Week #6 Musings and More

Wow, what a week.  I'm going to start off with my weekly jewelry update this time, then we'll follow up from last week.

So... I did NOT meet my quota of 10 pieces of jewelry last week and it's okay.  I give myself a pardon when something out of the ordinary comes up... and it did.

Last week I had the great good fortune of being able to take a four-day intensive workshop with guest instructor Valentina Caprini.  She is a traditionally trained Italian filigree artist as well as being just a really awesome artist all around.  The class was being hosted by the Metal Arts Academy in Auburn, CA.

I won't get too much into explaining the things we learned (sorry, I'm behind in everything), but I will definitely say Valentina pushed us all out of our comfort zones (in a good way).  At the end of the workshop, we each had a unique and personal piece displaying the traditional technique of filigree with a contemporary jewelry flair.  I wish I'd taken photos of the works of the other students... I was so impressed with everyone.

Here's my piece...



The other things I made this week (four jewelry items in total) include, two pair of the hammered heart earrings...



And one pair of large(ish) hammered disk earrings...



So that's four pieces for the week, but I think next week will make up for this.  AND... now I have a new technique/skill to work on and throw into my own jewelry mix.  Yay!

Now, as a follow up to last week, I want to share with you some of the comments that people wrote about my blog post.  As you may recall, last week I mused about how some people discourage rather than encourage artistic creativity on the internet.  This seemed to be a real hot topic and I was touched by the outpouring of support in defense of being a nurturer rather than a critic.  Although some people misunderstood and thought I had my feelings hurt... that was untrue and it was not what the blog post was about.  I was perfectly fine but I was appauled to think how newbies may have been interpreting the criticism.

Anyway, I wanted to compile some of the love :-) and share it with you here.  Since my Facebook profile as well as this blog are public, I feel I am not taking liberties by sharing public comments in one place.  The reason I want to share these comments is because some of them are extremely eloquent and because I want more and more people to know that there are totally a ton of inclusion nurturers out there... also to know that many of us have experienced this negative type of criticism, so if it ever happens to you, you're in good company.  The following are not all the great comments by a long shot, but I wanted to at least post some of the ones that I thought shared extra supportive sentiments.

"Everyone starts somewhere and sharing allows us to learn and grow. One of my favorite book recommendations is Show your Work by Austin Kleon. Show Your Work!"

"Thank you for sharing your heart, we have all prob experienced "this" person at some point or another. I actually had a glass peep stop me at a show when I was wearing a best selling design offering to demo how to do it "correctly". I just smiled and thanked HIM and walked on."

"As artists we all have felt the cut of the negative comment. Pulling ourselves out of the hole it leaves us in is another challenge that we shouldn't have to face."

"Laura, your blog post really touched my heart! I also love that you are trying new techniques and pushing your skills. Its the only way to grow. When I see "critiques" go off the rails like that... ugh. I'm sorry you experienced it directly, and you have exactly the right perspective about learning techniques and baby steps, etc. I'm with you 100%!"

"I just read your blog and it really spoke to me. I feel that some people are just bullies who hide behind the veil of social media. Their purpose is just to criticize, not give helpful advice. The only way they can feel better about themselves is to put someone else down. Logically, you know what they’re doing, but emotionally it has an effect."

"If your spirit is flying as you make then that is "art" regardless of some high definition of "ART" may be for some. I wonder if some consider Andy Worhol was just a clip-art guy or Marcel Duchamp and the "Readymade" genre to be on a par with "Sham-WOW""

"For me the negative comments get stuck in my head, much more so than positive ones. I was never encouraged to pursue art growing up or even as an adult. Positive feedback helps us know we're heading in the right direction. Very few of us are masters of a craft when we start out, those who are, that's great but most of us need to learn. I'm grateful to people like you who freely share knowledge and encourage others along their journey."

"It is Dreadful that such a person felt entitled to give such thoughtless and cruel Posts... there are degrees of Artistry & Originality of Creativity that We All go thru as we Learn A New Technique or Skill... and We Often Must Master a Technique by Practicing the Techniques Pioneered By Artisans Before Us... This is a Necessary aspect as we evolve our Own Artistry and Our Own Craftsmanship Skills and as we go from Student, to Art Practicer, to Artisan to Master / Artist... But there is the Employment Of Artistry in every Step on Our Path... And it is only a Very Damaged Mind that Can Not Understand That!  Students learning from a Master are Often Instructed to Try a “Study” of the Masters Works by Trying to Draw or Paint a Portion Of The Masters Painting in Order to Understand Brush Strokes and Light.  Apprentices in many Crafts are often instructed to make the same item as the Master, to Perfect Techniques. This has been done for a Thousand Years... Of course as we grow in Our Own Artistry we Develop Our Own Imagery. That is Very Important. We mustn’t Copy or Plagiarize our Masters... But we can not learn and grow our skills without Studying Their Process.  Their Imagery is Precious and It Belongs Solely & Entirely to the Artist who Designed it... But The Skills are for all Artists / Artisans.  And of course Many Iconic Images are for Use By All Humans. Anyone can Draw a Heart or a Rose Etc... Even some Patterns & Subjects Belongs to All Humanity At Large. They are Part of Our Human Lexicon. They are in the Public Domain!  But I do believe that as we learn, we must endeavor to make the Heart Or Rose or Pattern Etc... Your Own Somehow... But All artists are allowed to visit the basics of world Imagery."

"There’s this pervasive, mistaken belief that one must have “talent” in order to engage in artistic pursuits. My personal experiences combined with 20+ years teaching arts to adults, I can tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. Art is for everyone at every level. Practicing an art form, any art form, can be a form of meditation. It doesn’t have to have an end goal or finished product. Just the act of applying color to a page, or changing the shape of clay, can get you out of your own head for a while. The activity itself can calm the mind and bring its own joy and contentment.  I love encouraging my students to play and explore; to try and fail and make mistakes and find hidden successes they weren’t expecting. When you let go of a “finished product”, and embrace the process, it’s very freeing. By disrespecting or disparaging people who are trying new thing, you strip them of that joy and discourage them from even trying. That is what makes me the most sad about all this."

"I have felt crushed by comments, or even a lack of them. I don't share like I used to, either. But I'm probably more self-critical of my work than anyone else."

Thank you to everyone who has ever encouraged creativity!!!

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