A picture paints a thousand words, and a thousand words paint a picture.
For this reason, I would like to share with you some of my favorite quotes about Jewelry and Art.
Why do this? because, and this is somewhat ironic, I am using a quote to explain myself, “Because a picture paints a thousand words“.
Because that encompasses jewelry and art. But also, because the corollary to that is “A thousand words can paint a picture“. Words have power as they create images in your mind. so these quotes, while not a thousand words, will paint a picture in your mind, that picture just created, will generate thoughts. and those thoughts will be words. and those words create a new picture, . . .
and the process continues.
the quotes I am sharing today come from various sources. Some are about art, some are about jewelry, each will have my thoughts about why they matter to me. These might strike a cord within you. Or not. That is fine. The important part is that they create a picture in your mind, and they make you think and examine your own ideas.
I invite you to leave your own thoughts about jewelry and art in the comments. Taking the mental images from your mind, and writing about them helps focus your ideas. It also gives others the benefit of your thoughts. Remember a few sentences ago where I said “The important part is that they create a picture in your mind”? By sharing my thoughts here, and you sharing your thoughts in the comments, we together create new pictures composed of words and some will have never been seen before.
So let us begin to create together. . .
You have to roll up your sleeves and be a stonecutter before you can become a sculptor, command of craft always precedes art: apprentice, journeyman, master.
This first quote by Philip Gerard always makes me think about why I started down this long road of making jewelry. It is, in a way, a lesson about instant gratification. When I started making jewelry back in 1985, it was to teach myself patience. I had no skill. But I knew that if I could learn to take the time to slowly make something, then I could hopefully incorporate that lesson into the rest of my life. (30+ years later the jury is still out on whether I succeeded in that endeavor.) Having no artistic ability, I never expected to make anything anyone would ever want to wear. I was surprised to find that I improved. So after a few years of playing around with jewelry, I found that I wanted to make that a career. It took a while but I did. Not many people can say they were able to work in a field they are passionate about, But I am one of the lucky few.
So back to the quote and where on the scale do I fall?
Apprentice? Probably not anymore. But I know that I am not nearly as skilled as other jewelers.
Journeyman? I would like to think so. At least for most of the work I can do.
Master? I can say with absolute certainty, no. That is the goal. To someday say yes to this last part. But even if I never get there, I am good with that.
Of the Just Shaping of Letters, 1535
…sane judgment abhors nothing so much as a picture perpetrated with no technical knowledge, although with plenty of care and diligence. Now the sole reason why painters of this sort are not aware of there own error is that they have not learnt Geometry, without which no one can either be or become an absolute artist; but the blame for this should be laid upon their masters, who themselves are ignorant of this art.
This quote is in some ways the antithesis of modern jewelers and art. A lot of words are used today to explore social issues and make statements about and jewelry and art. Many statements are made with jewelry and art. Now that is all fine and good if the item you made is of good quality and shows a level of workmanship that suggests you have a grasp of the techniques needed to make a workable piece of jewelry.
But if the quality of what you made is poor, and shows you have no grasp of scale, proportion, or geometry, then the only “message” you are sharing is that you have no talent or skill. So learn. Study. Do that one technique 30 times if you have to to learn it.
I set hundreds of gems over the years and even now, I still have to stop and think about each one I do. Before it was because I had no idea what to do or how to do it. Now, it is because I am seeing so many little variations of what I need to do. I wish I had people to show me what to do. My learning curve would have been much shorter having had someone to ask me questions about what I see. And more importantly, what I was not seeing. In part, this blog is to help those who like me, did not have a master to study under. Maybe by using me as an example, you might shorten your learning curve, and with care and diligence, gain the technical knowledge you need to succeed.
The design philosophy of the Shakers
Do not make something unless it is both necessary and useful, but if it is both necessary and useful; do not hesitate to make it beautiful.
And this one. I just like. You may argue that jewelry is not either necessary or useful. But I think it is. And this does not mean you have to “bedazzle” everything. Beauty can be as simple as a straight line on the back of a chair. An arch on a garden trellis. The precision of how a single piece of wood is inlaid into floor to complete a design.the lines of a ring as it is worn on a hand.
I learned about beauty early on by listening to a friend of mine talk about how hard it is to draw a picture of a hand. She had set a task upon herself to draw one hand per day for a year. She was showing me how each hand was different. And how the subtleties of the lines made arches and curves that changed the look of every hand, and how it made it’s own beauty. Now put a ring on that hand. Do the lines of the ring fight against the lines of the hand? A ring that looks “not quite right” on one hand, may be perfect for another hand. It can be a simple ring, even a simple band, But working with the hand, magic.
And that is beauty.