Friday, November 27, 2009

Merry go round - What's your purple cow?

It's time for another ride on the merry-go-round! Jump on and join a group of 9 artists/crafts-women as they link around the world and tell you a little about their lives in art and craft.

This month's topic for discussion is: What's your purple cow?

Yes, it may sound like an odd question for us all to discuss, but if you've heard of Seth Godin's work, you'll be familiar with the concept of the "purple cow". He's written a book entitled "Purple Cow: Transform your business by being remarkable".

Basically, by the purple cow, he means that the key to success is to find a way to stand out and be remarkable - to be the purple cow in a field of monochrome Holsteins. So our "challenge" this month is to write about what our purple cow is...what makes what we create remarkable? What is it about our pieces that make them stand out from the crowd?

Remarkable adj.
1. Worthy of notice.
2. Attracting notice as being unusual or extraordinary

I've been thinking about this "merry" topic for quite a while. It's a toughie, I think! Do I even think what I make is remarkable?

After mulling over this for a long while, (which has been useful insight), I've come to the conclusion that my purple cow is that I make anthromorphic jewelry and narrative jewelry. Both of which, elicit emotions in people.

Anthropomorphic adj. 1 : described or thought of as having a human form or human attributes 2 : ascribing human characteristics to nonhuman things

Or in other words, the pieces I make suggest that the piece isn't just a lump of silver, but has a personality and human characteristics and thus has it's own story, or else the piece tells a story, and thus connects with the wearer and observer.

For example, there's Quentin. Well yes, he's a bird but he has many human characteristics.... You'll see him tomorrow heading out on his travels.....he has adventures.....he has an expression, he has his shoes on - ready for action.... He's not just a shape of silver. He has a following!!!

And what about "Anyone"? Wow - he has a busy life - falling in love, juggling, flying a kite, riding a bike, riding a horse. Maybe he's even superhuman?

And through this anthropomorphism, these pieces elicit emotions.....either inspiring the wearer or viewer to take action (like "anyone can change direction") or to feel something (like "remember the little things" where the birds are reminders for what is important in life).

Even those pieces that aren't sculpted figures have their own story. For example, " Cobblestone Hill". I have this necklace and every time I wear it, I hear from people that it reminds them of one specific place.....and the memories associated with that place...and how that place makes them feel.....

Or "Oranges and Lemons"....who can look at the image of a citrus tree and not have some emotion.... a memory of the scent of the blossom....the image of warmth and vibrancy...?

And "songbird"....which has become one of my key "birdland" pieces.....the softness of the bird...the idea of a song too....memories of listening to birds.... That little bird is narrative....he is telling a different story to everyone.

Through the human characteristics or stories of my pieces, I believe they connect with people. It's not looking at something and seeing it is pretty or beautiful, it is that connection with the on-lookers and the eliciting of emotions that is my purple cow.

So I guess now that I have struggled and found, what I believe, to be my purple cow, I need to make sure that everything I create is anthropomorphic or narrative and thus "remarkable"! Somehow I don't think the term "anthropomorphic jewelry" is going to catch on and be a great "search" tool for me however, but maybe I should start using the term "narrative jewelry" on my website etc....

What do you think? And what about what you create yourself? Ask yourself the purple cow question. It's a tricky one!

Hope you'll take time to read what other "merry-ers" have figured out to be their purple cows by following these links. We are from all over the world so excuse us if some haven't posted due to time differences.

Fabienne at Easterya
Wendren at Wren
Sara at Sara's Texture Crafts
Marian at Florcita
Agathe at Le Bar du Vent
Charlotte at FancyPicnic
Lily Pang at Lily Pang Art
Jenny at Jenny Karlsson design


florcita said...

I think you've hit the nail. You have found what maks your work stand out. I think I understood the question a bit differently and thus gave a bit of a ... weird answer maybe, but I still see that it takes a whole process to be completed for one to already know for sure what or how our work can be defined. I think Im much more behind.
Good topic!

Easterya said...

You're BANG ON girl, I agree with Mariana!! I also think that your whimsy style of sculpting sets you apart, personnally I have never seen whimsy like yours anywhere else... In fact, this is what drew me to your work in the first place, I remember looking at 'anyone can sing' and think how desirable your work is: silver sculpted, unique, tiny, meaningful and just so damn CUTE!!!

Ladka said...

Hi Ruth! I think your silver creations are really narrative jewelry. The "songbird" is especially beautiful, attractive in a way ... so tiny and so beautiful, and to think of the birdsongs I've listened to ...
And the question about the purple cow also made me think - it's really a tough and good one!

Ruth said...

Its funny how it seems so much easier to see other people's purple cows than our own! And I agree is all a process and maybe our purple cow now will be a different one in a year's time.... Perhaps we should try this topic again next November and see if our ideas have changed!

meherio68 said...

"Narrative jewelery" sounds great! Very intriguing at first but then it makes perfect sense with what you make...
The texture of your work, even though I've seen this satin finish on other people's work, is also part of what makes your pieces so endearing.
By the way, your "Cobblestone Hill", to me: the Royal Mile in Edinburgh...

'fancypicnic' said...

It is most definitely your wonderful narrative style that sets you apart. Each piece of your work has a story to tell, but you're right that for every viewer it will probably provoke a different, intuitive story. It is truly something to be able to encompass so many possible ideas, feelings and memories into one small, exquistely crafted item. Fantastic.

Wendren said...

I definitely must agree with you > I love that your creations all have personalities. :) Your creations (I think) are more than narrative because they allow the viewer and wearer to see what personality they wish to see in the creation. It is not predetermined but rather is as seen through the customers eyes. This is a wonderful thing.

Sara's Texture Crafts said...

You so got it right! I love your personal stories around each piece... it makes me feel like I am buying into a family and that I love!