Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Greener Grass?

Posted by Lora Hart
Artistic Advisor

Pablo Picasso is attributed with the saying "Good artists borrow. Great artists steal". And I suppose he was a man of his word, because his contemporaries allegedly used to hide their works in progress when he came to visit!

Beautiful shank design by
Jen of Quench Metalworks
The concept of copying another's work is anathema to most artists. And indeed, if a design is intentionally duplicated due to a lack of imagination, the allure of riding the coattails of someone else's hard earned success, misplaced admiration, or sheer laziness, then yes. Copying is not only not flattering, it is abusive and highly offensive. To say nothing of legally actionable, in some cases.

The back of Robin Ragsdale's piece
is as well designed as the front.

On the other hand, novice designers may utilize copying as a path towards learning a new technique or exploring a working style, In which case the idea should always be attributed to the originator and the copied work should remain in the collection of the copier. Never sell something "inspired by" someone else as your own.

A friend of mine doesn't like to look at other people's jewelry for fear that she would unintentionally absorb some design juju and create a similar object. I understand and admire that stance. But looking at new and historical work can be a necessary form of research. Especially if one uses what I call 'Mindful Observation'. When you find a work of art that resonates with you, take a moment to look at it with a critical eye and mentally dissect the whole to focus on the parts. Look at the materials the artist used, the construction of the piece, or the way it is hung. These are all elements that you can incorporate into your own work.

I've used this design before, but I love that
the catch seems to be a modified jump ring
or doubled up wire in Duffy Brown's version.
Notice how the pin tube is set slightly to the right
so the stem will be centered?
I often look for the detail shots that might show a solder seam or the shape of a ring shank. Those are features that I feel no shame in downright 'stealing'. In fact, I've appropriated a pin mechanism or two from my friends on Flickr. I've taught myself more than one new technique that way. Do I shock you?

Jewelry makers need to be resourceful. Whether it's making a tool to complete a specific task, or adapting the knowledge they possess to imagine a new finding. There's a right way to steal, and there's a wrong way. The first may win you accolades for your innovative methods and the other could very well impact your reputation as a maker. Where do you stand on this very fine line?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Second Chances

Well, it's just a few days away from the announcement of the 3rd CornerStone challenge winner, so I went to the Flickr group to see what metal clay and found object beautifulness had been posted - only to find.... Nothing! How sad is that?

Things happen, life intervenes, and opportunities pass. But we at PMC Connection have a lovely $25.00 gift certificate sitting gathering dust, so we've decided to extend the challenge until October 30. Go here to read up on the details.

Don't let us down, y'all!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Trees With Teva

PMCC Senior Instructor Teva Chaffin will join us in our Mesquite, TX classroom this Friday from 2:00 - 6:00 PM for her Tree of Life workshop. What better way to spend a Friday afternoon?

To register, call 866-PMC-Clay.