I've been thinking a lot lately about the notion of authenticity, the story behind people's creations and the value those stories bring to handcrafted jewelry (and all other forms of art + design).
With such a saturated marketplace it is easy to get lost or to get found, and then to be pushed aside for something similar that is served up to the shopper at half of the price with the headline "You may also like...". Often times these items are made because people know that they sell well and want to take advantage of the marketplace.
Places like Etsy and Amazon Handmade and even privately owned online shops all want a slice. Even if a shop owner has not lived the experience that inspired the creation to come into being they still want to sell them because they want to cash in. Some designs are also easy to make castings of and then mass produce through outsourcing. The results may look the same but they are not created with the same amount of heart and soul.
I use my Endless Wave ring as an example because there are so many people making these now.
In recent conversation with a jeweler friend who make also makes wave rings, she flat out said "everyone makes them". And I agreed. And then I thought of removing them from my shop all together because now maybe they seem so unoriginal and "everyone makes them". But then I started feeling a bit sad about it. Like I was willing to kill off a part of me that I love and that makes me, ME.
I remember when I made my first wave ring and took a picture of it with a photo backdrop of me headed out to surf at one of my all time favorite surf spots. Even though the concept of the wave ring had been done before, this was my baby. The hammered finish, the curl, the shine. My baby needed a name. So I called her the "Endless Wave Ring".
I searched around the web and found no other wave rings with the same name and so I chose it for my minimalist wave jewelry collection. I feel naming things is part of the creative process. It is not a matter of trademarking or patenting something. Rather, it is a way to add your own distinction and authenticity. You always hope that another designer will see if a name is has already been claimed but this is not always the case... but that is another story.
In the process of naming of this collection, I thought about long days of endless surf sessions where the waves were so much fun that I would cancel plans (risking relationships) just to stay for a few more. I thought about my favorite surf movies. I have a fairly large collection of surf flicks and I thought of Bruce Brown's classic cult surf hit, "Endless Summer". The words flow so beautifully. My Endless Wave rings are an homage to that iconic surf movie and to the sport that changed my life in ways I can not even fathom.
So I will always have these pieces in my shop and I will continue to build onto the Endless Wave Collection because even though it may not be the most original concept, it comes from a place of pure authenticity. They are a part of me to be loved and celebrated and shared and so they shall stay.
It is my hope that everyone interested in supporting small businesses, artists and sellers of handmade goods will be curious and care about the stories behind the creations and ultimately FEEL that through their piece of jewelry or art. I want you to feel the stoke that culminated in the Endless Wave Collection.
I will now end this post with this clip for your viewing pleasure: