Hows that for a long title?!
I’m getting to the stage now where my dissertation work is really starting to influence my studio work, which is a good thing, I think. My reading and analysing it has made me actively realise that concept is the one thing that will make jewellery reach its full potential. The word ‘craft’ is one I dislike, it belittles what conceptual jewellery designers do. It is a word that has began to be associated with hobbies. Gijs Bakker, co-founder of Chi Ha Paura…? freely admits he does not have a great respect for craft.
“Actually I don’t care much about the fact of craft or design or whatsoever because I’m a fortunate person born in the Netherlands and we don’t have this very strong tradition of craft. The interesting thing is if you know the Dutch word for design or designing, it is ‘vormgeven’, creating form and giving, creating with content.”
— Gijs Bakker
Jewellery’s potential is huge. It is a social medium, an art form which has the advantage of a moving, public framing device, the body. It can be accessible to all people, worn by all ages, and seen by literally anyone. That is the beauty of it. What frustrates me is ‘art’ jewellery, ‘contemporary’ jewellery, ‘conceptual’ jewellery, call it what you will, is not yet recognised by everyone for this potential. It is lumped with the words craft, artisan and handmade. Yes of course this work is handmade, it incorporates craft and loosely speaking is made by an artisan, but the key word should be concept. Concept is where the idea stems from, concept is what is put across in a piece, and concept is what makes a piece truly designed from start to finish, unique in a way threading beads on a string will never be. A piece can only go so far if it is designed from materials alone.
It is a shame conceptual jewellery is misunderstood.