The Bonding Process

As a Steampunk abstract artist of almost a year now, I have seen and marveled at some of the most creative, innovative and astoundingly beautiful works of handmade art that I have ever paid serious attention to. At many conventions, they are set up as a display, to purchase easily or for the admiring, but jealous folks to look on from afar and kick themselves for not bringing more money. Not to mention the many fantastic artisans that, quite a few of which, I get to call friends.

Now, most of the creative faces I know and love are phenomenal seamstresses, but I am also quite friendly with a large handful of painters, photographers, metal jewelry crafters, welders, carpenters, leather workers, etc. All are brilliant in their own mediums of expertise, as well.

But with a majority of the crafters I know and the many venders I have met during my somewhat limited experiences at the Steampunk Symposium and Teslacon, there is an unspoken, highly awkward subject matter that causes immediate internal unrest within the most confident artists who work mainly in metals and/or textiles: The excruciating realization that one sees on a detail-oriented customer’s face when they discover that the bonding agent used on the piece that caught their eye is GLUE, then setting the piece down with a look of quick disdain and a crap smile as the cherry on top.
Almost as if you tricked them with your ninja skills at making bad glue mistakes reappear, just for a laugh at their expense. . .

Well, maybe that’s a BIT exaggerated.

But there it is. That ugly distaste, or just a fake sympathetic look that when answered truthfully, and is very honestly the truth in a good many cases is

  1. An automatic demotion of the piece in question
  2. Your whole Etsy account teetering on the brink, and
  3. A very real possibility of con vendor room snubbery if that particular g-word gets around.

Sound far fetched or overly paranoid? You’d be surprised.

I’ll just come clean with you all now:

There. Now you know how I roll, just in case glue of any strength or bonding ability immediately turns your nose up. And that, of course, is just fine :)

I have worked in just about all mediums. Ever since winning a ribbon in first grade, I  have barely stopped striving to conquer them all. Unfortunately the mediums that still allude me AND my levels of patience, are sewing and knitting. The one I all but refuse to attempt is soldering because of toxic fumes and the inevitable scarring of my person. So in the case of metal jewelry, and just recently, hat making, what other bonding choices are left that make sense? Why the massive stigma? Is there no artistic integrity in being very talented with a hot glue gun, or the painstaking process of mastering super glue? Is anyone AT ALL aware of the murderous plots that take shape while attempting to ‘learn as you go’?

As for me and my own personal opinion, it’s merely a matter of quality. If you are one of those with more meticulous tastes, needing to see stitch lines or a tiny watch gear soldered to an earring as proof of craftsmanship, have no fear, you are not alone. In truth, I reluctantly confess to the same prejudice in similar circumstances. Like most artists, it is unavoidable due to our overly scrutinizing eye for detail and perfection, a flaw I would gladly be rid of.

As for the untrained eyes that praise your pretty trinkets and buy them on looks alone? All you can ever hope for is that the splendor they beamed at  (enough to purchase from you),  and in turn, gave YOU the surge of joy from seeing the purest example of the reasoning behind the tears and heartache. . .
All you can hope, is that your vision performs as promised, and that hopefully someone noticed.

But, of course, that’s just me and mine….


Category: Makers
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3 Responses
  1. I work in a very small scale (sculptures which are no larger than 2.5″ inches tall.)

    When I can solder, or use tiny hardware, and it improves the look of a piece, I will. But for many small “found item” sculptures I make, which must hold up in liquid found inside snow globes, glue is the only way to go to complete the piece with the cleanest and sturdiest final evolution.

    So I’ll join your “I use glue and I’m proud of it” club.

    We might need a secret handshake, but please clean the glue off your fingers first. I stick to myself and to my work often enough, but would be hard to explain if we bond our fingers together in a semi-permanent handshake.