Silversmithing one off pieces, how do we make our work sellable when pitched against mass market goods?


Wato wato happy new year.

I have been compelled to re print a section from my final dissertation regarding some of the challenges of selling completed work. The following is a bit of a heavy read, I do hope you take the time to plough through it, let me know if it chimes with you. Better still, have you anything to say, add or repudiate? It would be fantastic to hear from you.

It is my hope that we can start a discussion to help to square the circle that is getting a craftspersons work ‘out there’ as it were.

Challenging perceptions of value Some considerations and experiences for selling

At this time of plenty, people in this country have abundant choice, vast quantities of consumable goods in many and varied marketplaces both real and virtual exist. The relative low cost of buying very complicated, beautiful machines and objects presents challenges for the aspiring small scale producer. The public perception of higher cost, time consuming, low volume, or one off pieces gives incentives to obtain greater understandings. These will help to better understand potential mind sets, working towards formulating more effective sales approaches. The following quote gives an insight into what is a commercial reality for many well connected businesses. A new maker will not enjoy the same economies of scale, nor can they afford to be so dismissive of their customers, dealing as they will, to start at the very least, on a face to face standing.

this-weeks-show-33/ (2) Gerald Ratner, businessperson famous for his quotes about Ratner Jewellery “People say, ‘How can you sell this for such a low price?’ I say, because it’s total crap.”

This famous quote makes it fair to suppose that the great majority of the buying public are not very aware, nor particularly concerned as to the Providence, or quality of the jewellery they buy from his shops. As Mr Ratner was,and still is, with his new company, a very successful jewellery retailer. Without going into the whys and wherefores of Mr Ratners fall and rise, it is presented here as illustrative of a point regarding cost and value.

Reference was given previously to a blog written for the on line retailer

http://www.tworedtrees. In this blog one question was asked; Who would you most like to wear your jewellery? The following was the authors response;

A thoughtful person who considers my work and appreciates the time taken to make it. I was drawn to make jewellery for individuals, I have no desire to make jewellery for everyone. I feel that many people just wear some items because they were gifts or they were bargains, the wearer having little or no connection to the piece. A little like the feeling of having to have, say a diamond solitaire, because ‘thats what you do’, the wearer having no idea, interest or appreciation of the design, workmanship and trouble taken to realise it, seeing it only as a generic object to be ticked off of a wish list rather than an individuals potential masterpiece that they are the custodian of.

I want people to really desire one of my pieces and cherish it, continually exploring the service both visually and physically, someone who stands out from the crowd and ploughs their own path seeing the hidden beauty that is all around for everyone to see if they take the time to look. Someone who knows the

difference between cost and value as they will need to if they desire to own one of my larger pieces.

This would not be on Mr. Rattners mind, merely maximizing of profits, much else being of little consideration. To many a re seller with no connection, or intreats in obtaining a connection to the things sold in their outlets, economies of scale make this a commercially sound practice.

A maker, living in a very different reality, will have a huge amount of themselves invested in the work they produce. It may become very easy to loose confidence when faced with selling work in a marketplace that is predominately highly cost conscious.

This nation has been evolved from much suffering, enduring great hardship and exploitation to get to this moment. As the workshop of the world, the hub of the industrial revolution, we have progressed to the relatively privileged positions most here enjoy. We are all enjoying the fruits of our ancestors toil, the sacrifices they made, the continuing struggle with the owners of capital for the realisation of a life for living, rather than a working life for little living. All have benefited from the security of a childhood free from exploitation from unscrupulous business interests and all benefited by state provided schools and healthcare systems.

If a company were to set up in this country and employ children and people the way they are recruited in developing countries, as conditions were once here. Justifiable public outrage would result, these business owners would be likely be jailed, held up as an example to all of unacceptable, greedy and unscrupulous persons. These are the realities many people are not aware of, like the air breathed, cheap goods just happen. Would buying attitudes change if consumers were more aware?

As a nation we blindly buy ʻcrapʼ like Mr Ratner provided, safe in our ignorance of the sacrifices made by unseen people who have to suffer so we can have cheap goods. This is justified by the business community in the name of giving them the opportunity to grow as we did. How many of us would watch blindly as a person suffered a debilitating fall that we may have made, smug in the knowledge that they have to learn and experience it for themselves rather than speak up and guide them around the avoidable obstacle.

By thoughtful It was meant to imply a person who is aware and cares about their fellow citizen, having an awareness of the truth behind many businesses. Many consumers may not care, value always being associated with cost in their paradigm, possibly nothing could, or would change that. Others may take a different, more considered stance if presented with the realities highlighted previously. Many people may not be aware, some perhaps may change their perception as this perspective is better understood. A maker may find it productive, appealing to potential customers, perhaps, higher reasoning. The points raised are to give food for thought, this is to enable a reasoned debate with people, less a defense of ʻhigherʼ prices having to be realised to thrive rather than merely survive.

Goods perhaps have become a right if you will. Little thought as to need, rather want driven by avarice or entitlement rather than a true desire or appreciation of an item. The mass production of things that were once the domain of the craftsperson has distorted the equation of cost verses value. As a maker it is very important to make your offerings something other than a thoughtless product. Far more rewarding to elevate your work, making it special, helping to add value, perhaps even exclusivity to your brand. Be mindful that no one can produce high volume repousse work, that is special, customers may have to be better informed of this for enable improved sales success.

From the authors firsthand experience of selling a high ticket price piece to a woman accompanied by her husband, a new understanding that some peoples perception of value is altered when a fuller understanding was appreciated when discovered. The woman in question, at first, dismissed the bracelet saying she would buy the item if it were half the ticket price. After the woman and her husband came to understand the design process, experimentation, prototype model leading to the finished article, they were both genuinely astonished. So much so that they bought the item for the full asking price, both shaking their heads, saying that they would not put in so much effort for so little financial reward. The spouse congratulated the maker and now called it a piece of art, quite a turn around, the piece was the same, only the perception in the buyers mind had changed. It is mentioned in the context of a challenge highlighting this issue, one a maker is often presented with when handmade U/K work is compared with mass produced overseas offerings. In this instance the

ʻexpensiveʼ item the people were viewing was completely turned around after a full understanding of the process was realised.

Just as the point make about the diamond solitaire being little more than a tick box item for many people, perhaps an equal but opposite way of looking at the perception of value could be that a relatively low cost diamond can be viewed as highly desirable as it ʻlooksʼ expensive. Is this what many consumers may want, to look expensive whilst spending as little as is possible? In many instances it would appear so. It would be perhaps be less realistic attempting to appeal to sell such a person a piece such as this, it would not necessary look as though it required as much of an investment when casually looked at.

The ʻexpensiveʼ item was now viewed as cheap as the people framed the cost against the time taken to create it in their own point of reference. As working people in this country they, as we all do, face financial challenges that mean, metaphorically speaking, people in this country canʼt live on a bowl of rice a day, or less than a dollar as others have to enabling them basic survival in less fortunate countries.

Thankfully they connected, realised that the piece was unique, special and a one off that may be re made, but will still be unique as no two will be the same. This presented them with another reason for desiring this piece.

I could be suggested that, due to their being able to discuss the process with the maker, they will always view this item as special and it will likely be something to be cherished for years to come, one of the authors goals.

On a slight tangent, mentioned here in the context of giving hope to the new maker, wishing for a better informed, more understanding consumer. At this time an awakening in the conciseness of a great swathe of the public is taking place. The realisation, for example, that prices paid to farmers verses the profits made by supermarkets is unacceptable. Large faceless corporations are increasingly sourcing our produce from abroad where welfare for animals is largely ignored for the sake of higher profitability, this is being made more aware to the public. Large companies and super farms have been pushing out the smaller farmers by unfair subsides or tactical business strategies. Many have been farming for generations leading to less home grown choice in the high street due to cost being the overriding factor in production rather than the multifaceted value that diversity the smaller concerns present. Many consumers are starting to voice concerns, some no longer blindly buying food without first looking for assurances. Businesses are starting to cater, increasingly for a growing minority of more conscientious, discerning people.

As a maker, it is hoped to hitch a ride on this new awareness. As was written previously no plans exist to make jewellery for everyone. A hope is fostered that a way can be found to better communicate value against the overwhelming weight of hidden cost low price products carry.

These costs, when made apparent to some people, may make a difference to how homegrown handmade work is perceived, perhaps leading to more appreciative customers who now, hopefully make positive connections towards work offered.

Watching the internet grow from its start, seeing how it has transformed peoples attitudes to shopping some observations are worth being mindful of if the maker wishes to peruse this avenue. Engaging with, or overhearing conversations with consumers, when talking of an internet purchase they inevitably insert a phrase something like; and it was cheeper. This is a challenge for unbranded higher ticket items on two fronts. First the choice that this presents to the potential purchaser of products is truly mind numbing. It is very hard to make a piece stand out when many sites have price filters and people will inevitably compare a higher price ʻpictureʼ with a cheap one. This leaves the maker at a distinct disadvantage, a person, ideally, has to wear the item, the full effect being hard to imagine from an image on screen. If a makers reputation is good then this will not present as much of a challenge, providing the potential purchaser is familiar with the makers wares. An extreme example could be perhaps a Rolex watch, the same bought on the internet form Penzance or Paris. Not being in this instantly

recognisable category puts the new maker at a disadvantage that leads onto the challenge of finding the person who will invest in an unknown makers offerings in this environment.

An advantage of the internet not to be overlooked is the ability to use it as a means to show, or promote work. This can be useful as a kind of on line catalogue of the artists achievements, giving pictorial examples of the kind of work produced. Working towards perhaps engaging a persons interest enough for them to contact the maker to purchase or make enquiries for a personal commission.

Social media is also an effective means of promoting work, unpredictable it can also aid creativity by the visiting of others sites and gaining new perspectives. Other people can engage with the maker, perhaps not buying work, but leading the maker to discover many more things than would unlikely on a solitary journey looking to find information. Used as a new type of business card it is also great to be able to send your on line address to perspective outlets or clients, letting them browse at their leisure. The creation of a website is now becoming ever easier, cost effective and normal to expect from outlets that the newcomer may approach to represent them by displaying work produced.

Good representation is perhaps the most productive and the main approach that is invaluable to the new maker of low volume work looking to establish themselves in this diverse marketplace. One of the places to seek this is a gallery of some description. Consumers who visit such establishments are already

primed to expect prices that reflect the exclusivity of bespoke or low volume produced work. Upon entering a gallery many are more accepting of higher asking prices for often unique works. This being perhaps a reason for them to visit to be able to find one off special pieces, rather than a cheeper items available most anywhere from a branded high street retailer. Careful selection of the gallery is important as the makers work must be able to be seen in a like context with competing makers. Not much good selecting a gallery that are specialists in unrelated disciplines, or very much lower price point work that may make yours look expensive by association.

Going back briefly to the woman mentioned previously who bought a costly bracelet after speaking to the author. That piece was in a shop that predominately sells low priced items. This set the context for the person before they started as the pieces leading up to this piece were many times cheeper. One can only imagine the shock when the price is realised after browsing the items next to it. Perhaps this set the mindset that led to the comment by her ʻhalf price.ʼ

This would have been, in the shop owners opinion, most unlikely to have been the result had the maker not been there. The customer, perhaps, would not have been able to re think their first opinion that it was one hundred percent too expensive. In the context of that shop, perhaps she was right, It was very fortunate for the author to be able to connect with their values face to face on that day. This is presented to illustrate that even surrounded by less expensive work,

some people will understand and still buy. However it would not be wise to rely upon these chance occurrences for future success in selling work. Actively seeking out outlets that will support and promote you as a maker is invaluable. With this in mind Galleries were looked at to discover what they had to offer.

It pays to be very mindful of the effect that a strong personality can have upon the buying decisions of a potential purchaser. It is a fine line between informing and bulling that is a real skill few posses. Watching with fascination as a woman at a gallery selling various types of work engaged with potential purchasers. Her whole persona was professional yet warm, friendly and approachable. A middle aged woman of immaculate dress and a warm smile she was able to seamlessly guide conversation from the mundane polite chit chat towards finding out a little about people who entered the gallery. Asking questions that were never probing, although giving her an insight into the taste of the strangers before her. Her ability to engage eye contact and gently lead people to specific works was inspiring. The way she talked about the artists she represented was warm and very informed leaving the person in no doubt that this person could answer any question they may have about an individual artist, or would be untroubled to find out if she did not. The reason this is mention here is the obvious effect this has upon potential customers. A person representing a particular artists work of this caliber and dedication is priceless, they attempt to convey their enthusiasm for that persons work every bit as well as the creators of the pieces themselves.



I hope you managed to stay awake to read this, as always please do share your thoughts.

Very best wishes.

Stu Art 🙂


10 thoughts on “Silversmithing one off pieces, how do we make our work sellable when pitched against mass market goods?

  1. Selling anything handmade you are instantly fighting against chav culture- the same people who will drop a handmade item like a hot coal when told a decent price for it will happily spend more on an overpriced, soulless designer item, because the see value in a label, yet they think because you have made something yourself it should be given away. It’s ironic that they don’t realise how stupid they are, and how gullible, just last week on the train I overheard two women planning to spend hundreds on a designer bag in the sales, and then speculate about also buying a cashmere scarf when neither of them could explain to the other what cashmere was

    I’ve never wanted to sell my silver and I find myself repeatedly biting my tongue when I give embroidery demos. People repeatedly ask if I sell things when I finish them, and I know they want to buy it at a price less than the cost of the materials (browse etsy or folksy and you’ll see plenty of people selling badly knitted items on exactly that basis) then they look shocked when I tell them that the small purse that is my gravatar image would be £5000- a reasonable price for a piece that took me 300 hours of skilled work

    • I feel sure you’re right, to me the challenge is how best to engage with the people, like the lady who purchased my piece. What I feel is needed is, and I wont say educate, better how do we inform people, making some better aware of their choices and the impact on others that they would not consciously make.
      I feel certain that the majority view is, I cannot or will not spend more than I have to, let the market decide. No amount of alluding to the realities and attempting to guide that person into anothers perspective for a far away place out of sight and mind will work.
      I have been offended in the past being subjected to under the belt and intellectually sloppy attacks to the tune that I must be racist or a protectionist. I plead guilty to one, before I explain, lets get rid of the elephant in the room. What is racist about caring for others in another country exploited by business. I will not write more than I have to, suffice to say I am not, the following may go some way to explaining my reason.
      Competition is good right? Yes, it is if its fair. If you take the, don’t ask questions of course it is view without thinking, this does make sense. Fair to say I’m not an economist, however, many people who live in developed countries in more traditional forms of work have yet to discover what the market has in store for them in future.
      I feel passionate that people should feel valued, enjoying life as much as possible, rather than enduring it as I understand others in developing countries do, being the pawns of people who can’t, selling to people who don’t care. The profits these companies and individuals make far exceeded what even the most in demand master craftsperson could earn through the sweat of their own labour.
      Thank you very much for reading my post. It was a tricky balance trying not to sound like a malcontent, also attempting to find better ways to promote the realities of our crafts to some people who would make informed decisions if all the facts were presented to them. After all, I feel sure many of us wouldn’t know what to do if a wholesaler phoned up and asked for a bulk order. Well, we can dream eh 🙂
      Thank you for sharing, very best wishes.

    • No I was not, thank you very much, I’ll look out for it. My confidence and coffers are buried in the red at the moment. With the start back to regular employment, I hope to fund more projects in future, if all goes well. I don’t see myself doing very much in the way of selling in 2014. I hope to spend the year experimenting, looking to find a better balance between what I want to make, opposed to what I must make to be able to fund future, personal directions that may well end up gathering dust. Not a problem, however the cost is unsustainable, I will need to compromise, making more mainstream, higher volume, less costly items to pay for my future personal preferences. Here come the hearts 😦
      Very many thanks for writing, please do keep in touch.

      • I think that unless they’re lucky enough to have Kevin Coates reputation, most silversmiths tend to end up doing rather a lot of boring stuff for bread and butter. I would love to be able to earn my living just from the work I do for museums, but they’re my jam, my main living comes from other work, and even that gets pretty terrifying because cash flow can keep any self employed person awake at night, even one with fairly modest ambitions. I think I’m lucky to have managed 17 years of self employment without having fallen into any major debt, but I’ve always had more than one source of income – as a classics graduate I’m reasonably unemployable so I’ve always felt I had to invent my own job

      • I know the time it takes is dependant on many things, things that I don’t have an understanding of. I admire the superstars of our craft, I was just fishing to see if a, or some unknown ‘maps’ were able to guide. I have ambitions for larger pieces, without sales, how can I fund them? I am coming to understand that perhaps too much trying to understand is not a help. I am about to go back into the regular workforce to square the funding circle, I am trying to think small and less costly. Well done for surviving self employed for the amount time you have, I have the upmost respect for anyone who can. Without the inspiration, and thoughtfulness in sharing thoughts from time served proffesional crafts people such as your good self, this conunudrum would be even harder to fathom, hence the cry fo help with these posts. Thank you again fo your kindness. Very best wishes.

  2. Thank you for this post, Stuart. I read it with much interest, and I am glad we can continue the conversation we started re: your previous post.
    You’ve made very good points. Yes, consumers need to be more aware, I think that’s the key. Outsourcing : For instance, some jewellery might be “locally designed”, but made somewhere else (in Asia). Most people would not even be aware of this, but it is quite prevalent (at least where I live: Canada). People need to be better educated (yes, I am not afraid to use that word!) about what we do, the materials, tools, processes we use etc. Complex, time-consuming techniques, like repoussage need to be explained; and in fact most people are curious and enjoy finding out about this kind of thing. Showing/selling your work in a gallery offers exposure, opportunities, but only if the staff is well-informed (about techniques, processes and the individual craftspeople they represent). My experience in the last few years hasn’t been as positive as it used to in that regards. And the consignment system that we have here is making the situation even more difficult. Personal contact is always the best; I find that craft fairs always give me the opportunity to meet people, explain what I do, tell them what my work means to me, the “story” behind the pieces.
    So, in the end, yes, we have to resort to compromise, find balance. I think it’s quite okay to pare down (not water down) some designs to lower the cost, or use less time consuming techniques (casting, for instance) to make series or small production items – as long as it is made with care, using quality materials. The advantage of that is that it makes some items more affordable for people who have a limited budget but truly appreciate your work (who knows, they might be able to purchase something more expensive later).
    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and your experience. I look forward to reading your next posts.

    • Thank you very much for all your thoughts, I an very greatful for any and all ideas. We have a local discount jewellery outlet that takes the name on one of the most famous artistic landmarks in the country. The sadness is, pretty much everything is outsourced, the profit margins are truly eye watering. I was asked to quote for my work to be sold as local. I couldn’t do anything near what was required. Working on their business model, a person would need a bank loan for a pair of earrings! If I supplied to reach the price points they wished, maintaining their margins, I would literally have to pay them to sell my work. This is what I try to convey as competition that is impossible to look at as a maker. I find some are willing to sell at so near cost to appear in a gallery, one wonders if it is worth it, bills still need to be payed. Besides most work is accepted on a sale or return basis, the maker taking all the risk for little reward. In these low wage times, many workers are students or part timers working for little reward, just greatful or a job. They perhaps have little interest in the work, merely working the tills rather than appreciating the work, unwilling or unable to guide a prospective client. I feel sure you, and others, are right, craft fairs appear to be the way to go. From a personal perspective a mixture of dilemmas make his prospect rather salty at his time. I am mindful that, If I wish to make the kind of work that speak to me, I will have to get over the mindset that, at this time, handicaps my thoughts when I picture myself on a stall!!!! I have had an unfortunate, and costly experience with casting. The good news is, at least I have experience of how not to, better prepaired for another attempt. I have taken notice of the making smaller work. I must confess, I find jewellery very hard to get in step with. Many times I have been pleased with something, only to learn that, at best, it has very limited Apeal. I don’t know if I’m right, the way I think about being represented, I thnk it best to start with jewellery, progressing to the more sculptural, decorative pieces that I wish to make in future. Thank you so very much for your kindness in taking the trouble to share your thoughts. Please do keep in touch. Very best wishes.

  3. Hi Stu, I hope you are well.
    Your work is very good. I have found many items can be made as a template and you can cast them! as you know. The original you keep, this can make it unique as its your design but also produce others quicker to make it more affordable to many. Its still your work. If its commission then you can design it for that person! money upfront.

    I have just designed and made a template for mass production, for a range to be manufactured into gold, the designs are different and not necessarily what I would wear but it was to satisfy a brief. Even though I won by first place I still only had a 66% in class! Typical. But my point is sometimes we have to please many so we have a little for ourselves.

    My personal jewellery designs is using handmade mokume gane which takes hours to make, this is bought from recycled metals for environmental issues, and I source as many stones direct from the countries of origin, that I have personally visited, or use CZ. as long as its ethical by means of no child labour, no limbs being amputated, no war or drug funding operation and the workers are being paid fairly, less environmental damage then in todays market I do the work, its tough though as I have high values on ethics and not everybody else has. Maybe its down to education, maybe people don’t care but I wont compromise my values, this does not effect anyone else and nobody will think more of me for having high morals/ values but that’s life. Maybe I am soft and I don’t like to see people or the environment damaged, but that’s the way it is. Is it a weakness or strength? who knows but se la vie!

    Your designs as I said are very good, but if you spend hours making them then you wont have a business unless you pay for someone to market you! or you go to as many shows and get your stuff out there.


    • Hi Sharron

      Fantastic to hear from you, great to learn you are still thriving in spite of the odds!!
      I feel sure we share many of the same values, as you have so kindly written here. I feel bound to say I was guilty of having an unrealistic dream, better if I had researched realities, knowing rather than thinking.
      I was drawn to making for many reasons, I wanted to build motorcycles, constructing cafe´racers and custom motorcycles, since I was very young. With the downturn in the economy, allied to the vast costs of tooling, I decided to think smaller and train to become a silversmith as a way out of a very unfulfilling career path. As you know all too well, the realities of ‘training’ is, I would venture to say, nothing like how most people would view the definition. Being largely ignored, I took a path that enabled me to research marketing and I.T. options for when I produced something worth selling. Here is the rub. I feel bound to say, I figuratively put the cart before the horse. With little or no feedback, the only thing I could dive into was the technical side, this is a large part of my challenges regarding selling to this point.
      My choice of preferred method of working -forging raising and chasing/repousse´- I immediately made a hole that without some guidance and direction as to how best to approach the craft, worse, looking for possible platforms/outlets that may be appropriate for this type of work, leaves me at a huge price disadvantage. This is why I bang on about cost verses value, without an informed buyer, I would suggest the price handicap for time consuming work is insurmountable when compared with most work found in traditional outlets.
      I have tried casting, not a great experience for me on the one occasion I tried. The good news is I have made the mistakes, far better for the future, not all negative 🙂
      I’m thrilled to hear about your first place, very well done you, you must be over the moon. This is another challenge for me, as you said you attained 66%, I would assume your design was not that positively received by your tutors. You have proved that a good mark is not a prerequisite for success in the commercial world. I also ignored, as I had little choice being as I truly just survived the course, negative comments in the hope that my work would perhaps be similarly better received on the outside, alas no.
      Relying upon well meaning fellow students allowed me to become comfortable, not seeking out informed criticism as to the marketability, indeed the aesthetic quality and value of my work. This has led me to the humiliating position I find myself in today. I did all that was asked by tutors, even being misled at one stage and slammed for a direction taken that was sanctioned by the person writing the damming report!
      I kick myself for the fun I must have given my tormentors as I laid bare my intentions on interview, the smiles and assertions that I would be guided, and advised, helping me to attain my goal. I saw myself living a reclusive lifestyle, making wonderful things, shipping them off to galleries and shops with little or no personal contact, perfectly reasonable and attainable I was assured.
      The reality is very much more about self promotion and relationships, two of my largest failings. I feel sure a maker must be driven, forceful even, and/or have the ability to appeal to retailers and galleries. I did not see this coming, as a result I find the work I do is neither aesthetically pleasing enough, or at a desirable price point to enable the few who do appreciate it to be able to budget for it. The thought of having a stall turns my blood to ice water. I have approached galleries and outlets, organisations and jewellery/silversmithing societies and trusts, all to little of no avail.
      The good thing about what you are doing, competitions, this puts you into this circle of the successful, I may need a battering ram to get through, you can obtain better results by just introducing yourself as an award winner.
      In short, I tried too hard with designs and approaches that are so far short of the target, it makes me a laughing stock at this juncture. I share my failings to enable others to avoid the pitfalls that are easer to see when you come out the other side, not so when you are tied up trying to second guess a brief by people who care not if you are not able to appeal to their personal aesthetic prejudices. Largely ignoring as irrelevant and unworthy of comment anything that strays outside of this unfathomable, by me anyway, desirable quality.
      Having never had the desire to be seen as a designer, this is another huge mistake on my part. I only desired to continually work towards the goal of becoming a master craftsperson, never a top designer. This is a long way round to return to the point you made about ethical considerations. As a U/K maker I am not able to compete on a cost basis, therefore I need to be represented by galleries that cater for less cost sensitive purchasing customers, or I have to have a stall at a prestigious venue such as Bovy Tracy. Cost of the stall is salty enough, the worst part is the selection process, for me anyway, I feel pretty sure I would not stand a snowball in hells chance of being considered, can you imaging the ‘support’ I would receive when they check where I was educated.
      Your point about gold is a great one, again with the double whammy of my pieces all being material intensive, weighty, along with the quirkiness of the designs will inevitably leave me with very expensive conversation pieces that will require a re-mortguage to finance. I feel my journey to this point should read – tried hard but failed miserably :). Now the negative is out of the way the positive will be the new directions I will be taking. Just as you say I need to make some more mainstream work to support my continuing climb. I will be looking for more economical designs ands ways of working, perhaps leading to another go at casting. I will try to concentrate more on plainer work, more wire bangle designs for example, perhaps look more to mens jewellery as my ‘style’ (don’t laugh) is more on the chunky side, perhaps it will be better received by chaps.
      My other love, sculpture, is starting to take shape also, who knows perhaps I will give up jewellery and stick to sculpture, as is my love of kinetic art, wind and water power in particular leading me in a completely different direction that I am impatient to get starting on, why not now I hear you ask.
      Today I have just accepted my first shifts to work back in hospital, long shifts on the bank list. This will give me the much needed funds to start to buy more material and get cracking. I figure I will not be doing too much for a couple of months, just paying off overdue bills and gaining a pot for me to dip into to buy supplies. I have a head full of ideas and a heart full of intent to make them metal. Please pray for me that I get a little nearer to the mark with the next round of designs.
      It is my intention with this blog to air my laundry as it were, giving others not necessarily the right advice, rather examples of bloomers I have made to give others a perspective on an others experience that they can think about when faced with similar challenges. Of course when, if, I have a victory I share that also. it’s not all negative, however if we always concentrate on the positive, gazing at the sunshine, its very easy not to see the avoidable holes in front of us that others, such as myself, have fallen into. I know of late much of what I have written is seen as negative, that is not my intention. My intention is to enable others to see a different perspective, not abandon their own outlook, rather have tools to help to further them along the path they have chosen.
      I agree with all you have written, if I could employ someone to market my work, believe me I would. I find the selling experience highly stressful and would gladly let someone else do the talking. A paradox isn’t it, someone who can write this much bollo&*s, can be so averse to dealing with strangers face to face eh.
      I wish you all the luck in the world and thank you so much for taking the time to write Sharron.
      All my very best wishes.
      Stu Art 🙂

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