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Why should jewellers interact with digital space?

November 14, 2009

I believe in the fact that nothing can be felt,imagined or interacted with unless it is in the physical world. We jewellers face the challenge of merging the digital with the physical.

I sat with two jewellery graduates from Glasgow School of Art, who firmly do not believe in the powers of the internet. But within 10 minutes of me explaining they slowly begin to come round to the concept. I know and understand that the internet is just a tool, but it is a tool that can propel us into a world that moves faster than the physical world.

The internet is there to be used as a FREE marketing tool to promote your name and promote your brand. The graduates argued that nothing is better than experiencing a jewellery piece in person and I agree. But, the digital world is there to show that you are so much more than the pair of earrings or a necklace that someone has just bought into. You are a story. You are the design, the thought process, the experience. But how does the viewer gain that from just viewing a piece from behind a glass cabinet? The internet is there for you to tell your story. For you to show what you are made of. There to show people the REAL you. How can you get that from just displaying your work in a gallery or shop?

I guess there is the argument that your work should speak for itself, that it should tell it’s own story, or that it is strong enough for the viewer to make up it’s own story. But what if it can’t, what if they can’t, then who is there to tell the story? The designer is not there at every step of the process, you can’t be there to tell every buyer the story behind each piece.

So who is? You! The internet is a platform for you to tell the story and if they want to find out more, they can.

The physical and digital are worlds apart, but how do you marry them together so that they create a world for people to access and learn from. If you put your name out there in the physical world, who’s to say that anyone would look you up. Who’s to dictate the fact that you will go on the internet, search for their name and begin to learn their story…?

How do I marry the two together?  The digital world of self promotion and advertisement and the physical, the feeling, the texture, the knowing of when something suits you and not?  How do you determine that from a photograph on the internet?

You have to learn. Learn how to use the networks and platforms provided to open the world of physical. Tell people to view your work in person, tell people to pick things up and try them on.

Abuse the digital to feed the physical.

A test. A test to show the strengths of the internet. The designers in residence have agreed to hold two exhibition opening nights. One that is based purely on physical contact and invitations and then one that is based on digital invitations, to see which one is more powerful, or to see if any holds much power at all. A perfect test to back many arguments.

I am a strong believer in the fact that the physical world holds much resonance than digital world in terms of jewellery, but it’s a case of how to marry the two powers together. How do I combine the digital and physical to really understand the concept and powers of jewellery design?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah Finnigan permalink
    November 16, 2009 4:45 pm

    I got involved with the internet from a fairly young age, maybe 16 or so, and always saw the potential for someone to create an online image of themself, but was never sure how to do it. Of course, at that age there was still no story to tell anyway. I always used the internet as a way of documenting artwork and discovering other artists with interests similar to my own. Because of that I didn’t really doubt that using social networking would be useful, as we were promised when we started second year and were told to start these things. I kept them up, probably to the same level or slightly higher than I had in the past. However, the more I did it, I started to think it wasn’t really worth it – I felt like all the designers were being moulded not as individuals, but as one big mush of designer social network jumble. The Studio Unbound lecture today was really interesting because it showed me how much potential there is to express individuality through social media, even without coming across as arrogant. Thank you and Lauren Currie for renewing my faith in social networking!

    • November 16, 2009 8:38 pm

      Hi Sarah and welcome to my blog. I’m glad that you enjoyed the lecture and that we did to you exactly what we set out to do…

      it showed me how much potential there is to express individuality through social media

      Like we said in the lecture, these tools are there for you to tell YOUR story, not anyone else. So what will naturally come through is your individuality and what will make you stand out from your peers.

      Keep it up, start believing that it is all worth it. If you want to chat some more grab me when I’m in the department.

      Thank you again for you comment.

  2. November 16, 2009 5:09 pm

    Mmmm…. never thought about the “social mush” thing before. Interesting.

  3. November 27, 2009 2:28 am

    This is very interesting actually… I agree with Sarah in that I’ve been using the net from an early age and it’s always been about self-promotion to some degree, only now it’s becoming less about the social side of things and more so about combining personal and business networking. The idea of a “social mush” to me is interesting also; I’ve just finished my dissertation which focused on the concept of the paradox of Mass-Individualization, and I believe it’s also applicable to this. As much as I love reading everyone’s Blogs – to exemplify, the DoJ Jewellers – at the same time the “social mush” frustrates me. Akin to what Sarah said, here we are all promoting and discussing our work, yet as a group who all comment one and other and see each other on a daily basis. It is very frustrating, but you kinda have to just let that go and get on with it. If you keep it up eventually you’ll find you have a well-established Blog with people who genuinely want to read whatever it is you’re saying. I’m definitely nowhere near that stage but I intend to keep it up regardless; hopefully after Graduating I’ll then already have a little platform from which to continue promoting myself. I always enjoy reading this Blog :) xx

    • December 2, 2009 11:31 pm

      The ‘social mush’ is an interesting concept but I’m not quite sure if I understand it. What is meant by the ‘social mush?’ Is it a case of of getting lost in the social media and not being able to stand out?

      If this is the case then it is ever more clear to keep these up and to show everyone that you are different and that you have a different story to tell. You may achieve the same results as someone else but you may have gone down a different route to get to the conclusion.

      Its definitely something that you should stick with because it could be that that sets you apart from the crowd. It could be one amazing blog or picture that catches someone’s eye. You never know, that’s why you must try.

      If you start making people recognise your name, your ‘brand’ then the platform is set for to you to build upon your creative future.

      It’s all simple steps that will just get you that little bit further.

      I’m glad you enjoy my blog…keep reading :)



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