Learn To Bead

At Land of Odds / Be Dazzled Beads – Beads, Jewelry Findings, and More

Archive for June, 2013

WHEN IS ENOUGH ENOUGH?

Posted by learntobead on June 30, 2013

 

 

WHEN IS ENOUGH ENOUGH?

Beading and jewelry making can be so much fun, and you have so many choices of so many beautiful pieces to play with, that sometimes, from a design sense, it’s easy to go overboard.

Too many strands. Too many different kinds of beads. Too many colors. Too much embellishment. Too much fringe. Too much repetition of themes and design elements.

There is a tendency too often to over-do.

How do you answer this question for yourself – when is enough enough?

Do you tend to over-do (or under-do) your pieces?

How do you edit? Do you make a piece, and get the judgment of others? Is this based on some kind of intuition?

How do you work with students or friends who have difficulty answering this question?

Let me know what you think.

Warren

Could this be better or worse? or more satisfying or less satisfying? With more strands? If longer? More colors? More involved patterning?

Could this be better or worse? or more satisfying or less satisfying?
With more strands?
If longer?
More colors?
More involved patterning?

From an article I’ve posted online…

I had discussed in an article – 10 Principles of Jewelry Design Composition (http://www.landofodds.com/store/goodjewelrydesign.htm) – what is in effect a type of grammar and vocabulary for good jewelry design. The last principle was called Parsimony. And this one is really difficult to achieve. The jewelry artist who is good at Parsimony has a great deal of control over the design process.

Parsimony means that there should be no nonessential elements.

The designer should achieve the maximal effect with the least effort or excess.

Many jewelry designers, when they like a particular bead, or a particular design, often over-do their pieces. The thinking here is that, if they have a beautiful part, adding many of these parts will make the whole even more beautiful. Often, it results in the finished product that is boring or uninteresting. The finished product loses a type of tension, power and energy.

The artist has made a good point with their choices, but then beats a dead horse to death by trying to make the point over and over again, too many times.

Good Parsimony shows that the designer has a good sense of the relationship of the parts to the whole.

There should be no nonessential elements.

The designer should achieve the maximal effect with the least effort or excess.

There is a tendency of beaders and jewelry makers to over-do:
– over-embellish the surface
– add too much fringe
– repeat themes and design elements too often
– use too many colors

More often than not, people over-do, rather than under-do.

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COMING OUT AS A JEWELRY ARTIST

Posted by learntobead on June 22, 2013

COMING OUT AS A JEWELRY ARTIST
500-beaded-jewelry-cover
Coming out as a jewelry artist — what does that mean? For those of you who see jewelry making and beading as something more than a hobby — something more defined by art and design — actually calling yourself a jewelry artist or designer, instead of merely alluding to it, is a big step. A very big step.

It’s fraught with fear and dread. It means very visibly presenting yourself with a new public identity. It means preparing your ego to receive some negative comments, perhaps doubt or disbelief, and in some rarer instances, rejection or denial. It means asking others to accept and support you in your new role as Jewelry Artist and Designer.

Please share what this process was all about for you. How you felt. How you managed things.

Continuing with an article I had written….

There is a betwixt and between aspect to this coming out process – a rite of passage. And the unknown time and feelings and situations, between the before and afterwards, is often a span of uncertainty too great for many an artist to transcend. Many who want to be jewelry designers, are somewhat afraid to present themselves as such. These “closet artists” tell their family and friends such things as, “I dabble in this and that, including jewelry-making.” Or, “I consider myself a ‘bank teller slash jewelry artist’” (and you can substitute whatever profession you are in for the words ‘bank teller’). Or, “I’m making some things for fun or gifts, but not selling things.”

There is some hesitation. “I am a jewelry designer.” Can’t quite get the words out. “I am a jewelry designer.” Keep wanting to say “but” or add some qualification, so other people don’t say, with mocking and astonishment, “You’re a what!#@?” “I am a jewelry designer.” You whisper to yourself over and over, but don’t tell anyone else.

When you step out of the closet, however, you show others you want respect. As a jewelry designer. You demand from others an understanding. As a jewelry designer. As an artist. You present yourself as someone with self-esteem and confidence. As a jewelry designer. And as an artist.

So what does it take to manage the transition before and after? What does it take to show that you can confront your passions for designing jewelry, not only privately, but publicly as well?

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WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH BEADS?

Posted by learntobead on June 22, 2013

WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH BEADS?

beads3

A BEAD is anything that has a hole in it. And you can do a lot of things with things that have holes.

Below is a list we generated here in the shop. Can you think of anything else to add to the list?

Have you done anything out-of-the-ordinary with your beads?

Warren

beads2

You can put these things on string.

You can sew these things onto fabric.

You can weave these things together with threads.

You can knot or braid or knit or crochet these things together.

You can combine and wrap and en-cage these things with metal wires and metal sheets.

You can work these things into projects with clay, polymer clay and metal clay.

You can embellish whatever you can think of – dolls, tapestries, clothes, shoes, scrapbooks, pillows, containers, and vases.

You can use these things in scientific experiments.

You can fuse these things together.

You can incorporate these things into projects involving stained glass, mosaics, or multi-media art.

You can decorate your house and your household things with these things.

You can texture surfaces with these things, using glues, cements or resins.

You can buy these pre-made, or make your own.

beads4

You can do a lot of things with beads. Most people begin by Stringing beads, and graduate to things like Weaving beads, Embellishing with beads on Fiber, Knotting and Braiding with beads, and Wire Working with beads. A few people learn to hand-make Lampwork glass beads, or learn to sculpt with Polymer Clay or Precious Metal Clay, or learn to solder using Silver-Smithing techniques.

And you can feel self-satisfied and secure in the knowledge that, should everything else in the world around you go to pot, we will all be back to bartering with beads.

And you will have them.

So, beads are good.

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ANATOMY OF A NECKLACE: THE YOKE

Posted by learntobead on June 16, 2013

 

Anatomy of a Necklace: The Yoke

yoke1

A necklace, or any type of jewelry, has a structure and anatomy.   Each part has its own set of purposes, functions and aesthetics.   Understanding each type of structure or physical part is important to the designer.

 

 

Let’s focus on one part today – The Yoke.    The Yoke is one section of the Strap which is the part around the back of the neck, including the Clasp Assembly.

 

To what extent, during your design process, do you divide your necklace into its anatomical parts, in order to have more strategic control over its design?

 

In an average necklace, how long should the Yoke be?    What proportional length relative to the rest of the strap should this be?

 

How do you determine the design and placement of beads or connectors along the Yoke, given that most of it would either not be particularly visible, or not often-visible when worn?

 

The Yoke continues into the section of the Strap called the Frame.    There are always transitional issues here?   Do you have any strategies for managing these transitions?   When your piece moves from Yoke to Frame, do you find yourself doing anything special at this point?

Maldives Necklace at www.stelladot.com

Maldives Necklace
at
http://www.stelladot.com

 

Do you prefer your Yoke to be visually distinct from the Frame?  Or more organically connected, perhaps not distinguished at all?

 

Do you use any special visual cues to signal to the viewer that the piece is moving from Yoke to Frame – placement of special connector?  Or change in bead size?  Or change in Color?  Or Pattern?   How do you know where to place these visual cues?

 

To what extent should the Yoke be integral to the design of the whole piece, or, on the other hand, be supplemental to the whole piece?

 

Too often, when the designer does not recognize the Yoke as distinct from the Frame – even if the transition is to be very subtle – less-than-satisfying things happen.   Proportions may be off.   The piece may not lay or sit as envisioned.    The strap may have too much embellishment going to high up the strap.    Sometimes the balance between Yoke and Frame is off – too much Yoke and not enough Frame.

 

So, what do you think?  What do you do?    What things can be done?

 

 

 

 

To summarize the anatomy of a necklace:

 

We can envision the Anatomy of the Necklace to include these parts:

 

Yoke:  Part around the neck.   Typically 6-7”, including the clasp assembly

 

Clasp Assembly:  Part of the Yoke.   This includes all the pieces it takes, including a clasp, in order to attach your beadwork to your clasp.

 

Break:  Transition from Yoke to Frame, usually at the collar bone on either side of the neck.

 

Frame:  The “line” seen on the front of the wearer, demarcating a “silhouette,” and connecting to the Yoke on each side, at the Break.   On a 16” necklace, this would typically be around 9-10” long.

 

Bi-Furcated Frame:   A Frame visually split in half, usually at the center and in two equal parts, with a centerpiece focal bead or pendant drop in the center.

 

Focal Point:  While not every necklace has a focal point, most do.  The Focal Point gives the viewer’s eye a place to rest or focus.   Sometimes this is done with a centerpiece pendant.   Can also be created by graduating the sizes of beads or playing with color or playing with fringe.

 

Centerpiece:   A part that extends beyond the line of the Frame, usually below it.    Forces transitional concerns between it and the Frame.

 

Centerpiece with Bail:    A part that drops the Centerpiece below the Frame, forcing additional transitional concerns among Centerpiece, Bail and Frame.

 

Strap:  A word summarizing the full connectivity of the Clasp Assembly, Yoke and Frame.

 

Canvas:  Typically refers to the stringing materials.  However, in a layered piece, may refer to any created “background” off of which or around which the main composition is built.

 

Embellishment:    Things like fringe, edging, surface decoration.

 

 

 

Each part of the body of a necklace poses its own special design challenges for the jewelry artist.   These involved strategies for resolving such issues as:

 

– making connections
– determining angularity, curvature, and roundedness
– transitioning color, pattern and texture
– placing objects
– extending lengths
– adding extensions
– creating balance and coherency
– keeping things organic, so nothing looks like an afterthought, or an outlier, or something designed by a committee
– determining which parts or critical to understanding the piece of jewelry as art, and which parts are merely supplemental to the piece.

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HOW NOT TO SHOP IN A BEAD STORE

Posted by learntobead on June 9, 2013

HOW NOT TO SHOP IN A BEAD STORE

newbdfront5

Shopping in a bead store presents many overwhelming challenges — all the parts, all the colors, all the sizes, all the project possibilities. Many customers, when confronted with all these options, freeze up and get frustrated.

So, how SHOULD you shop, and how SHOULD YOU NOT shop in a bead store?

Any interesting stories out there?

What was your first trip to a bead store like.

beads4

From an article I wrote….
— Warren

HOW NOT TO SHOP

To the consternation of staff, many a Bead Warrior, as they prepare to arrive at the field of bead-selection-battle, have not properly armed themselves.

They arrive by car. They arrive by taxi. They arrive on foot. But rarely do they arrive with a design plan in hand.

They arrive with ideas swimming in their heads, from magazine articles they’ve recently read, or advertisements they’ve seen, or dreams they’ve had. And it’s all in their heads.

And when they arrive at the door, then cross the threshold, there are too many intimidating choices confronting them, attacking them from the right and the left and forward and behind, and off to the side, and down the aisle, and over and around the corner.

The knitted scarf lady ready to conquer the bead world and find that blue bead for her fringe. But no yarn in hand. And there are so many blue beads. No sense of which blue will match. No sense of hole size. No idea what needle to use. Or how to get the beads on. Which “blue?” I asked, pointing to the 37 choices. Without a word, without any response to my question, she grabbed her purse and walked out.

A woman had a list of 17 items she needed for a project. We had 16 of these items in stock. The one thing we didn’t have was one color of a delica bead. I suggested some good substitutions. After all, there are almost 2000 colors of delica beads to choose from. She put all 16 items back, and walked out.

The fashion icon determined to turn a brief visit to the bead store into ultimate world conquest, withOUT her recently perused copy of the latest of the latest from the best of the best style magazine. But no picture in hand. And there are so many beads and chains to choose from. No remembrance of what she had seen. No idea of how to attach things. No clue about finishing off the piece.

The bead-weaver, knowing full well that success is just over that hill, a straight march, and that her right-angle-weave necklace will hup-two appear without much of a scuffle. Or tussle. Or hassle. Or, whatever else might get in her way. Yet no instructions. No supply list. No knowledge of stringing materials or tools.

The woman in need of jewelry repairs. No jewelry with her. Wants that bead or rhinestone or clasp to make her jewelry complete. Which is at home. And she can’t remember. Doesn’t know sizes. Vague on colors. Forgets materials. Clueless on attachments.

The woman who returns everything she doesn’t use – and then buys the same items for the next project which happens to use the same pieces. She frequently makes the 25-mile round trip to return even 1 bead not used. And then re-buys this very same bead on her very next trip on the very next week.

The student who wants a bail for a pendant, has left that pendant at home, and doesn’t remember which direction the hole is drilled.

The knowledge is all to be won – at the bead store. The field of battle. Shock and awe. Little preparation. Few soldiers. Few weapons. A daunting walk across the entrance, and that’s all it will take. To win. To accomplish. To finish. To conquer.

The lesson, not to be lost here, is that you need to come prepared. Sufficiently armed. Some forethought. Some planning. Some thought-through concept. Some willingness to make compromises.

The field of battle is very large. The opposing forces are onerous. Over 6,000 specifically named colors. Thousands of styles and sizes and shapes of beads. Nearly 20,000 individually named metal parts. Fifteen different kinds of metals. Forty-two possibilities of metal finishes. Nearly 500 choices of stringing materials. Sixteen separate types of needles. Too numerous to count issues of quality and pricing.

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WAX YOUR THREAD, CONDITION IT, OR DON’T

Posted by learntobead on June 4, 2013

WAX YOUR THREAD, CONDITION IT, OR DON’T

microcrystalline-wax

We are always debating here whether to wax your thread or not, and if so, what wax or thread conditioner to use.

I have some strong opinions about this.

How about you?

Some people never wax.
Some people think it makes no difference as to whether the thread breaks.
Some people think it ruins the beads.

sun1mornbeeswax

By the way, my opinions:
With beading thread, like Nymo or C-Lon, always wax.
Always use microcrystalline wax
Never use Thread Heaven.

With cable threads, like FireLine, sometimes wax.
I wax when the stitch I am doing is a loose one, like Ndebele or Right Angle Weave. The stickiness of the wax helps me maintain a tight thread tension.

Never use pre-waxed thread like Silamide.
Silamide is not abrasion-resistant, so it breaks too easily with beads. The holes of most beads are pretty sharp.

Waxing keeps the beading thread from fraying.
It’s stickiness allows greater control over managing thread tension.
The process of waxing stretches the thread a bit before you use it.
The waxy buildup helps fill in the jagged rim of the holes of your beads, making them a little less likely to cut into your stringing material.

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BAILS POSE MANAGEMENT ISSUES

Posted by learntobead on June 4, 2013

BAILS POSE MANAGEMENT ISSUES

tibetandreamsdetail12

In our Jewelry Design Camp (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com/jewelrydesigncamp/), one of the topics we cover is the Bail. From a Design standpoint, it is not necessarily a simple jewelry finding to incorporate into our pieces.

There are many types of bails, some off-the-shelf and some hand-made, and there are different ways of attaching them.

tibetandreamsdetail11

A bail changes the visual and artistic relationship between the strap and the center piece. How might this be helpful, and how not? The bail poses similar design challenges as the strap — size, proportion, placement and attachment. However, it has to succeed at one additional task — it has to control the visual, aesthetic and functional transitioning between the center piece and the strap. It is the management of this transitioning which poses the most difficult design design dilemmas for the jewelry artist.

Too often, I see people use a bail because it adds another pretty component to the piece. But it doesn’t necessarily fit. Sometimes it competes with the center piece or strap. Sometimes it creates a series of functioning or wearing or movement issues.

tibetandreamsfull1

So the questions for this discussion include:
(1) Do you use bails, and if so, do you have any favorite — either machine-made or hand-made?
(2) Do you have good or bad design-experiences with bails that you would like to share with the group?

Warren

 

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