Is HandCrafted Jewelry Becoming Obsolete?

With Computer Assisted Design and 3D Printers–Jewelry Design is changing—does this mean that jewelers can no longer make a living by creating their jewelry by hand?  Does this mean the end of brick and mortar jewelry stores?  The end of “Handcrafted?”

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Handcrafted jewelry–a dying art?

In March, I attended the MJSA conference, which is a jewelry manufacturing show, where vendors demonstrate the latest and greatest  gadgets to make your jewelry.  They also had on site workshops and demonstrations.  It was here where a well regarded guru presenter told us that unless we learned CAD-CAM, we would never be able to make a living being a bench jeweler. (CAD-CAM is a jewelry design computer program that offers 3-D imaging in a very realistic form that looks like a photo of a real piece of jewelry).

He also said we would also need to invest in a 3-D Printer to create wax designs to send off to have cast–you can make one or thousands of the same design.  Wait—What????

Not only that, but he said jewelry stores will be obsolete.  Soon, most will buy jewelry on line or in big box stores.

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WOW!  And the person sitting next to me confirmed that she closed her jewelry store in NY and she showed me her 3D designs–she sells her jewelry online in this way.  They looked like real pieces–and she said they don’t even exist—yet.  A customer would order it, and she would promise it to them in 3 weeks–it gets sent off to be cast, and a jeweler would then finish it off (polish, set the stone, and so forth).  

Wow again!  I sat there, very deflated.  I don’t want to do CAD CAM.  I don’t want to send a computer design, I want to hand design something–to create a piece of art by hand.  I want to take the sheet of metal, and saw, hammer, shape, form, file, sand, solder and manipulate the hell out of it, to come up with something different.

I can’t put my soul into a computer program.

I can’t put my soul into a computer program.  I can only put my soul in a piece that I worked from beginning to end.  I don’t want to make a thousand of the same thing.

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Peach Drusy and Jade in Sterling Silver

My pieces are far from perfect–they are not machined–but they have character.

And then the lightbulb

lightbulb2COMPRcame on over my head…My customer doesn’t want one of a thousand either.  My customer wants to be independent, wants to express, is organic, natural, wants art, and will search for the piece that matches her/his personality, mood and sense of style.

Maybe I will never be wealthy as a solo bench jeweler.  Maybe I will be among a shrinking group of jewelry artists who make pieces from beginning to end.  But what I will have is an artistic soul that will remain intact, and customers who treasure their pieces for what they are….

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These rings available here at SilverSpiral Creations

Lynne Patnode is a jewelry artist whose mission is to create wearable jewelry art from Nature’s most beautiful stones, sea glass, and artifacts.  She also creates glass art jewelry to emulate nature’s beauty.  Her website is SilverSpiral Creations

 

 

 

 

If You Want Something Done….

Give it to a Busy Person…

This is a statement I have heard more than once in recent times. I wonder what that really means.  Does it mean that if you have too much to do that you organize better?  Or does it mean that as we fill up our lives with activities, chores and obligations that we are in a survival mode?

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So much to do, So little time!

How about the other side of this coin?  If we don’t have enough going on, do we become complacent or lazy?

I have to say that I create my own “busy-ness.”   So many times I get asked to do things and I rarely say no.  I often hear my colleagues and friends express the same sentiment.  I am sure this happens to many of you.

I think that on some level, we are flattered that someone thinks enough of our competence to ask us to participate, and therefore we must “accept” the charge.  We look at the calendar, see that the date is free and say “sure, I can do that!”  But when we actually have to complete the task, we ask ourselves “what was I thinking?  I should never have said I would do that.”

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I guess I am not the superhero I think I am!

 

And then it comes time to meet your own duties and goals. Often, when you are busy, you let some of these things go, because after all, you are not a superhero.  To the outside world, you look like you are amazing, because you have met all of your external obligations which are all of those things you said “yes” to and had to get done.

I guess I am not the superhero I would like think I am.  I have let my blog be one of those goals that fell through the cracks.  Whenever I had a moment to write, I felt paralyzed.  It was almost as if I was being defiant, as if the dialog I was having with myself was “I have been too busy, and just for that, I am NOT going to write!”  Some other personal goals have fallen short as well, including my own Jewelry Business.

It was almost as if I was being defiant, as if the dialog I was having with myself was “I have had too much to do, and just for that, I am NOT going to write”. 

Are you one of those busy people who “over-accept?”  I sure would like to get better at saying “no” to those things that make my life crazy.  All of us “busy” folks need to re-assess what is truly important to do.

 All of this talk about decluttering our spaces—what about decluttering our lives?

Let me know what you think.    How will you “Declutter” your life?  Now back to making my jewelry!busy jeweler

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lynne Patnode is the owner of Silverspiral Creations whose mission is to create wearable jewelry art from nature’s most beautiful stones.  She also creates fused glass jewelry art inspired by nature.