By Alexa Martha Butler
When the Label Says ARTISAN, What Does That Mean?
Artisan is Not a Label
The authentic meaning and application of artisan leads to a simpler time when people took pride in their craft: It’s about special and unique. It's about being able to make useable, wearable sellable things with your hands.
As you know from my About Me Video...I grew up in a German family where the father was a jewelry designer/goldsmith working from his home business.
Today, the draw for real artisan products is born out of a movement deriding overly processed, mass-produced jewelry linked to big corporations. Manufacturers, attempting to ride the wave of this movement by stamping artisan on their products, are hoping it will suggest that what’s inside is higher quality—even premium.
DO NOT BE FOOLED
Artisan Made Means - CRAFTED BY HANDS- NOT BY MACHINES
Artisan is not a label. Marketers are attempting to use artisan to suggest value-oriented, premium in a down market economy. Just as natural became organic and moved beyond to local (due to its link to nature). Artisan has become a Trend
WHAT DOES ARTISAN MADE JEWELRY MEANS?
Artisan jewelry is custom made by a highly skilled craftsman. It is sold on the Internet, in local markets and jewelry stores around the world. This jewelry is made from many different types of materials, and some pieces are made from a combination of materials. These materials are often the best and highest quality in the world.
Artisans often work with metals and gemstones that are native to a certain area. The native materials change from region to region. In some countries a prospective buyer will find beaded jewelry, and it others jewelry pieces that are made from gemstones and fine metals.
An individual who crafts this type of jewelry is an artist, but is often referred to as an artisan. According to the dictionary an artisan is a person who is skilled in an applied art, and is also called a craftsperson. The word artisan originates from the Italian word artigiano, which means a person who is trained in arts and crafts. All jewelry artisan crafted items are functional, decorative or both and of high quality.
Artisan jewelry is known to have existed as far back as 7000 BCE. These first handcrafted ornaments, necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings were made of gold and copper. They were often sculpted to depict human and animal forms. Today handmade jewelry is made of metals, gemstones, beads and many other materials. Every piece of handmade jewelry looks and feels unique.
As a result of this uniqueness, custom handmade jewelry pieces can have a high price and a high monetary value. The inflated price not only reflects the individuality of each piece, but it also shows the high quality of the materials that are used to make each item. The best materials combined with the distinctive look of artisan jewelry pieces have even landed some items in museum exhibits around the world.
Artisan jewelry is not just unique, it is durable and strong. It is ideal to wear for any occasion. While each piece of artisan jewelry is a one-of-a kind piece, it is not personalized unless it is made to order. Some jewelry designers will craft a piece of custom jewelry for a special order. Special orders allow anyone to personally choose a gift for any type of person. A gift of artisan jewelry is unique, high quality and beautiful, and anyone is sure to enjoy it.
One can argue that a person who makes things from wire and sheet metal is also using materials that are pre-formed since the artist did not make the wire or sheet metal from ore, so in a sense the word “handmade” applies equally to both kinds of products. But I would argue that there is in fact a world of difference between stringing beads–to take one example—and forging a metal bracelet from sheet, because the skill sets are vastly different.
A bead stringer may produce an original product, in the sense that the precise combination of beads in the design has never been seen before (not hard to accept due to the enormous variety of beads available.) But the method, the stringing itself, relies on a simple set of operations: putting a wire or cord through a hole in a bead and attaching a purchased finding (such as a clasp or pin) to finish the piece. In many cases, a piece of jewelry produced this way carries the label “handmade.”
By contrast, an artisan who forges a piece of flat metal into a sculptural shape must have a more complete knowledge base, such as how metal moves when stretched or compacted and how different metal alloys behave when heated or hammered—and must have mastered the techniques for controlling the shape of the form. The more knowledge the artisan has, the more advanced the resulting form can be, and the process of learning can be endless. This is why it seems ludicrous to me to apply the word “handmade” to both products equally.
When evaluating a piece of jewelry , consider the skills and knowledge that go into its making. Sometimes it’s not easy to see, but if you look carefully you can usually detect differences.
BUY ARTISAN MADE- BUY ALEXA MARTHA DESIGNS