- Jewelry maker
- Jewelry artist
But I think maybe at times I'd like to sound more official. "I make jewelry" almost sounds like a hobby. It's true, I *do* make jewelry. But the phrase just connotes (to me, anyway) an inaccurate picture. Or incomplete, at least.
So what am I?
I often refrain from referring to myself as an artist. Why? Sometimes it's because "artist" to me is often linked with painting. We all know that's not true... there are SO many kinds of art. But it's frequently the first thing that comes to mind with the word "artist".
Also "artist" doesn't just role off my tongue in reference to myself. It's like, you can call OTHER people artists, but you don't call yourself an artist. In the same way that you can say OTHER people make beautiful jewelry but you don't usually say you yourself make beautiful jewelry. Well, maybe you do. But I don't. It feels too much like I'm complimenting my own work. When it comes to my own work, I'd prefer to hear the compliments from others.
Don't get me wrong, I'll definitely tell you how happy I am with a piece, how much I like how something turned out, how great a piece looks with such-and-such outfit, etc. But I don't think I usually tell people I make amazing, beautiful, really cool jewelry.
I have used the term "jewelry artist" before. That at least explains the medium.
I'm really liking the word "metalsmith". There are notes of "worker", "craftsman", and "artist" in there. Metalsmith seems to neither imply hobbyest nor esoteric artist. It's more down-to-earth and even a little intriguing.
I've always like craftsperson or craftsmen but I don't think others get the same thing from the word as I do. Because I really do consider myself a budding craftsperson. I'm someone who works in my studio every day trying to get better at a chosen craft. I work with my hands, making each piece from start to finish.
I am very much more a craftsperson than I am a designer.
I do design, that's for sure, but to me a designer has aspirations to come up with designs that can go into mass production. I don't. That's where I'd be more like an artist then than a designer. I want to be the person who handcrafts each piece that will be sold under my name. I have no desire to come up with designs that will be produced then sold in Macy's, Neiman-Marcus, or the Sundance catalog.
Which is a shame. I think there's a lot more money in designing than in making. (If you're successful.) But it just doesn't interest me. Not now anyway. I really enjoy the hands-on process.
So when people ask you what you do for a living, what do you say?
I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Please leave me a comment if you like. Thanks!
Here's one meme making the rounds...