Handcrafted in the USA
I’m no Luddite. In fact, I’m a real tool junkie and part of my enjoyment in creating jewelry for my clients comes from the opportunity to work with some pretty cool tools. But for some reason I have never really embraced the idea of integrating CAD (Computer Aided Design) into most of my personal jewelry design work. I do think CAD has its place. The tiny lettering and precise logo representation inherent in corporate logo jewelry items, class rings, and other similar types of jewelry may sometimes be more well executed utilizing CAD/CAM. I used a simple type of CAD, in fact, when I made championship rings for the University of Oregon and Iowa State woman’s basketball teams in 1999 and 2000. And I still integrate CAD processes, sometimes in bits and pieces integrated into broader themes, where it is useful.
“I just wanted you to know how very much I love your work-and working with you was such a pleasure. You are not only talented & creative, but also a solid, honest, and very pleasant person!” ~ LC
That being said, I think that much of the CAD generated jewelry being designed and manufactured today…it is a very strong trend…is just not that personal in how it looks or “feels”. Also, much of that type of jewelry has been designed by someone with great computer skills, but no hands-on experience with jewelry. Because of this trend we see some aesthetically cool stuff that ultimately, just won’t hold up to the enormous wear and tear that occurs with jewelry as it is worn.
Handmade jewelry, furniture, kitchenware, and (for those of us who are lucky enough to have these things in our lives,) many of the very most treasured items we own, use or encounter are handmade. These objects have a wonderful and thought-provoking feel that speaks to craftsmanship in the highest degree. And they tend to hold up to use, getting more beautiful over time while not falling apart.
One of my all-time favorite quotes speaks to this...
The following is a brief excerpt from the piece by Susan Crowell, writer, and (likely former, at this time) Ceramics instructor at U. Michigan, Ann Arbor:
"Craftsmanship is the central, qualitative element of craft, and it is at the heart of one maker's response to the work of another... and in seeking a unified theory of craft, not a unified aesthetic, we need to focus on the act of making, not the object itself."
She discusses the writing of anthropologist Ellen Dissanayake's in her book "Homo Aestheticus", who describes "ART" as the task of “making special". Susan goes on to say......."For craftspeople, this making special emphasizes both the making and the special. Reversing the terms - special making- rings even truer when speaking of craft, for which the process of handwork is an essential component. As our perception of time becomes more precious and the time-intensive nature of craft increases its value, craft may even come to represent the preciousness of time itself, embodied in an object."