I have been a member of Jewelry Lessons since it started. (I bought almost every Eni Oken tutorial before Eni developed the Jewelry Lessons site). Since the lessons on the Jewelry Lessons site are presented according to Eni’s strict guidelines for step-by-step easy-to-follow-and-reproduce tutorials, I have confidently bought tutorials on the new site).
A new addition to the site is the Jewelry Expressions “challenge”, in which a “topic” is chosen, similar to that on Year of Jewelry/Four Seasons of Jewelry (FSOJ) http://facetsoflight.com/fourseasonsofjewelry/
The first challenge was “HIPPIE JEWELRY”. I did not feel that I could participate because, as a grown-up former hippie, the stated requirements (instated by people who seem to have been born in or after the 1970’s) did not have any relationship to what I knew about what hippie philosphy or lifestyle was about. (so much for nostalgia!)
The second challenge was “CLEOPATRA”, in which entrants were to create a piece that Cleopatra might have liked to wear. I would have liked to have made a piece for this one, but I have been busy with commissions, and, so, have had no time.
Now, the nature of the challenge seems to have changed. According to a recent email I received, entrants in the challenge must use a tutorial which is being sold on Jewelry Lessons to make the piece. As I understand it, an entrant must make a piece which follows a tutorial which she has bought from Jewelry Lessons. Alternatively, an entrant may use a tutorial as a starting point to develop the piece (I am still unsure how closely the piece must mirror the tutorial piece… I have asked the question and await an answer)
This new requirement grates against my nature, as it seems to be a financial requirement, i.e., entrants must buy a tutorial from the site in order to make a piece to enter in the contest. This bothers me seriously. I believe that it is designed to limit entrants (and creativity), by requiring entrants to purchase a tutorial and make something exactly like that tutorial, or else somehow similar to it. I feel it will eliminate new ideas, as entrants will be restricted to what has been done before, rather than encouraged to demonstrate creativity (which might, eventually, lead to new teachers’ tutorials, if we are lucky)
I imagine that this restriction has either been put into place to limit the number of entrants or to sell more tutorials. Either way, I feel that it contradicts the original focus of Eni’s lessons, and of Jewelry Lessons (unless the original focus was what I originally feared, which was to make a very exclusive circle of tutorial producers and be only a money-making venture for that exclusive group).
Once Eni had published Jewelry Lessons, I visited it to see what she had actually done, and I found that it was a very open forum for people who wanted to place tutorials in a broad forum which attracted many interested subscribers/buyers. The forum I found encourages experimentation and creativity even among those who do not buy tutorials therefrom.
This new Jewelry Expressions restriction seems to me to fly in the face of the freedom of expression that I have seen encouraged on Jewelry Lessons.
If, in fact, it is a desired development on the part of the developer (Eni), then I hope that another challenge will be created which again opens a forum to the individual creative efforts of Jewelry Lessons subscribers.
Meanwhile, Jewelry Lessons subscribers, and others who wish to share their work and have others comment on it can join the FSOJ program http://facetsoflight.com/fourseasonsofjewelry/
This program is seasonal, as opposed to monthly, so you may have to wait a month or two to join, but, once you join, you submit weekly projects.
I do, of course, hope that we subscribers who want more freedom in our challenges, and do not want to be required to purchase something in order to participate in a challenge, will ultimately be able to remain with Jewelry Lessons.