Sunday, April 19, 2009

Project Jewelry Designer? Project Runway-type Challenges?

I'm a big fan of Bravo's Project Runway. I even have a Tim Gunn bobble-head over my jewelry bench. "Make it work," "I can't want you to succeed more than you do." I love him. His vocabulary alone is awesome. :-)

There are a lot of challenge-type shows out there. Have you heard of Animal Planet's Groomer Has It? I'll use the fact that my bench is in the living room as an excuse to say that I started watching Tabatha's Salon Takeovers also on Bravo She's another one who I really like. I wait for the marketing tips that she gives one each show. "There's no crying in styling," the home page says. I didn't get the genes for good hair or for the ability to tame wild hair, but I've watched a show about hair stylists. Oh well. Those who can't, watch?

I was wondering if they could have a Project Runway type show for jewelry designers. If they did, what challenges might they assign? Who would the judges be, who'd be the host? Who would guest judge?

The definition of jewelry is so open to interpretation these days, it's really exciting. Wearable art enters into it. Jewelry designers are incorporating a vast array of items into their pieces now, the green movement, the slow movement, baby boomers' being influences I'm sure. People buy and wear jewelry often for very personal reasons and to express themselves.

Quick challenges.... Speed-beading? The wild color wheel spin. Draw one of the other contestants' faces in 10 minutes. Feather weaving. Cat collars. Something involving a blender and I don't mean creating something to eat or drink! Name That Pearl! Some test of mineral knowledge. Is this sterling silver or plate? Real jade? The clock is ticking!!

Would there be a metalsmithing challenge? Definitely. This is a particularly scary episode for the young man who's never used a saw before in his life. The episode ends as a cliffhanger and maybe shows us a glimpse of an ambulance? Hope not!

Would there be more than one recycling, upcycling challenge? Lampworking, bead-making. Clay, but what type of clay? Resin. Something to test their design skills. There is a lot of fantastic jewelry being made from paper, collage, beads, stamping, photos, you name it. Oh gosh, the men's jewelry challenge is .... Well, you just have to see it!

A whole lot rides on the Engagement Ring Showdown. Jewelry that's associated with big occasions in people's lives means so much to them. It's apt to be passed on to future generations. A designer may work closely with the client on such a special piece. This is the episode where several contestants break down and cry.

There's the salvaged wood challenge where two contestants nearly come to blows because one accuses the other of giving the first one a really bad sliver. "I could make a better piece of jewelry than you with slivers in all of my fingers!" He yells as he examines his finger. Then they bleep what he says next.

Make a tiara. Is this part of the super-tough wedding challenge? Maybe they'll have to pull an all-nighter. (I won't give it away completely, but the evil twist in this challenge involves extra bridesmaids and less time than they'd anticipated. There's a stipulation that the jewelry design should work and be flattering for all women, real women. This is always tough for some designers.)

Make a belly button ring. The contestant who is against piercings strongly objects to this challenge and threatens to walk off the show! It's unbelievable that someone would think of doing that so late in the game after they've come this far! Group hug? What drama!

Would people watch a show like this? Drama aside. Personalities aside. The process is interesting. Techniques may be different to reach an end. How does someone come up with a design, the idea? Why those ingredients? That's the core, whether it's a gown or a special meal or a killer piece of jewelry.

(Don't worry about the guy who'd never used a saw before. He probably won't be named Top Jewelry Designer, win the money and all those great prizes, but he didn't hurt himself. He didn't need any ambulance. It was all .... Drama....)

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