The nine muses

25 01 2013

When I’m struggling with stifled creativity, I often refer to the ‘muse’ not visiting me. I use the term so often I thought it was time I learnt more about its classical origin.

In Greek mythology there are nine muses, “goddesses of the inspiration of literature, science and the arts“.

According to my favourite knowledge bank: “The Muses, the personification of knowledge and the arts, especially literature, dance and music, are the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (memory personified). … It was not until Roman times that the following functions were assigned to them, and even then there was some variation in both their names and their attributes.

They are below (though sometimes are different in various versions):

  • Clio – history – shown with scrolls
  • Thalia – comedy and pastoral poetry – shown with a comic mask
  • Erato – love poetry – shown with a cithara (like a lyre)
  • Euterpe – flutes and lyric poetry – shown with a aulos (like a flute)
  • Polyhymnia – hymns / sacred poetry – shown with a veil
  • Calliope – the most valued of all muses – epic poetry – shown with a writing tablet
  • Terpsichore – dance or games – shown with a lyre
  • Urania – astronomy / astrology – shown with globe and compass
  • Melpomene – tragedy – shown with a tragic mask
Roman sarcophagus (2nd century AD, from the Louvre); click on image for original source

Roman sarcophagus (2nd century AD, from the Louvre); click on image for original source

However the Romans believed there were only three muses: “The Roman scholar Varro relates that there are only three Muses: one who is born from the movement of water, another who makes sound by striking the air, and a third who is embodied only in the human voice. They were Melete or Practice, Mneme or Memory and Aoide or Song.

Lots of poetry muses it seems …. do poets need all this inspirational support?
Perhaps poetry was a broad term to include music?
As this site notes: “Dance, poetry, rite, and music seem inseparably associated in the early history of music in ancient Greece

I must say I’m super-excited to see a muse for astronomy.
Though none for painting? Perhaps it was seen simply as a ‘trade’ at the time?

I do enjoy mythology and such stories …

Selling handmade jewellery

23 01 2013

Following my exploration of pricing handmade jewellery, I have been considering the options available to sell handmade jewellery.

I’ve been thinking the options available for selling handmade jewellery are:

  • ‘bricks and mortar’ jewellery gallery
  • craft / artisan market(s)
  • commission / out of studio
  • online

I’ve thought and written a lot about the importance and place of the jewellery gallery (the ‘bricks & mortar’ kind) over the last few years [Place of Gallery, Galleries & Artists]. There’s a lot for an artist to consider when entering into an agreement with a gallery (if given the excellent opportunity that is!); including:

  • exclusive collections for each gallery
  • personal policy for referrals for commission approaches
  • agreements on pricing if also selling through other channels

Quite a few friends sell through craft / artisan markets (eg. Markit @ Fed Square, Craft Hatch, Harvest Workroom Fiesta, Melbourne Design Market, Finders Keepers, and more). My thoughts are that this would require quite an investment in stock production, to ensure enough selection at such an event, and stall presentation … and so it’s not really a viable option for me at the moment.

Selling via private commissions, out of your own studio, would be a great option … though really only one for an artist with an established reputation and practice. So perhaps in time … wishing … maybe ….

More realistically – online selling. I’ve noticed the most popular options are Etsy or one’s own website (often powered by BigCartel platform). If you’ve had experience with either of these, please do share your tips for those of us considering entering the fray.

Would you help me?
If you’re a contemporary jewellery maker, would you tell me which method you use to sell (multiple selection is allowed)?

As always, comments are more than welcome!
Especially if you have tips for managing multiple selling channels.

Update: I was thinking about this with respect to non-exhibition (or post-exhibition) jewellery, as exhibitions are almost always bricks & mortar gallery spaces.

Strangely, the day after I drafted this post (days before I published it of course!), there was an article in The Age on crafting and how to sell jewellery! Amazing how these things just collect in the minds of like-minded people yes? …

Spectacular flowers

22 01 2013

For me.
Chrysanthemums and thistles.

flowers from a most special frien

flowers from a lovely friend

How magnificent they are!

Admiring: Speckner and Britton

21 01 2013

While putting together my favourite exhibitions since I started writing this blog, I remembered a conversation I had with Katie Scott of Gallery Funaki: how curious it was to her that I responded so strongly to Helen Britton‘s industrial‘ exhibition given my aesthetic and taste in jewellery is quite conservative.

In talking on this point, I admitted that while Bettina Speckner had been my most favourite maker since I first saw her exhibition at Gallery Funaki in early 2009, it even surprised me that I now rated Britton’s current body of work as my equal favourite.

It wouldn’t be fair to say they’re ‘similar’, though there are aspects that are sympathetic perhaps.

With respect to the two exhibitions I saw, each makes with significant restraint and consideration, with extraordinary attention to and care for detail, and an exceptional deliberateness (if that’s a word!). Perhaps this may be said of many artists … so what else draws me to them both?

To my eyes and mind, I see in both collections a language of shapes that remind me of Victorian and medieval Europe – the outlines of Speckner’s brooches and Britton’s rings. I may even go so far as to describe the aesthetic as ‘teutonic’, or at least my imagining of that word.

image from Gallery Funaki website; click on image for original source

Bettina Speckner; image from Gallery Funaki website; click on image for original source

image from Gallery Funaki website; click on image for original source

Helen Britton; image from Gallery Funaki website; click on image for original source

It could be said that Britton’s ‘industrial‘ exhibition had a more muted colour palette than her wider body of work (there were a number of darker or raw-metal pieces, which I liked best); further, perhaps the pieces I responded to the most in this group may even be unusual in her oeuvre?

For more of Britton’s work, see her Klimt02 page.
For more Speckner, see her website.

Do you see similarities in their work? What do you think?