Some old notes, just found on my laptop. Probably from back when I was working on the first AugA projects (www.augalondon.blogspot.com):
As a maker, I am tied to one side of the fence in the jewellery industry. I can never truly become a consumer or have an unbiased view of the work (both mine and other people's) from a buyer's perspective.
I think this can be a problem for most makers...
Recently I have been exploring themes of identity in work, an issue that I feel plays a huge part in contemporary jewellery practice. Makers build their own sense of personal identity into an instantly recognisible style - almost a branding of aesthetics. The idea being a building of trust with the buyers through the reassurance of predictability (wrong word - more like a continuation of a theme. Slow evolution of style is possible but it must be slow enough). I see this as a problem, as it leaves little room for creative growth. Sometimes adapting and adjusting ideas gently to incorporate new fashions is just not enough. Creative practitioners are in the field because they are *creative*, a character trait that thrives on new situations, new ideas, new expression. As a practising jeweller I felt trapped in a hypocritical situation - customers want to purchase work that is unique and original, but also expect to see a continuous and coherent collection.
The jewellers that manage to transform their work on a regular basis often find themselves caught up in a seasonal cycle of "fashion", with the lower pricing and wastage of unsold stock that that entails.
In my opinion the galleries exacerbate this problem, often discouraging makers from bringing out completely new collections if they bear no resemblance to previous work.
Anyway, the point I am getting to is a positive one, I just wanted to put it into context.
Yesterday I walked into the a ceramics gallery where I had the pleasant experience of shopping for a handmade object. I suddenly realised, from a customer's perspective, how powerful these objects are. The aesthetics are so much more than a surface consideration. An object is appreciated for its craftsmanship and skill, but above this as something that speaks to the viewer - that appears to accurately reflect their style, personality, emotion and taste. It is a complex mirror.
The issue of identity of the maker is almost irrelevant; does it matter who manufactures a mirror?