Thursday, February 16, 2012

Something New and Sparkly - I'm (still) Making Jewelry Now!

Cardigan: Delia's
Tank: Target
Skirt: Kohl's
Shoes: Betseyville, Macy's
Belt: Tournier Everything's $10 Store
Bag: Bisou Bisou, J. C. Penney's
Necklace: The Tote Trove

Top: Kohl's
Skirt: Kohl's
Shoes: Journeys
Bag: The Tote Trove
Necklace: The Tote Trove

I've recently gotten hooked on IFC's "Portlandia," an offbeat sketch comedy starring "Saturday Night Live's" Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney rock band fame (something I admittedly didn't know before a gander on Google).  Last Friday's episode featured a segment about the handmade jewelry business craze.  It kicks off with Armisen's character admiring Brownstein's character's necklace.  She replies that her sister made it and goes on to say that she quit her job to launch a handmade jewelry business because, "you know, after she had her kids, she kind of didn't want to go back to having a job."  Armisen plays the skeptic (enter any annoying relative-slash-acquaintance who interrogates you about questionable life choices at a wedding or dinner party), asking things like, "Didn't she go to massage school?"  But But Brownstein remains unperturbed, breezily listing the virtues of her sister's new venture - in song: 

"She's making jewelry now!/She's got her own web site!/She crafts each piece by hand!/On her dining room table at night!/She's making jewelry now!/She's got her life on track!/We don't have to worry now!/She's got that arty spirit back!"
A superimposed Brownstein bops around music-video style as the said sister serenely fiddles with jewelry tools and lounges in the ethereally-curtained tent that houses her display.  Armisen cuts through the frivolity by asking how much the sister charges per necklace.  Once he learns that it's between $80 and $200, he sheds his snark, excitedly confessing that he too has some workspace at home to devote to his own jewelry enterprise.  Fast forward to the the final scene, in which Armisen's reading an email from an irate customer who's been waiting six weeks for two necklaces.  "What time does the post office close?" Armisen whines, then mutters that maybe he should apply to grad school (you know, that other recourse of the wayward) instead.   

Intrigued?  Charmed?  Insulted?  Whatever your stance, you can check it all out on YouTube:

So, how did this Etsy seller react to such a blatant dig on the online jewelry shop trend?  Why, with hilarity - and a few hiccups - of course.  There are plenty of people out there who bill hatching a craft business as being a rainbow-wrapped panacea for all that ails you.  But I'm not one of them.  Although I love making jewelry, I know it'll never support me (or even my shoe habit).  That's why I could laugh along as "Portlandia" poked fun at the get-rich-quick fantasy of the online trinket business and artists' disillusionment upon being confronted by the sometimes unforgiving world of customer service.  Although to be fair, it's Armisen, not the customer, who is at fault for the delayed jewelry shipment, revealing yet another facet of the satire, namely that many artistic entrepreneurs see only the perks of running a business and none of the responsibilities.

Now that the cynicism is out of the way we can skip back to jewelry-making's more fanciful side.

This is my lovebirds necklace (so named not because its colorful critters accurately resemble those particular parrots, but because they flank a flashy pink heart).  Like most of the pieces I've recently posted, it's not for sale, destined instead for the hatbox caching my personal prizes.  I couldn't decide which outfit showed the birds off to their best advantage, so I posted them both.           

1 comment:

Jewel Divas said...

I just watched the video and took no offence what so ever. Big name jewellery designers all started off small and more than likely on their own, and now make big bucks and get their pieces on famous celebs on red carpets.

Why do some people feel the need to put down and belittle people who decide to set up a small business, either online or from home/local market etc?

For most of us it starts as a hobbie and then turns into a small business and for some a big business. Most of us don't have the delusion that it will make us big, famous and rich overnight.

So having said all of that, what was the ACTUAL point of the skit?

Love the bag you made by the way.