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When do you stop?


#1

This my sound like a strange question to most if not all here but
let me ask anyway . When do you stop the finishing process on a
piece of jewelry , when is it done ? Perhaps my question stems from
the fact the small amount of jewelry I do make is done with one hand
and I feel that I need to do better to be able to do equal quality
work which in turn limits the amount of items I can do in a given
time.I look at a piece I make and its not good enough I see a
scratch or some other imperfection that maybe nobody else would see
yet I cant stop trying to correct it .I guess that I fear that
someone may see something and assume its the best I could do due to
my physical condition.

Yet , I look at pictures in mags like Modern Jeweler and such where
the work is done by professional jewelers and I see prongs that dont
match , waves in the metal , unpolished spots in V sections , yes I
know that they are photographed under magnafication but when do you
stop .Do you look at it with the naked eye and if it looks good its
done or look at it under 10X and try to correct what is seen that
way .When do you stop?

Timothy


#2

Someone asked Alexander Calder how did he know when one of his
sculptures was done, and his answer was "When it’s suppertime!"
Makes sense to me. Ed


#3

Timothy, I too have seen a great deal of '‘unfinished’ jewelry in
the periodicals, (and wonder about the editor!). Jewelers of America
started a series of illustrations in jewelry trade magazines a few
years ago, such as Modern Jeweler.And they also produce an
illustrated counter top spiral book for jewelers use, and to show
customers how a job is done. They show how to spot inferior
workmanship(and wear and tear) and how it should be done correctly.
THIS is what I think you are asking…When is it done.

The top bound book is available from JofA and titled: THE JA
PROFESSIONAL’S GUIDE TO FINE JEWELRY CRAFTSMANSHIP. Having taken the J
of A Bench Certification course, this ‘book’ was invaluable to me.
For it show what is the hallmark for a job well DONE! A condensed
list of contents follows: REPAIR,STONE SETTING, FABRICATION AND
ASSEMBLY, CASTING, FINISHING, with sub categories for each.

	contact:
	Jewelers of America
	1185 Avenue of the Americas, 30th floor
	New York, New York 10036
	800-223-0673
	www.jewelers.org

Thomas Blair CBJ*
Island Gold Works
Hilton Head Island SC


@Island_Gold_Works
*Jewelers of America Certified Bench Jeweler


#4
      Do you look at it with the naked eye and if it looks good
its done or look at it under 10X 

Tim, one of the top rules of production on the big poster that
hangs in my shop, is NOTHING LEAVES THE SHOP UNTIL SEEN WITH
OPTIVISOR, that is whether it’s 1 or 100 pieces. I am fanatic for
quality, and have had too many distressed thoughts about the surface
condition, etc.of pieces that were shipped when not seen under
magnification, or looked at my xtras, which should be of the same
quality, and there were flaws. Most of my stuff is carved from wood
or acrylic, bone, one at a time, so i give it a thorough inspection
for my favorite parameters. If it is an order for a highend
dept.store, though, they will inspect under magnification, always
and every piece, so it’s essential to have healthy production habits.
If for a craft show, i, of course, hold back no quality either,
mainly because i love to dazzle them(customers). You should show a
picture of your bench, got any good methods for one hand work,
clamps,etc. Alot of mechanically inclined on this forum. I for one
know that you could carve well, with a simple prosthetic/clamping
system. There are many ways to carve and wax is a delightful medium
also many things to do besides manual work, CNC??, pmc clay? 2d
design? Got any pics, i’ll trade you!!. starving artist


#5

Timothy,

This is a good question. My answer, is that you stop when you feel
that it is worthy of your name. No sooner, no later.

Here is a great quotation I learned at school: You can get away
with a poor design with great craftsmanship, but you can’t get away
with a great design and poor craftsmanship.

-karen
M E T A L W E R X
http://www.metalwerx.com/
Jewelry/Metalarts School & Cooperative Studio
Board Member for the Society of North American


#6

You asked, “When to stop working on a piece of jewelry?”

When I have to.

In my experience it is usually not because I want to, but because I
have to for a variety of reasons like, the customer is waiting, the
dinner bell is ringing, or it is time to go home and go to sleep.

When I am into it, I never feel like stopping at the bench, but want
to continue to hone and improve my work forever.

As far as flawed jewelry appearing in magazines, you are not the
only one to notice. For some reason, good photography draws our
attention to things we might not notice in looking at an actual
piece. It sure is disappointing to see a well-designed and otherwise
well-crafted piece of jewelry with unfinished bezels or prongs that
are slightly irregular. It is hard to understand why someone would
submit a photo to a magazine, that showed poor craftsmanship.

In answer to your first question, I guess those people should not
have stopped yet…

Alan

Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts
760 Market Street - Suite 900
San Francisco, CA 94102
tel: 415-391-4179 fax: 415-391-7570
web: http://www.revereacademy.com
email: alan@revereacademy.com


#7

Much of my stuff is never finished satisfactorily - if it lies
around where I can see it it’s as difficult to leave alone as it is
not to scratch a persistent itch. Over the years I’ve “finished” many
many many otherwise saleable enamels to destruction by trying “just
one more firing” or “one more lapping” or one more something else
… some of the large panels I’ve had several goes at over a period
of years to try and correct faults.

I’ve never seen a “perfect” enamel and it occurred to me 20 years
ago that success would be being able to stop one step before the one
that would ruin it . I imagine the same thing would apply to any
field of endeavour if you are of a particular personality type Tim.

cheers
Al Heywood


#8

To quote something I read somewhere, but don’t remember where “An
artist never finishes his work , he merely abandons it.” Seems to
fit.


#9

I for one know that you could carve well, with a simple
prosthetic/clamping system. Excuse me for asking, but what is a
prosthetic/clamping system? Best, Will


#10
    Someone asked Alexander Calder how did he know when one of his
sculptures was done, and his answer was "When it's suppertime!"
Makes sense to me.  Ed 

There is an old story – There was an old man who worked for a
company that made hand-carved doors. He was a real artist, their top
man, whose work was so great as to make you almost want to cry.
Someone, watching him fork away, asked him “How do you know when it
is finished?” “He replied; it is never finished; I just keep working
on it until they come and take it away.”

Margaret


#11

Howdy Timothy, As a beginning metalsmith, I probably would not have
responded to a more specific question, but yours is a query that
spans so many disciplines! I have more experience faceting gems
and ,when cutting for competition. I use ‘perfection’ as a goal. I
have cut stones that have 60-100 or more hours in them. (Ridiculous
in terms of commerce.) If some folks in almost every aspect of human
endeavor do not do this occasionally, we will never know how close to
perfection we can get. It can be used as a goal while simultaneously
realizing its unobtainability. However, I was once told that, in my
other cutting, I should strive for ‘excellence’. Now , that may mean
say-6 hours- to cut a stone for me, 4 hours for someone else, 10 for
that other guy. And we may have some obvious differences in quality
perhaps NOT correlated to the time involved(due to different
skill/experience levels). Still, as the artisan, you will generally
be your worst critic. Try spending some time watching real customers
at a jewelry store. Curiously,(as my instructor pointed out to me
once) the BACK of a brooch or pendant can mean losing a sale even if
the front is some fantastic award winning design! They will almost
invariably flip a piece over right after picking it up! Instead of
just a polished back and a hall mark, try some fun texture or ?(sorry

  • I digress)

Sure, occasionally someone will come in with a loupe or a friend who
is somhow considered knowledgable and may very closely examine solder
joints or something, but often they are still just comparing your
pieces to to other (rarely)equal or (usually much)less competent
artists.

maybe you should start by asking yourself; “what does my direct
competition look like?” “What level of finish would I be personally
looking for if I were helping a friend buy a piece not my own?” “At
what level of finish would I be proud to show a piece to a random
’guy on the street’, a mall jeweler, another metalsmith, a
metalsmithing instructor, or a competition judge?” Then decide where
in this range is a reasonable place to stop. Excellent question
Timothy! Carl 1 Lucky Texan


#12

(snip) maybe you should start by asking yourself; “what does my
direct competition look like?” “What level of finish would I be
personally looking for if I were helping a friend buy a piece not my
own?” “At what level of finish would I be proud to show a piece to a
random ‘guy on the street’, a mall jeweler, another metalsmith, a
metalsmithing instructor, or a competition judge?” Then decide where
in this range is a reasonable place to stop. Excellent question
(snip)

And Downey, you have give an extraordinarily excellent answer. You
really covered all the bases. I painted for years and had a mentor
once tell me, only continuing working on something (in my case a
painting) if what you are adding to/taking away actually improves
your final result. Never “do” anything to your work
(painting/jewelry) unless you know why you are doing it. And I found
that to be a good guide for me to know when to stop. But it’s a very
subjective sort of thing. Good luck, and do stop sometime to enjoy
the fruits of your labor.

Kay


#13

When is it done? Fred Babb (he of “go to your studio and make
something” fame) sez;; Art is working on something til it’s done and
then leaving it alone . Sometimes you have to work through the
entire depth of your inspiration and trust that no amount of
persipiration is going to make it better. Re; craftsmanship being
more important than design…to whom and for what reason?
Personally , if we’re talking about artwork here, I’d rather see a
fabulous, inspired sketch than a meticulously executed but dry
been-there-done-that drawing. If one only makes work that they
know they can make perfectly…where is the thrill?? Design as far
out as you can dream…and work as intently and hard as you can to
make the vision a reality…in my book, vision drives craftsmanship,
not the other way around. Marianne Hunter


#14

Hello Timothy, I am a trade stone cutter and have seen jewellery from
student work to award winning Art Jeweller, from mall jeweller to
high end custom houses. One common thing, all of the very expensive
pieces looked perfect under 16x cheater loupe. A lump of gold given
to one jeweller can make a $100 piece. That same lump given to
another can make a $5,000 piece. I can’t tell you which jeweller is
making the most money though :slight_smile:

A few years back I was asked to make some pictures of some jewellery
made by a friend’s friend. I produced a set of 8 x 10’s with one
item per picture. The lady had a fit, refused to pay and said they
were the worst pictures she had ever seen. The wrinkly bezels,
over-soldered joints, scratchy polish and several many other uglies
were displayed in all of their glory. I later got to see the 'real’
photographer’s efforts, a series of postcard ‘scenes’ showing all of
her stuff laid out across driftwood and beach props. I must admit
they were indeed far superior pictures and from that distance her
stuff looked great.

Tony.


#15

Hi Friends, This thread could be sub-titled, “The Pursuit of
Perfection.” I think this is an obsession may people in the jewelry
arts share. It gives us a legitimate venue for exercising our
you-know-what retentiveness. This is something I struggled with
myself until a couple years ago, when I did the Artist’s Way
self-help program.

You know when somebody tells you something about yourself and you
are in total denial? “No I’m not!” See, there you go! I went through
the same thing when this little artist’s hang-up was confronted in
the program. I tried telling myself that jewelry is different from
other arts, and needs to be perfect, so this really doesn’t apply
to me. Not like painting, or writing a novel, where so much is
subjective.

Well, I finally had to face the reality that the whole thing boils
down to EGO. See… there you go, denying it already, just as I did.
We see the work as a reflection (no pun intended) of ourselves, and
we couldn’t possibly let anyone see us as less than perfect. We have
to prevent anyone from seeing any faults, so we keep obsessing on the
pursuit of perfection.

I won’t try to convince you of this… 'cuz I took quite a bit of
convincing myself. If you want to come to an understanding of this,
look in the Orchid archives for conversations about this (around late
2000), or better yet, get the Artist’s Way and remove this, and
probably several other blocks to your creativity.

All the best,
Dave
Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)
dave@sebaste.com


#16

How many of us have had a piece that was just almost exactly what we
wanted and then preceded to destroy it in that last effort of making
it perfect? My husband just told me (after burning the toast when he
put it in a second time to get it just a touch browner) :

" Excellence is the mortal enemy of Good Enough"
Made me smile –


#17

Hi all,

There’s another one that no one has mentioned and hopefully I have
the quote right. It goes, “Perfect is the Enemy of Good”.

I’m sure we’ve all had at least one gasping-for-breath moment when
giving it that one last tweek scratched, broke, FLUNG, or gouged what
was already a “perfectly” wonderful piece. Ouch!

Have a good one, I love Orchid too, Carol


#18

I always try to make a piece w/ the conceit that I’ll end up owning
it. If I can be happy looking at it in perpetuity then it’s done.
Of course this isn’t always feasible in the real world of custom,
etc., but it’s a goal I strive for.

That being said, if someone wants to buy a piece- a study for a
larger piece, for instance-- that’s not really where I wanted it to
be, I’ll usually let it go, understanding that it is what it is…

Andy


#19

How about this one: The piece is done when you’re willing to put your
name on it. Or when you’re willing to show it to one of your
colleagues,warts and all, and not be ashamed.

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


#20
    There's another one that no one has mentioned and hopefully I
have the quote right. It goes, "Perfect is the Enemy of Good". I'm
sure we've all had at least one gasping-for-breath moment when
giving it that one last tweek scratched, broke, FLUNG, or gouged
what was already a "perfectly" wonderful piece. Ouch! 

The one I was taught at an early age, was “Don’t let the Best become
the enemy of the Good.” This has stood me good service in a number of
situations. In truth, because I do a historical style of work,
making pieces too finished actually detracts from the effect that
I’m after.

Ron Charlotte – Gainesville, FL
@Ron_Charlotte1 OR afn03234@afn.org