Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The New Jewelry: Trends and Traditions

My thoughts on The New Jewelry: Trends and Traditions by Peter Dormer and Ralph Turner....

David LaPlantz quote re: his outlook on making taken from his artist statement: "... satisfaction, a peace, a reason to smile and arise each dawn."
I completely agree with his outlook- if you lose the joy you get from creating, why continue? This is why it is important to raise your head up out if the day-to-day and look around, and take the time to recharge your creative batteries. Especially when you are working for yourself, it is easy to lose sight of the overall joy and why you're working so hard in the first place. It is precisely in that situation that it is most important to remember!
Another quote from the same statement: "Who needs and angst-ridden jeweler?".
I know that some artists create at their best when they are angsty and in turmoil. I don't. I lose perspective on the pieces underway and get frustrated easily as my feelings bleed across the boundaries of what I'm doing. Therefore, I completely see his viewpoint....

Regarding the ambition towards jewelry as sculpture- there are 2 ways to approach this according to the book:
The first way- The piece as autonomous object or the person who wears it being a part of the body sculpture.
The second way- Design-based jewelry "which tends not to 'express' anything other than how it is to be worn.... It simply 'is'."
I'm not sure that I find the above statements to be accurate.
Also, where do I fit in to that? Is it one or the other or is it a sliding scale between the two?
In answer, I'm not sure. I feel that my work and focus is changing as a necessary side effect of shifting from the marketplace back into academia, where I feel that the second way is brushed off as trite. Although there is not as huge emphasis on the first way, rather that is viewed as a valid road to follow. The notion that there needs to be an overriding statement or higher concept to the work is odd to me when presented as "the" way. I think that for some work, that school of thought is spot-on and accurate, but I think that there is certainly a place (I might argue a larger place) in the world for the second way.

Ornament v. Object
Two charged words in our field. My reaction? What are the differences between those? I think that's a separate post.....

Addressing figurative work: It seems to me that figurative work occupies a lesser status in the field, and especially in academic settings where I find that it is often flatly discouraged. It is true that figurative work, especially work done while learning falls into the common traps, but this is a valid design area, and we should be working to educate to avoid and rise above those pitfalls rather than shutting the door on figurative work because it is easier that addressing the issues.

Things I found interesting:
Rita Grosse-Ruyken
The different and clever ways that brooches attach and how the mechanisms are part of the piece- either hidden or worked into the overall design
Stanley Lechtzin's torque neckpieces
Caroline Broadhead's nylon bracelets and veil neckpiece
Otto Kunzli- addressing the societal acceptance of adornment with his work; the narrow range of what is acceptable, okay, and expected to wear and be worn during any given time period

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