After my post last Friday I got back to thinking about interpreting meaning in jewellery and about the point that Mary Clark made when she commented on my last post.
Mary effectively hit the nail on the head when she said … “if the maker commits to honestly creating something imbued with meaning, the wearer will get some sense of the maker’s intent, & transform it with their own” as the act of wearing a piece ultimately will create a different meaning in context through the associations of the wearer.
In her lecture, Hazel White gave an interesting example of this where she and her husband had their wedding rings reworked. When they first got together they didn’t have much money so both had very simple wedding rings. Because wedding jewellery is deeply symbolic, they didn’t want the rings replaced so had both rings joined together with a smaller ring to make a new piece. Their child always believed the third ring represented all three members of the family being joined together. To my mind, this is a beautiful example of the associations of the wearer transforming and bringing new life to the intentions of the designers.
But this got me thinking about what happens if the wearer doesn’t know about the intentions of the designer? It put me in mind of many of the experiences I’ve had in art galleries – I’m sure it’s happened to you too – there’s been no information about a piece and you’ve placed your own interpretation upon it only to discover at some later point that your interpretation with it is completely at odds with that of the maker.
Ultimately, how much does this matter? How much does the intent of the maker influence your decision to buy a piece of jewellery or to wear a piece? Do your own associations with your jewellery have much more of an impact than the intent of the maker? And how do you know the intent of the maker in the first place?
This is something I’m really interested in and would love to hear back from you!