Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Jewelry Artist's Perspective on Project Accessory…

So much to say about this show, where to begin….


I had to watch this show. It’s the only reality show out there that is close to my reality. I’ve watched some reality shows in the past and other shows where cast members compete and get eliminated. I’ve actually never seen Project Runway. When I heard about this show I thought “wow, a show for me!”


First of all, they don’t even really say the word jewelry. It’s just “bling”, this makes my skin crawl. To lump jewelry designers with shoe and bag makers and make them all compete under the category of “accessory” is just disrespectful to these very different trades.


Here its not jewelry, it’s costume jewelry. It’s decoration. Here they are all just ways to decorate the clothing on the body, they’re secondary to the clothing, the fashion. And they all carry the same weight.


To me jewelry is so personal. Bags and shoes, while they definitely can be works of art, they are utilitarian, I put my bag down and I take my shows off and still I wear my jewelry. Jewelry carries emotion, history, it’s made of metal and can last through the ages. On this show, all of that is stripped away and it’s simply ‘bling’ something shiny to accompany a cocktail dress. So few techniques are shown, just some hammering, sawing, wire wrapping. It makes me sad.


Of course I still wanted to watch it because its the only show out there that does include jewelry, unfortunately it only went as far as Swarovski crystals and base metals. Not even silver or precious stones.


Now the challenges were interesting and the materials were varied but the idea of rushing through art, having 1-2 days to make something was so frustrating. This is not fast food! I understand the point was to make it competitive but with more time they could have made better pieces and they could have aired only the dramatic bits but given them a week to work.


I’m interested in the fashion world because, frankly, the jewelry world lacks some pizzazz. We don’t have runway shows and copious spreads in fashion mags. Most jewelry magazines are “how to” and are read by makers, not buyers. But seeing things in this show and hearing statements like “very sellable” and “fashion forward” make me cringe. The idea of creating something in style means its only going to be out of style by the next season.


Another bee in my bonnet: only seeing the work on beautiful, skinny models. Sigh. It was all just so superficial which I guess is all that can be expected from a reality show on TV.


Watching did help me to feel firm in my desire to make work for real women. Work that lasts year after year and goes with all kinds of styles. Timeless pieces, well made and made to last. Not throw away, pieces that are always in style. Modern, yet my own. Made for real budgets. Work with its own meaning not just meant to go with a style or outfit. It made me realize I don’t really want to be in the fashion world. I want to combine the best of that world with the best of the jewelry world and come up with something new…

5 comments:

stacey maddock said...

i totally agree with everything you said jenn and your jewelry philosophy. i didn't watch that show because frankly all 'reality' tv makes cringe! but well done and thanks for critiquing it for the rest of us, cheers!

Jenkahnjewelry said...

Wow! It's so nice to get a response right away! Thanks Stacey!

Kathleen said...

oh Jenn the horror of it was beyond description!!! I hated project runway this year too, when in years past a was hooked and fascinated...something has happened and any hope of having real craftspeople gathered even if forced to create under silly pressure has been destroyed completely!! it is now some ugly form of 'jersey girls' or 'real housewives of NY NY GA etc' and on the bit I saw the vapidness of the judges was awful!!!! I stopped watching Pro. Acc. but even the commericals for it that I saw were too, too, stupid and too, too ugly
so sorry your hopes for an interesting creative experience were so dashed this was an very, very ugly show...and your work is in the goddess universe...the clash would be heard around the world...

Alcina said...

I also agree Jenn expressed. I watched it once and when I missed the next scheduled show, I just shrugged and felt i wasn't missing anything. There's nothing to learn except budget your time....

Helga said...

Jen, great post. You did express so well in the last alinea how I feel about the fashion and jewelry world. There got to be a combination were we can express our passion in metal and get paid for it, without the superficial of the fashionworld. Lets keep hammering and dreaming, we ARE building that road.