From Making to Marketing: What Do You Call Yourself?


One of the first things I have discovered in talking with jewelry artists over the past months at the various Holiday Markets is what they call themselves varies.  Some have a hard time calling themselves an artist.  When I asked, “Are you the artist?” one lady said, “Well, I’m kind of an artist.”  What if your dentist said “Oh, I’m kind of a dentist.”?  Doesn’t inspire much confidence, does it?

Think about this…you have brought something into creation that had not existed before.  You created it.  Does that make you an artist?  Or are you only an artist if it is beautiful and perfect? (I hear this all the time as a teacher.) Well, my answer is  “Show me the perfect tree or a beautiful tree”.  Even Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree has its own charm.

Wubbers University Master Instructor Diana Casabar at work.

What do you call yourself?

It’s hard to market ourselves if we don’t know what we are.  This has been a bone of contention with jewelry artists as long as I’ve been making jewelry.  Are you a designer, a beader, a wire-worker?  Do you like crafter?  Maybe you are a studio jeweler?  The pretty widely accepted answer from our staff  who solder is pretty simple…metalsmith, goldsmith or silver smith.  From those who don’t solder, it’s designer.   Oh, we had one Renaissance Man, and you will get to know him in our Teacher Feature this week.  So what are you?

Lets get some discussion going.  Let me know what you call yourself, and maybe we will find just the right title for all of us. Write me at…and I’ll answer every one of you.  Your thoughts will be posted in the next newsletter.

Posted in From Making to Marketing, Handmade Business
15 comments on “From Making to Marketing: What Do You Call Yourself?
  1. Debra McKee says:

    I have always considered myself to be a jewelry designer. I do many forms of art but jewelry is how I make my living.

  2. Julie says:

    Its funny because I call myself something different to different people. Sometimes I call myself a jewelry designer, metalsmith, or jewelry artist. What I call myself depends on who I speaking with and how much they understand about the creation of jewelry.

  3. Carol Wass says:

    I consider myself an artist but like Julie, it depends on who i am speaking to. I should be more confident about this but I have a full time job and make jewelry and watercolors etc. in my “spare time” so i feel more like a crafter/hobbiest but deep down i know i am an artist.

  4. Gaye Fields says:

    (Let’s not find just the right title for all of us.) We are what we each believe we are. I’m a jewelry designer and a jewelry artist. The byline, with my logo, is “Simply I create unique beauty”. Am I a beauty artist? Yes. And I believe I literally create beauty as I create unique jewelry. If that’s not art, nothing is. If I also were a painter, I agree with Debra…I’d be that type of artist also. If I made origami from paper and converted it into earrings that would be art. Come to think of it, that could make lovely earrings.
    Gaye Fields

  5. Aggiekat says:

    I had the hardest time calling myself an artist. I was sort of “forced” into doing something with my art and jewelry after a layoff from my “real” job, but it took a lot of effort of a lot of people around me to give myself the confidence to “put myself out there.”

    I’m still a little shy about it, but I am an artist. I think it’s always been in my blood. From my early years doing silly things like putting plastic beads in my Easy Bake Oven, I was creating “art,” and just didn’t know it.

  6. Marny says:

    I used to feel strange myself any kind of an artist, since I can’t draw a realistic picture to save my life. (Can’t carry a tune, either- both of those would be nice to be able to do!) But when I moved from stringing crystals and stones (which did very well in shops) to etching, forming, soldering, etc. metal, and wire-wrapping stones and found objects to bring out the unique in them, I feel I am an artist. I love creating something that has never before existed, and that other people also find exciting.

  7. I consider myself an Artist & Designer of jewelry even if I make something from a tutorial or instructions from a jewelry magazine. I feel this way because I ultimately made the piece of jewelry. I usually put my own spin on anything I make to make it uniquely my own. I used to silversmith and I loved it but finances forced me to give it up and sell my equipment, so now wire working is my step to doing what I once loved. So I do considdr myself an Artist & Designer.

  8. Cindy says:

    Many times I’ve called my self a jewelry artist and then get asked, but “Who made the jewelry?” Then I say, well, I design and make it. The response is “oh”. I’ve moved more to using “studio jeweler.” I don’t get asked who made the jewelry. So far that seems to work best for me.

  9. Becky Kortvely says:

    I use a lot of mixed media in my jewelry making. On my business cards it states I am the owner/designer. I think designer or artist covers it all but depending on who I am speaking with or what they are asking I may use a definitive description: metal smith, bead stringing, wire wrapping artist, kumihimo. I think you shouldn’t corner yourself into one name. We are artists. We create our own designs and sometimes we follow someone else’s pattern (as long as we don’t claim it as our own). That is why I think designer or artist covers it all (no matter what level you are).

  10. June Postnikoff says:

    I am so glad we are broaching this subject. It is exactly what I’ve been asking myself. I like to make lots of things, metalwork, stringing necklaces, resin, etc. but sometimes i stop and think- why am I doing this and don’t seem to have the time to put a plan together.

  11. june bloye says:

    Since we can’t just use the term”artist” since everyone thinks that is a person who paints, and paints well, what is wrong with jewelry artist? That is what I am. I don’t just design; I don’t just hammer or manufacture, or wire or…..I am an artist, and I make jewelry.

  12. Janet Davis says:

    I have been creating beautiful jewelry for almost twenty years but I did not always call myself an ‘artist’. Then several years into it, I realized that yes, I am an artist. I create, I design and I bring jewelry to life. The fact that someone stops to admire my jewelry and to buy it lets me know that it is appreciated the same as a someone who appreciates a Renior or a Matisse! To me that is what an artist is!

  13. It has been fascinating to read everyone’s comments. I so appreciate the candour of the respondents. We want to give ourselves a label more for the convenience of others rather than to tell ourselves what we do/are!
    I can easily say that I am a musician since that is what I KNOW I am, having several degrees in music and being a performer and teacher in that role for the last 40 years. But how do I define this other thing I have been doing for the past six years. Soon I will retire from being a music teacher in school, but I will continue to be a musician since I continue to perform as a French horn player.
    I have taken dance for 17 years, and performed in recitals, but ladies, I would never call myself a dancer! I struggle with learning all the choreography!
    I wrote poetry for many years, some that was published in a local newspaper, Should I call myself a poet? No, never been published for real.
    Then there is my jewellery. I just completed a successful sale which a loving neighbour held for me. I made it all, I designed it (you know the drill dear fellow jewellery makers!). But I can’t call my self a jewellery artist. When I retire I plan to do more jewellery, but I’ll still be a horn player, I’ll still dance, I’ll still pursue my latest passion of photography. My inherent reluctance at calling myself a jewellery artist will persist. I’ll continue to design jewellery which I hope will please others. I’ll continue to be a designer; I may try make my own beads, do some metal, try other techniques.
    Perhaps others who actually read my long missive here will agree! What’s in a label!! We are creators!!! I love the fact that so many of you create. As a music teacher all these years where I taught improvisation techniques, as well as repertoire, I have often bemoaned the stifling of creative impulses of our young people. The human spirit is a creative one. Nelson Mandela in his own beauty created a way to reach all humanity. Let us all celebrate the creativity genius of humanity!

  14. I refer to myself as a jeweler, jewelry artist or jeweler designer. Most frequently, I use the term jeweler since that seems to have the most influence when dealing with the consumers in my store. They seem to respond to this term because it indicates that I am a professional, having been educated in the field, and that I have experience and expertise to handle their requests. For some reason, is I use the word “artist” many do not relate that to goldsmith or silversmith, but to crafts in general. I think of myself as an artist since I create with metals and also paint.

  15. What do I call myself? I am a Handmade Artist, creator, and designer of my products.

    As Becky stated above… ‘On my business cards it states I am the owner/designer.’ I also have owner/designer on my cards.

    However, I prefer Handmade Artist… It may sound simple and general (which it is) but, if someone wants to know more, then I’ll be more specific.

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