11. Self-made and Home-made: the jewellery studio model in the 21st century economy

This century thinks of itself as digital and connected, and makes much of the role afforded consumers by new technologies, as embodied by D.I.Y. manufacturing: be your own producer, and leave behind your (reprehensible) dependency on industrial production. Meanwhile, “local” consumerism, and a willingness to accept the imperfection of home-made as a “meaningful” alternative to big business are adding interesting elements to the old battle between the bench and the machine.

Rooted in self-reliance, proximity distribution, and the intelligence of the hand, the studio model of the 20th century jeweller apparently ticks all the right boxes of this utopian new deal. Today however, this model is having to adapt to other contemporary interests: collaborative project, nomadic structures, and non-proprietary forms of (amateur) knowledge, which all define new forms of “authenticity”.

How do these different narratives intersect, and how do they differ? How are they redefining the role and perception of the contemporary studio practitioner?           

Keywords: empowerment, hand-making, auto-production, co-authorship, amateurism, authenticity