Purpose in Context

Context is everything for a Metalsmith. Even for an artist or academic who believes in art for art’s sake, metalsmithing with the inherent purpose of being worn is unfinished until it interacts with the human form.

Sure, those who are experiencing the work may interact visually, objectively and subjectively, even tangibly, without the piece being worn – something we as artists must accept when exhibiting in galleries and shows. Yet when we are honest we needs must admit the work is incomplete until it is expressed through contact with the body part for which it was made.

Therefore, how do we design for this? Must we?

I believe we do. We may certainly design to our whim or Awen, many designers do, but does this insure proper interaction with the body, does the human form enjoy the experience – does it make the piece wearable.

This then defines the difference between Designer and Artist, even Fine Art and Fine Craft. In my mind both are such ugly, egocentric debates. Yet brings forth truth and synergy between art of the mind and art of the hands.


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