EVER let someone else
produce a work that I designed, and then put my name on it. I would
personally feel like a fraud. Nor do I want to give my talent to
some one else’s name. I think ultimately it is the way our society
works that the “designer” gets the credit, whether or not they
actually touched the piece of jewelry. It feels like a slap in the
face for the producer that has to remain anonymous. Therefore those
of us that feel like it is a slap in the face, shouldn’t buy in to
the idea of creating anyone else’s design. But what about those
lovely artists that find three dimensional work so difficult and two
dimensional work so easy. What if they love jewelry more than
anything’ Can they be allowed to draw up designs and have someone
else make it for them’ I think the main issue though is designers who
A) aren’t really artists B) don’t know they material. Architects
have to know how the materials work,

otherwise… the building doesn’t work. Yes, someone else builds it,
but you can’t be an architect if you don’t know how to structure the
building. Or a chef creating a recipe with ingredients they have
never tasted. It just doesn’t make sense.

Anyway, I feel the frustration, just remember everyone has to live
with themselves at the end of the day, as long as you can live with
yourself, that is the important thing.

Beth


#12
Is the vision really less than the craft or skill' is wannabee
designer doodling really on the same planet with vision when paired
with skill, creativity, talent, knowledge and CAPABILITY' Think of
architects, industrial designers ... without manufacturers these
people would have no way of expressing their vision. 

the reference to architects and industrial designers has no
relevance in the subject of design without do-ability. architects
and industrial designers, both AIA eligible, know exactly how to
construct their designs but recognize the efficacy of putting their
degreed efforts to better use.

... My time is well spent selling or developing 50 rings rather
than making them. But that is my preference. 

so you recognize you capabilities are more in line with business and
[rather than ‘designing’ because the designs are in
ethnic jewelry books’] than those of us on orchid with creativity and
skill. i understand your decision could have been based on personal
preferences, BUT my dear ms cadsawan, in no way can i understand the
reasoning behind your following statement:

I suppose your point is that you design and create everything
yourself, ergo you are a jewelry designer. Which is a fine point;
however, I disagree. 

ummm, well, yes, all that ‘designing and creating everything’ must be
exactly what The Random House Dictionary of the English Language
defines as a “designer: a person who devises or executes designs,
esp. one who creates form, structures and patterns, as for works of
art …”

that is not <a fine point,> nor is it a broad point, not even a
salient point - that is the ONLY point! so you may disagree, but your
disagreement with such a basic concept reveals more than you realize.

ive

who just heard from everyone’s favorite conceptual figure, ‘art’,
calling from his regular sidewalk table at a south beach bistro -
his word on my input: “ditto!”


#13

B"H

I got my start with designing at Fashion Institute of Technology in
NY. My first class was not just designing (and the designing was not
rendering) but creating the jewelry, both working with silver (or
other metal) and wax (mostly hard wax. I then took a class in
rendering. I noticed somewhere along the line that the pieces I was
capable of making were nowhere nearly as nice as the designs I was
able to create by rendering. That and the lack of room to work (and
the need to clean up and get rid of all my equipment) led to my
abandoning the creation part.

I have three pieces that I designed and were executed by a jeweler
and when I show them off and people say that I made them, I correct
them and say “I DESIGNED this and had someone else make it.” I did
recently go into the city (aka NY) and pick up some hard and soft wax
– I don’t have the wherewithal at this point (read: tools) to work
with the hard wax, but I have created a few items with the soft wax
(looking for someone to cast/polish etc. them since I no longer have
the proper tools to do this).

Debbie
http://home.earthlink.net/~compugraphd
"Every child needs an adult who believes (s)he can succeed."


#14

Well, I have been away for 2 weeks and here is another little
squabble about words. Who cares really, if you call yourself a
jewelry designer or a jeweler or just a guy who bangs out some beads
on a string? The work will tell. I was just at the Oragemma show in
Italy, talk about Jewelry!! I am sure that a probably none of those
pieces were made by one person. They have casters and stone setters
and enamellists and wax carvers etc,etc. I wonder what those folks
those folks call themselves? Do they care? If someone has the cojones
to call themselves a jewelry designer having never picked up a file
or a torch or any other tool AND their work is great, they are what
they say they are. Faberge didn’t make his own stuff and he is the
epitome of great jewelry of the 19th century. He had tons of guys
working with and for him. Most famous jewelers always have had
stables of bench jewelers. Words are words. Why don’t we talk about
what real jewelry? HA HA Just kidding. Dennis


#15

A bench jeweler I used to work with would also get mad about
designers – but his beef was that they were the smart ones, making
money, and he was the dumb one.

Elaine

Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


#16
I have to say that I am with Janet. Dale Chihuly isn't a
glassblower, but he directs a team of blowers and assemblers to
realize his vision. 

Actually, he is a glass blower, he does know how to do it. He used
to blow glass, perhaps he still does for prototypes. I saw him do it
on TV, so it must be true. : )

Elaine
Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


#17
Dale Chihuly isn't a glassblower, but he directs a team of blowers
and assemblers to realize his vision. Certainly hasn't made it
cheaper or less sought after.

I hope I’m not being too picky, but, if I’m not mistaken, Chihuly
doesn’t blow his own glass any more because he lost the sight in one
eye from years of looking through the view hole of a glass furnace.
I think he has paid his dues as a glassblower.

I agree, however, with the main body of the post - there are many
ways to intersect with creation of an object.

Donna Hiebert
Donna Hiebert Design


#18

Dale Chihuly did not loose the sight in one eye from years of
looking through the view hole of a glass furnace. It was due to an
automobile accident in England. Since losing his left eye from an
automobile accident in 1976, Chihuly no longer has the depth
perception necessary to handle the molten glass himself. Instead, he
conceptualizes each project with paint and canvas and then employs a
team of artists to do the handiwork.


#19

I know many electrical engineers who design circuits all day, but if
you asked them to build them and test they wouldn’t know where to
start, or even how to pick out the correct resistor without
referencing a book. Are they any less designers? I would think not,
especially since the degree program revolves around the design of
circuits not in the fabrication of them (or even testing). Venting
about design vs execution is a waste of bandwidth in my opinion. The
public will decide if a design is worthy or not, and the fabricator
will decide if he/she wants to make the design. I don’t know what the
big hoopla is about.

Craig
www.creativecutgems.com


#20

hi all - there is a motivator and everyone has an agenda and people
have to feel justified about thier pursuits. face it ultimatly its
all about the money plain and simple idealism usually wanes quickly
in the face being destitute. and money like beauty isnt everything
but i will admit i would much rather try to spend my way to
cheerfulness than the other way round-goo