Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I Have a New Tooth!

Just back in from the Dentist and I have a brand new tooth. It's so pretty and I can actually smile again, I mean really smile, I've missed that tremendously. I so wish I had found this dentist first before the others but am truly thankful for having found him at last. That said the pain meds are starting to kick in and I'll leave you with todays post on Hand Made.

I've been reading and participating in discourse from Etsy to FB to other forums that discussion of just what is hand made. It seems once again there is a flush of product being sold that shares a remarkable resemblance to those mass produced items one can find in the dollar jewelry store and other similarly priced import stores.

It's an ages old discussion that's been around the block once or twice and it always makes me cringe with it's implications of mine is better than yours. I believe it has spawned numerous turns of phrase to try to encompass those grey areas while still defining just what hand made means. Mass Produced, Hand Assembled, Home Made, Hand Made, Hand Crafted, and Artisan Made I will try to touch on all in this blog post.

To clarify what hand made means to the Craft World I hunted down the jury specifics to a guild I've been kicking around joining for several years. (Still on the fence about it btw)

Jewelry, metal: May be fabricated or cast. Casts must be from artist’s original design. Stone settings must be secure and neatly finished. No rough edges in contact with wearer’s skin. Pieces must fit comfortably. No commercial findings or purchased elements will be the focal point of any piece. Originality is stressed. Clasps and other findings must be securely attached.
Jewelry, beaded: Loom weaving of beads is acceptable. Designs must be original. Strung beads MUST contain a hand-made focal point, bead or pendant made by the applicant. Pieces made from only purchased components are not acceptable. Handmade elements will be judged by the criteria of the medium, i.e. glass, metal, wood, etc. NOTE: THE FOLLOWING WILL NOT BE ALLOWED:items from kits or items assembled from pre-manufactured components; commercially manufactured items or resale items; plastic or commercial findings as the focal point of any piece; imported items;

And from the FTC Ie the Federal Trade Commission

(a) It is unfair or deceptive to represent, directly or by implication, that any industry product is hand-made or hand-wrought unless the entire shaping and forming of such product from raw materials and its finishing and decoration were accomplished by hand labor and manually-controlled methods which permit the maker to control and vary the construction, shape, design, and finish of each part of each individual product.
Note to paragraph (a): As used herein, "raw materials" include bulk sheet, strip, wire, and similar items that have not been cut, shaped, or formed into jewelry parts, semi-finished parts, or blanks.
(b) It is unfair or deceptive to represent, directly or by implication, that any industry product is hand-forged, hand-engraved, hand-finished, or hand-polished, or has been otherwise hand-processed, unless the operation described was accomplished by hand labor and manually-controlled methods which permit the maker to control and vary the type, amount, and effect of such operation on each part of each individual product.

It definitely sounds as if they're in agreement there. To be considered hand made the artist must have manipulated the raw materials into another form.

Factory workers are then hand making their wares, yes? No. They are mass producing by assembling pre made parts.

Here's where it gets a little sticky - stringing beads is also considered to be assembly work. Here's also where the heated discussion tends to begin in the jewelry world. While I do agree it is assembly work - I also know it takes a keen eye to find color ways that are strikingly gorgeous and a design eye to find the right balance in making it fit and drape properly. I know many jewelers who do just that and while they may not always make the hand made focal beads they have still created with their two hands a small work of art.

Home made is a term that can bring both good and bad to mind. Home made goodness - comfort foods, holiday meals, large comfy afghans, ice cream yum! But it also brings to mind not quite straight seams, dropped stitches, lop sided bowls, items not of a high quality - and that's a shame as once upon a time home made was the best quality.

Hand made, can be of a very high quality usually of a craftsman. Think leather goods with hand stitched details. But as we've read hand made does not apply to all of us. So instead I prefer hand crafted. Using the skills of a craftsman to create with heart and hands. It's the heart part that really means something to me. That little bit of your self that you put into each piece you create. I hand craft, though most of the time I qualify as hand made, I really don't have a problem using a pre made component if that might give a more polished end result as the design calls for, especially if I haven't mastered the technique to a point I'm comfortable with charging you for.

Artisan made falls in the same category, highly skilled and capable of manipulating the raw materials into a beautiful piece of wearable art. Art, artistry in ability. I like this one too, it speaks to my soul of creating from the heart. Again it's the heart part that speaks to me here.

Notice I didn't speak of materials in this post but rather just the artistry aspect in creation. Because I tend to create with a definite vision in my head I know that it isn't the materials used but the way they're used that makes a piece. You can take a precious gem stone and put it in a horrid setting, the stone is still pretty but the effect is eh. Likewise you can take a piece of glass and set it in a beautiful setting for spectacular results. I've said it before, I'm no gem snob! If it's got the look I'm going for, it's perfect!

So there you have it. My take on what makes it hand made

Thanks for stopping by!
We'll see you next time!

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