I just read an article on Bruce Metcalf's blog that he wrote as a response to a post Kevin Murry wrote for AJF on advocacy and ethics in craft. Basically, Metcalf states that jewelry will never be an effective means to promote social change and here's why.
For me this article was really refreshing. I basically understood it to say that the socially responsible thing to do is make the work you want to make. If you want to be an advocate for social change, go into politics. My work doesn't have a social agenda, and it probably never will. Making green or sustainable or environmentally responsible work is also the least of my concerns when I sit down to make art. Maybe this makes me a bad person, maybe I make up for it in other aspects of my life style.
My favorite part was the last paragraph:
"My gift is imagining and making things. Only as a maker can I truly excel, and only as a maker can I make a contribution that might matter. If I have a responsibility, it is to exercise my gift. It is to function as an autonomous artist who serves only my own vision. In the long run, this is my only hope to have a real effect on the world. And it won’t be about ethics, not at all."
Sometimes I worry that there's no point to my work other than my own selfish amusement, so to hear someone I respect say that it's his responsibility to make his work as he sees fit, maybe I'm not so far off in the desert as I think I am. Maybe I actually am a little closer to the right track.
To read Bruce Metcalf's article go here.
I was unable to find Kevin Murray's article online.