Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Is craft dead??

Nah. I have been surfing and reading and looking and scratching my head on this topic. I wholesale and I hear folks from the 80's era saying "it ain't like it used to be". I do Etsy and I hear "Where are the sales. Then I had a sale! " In galleries I sell to it is "business is slower". Well, THAT is a lot of talk about something that is thought of as dead. People have the urge to make with their hands, and this will not disappear. Consumers will still value hand crafted items in this day of tech. Are we making things/items that are used daily for our community and creating sustainable jobs for the economy? Speculative thought. We/artists/crafters are daily supporting the human spirit. That is valuable, and salable to boot. My bank account proves that an intangible emotion can be emulated and given a receipt. Craft/Art evolves and makes itself useful again every generation and the previous life is a shell cast off. It is stimulating to think of what this new group will come up with. How do you feel on this subject or do you care??


pmgart said...

I am Pal and I am a jeweler an metalsmith by choice. I am at the beginning and right now I support myself mostly with my other profession. I really like your thoughts about crafts/arts. I think we are needed badly by our society to keep our life filled with beauty and stimulating creativity. Humans have always resorted to arts to make life bearable even in the most dire situations. Nonetheless, I think that arts and crafts are in deep s... and the only way out of this is if we artists can pull together, keep our integrity and start educating the society about the values and aesthetics of arts/crafts. I believe that everything is interconnected and similar to our economic systems , the arts/crafts "movement" needs a major overhaul. Let me go into this a little deeper.
Integrity: We need to clearly communicate what is the difference between hand made and mass produced. What is the value in hand made? We need to tell people, that when they buy a piece of silver jewelry they buy more than 2 ozs of silver and hence they have to pay more than the spot price of taht silver. When you can buy OK looking silver jewelry for 5 bucks then it is crucial to explain why my stuff costs 10 times as much. We can only do this together. If I want to underprice my fellow artist, then the only way to go is down. Well OK, maybe I can drag you with me, but what's the point in it? This is why I am so saddened when I see all this talented artists getting into this mass production rat race, where the only winner is the retail chains. I do not think that we can get into ring with China, Israel, India or Wal Mart.

Well I think, I used up enough space on your blog. I will start my own blog pretty soon at and I would like to expand on this thoughts and get feedback from people.

Your writings fill me with optimism and hope. I wish you continued success with your business for the good of all of us. Sincerely, Pal

metaldreamer said...

Thanks Pal. Its good to hear from "others out there". I agree 100% about the integrity of value. You cannot compare or compete with Wal-Mart. Besides, when we are unearthed a 1000 years from now out of the landfill, the stuff in the museum will be us, not the 49.99 Wal-Mart special!!-all the best,