Edges, Fringes, Straps, Surface Embellishments
Should these be Critical to the piece,
or, merely Supplemental?
In our Bead Study group, (full discussion notes posted here) we began a unit on learning what I call “turns of the needle” techniques. These are small, bead-woven shapes and forms that you make with seed beads and needle and thread. You can adapt these shapes and forms to use as edging, surface embellishment, straps and fringes.
Classical art theory would say that these kinds of elements in jewelry should be supplemental to the core piece, such as a pendant. The pendant is “art”, and any fringe, strap, edging or extraneous surface embellishment would merely supplement this.
In painting, these kinds of components would equate with the “frame.” In sculpture, these kinds of components would equate with the “pedestal base.” Neither the frame nor the pedestal should be required to appreciate the painting or sculpture as art. Nor should these detract. Or compete. Or take center stage. Or overwhelm.
If our goal is to elevate beadwork and jewelry to the realm of art, rather than craft, we need somehow to accommodate, confront or revise this concept which is central in art theory, if we don’t agree that edges, fringes, straps, and extra surface embellishment are as important to the jewelry as it’s core.
Should these be supplemental, or complimental, or incidental, or critical to jewelry?
Is adornment and embellishment “art”?
What makes a piece of jewelry an “art” piece?
Is there a design element to creating fringes, edges, straps and surface embellishment? That is, are there a set of principles that we can follow and share, so that we don’t over-do, or don’t compete with the central part of any piece of jewelry? Are there a set of rules of construction that we can learn and adapt?
What is the value of decoration? What principles regulate this?
Ornament Magazine , one of my favorites, uses the image below in their promotional materials. I love this piece as is, but, based on our bead group discussions, the piece begs the question whether the fringing and straps are helpful or hurtful to the core piece. Appropriate or inappropriate? Dragging jewelry back to a craft-base, or elevating jewelry into an art-form?
What do you think?
The discussion continues here.