To Market, To Market


When artists hear the word ‘marketing’ our toes tend to curl up.  Savvy self-promoters are usually castigated within the creative community as sellouts, cynics and punchlines. Within the rarefied air of the ‘fine art’ world there’s big money to be had, but for the niche world of art jewelry it’s more like sink or swim. Rather than fret about the glossy plastic narrative of ‘making it big’ in the art world, why not subvert the idea and actually enjoy the process? There are some jewelers on the web who have found a way to play with self-promotion, lay the foundation for success and enjoy the process by playing with these expectations and carving out a place that is unique.

Phylicia Gilijamse, Tak, copper, enamel, cord
Phylicia Gilijamse, Tak Pendants, 2010, copper, enamel, cord
Nervous System, rings, rapid prototype, steel, botanical, biological
Nervous System, Cell Cycle Rings, 2010, stainless steel
Michelle Pajak-Reynolds, necklace, art jewelry, pearls
Michelle Pajak-Reynolds, Splendor Necklace, sterling silver, steel, pearls, onyx, organza, sequins, glass, nylon

As universities cut funding and positions dwindle, more and more of us are going to have to figure out how to actually make a living through art jewelry if we want to see this field survive. Why continue to pretend that academia is the last best hope for artists wishing to create compelling, challenging and experimental work? Here’s to Plan B, bank accounts, optimism and success, however you define it. There’s plenty of wiggle room between making a living and becoming the jewelry world’s Thomas Kincaid, so get over it and get out there.


  • Jillian Moore

    Jillian Moore is a maker and writer who currently lives in Iowa City, United States, where she completed her MFA in jewelry and metal arts at the University of Iowa in 2008. She received her BFA in metalsmithing and jewelrymaking from Western Illinois University in Macomb, in 2004.

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