Whether it be in how you design, manufacture and market jewelry as a maker or how you select, purchase and wear jewelry as a consumer, finding a voice, and using it, is a great way to stand apart. Do you really want to be thought of as part of some large, conforming group? Why Conform?
I have many continuing thoughts on this topic which I will be sharing as I work through them, but this week, I’m taking a look at, and gleaning from what I think are a few of the best observations and advice from others who have looked at this topic. The Barbara Kingsolver quote above is how I begin.
Stephen Covey, the author of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” has a quick and effective way of looking at the topic of Finding a Voice. He maintains first that, “voice is the overlapping of the four parts of our nature: our body, out mind, our heart, and our spirit and poses four questions…
This seems particularly suited to makers as stated, but with modification could also be applied to people who simply seek to express their voice through what they wear, in this case, jewelry, of course! Maybe something like…
”Find what feels true. You’ll write a lot, and most of it will be bullshit. You need the bullshit if you want to find the truth. Sort through the bullshit until you learn to recognize the truth, by feel, not by any logical criteria. The truth looks remarkably like bullshit.” See the rest of this great article here.
My take on this for makers is simply make a lot of things, something I’ve coached my students about continuously. For it is in the making that you will find yourself!
For the wearer of jewelry, this might look like trying on a lot of things, be bold in your exploration and through those experience you will find your own expression. Maybe a certain maker will have that “je ne sais quoi” that will do it for you, or a certain process, or a certain look that crosses traditional boundaries. Profoundly, I took away from my anthropology studies that every known culture so far has somehow used body adornment (that’s jewelry). And in your humanity you may still stand out from the crowd. Why Conform!