member of the craftsman class speaks!

From: Robert E. M. Lloyd (
Date: Wed Jan 29 1997 - 17:53:07 EET

On 29 Jan 97 at 16:47,
<$> wrote:

> So what you have is:
> - - An enormous industrial overhead that is fundamentally designed
> to achieve reduced cost of goods via economies of scale. - - A
> non-existent craftsman class that could fill a hypothetical demand.
> - - A culture of creative self-determinists (sic); not a massive
> consumer/labor (middle) class.

Another lurker de-cloaks . . . a member of the non-existent
craftsman class who hopes to fill demands.

To quickly introduce myself, before this post goes forever, I am a
graduate student in the Metals/Jewelry/CAD-CAM area of the Crafts
department at Tyler School of Art at Temple University in
Philadelphia, PA.

I couldn't resist jumping in at this point. I am in the middle of a
critique of my work on two other mailing lists, ArtMetal and ACMET-L,
and this seems like a good to time to introduce myself here.

I apologize for the length of this post and warn you that what follows
is from an ongoing conversation. Unfortunately, my 11 month old son
won't give me time to write something new for this list today.

First let me include the original introduction of myself and my work,
which was an invitation to critique my thesis work in progress. Then
I will include a lengthy response to to the flames that followed my

The url for my work is in my signature.


Priority: normal
Date sent: Fri, 24 Jan 1997 23:27:09 -0500
Send reply to: Academic Metal Crafts discussion
<> From: "Robert E. M. Lloyd"
<> Subject: Invitation to e-crit To:
           Multiple recipients of list ACMET-L <>

Hello everyone,

Obviously, Tyler has begun the semester and their seminar is under
way. Hopefully this signals the re-awakening of the ACMET-L list.
These days, I am only a lurker on the ArtMetal list, but I am
cross-posting to them now in hopes of drawing a bigger crowd. <g>

I am a fringe member of the Tyler graduate group. As I balance my time
between caring for my 11-month-old son and finishing the work for my
thesis (MFA) show in May, I have little opportunity to mingle with the
active seminar members. I look to ACMET-L as a way to make contact
with the Tyler group as well as with other concerned metalsmiths. This
is my way of pulling my head out of the sand and seeing if anyone
knocks it off.

With this posting, I am inviting you to view my work-in-progress
(four objects are there now, a fifth will be added this weekend)
through my web site and respond as you see fit. An e-crit(ique), if
you will.

As an introduction to me and my work:

I was a member of the first Tyler graduate class to move, as a whole,
to the computer lab. Before us there was really only Stanley
(Lechtzin, the Tyler prof.) and a grad by the name of Scott Hooper.

The transition has been an interesting one to say the least. Many
hours have been spent (and some wasted) arguing about computers and
hands and craft and design et cetera, ad nauseam. While I don't expect
to completely avoid such topics when discussing my current work in an
open forum, I hope that the work itself, the designs, the objects, can
be critiqued for their formal and conceptual qualities.

What you will find at my web gallery will be various 2 dimensional
ways of representing 3 dimensional objects. Those objects currently
exist only as complex data files. Funding and time, not technical or
theoretical issues or artistic intentions, prevent me from realizing
the designs and presenting hard, tangible objects in a more
traditional gallery format.

Consider my thesis-show-in-the-works a portfolio of designs, if that
helps you get past tricky issues of computer-aided-craft. Or don't. Do
as you will. These are open forums and I invite any and all

Thank you for taking the time to view and consider my work. I look
forward to your comments, encouragements and scathing flames.


Robert E. M. Lloyd
Graduate Student, M/J/C-C Area
Tyler School of Art of Temple Univ.


Priority: normal
Date sent: Wed, 29 Jan 1997 03:28:45 -0500
Send reply to: Academic Metal Crafts discussion
<> From: "Robert E. M. Lloyd"
<> Subject: e-crit: elaboration and
clarification, perhaps To: Multiple recipients of list

Hello again,

I appreciate the traffic that my invitation has stirred up. I have
logged no less than 55 posts related to my e-crit. This time, I am
cross-posting to ACMET-L, as they have yet to respond to my

As one person noted wryly, "I'd venture to say Robert's page invoked
more feelings on this list than much art has done. if this is the
exclusive criteria for judging validity in an art object, Robert makes
big art."

I apologize for not attributing names to any quotations that I might
include, but I am replying to many posts by almost thirty different
people. All quotations are from previous ArtMetal posts.

"You're a brave man, Rob. You must have a tough skin to invite
anyone to critique your art." I am a seasoned veteran of critiques. I
value them highly. That doesn't mean I place great value on every
comment. You must consider the source and deal with it accordingly. I
would not have invited the ArtMetal group if I did not anticipate
interesting responses. I would not have instigated this thread if I
was not capable of withstanding the flames.

Anyway, on with the lengthy riposte:

First, let me clarify something that seemed to spawn the majority of
the thread. I present the virtual objects on my web site as designs.
These designs are constructed within the CAD environment with the
intention that they would be realized by one or more rapid prototyping
technologies. However, for the purpose of my MFA thesis exhibition,
none of the objects will be realized. My show consists solely of the
virtual objects. It is my intention, and understood by my professors,
that I will shop them around to various service bureaus after the
crush of my degree has passed. I am not selling virtual craft. It is a
design portfolio.

As an aside for those of you who are concerned about the quality of my
degree experience, let me assure you that I have earned the degree and
that the degree is as valuable as one gets. I sought out a MFA to
further my goal of being a professor in a university crafts
department. The achievement of that degree has involved far more than
artistic advancement. I'll still end up working for Corporate America,
but we all have our dreams.<g>

"How do you put feeling in a piece if you have no feel for anything
but a keyboard?" Allow me to point out that I have a BFA in Crafts
based in "traditional" metals skills. I bring all those forces, and
more, to bear when sit at my cold, lifeless, terminal. <g> I am also
knowledgeable about the rp processes that I design for. They are as
far from being push button systems as casting is.

In regards to material, metals work, whether it be jewelry, small
sculpture, functional objects or whatever, has long ceased to be made
of purely metal. Along with countless others far greater than myself,
I do not label myself by material or process. Metals, such as it is,
remains as a loose, historical, category. Some take it more literally
than others. I know many of you are blacksmiths, but the field of
metals, like ArtMetal spans many approaches.

I am a craftsperson. That term has meant so many things that
it is as cheap a label as art. But I use it happily. I define it for
those who will listen. It's too late in the evening now to elaborate
fully, so I'll try to escape for now with some basic thoughts.

To counter the commercial catch phrase used recently about my show,
let's say craft is a state of mind. Craft was once the creation of
everything, now it's a Kosy Korner at the mall. Craft survives,
barely, as the creation of not things in general, but things in

Someone defended my work as (and I paraphrase in great sweeping
strokes) works for the masses. It was felt that I was using CAD-CAM to
produce for the masses. While I appreciate the kind thoughts, I deny
those intentions and point out that such motives would make me an
industrial designer (not a bad thing mind you, but different

As a craftsperson, I intend to design and create specific objects for
specific people, environments and times. I accomplish these things
through an intimate knowledge and almost fanatical attention to detail
of my chosen materials, processes, applications and clientele. Perhaps
the greatest danger and challenge to me while working on my thesis
work, is the lack of specific clients. My tremendous imagination has
attempted to fill the gap. <g>

Someone wrote, "Now intent plays an important role in the final
outcome of the work itself. If the intent is to make a personal
expression or statement, then it doesn't matter what the process is
that is used to create it."

I disagree. All things that go into the creation of a work contribute
to its success or failure to communicate, whether it tries to say,
"blue on top of red," or, "be kind to puppies". I have investigated
computer-aided-craft as a contemporary method of creation. I do not do
it to keep my finger nails clean, or because it's easy (HAH!). I do it
because computers are everywhere and so many people live in fear of
them, or simply ignore them (How?). Even some of you in this
electronic forum seem to have overcome some fear or distaste so you
could e-mail. But more than that seems too much, according to some
comments in a variety of threads.

Who better than a craftsperson should attempt to impart a more human
touch to computers and the machines they seemingly control? Computers
touch so much of our lives, wouldn't you want some of that touch to
guided by a craftsperson?

"I feel that society and technology today have already eliminated the
true craftsman and are making significant inroads into eliminating the
"true artist"."

Craft was once the pinnacle of science and technology, why should a
craftsperson shun these things now? How do you combat this? I am
trying one way.

To move on, ". . . knowing some machine is going to make these
pieces lets me know that a lot of learning will be missed in the
process. The material may speak to the machine, but the machine
won't be listening, and I seriously doubt the "artist" will hear any
messages from the material."

I do listen. And research. And I will listen intently as I continue
with my work. Your assumption is that I will merely mail these designs
off and praise whatever the postman brings. Simply, no.

Even when my thesis show is complete, it will still be a work in
progress. Even if all the objects were realized. It would still be a
work in progress. I am a child playing with blocks. Who knows what
I'll be when I grow up.

I am not ready to close, but it's waaaaay too late for someone who has
to feed a baby breakfast too soon. Looking back at this thread so far,
I think it's rather ironic that one of the first (private) responses
included this comment:

"I think you are overly concerned with how these objects are going to
be made. You should worry less about the technology. There is no
debate outside of the university about art/technology."

Thank you all for looking and for your comments. I must say, judging
from a few comments, that some of you may not have seen the full show,
such as it is, and I invite you to take a closer look. The accent
(MicroChip) lamp is not part of the thesis body, and be sure to look
beyond the line drawings of symbols on the Schema/Schemata page.

I invite everyone to take a second look, if they care, as I have
added the fifth, and latest piece to the site. Fuel for the fire.


Robert E. M. Lloyd
Graduate Student, M/J/C-C Area
Tyler School of Art of Temple Univ.

------------------------gotta go read the wide mouth frog pop up book

Not such a quiet lurker, eh?

Robert E. M. Lloyd

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Tue Jun 05 2001 - 22:39:17 EEST