Can’t please them all

It’s great to share good news, but what about the bad? What does ‘bad’ really mean anyway? We all need to work this out for ourselves. People often comment on my work and I welcome the feedback. Even when the message isn’t a ringing endorsement. There is a danger in trying to please too many … who wants to be the IKEA of silver?!


Here’s Anon’s email, enjoy!


Dear Mr. Clarke,
I’ve been looking at your work for some time now and I continue to find it both appalling and bizarre that it has been allowed into some of the most renowned galleries and silver collections in the world. Is this intended to be some sort of joke?

All you seem to be able to do is take the work of other, much more highly skilled makers than yourself and then mutilate it with obscure, unnecessary additions. What a waste of silver! As if that wasn’t bad enough, upon closer inspection and with further research, it’s become apparent that you actually contaminate your silver using lead? Do you even understand how wasteful this is? Silver is a precious, pure and beautiful material as it is.

It is ‘makers’ like yourself who pollute the good name of many contemporary silversmiths coming up with interesting, functional designs as well as beautiful sculptural pieces. I simply do not understand how you can be making any money from what you’re doing, though I understand that you are employed as an educator as well, and I suspect that this is your sole source of income.

May you either stop making altogether or start making real silverware.


  1. Silver Star says:

    Clarkey i saw you being slagged off on a design blog, think it was designboom? It was funny, have you seen it? SS

  2. David Clarke says:

    Ohh i think that was a while ago, need to dig it up. Gotta be worth the sharing, i think it was from someone in “the industry.”..!!

  3. Tomislav Nikolic says:

    Hi David,
    How hilarious!
    Really, no need to pay attention to or feed anonymous trolls! Entertaining though.

    1. David Clarke says:

      Hey Tomislav, yes i’m amused, however: I do pay attention as they might be offering me the next step in developing an idea.
      Different perspectives are always good however challenging.

  4. Bob Buzas says:

    First of all, hello to Anon who’s peeking in no doubt.

    Anon — this is high praise indeed! When David ruffles feathers enough to merit an email of this tone, it shows he’s in good company. We can go down the art history list and tick off artists who have been similarly dismissed. Those who push forward deal with backlash, it’s the cost of entry. It’s often a thankless job having vision and asking difficult questions.

    But what strikes me is the second lesson here, that David is pondering if there’s a lesson in the email for him and his work. If there’s a new challenge. Questions of craft and creation and beyond. All good considerations. And his reaction is a lesson for all of us in receiving criticism.

    I’m going out on a limb to say Anon you will one day have a perspective shift and come around to see what David is doing and appreciate what he means for the silver smithing tradition. Simply put, who else could make a teapot outrageous!

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