The other day on Etsy I was reading some posts on one of the forums about metalworking. The contributors were mainly those who make jewelry from raw materials. They were a little upset that Etsy didn't offer better tags for describing the work of those who make items from scratch using only raw materials. There were also complaints about the misuse of tags by certain sellers.
Some of the remarks were a little denigrating. Referring to some sellers as "assembler's". It really got me to thinking. When I started out making jewelry, I would have called myself an assembler. I bought all commercially made beads, findings, etc. I put things together and called it jewelry.
Since I have started making jewelry again after a 6 year hiatus, I still do some "assembly" work. I have been working lately with more raw materials, mainly sterling wire. It is very satisfying to take a pile of wire and turn it into something beautiful. I have long wanted to try my hand at lampworking to make my own beads, and have been dreaming lately of working with sheets of silver, punches, and the like. Yesterday at the bookstore I started reading about Precious Metal Clay. The possibilities are endless. Too bad the funds to purchase the tools to work in these mediums isn't!
I did feel a twinge of resentment at the term "assembler". It made me feel like I couldn't be part of this elite group that considered themselves above those who "just put things together".
When writing my bio for either my blog, or Facebook page, or twitter, or Etsy, I find I have difficulty describing myself as an artist, or metal worker, or jewelry designer, or giving myself any kind of title really.
At what point will I be able to say I am an artist? I enjoy creating beautiful things. People have actually paid me for some of the things I create. When will I be able to say I'm an artist and feel like it is true? I'm not sure, but stay tuned!