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JEWELRY DESIGN COMPOSITION: Playing With Building Blocks Called Design Elements

Posted by learntobead on March 17, 2018

JEWELRY DESIGN COMPOSITION:
PLAYING WITH BUILDING BLOCKS
CALLED DESIGN ELEMENTS

by Warren Feld, Designer

image002.jpg


Abstract:
Jewelry making is a constructive process of expression.   The language of expression begins with the idea of Design Elements.   Design Elements are the smallest, meaningful units of design.  Design Elements
function in a similar way as vowels and consonants in a language.   They have form.  They have meaning.   They have expression.   Some can stand alone, and others are dependent and must be clustered together.  Better jewelry designers are aware of and can decode these expressive aspects of design elements and how they are included within any piece.  This is one part of learning a disciplinary
literacy in design. This literacy begins with a process of decoding and builds to an intuitive fluency in design.   This article focuses on this process of decoding.

Jewelry making is a constructive process of expression.
   

The language of expression begins with the idea of Design Elements.    Design Elements are like building blocks and function a bit like the vowel and consonant letters of the alphabet.   They have form.  They have meaning.   They can be assembled into different arrangements which extend their meaning and usefulness in expression.

There is an underlying logic to this process – a vocabulary and grammar, so to speak.    Recognizing how this vocabulary and grammar is structured and applied enables the jewelry designer to learn how to be fluent in design.    Such recognition is critical in developing a coherent, consistent disciplinary literacy in jewelry design.   Such disciplinary literacy is at the heart
of a professional identity for jewelry design artisans.  
This literacy structure in design has four  main components to it:

1) Vocabulary: Design Elements As The Basis Of Composition

2) Grammar:  Principles of Construction

3) Strategy:  Project Management[1]

4) Context/Culture:  Shared Understandings[2]

 

 

This article focuses on the first component – Design Elements.

It makes sense for the designer to begin with something like building blocks, which I call Design Elements.   Design Elements, like building blocks, are tangible things.   They can be visualized.   They can be touched and moved around.   They can be combined in different arrangements.   They can be used to create many types of expressions.  Design Elements include things like color, shape, movement, dimensionality, materials, use of space, and the like.   Design Elements are the smallest, meaningful units of design.

Not every Design Element is alike.    Color is different than Shape
is different than Texture.     Movement is different than Balance is
different than Dimensionality.    Learning about and understanding the
differentiation among Design Elements becomes very important if the jewelry designer is to have sufficient power and insight over consistency, variation, coherence and unity in their designs.    This power and insight is called decoding. Every jewelry designer needs to learn how to decode, if they are to be successful in design.

Some Design Elements are syllabic meaning they are independent
and can stand alone.   Others are non-syllabic, meaning they are dependent and cannot stand alone.

INDEPENDENT DESIGN ELEMENTS

DEPENDENT DESIGN ELEMENTS

Function like vowels in alphabet

Many expressive variations

Syllabic

Can stand alone and be expressive

Expressions sensitive to placement or context

Function like consonants in alphabet

Limited expressive variations if used alone and not in combination

Non-syllabic

Do not often stand alone and more usually require an assist from
an independent design element to extend their expression

Expressions consistent, somewhat insensitive to placement or
context


Design Elements have graphic representations.   Graphic representations allow these elements to be recognized symbolically as a sort of short-hand.

Each Design Element also encompasses a range of acceptable meanings, which I call expressive variations.    These expressive variations, while different among themselves, are still reflective of that Design Element.      They have universal qualities in that people tend to share understandings about what these expressive variations mean and how they are to be used.
Color Schemes, for example, are objective, agreed-upon combinations of colors seen as coherent and unifying.   Thus, any color scheme is an expressive variation on the element of Color.

The universal, expressive variations associated with each Design Element are, in effect, attributes of that Design Element.     These attributes have an
objective quality to them in that there is general agreement among designer,
viewer, wearer, buyer and seller as to what they express and how they might be used.     There is an expectation that whatever role a person plays relative to the piece of jewelry, the Design Elements and their attributes will be decoded in a similar way. 

At this stage in the jewelry design process, the focus is on a simple vocabulary.   The vocabulary is made up of Design Elements
and their expressive attributes.   The vocabulary encapsulates a generally shared understanding of its meaning and how it is to be used.    It is
at the point of grammar, thus manipulation and construction, that individual artists get to show their artistic hand in selecting and placing these elements into a finished piece of jewelry.

These Design Elements and their attributes can be arranged in different configurations I call clusters.     Clusters may consist of independent Design
Elements alone, dependent Design Elements alone, or a mix of both.    For example, we may use an arrangement of glossy and matte Color beads to
project Dimensionality.    We may use different Colors of beads, rhythmically arranged, to project Movement.

Combinations of Design Elements into clusters can have different effects, from synergyantagonism, blending, bounding, freeing and inflection.

Selecting Design Elements and clustering them does not occur in a vacuum.
The designer selects and arranges Design Elements in anticipation of how
these choices will be understood by others in a universal or objective sense.    

This is a process which I call “Backwards Designing”.[3]   The building blocks and their attributes are first selected in anticipation of these shared understandings.   For instance, the designer might choose colors by anticipating how others will recognize the legitimacy and appeal of
certain clusters of colors – color schemes.

If the viewer, wearer, buyer or seller of a piece of jewelry cannot understand and relate to its Design Elements and how they are clustered within the piece, they will not understand it.   They will not appreciate it.   They will not see it as a legitimate piece of artistic expression.    It will not
feel authentic.   To others, if the piece lacks evidence of shared understandings, this will result in that jewelry (and by implication, the jewelry artisan) getting labeled, for example, as unsatisfying or boring or ugly or monotonous.

 

DESIGN ELEMENTS COMPRISE A VOCABULARY
OF BASIC ARTISTIC EXPRESSION

Working with Design Elements is not much different than working with an alphabet.

An alphabet is made up of different letters.   Each letter has different
attributes – how it is written, how it sounds, how it is used.    Configurations of letters result in more sounds and more meanings and more ways to be used.    

A person working with an alphabet has to be able to decode the letters, sounds and meanings, as letters are used individually as well as in combination.   As the speaker becomes better at decoding, she or he begins to build in understanding of implications for how any letter is used, again, individually or in combination.

This is exactly what the jewelry designer does with Design Elements.  The
designer has to decode, that is, make sense of a series of elements and their attributes in light of our shared understandings about which Design Elements are appropriate, and how they should be legitimately expressed.   

Let’s examine a set of jewelry Design Elements in more detail and elaboration.

DESIGN ELEMENT

Independent

GRAPHIC

REPRESENTATION

EXPRESSIVE VARIATIONS

EXPRESSIVE VARIATIONS

EXPRESSIVE VARIATIONS

Color


image004.jpg

 

Schemes

Hue and Saturation

Simultaneity Effects

Values and Intensity

Temperature

Receding or Projecting

Shape


image006.jpg

 

Recognizable

Focused

Distinct

Blended

Abstract

Filled or Empty

Delimited, fixed, geometric

Infinite, extending

Distorted or overlapped

Masculine or feminine

Organic or mechanical

Background, foreground, middle ground

Texture and
Pattern


image008.jpg

Regular, Predictable, Statistical

Repeated or singular

Random, Non-Statistical

Feel or look

Layered or Non-layered

Smooth or Rough

Point, Line,
Plane


image010.jpg

 

2-Dimensional

3-Dimensional

Conform or violate

Connected or Unconnected

Span and distance

Actual or implied

Thickness

Silhouette

Focused or unfocused

Bounded or unbounded

geometric or curved

 

Material


image012.jpg

 

Natural or Man-Made

Soft or solid

Heavy or light

Single or mixed media

Light refraction, reflection, absorption

Technique and
Technology


image014.jpg

Bead Weaving, Bead Stringing, Wire Working,
Fiber, Clay, etc.

With or without application of heat and/or
pressure

Fabricated or Machine Made

Pattern or freeform



DESIGN ELEMENT

Dependent

GRAPHIC
REPRESENTATION

EXPRESSIVE VARIATIONS

EXPRESSIVE VARIATIONS

EXPRESSIVE VARIATIONS

Dimensionality


image016.jpg

 

2-dimensional
(volume and mass; weight; density)

3-dimensional (relief, low relief, high relief)

 

Interior and Exterior Contours

Frontal or in-the-round

 

Open or closed forms

 

Static or dynamic forms

 

Movement


image018.jpg

 

Passive
(ex: use of color guides the eye)

 

Direction

 

Linear or wave

Physical
(ex: pieces, like fringe or spinners, actually move)

 

Stable or erratic

Mechanical
(ex: structure of piece allows piece to
drape and flow)

Color Blending


image020.jpg

Simultaneity effects

Value and intensity

 

Saturation and vibrance

Distinct or blurred

 

Dominant or recessive

Theme, Symbols


image022.jpg

Surface or interpreted meaning(s) or
inflected

 

Power, position, protection, identification

Clear or abstract referents

 

Object as whole, or parts of object

Repetition or not

 

Individual, group, cultural, societal,
universal

Beauty and
Appeal


image024.jpg

 

Sensually pleasing: visual, touch, auditory,
taste, smell

 

 

Objective or emotional

 

 

Coherence, harmony and unity

 

Fashion, style, timeliness, timelessness

Structure and
Support


image026.jpg

 

Stiff or flexible

 

Flow and drape

 

Linkage, connectivity

Wearability

 

Display

 

Organization

Articulation

 

Autonomy vs. Temporariness

 

Interactive with wearer, or not

Craftsmanship


image028.jpg

 

Inspiration

 

Skill and dexterity

 

With tools, or not

 

 

Design acumen

Personality and preferences

Form, Segmentation,
Components


image030.png

 

Shape with Volume

 

Whole or divided

 

Organized or chaotic

Perspective

 

2-dimensional or 3-dimensional

 

Alignment

Shading

 

Positioning or spacing

 

Simple or Complex

Balance and
Distribution


image032.jpg

Symmetrical (By size, color, or shape)

 

Visual weight

 

Visual size

Asymmetrical (By size, color, or shape)

 


Radial
(By size, color or shape)

 

Visual placement

Random
(By size, color, or shape)

 

Stable or unstable

 

Directed or undirected

Referents to specific
idea or style


image034.jpg

 

Vintage Revival

 

Direct or implied

Contemporary

 

Literal or figurative

Symbolic

Context,
Situation, Culture


image036.jpg

Economic, social, psychological, cultural,
situational values

Complicit artist, or not

Derived meaning, or objective meaning

Negative and
Positive Space


image038.png

Figure or ground

 

Form or no form

 

Shading

 

Perspective

Depth

 

Use of space around an object

Interpenetration of space

 

Illusion or reality

 

Placement

Light and
Shadow


image040.jpg

 

Suggestive

 

Gradient

 

Perspective

Shading

 

Illumination

 

Solid or Cast

 

Dimensionality

 

Moon

The Japanese Fragrance Garden Bracelet

image042.jpg

image044.jpg  image046.jpg

“Japanese Fragrance Garden Bracelet”, by Warren Feld, March 2018, photography by Warren Feld

For example, this is the kind of building blocks thinking I did when designing my Japanese Fragrance Garden Bracelet.   

This bracelet has a foundation base.  The finishes of these beads in the
base are either a luster finish or a dichroic finish.   Off the base, I created flower stalks that were 4-6 seed beads tall, and topped with a slightly
larger and more brightly colored seed bead. The colors of the beads in the stalks vary from dark (near the base) to light (near the flower tip).   Between
each bed of flowers is a “moon bridge” – the kind you might expect when
meandering through a Japanese garden.

See how I clustered independent and dependent Design Elements to achieve a particular expression.

What I Wanted To Achieve   

Design Elements I Thought About              


Movement
with flower stalks where they would retain their verticality
(thus not flop over) after the piece was worn.

Technique:   Fringing technique
Technology:  Use of One-G beading thread which, unlike
all other beading threads, has a springy quality to it.   When the fringe is pulled out during
wearing, the thread helps spring it back into place

Color:  To mimic how moving
colors will be perceived, I varied color in flower stalks from dark at the
bottom to medium to light at the top, just under the flower, and then used
bright colors for the flowers topping off each stalk
Point, Line:  Easy for viewer to perceive and follow
movement of points and lines, which are key elements in the piece


Dimensionality

where the piece would not be seen as flat

Point, Line: Visually, the flower stalks lead the eye from the foundation
base, up the stalks, and to the bright flower colors on top of the
stalks.   

Color: I use a reflective foundation base of two types of bead
finishes, (a) luster, and (b) dichroic.
Both have a mirroring effect, making it difficult for the eye to see
the “bottom”, and at the same time reflecting the colors sitting above them.


Color Blending
where as the eye moves up and down any flower stalk, or moves
across the piece from end to end, everything feels coherent and unified

Color: I make a wide use of simultaneity effects, where the placement
of one color affects the perception of the color next to it.    This fools the brain into blending colors, which in reality, you cannot do easily with
beads (as opposed to paints).

Shape/Points/Line/Pattern:   There is a consistent repetition of shapes, points and lines, and pattern, leading the viewer to be able to predict what should happen next along the bracelet, and again, fooling the brain into doing some color blending perceptual tricks of its own.

 

How Do You Teach Designers A Vocabulary of Design?

Most designers most likely start theirjewelry making careers taking craft-oriented classes and following instructions in how-to books or online in how-to videos.  They learn to repeat a set of steps and end up with something like what is pictured.    The whole jewelry making approach assumes that jewelry making is a natural process.    Surround the budding artist with patterns, books and videos, and they will somehow become great jewelry designers.

Yet, although the artisans follow a set of steps over and over again, they never learn how to make choices or evaluate implications or get any experience making judgement calls and tradeoffs when designing something that must look good and wear well at the same time.   Jewelry making is not a natural skill that is learned automatically.    Jewelry designers need to be taught to design.

Towards this end, I think it is much more useful to build an educational curriculum and program around the idea of disciplinary literacy.   We need to teach designers to explicitly and systematically think design.   Designers need to be able to recognize the elements that make up a piece, how they were used, and how this leads to more or less success in evoking an expression or an emotional response.

Disciplinary Literacy, means, in part, that the designer is aware of the “codes” which were selected for a piece of jewelry.  The designer is able to segment the piece and identify its Design Elements.    The designer is also able to put Design Elements together and blend them to achieve a desired expression.    The better designer is very aware of all the codes, or Design Elements.     The better designer is very aware of how the codes, or Design Elements, were selected, combined, blended and expressed.    And the designer is very aware of how and why clusters of Design Elements may sometimes get bounded; that is, may be unfortunately stuck within some
indeterminant meaning or expression.

Towards this end, this means first teaching designers how to decode.   It means figuring out what universally accepted Design Elements should be used in a piece.   It also means recognizing how these elements can vary, and how such variation can change the artistic or design expression
of the piece.     Designers need to learn how Design Elements get clustered and constructed to convey certain expressions, and which cannot.

At this stage, we are training the designer to have some comfort recognizing and applying objective, shared understandings about what certain Design Elements mean, and the variations in how they might get expressed within a piece.

As the designer’s education progresses, we would gradually reduce the student’s involvement with decoding, and increase the involvement with tasks involving fluency.   This involves more in-depth learning about
manipulation and construction.   Here the designer is taught how to define a personal style and approach, and implement it.    The designer is guided from creating the merely appealing, to the more resounding resonant.    The designer is also taught to look for, anticipate and incorporate context clues.     All this gets into the areas of grammar and process management, which I discuss in other articles.[1,2]

_________________________________________________________

warrenFeld1.jpg

WARREN FELD, Jewelry Designer
warren@warrenfeldjewelry.com
615-292-0610

For Warren Feld, Jewelry Designer, (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com), beading and jewelry making have been wonderful adventures. These adventures have taken Warren from the basics of bead stringing and bead weaving, to wire working and silver smithing, and onward to more complex jewelry designs which build on the strengths of a full range of technical skills and experiences.

Warren leads a group of instructors at Be Dazzled Beads (www.bedazzledbeads.com). He teaches many of the bead-weaving, bead-stringing, jewelry design and business-oriented courses. He works with people just getting started with beading and jewelry making, as well as those with more experience.

His pieces have appeared in beading and jewelry magazines and books. One piece is in the Swarovski museum in Innsbruck, Austria.

He is probably best known for creating the international The Ugly Necklace Contest, where good jewelry designers attempt to overcome our pre-wired brains’ fear response for resisting anything Ugly.



Footnotes

[1] Read my article Jewelry Design: A Managed Process, Klimt02.net Forum, https://klimt02.net/forum/articles/jewelry-design-managed-process-warren-feld

[2] I discuss a little about shared understandings in a yet unpublished article I wrote about Contemporary Design.    From that article…

“Shared understandings should be enduring, transferable, big ideas at the heart of what we think of as contemporary jewelry.   These shared understandings are things which spark meaningful connections between designer and materials, designer and techniques, and designer and client. We need, however, to recognize that the idea of understanding is very multidimensional and complicated.

Understanding is not one achievement, but more the result of several loosely organized choices.    Understanding is revealed through performance and evidence.    Jewelry designers must perform effectively with knowledge, insight, wisdom and skill to convince us – the world at large and the client in particular — that they really understand what design, and with our case here, contemporary design, is all about.     This involves a big interpersonal component where the artist introduces their jewelry to a wider audience and subjects it to psychological, social, cultural, and economic assessment.

Understanding is more than knowledge.  The designer may be able to
articulate what needs to be done to achieve something labeled contemporary, but
may not know how to apply it.

Understanding is more than interpretation.   The designer may be able to explain how a piece was constructed and conformed to ideas about contemporary, but this does not necessarily account for the significance of the results.

Understanding is more than applying principles of construction.    It is more
than simply organizing a set of Design Elements into an arrangement.     The designer must match knowledge and interpretation about contemporary to
the context.   Application is a context-dependent skill.

Understanding is more than perspective.   The designer works within
a myriad of expectations and points of view about contemporary jewelry.   The designer must dispassionately anticipate these various perspectives about contemporary design, and, bring some constructed point of view and knowledge of implications to bear within the design and design process.

We do not design in a vacuum.    The designer must have the ability to
empathize with individuals and grasp their individual and group cultures.    If selling their jewelry, the designer must have the ability to empathize with small and larger markets, as well.   Empathy is not sympathy.  Empathy is where we can feel what others feel, and see what others see.

Last, understanding is self-knowledge, as well.   The designer should have the
self-knowledge, wisdom and insights to know how their own patterns of thought
may inform, as well as prejudice, their understandings of contemporary
design.

How the jewelry designer begins the process of creating a contemporary piece of jewelry is very revealing about the potential for success.    The designer
should always begin the process by articulating the essential shared understandings against which their work will be evaluated and judged.    For now, let’s refer to this as Backwards Design[4].    The designer starts with questions about assessment, and then allows this understanding to influence all other choices going forward.”

[3] Backwards Design.  I had taken two graduate education courses in Literacy and one in Planning that were very influential in
my approach to disciplinary literacy.   One of the big take-aways from
Understanding by Design 
by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe,
2nd Edition, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development,
2005,  was 
the idea they introduced of “backwards design”.   Their point is that you can better teach understanding if you anticipate the evidence others will use in their assessments of what you are trying to do.
When coupled with ideas about teaching literacy and fluency (see
Literacy:Helping Students Construct Meaning
by J. David Cooper, M. Robinson, J.A. Slansky and N. Kiger, 9th Edition, Cengage Learning, 2015)
, you can begin to introduce ideas about managing the design process in a coherent and alignable way.

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JEWELRY DESIGN: A Managed Process

Posted by learntobead on January 4, 2018

 

“Jewelry is art, but only art as it is worn.”

That’s a powerful idea, — “as it is worn” — but, when making jewelry, we somewhat ignore it.    We bury it somewhere in the back of our brains, so it doesn’t get in the way of what we are trying to do.   We relegate it to a phrase on the last page of a book we have promised ourselves to read sometime, so it doesn’t put any road blocks in front of our process of creation.

We like to follow steps, and are thrilled when a lot of the thinking has been done for us.  We like to make beautiful things.   But, we do not want to have to make a lot of choices.    We don’t want anything to disrupt our creative process.

We do not want to worry about and think about and agonize over jewelry “as it is to be worn.”    Let’s not deal with those movement, architectural, engineering, context, interpersonal and behavioral stuff.    We just want to make things.

To most artisans, making jewelry should never be work.   It should always be fun.

Making jewelry should be putting a lot of things on a table in front of you, and going for it.

Making jewelry just is.   It is not something we have to worry about managing.

It is easy to make, copy or mimic jewelry someone else has designed, either through kits or through imitation.

Making jewelry is doing.   Not thinking.

Creating.  Not managing.

We prefer to make jewelry distinct from any context in which it might be worn or sold.    We don’t want someone looking over our shoulder, while we create.   We don’t want to adjust any design choice we make because the client won’t like it, or, perhaps, it is out of fashion or color-shaded with colors not everyone likes.    Perhaps our design choices at-the-moment do not fit with the necessities associated with how we need to market our wares to sell them.  Our pieces might somehow be off-brand.

All too often, we avoid having to think about the difficult choices and tradeoffs we need to make, when searching for balance.  That is balance among aesthetics, functionality, context, materials and technique.    And balance between our needs as designers and the wearer’s needs, as well.   So, too, we shy aware from making any extra effort to please “others” or “them”. Even though this hardly makes sense if we want these “others” or “them” to wear our jewelry or buy our jewelry creations.

Everything comes down to a series of difficult choices.   We are resistant to making many of them.   So we ignore them.   We pretend they are choices better left to other people, though never fully sure who those other people are.     We yearn to be artists, but resign ourselves to be craftspersons.    We dabble with art, but avoid design.

We hate to make trade-offs between art and function; that is, allow something to be a little less beautiful so that it won’t break or not drape and move well when worn.    We hate to make things in colors or silhouettes we don’t like.    We hate to make the same design over and over again, even though it might be popular or sell well.

But make these kinds of choices we must!    Your jewelry is a reflection of the sum of these choices.    It is a reflection of you.    You as an artist.  You as a crafter.   You as architect and engineer.   You as social scientist.   You as a business person.   You as a designer.

So, the more we can anticipate what kinds of choices we need to make, and the more experience we have to successfully manage and maneuver within these choices, the more enjoyable and successful our jewelry designs become … and the more satisfying for the people for whom we make them.

 

JEWELRY DESIGN IS A MANAGEMENT PROCESS

Designers who are able to re-interpret the steps she or he go through and see them in “process” terms, that is, with organization and purpose, have the advantage.

There are many different kinds of choices to be made, but they are interdependent and connected.    Recognizing interdependency and connectedness makes it easier to learn about, visualize and execute these choices as part of an organized, deliberate and managed jewelry design process.

I am going to get on my soap box here.    We tend to teach students to very mechanically follow a series of steps.    We need, instead, to teach them “Process”.   Strategy.   Insight.   Connectedness.    Contingency.   Dependency.    Construction.    Context.    Problem-Solving.   Consequences.

Good jewelry design must answer questions and teach practitioners about managing the processes of anticipating the audience, selecting materials, implementing techniques, and constructing the piece from one end to the other.     Again, this is not a mechanical process.    Often, it is not a linear step-by-step pathway.    There is a lot of iteration – that is, the next choice made will limit some things and make more relevant other things which are to happen next.

A “process” is something to be managed, from beginning to end, as the designer’s knowledge, techniques and skills are put to the test.   That test could be very small-scale and simple, such as creating a piece of jewelry to give to someone as a gift.    Or creating a visual for a customer.    Or when you need to know the costs.   Or, that test could be very large-scale and more complex, such as convincing a sales agent to represent your jewelry in their showroom.

Better Jewelry Designers smartly manage their design processes at the boundary between jewelry and person.    It is at this boundary where all the interdependencies of all the various types of choices we designers make are clearest and have the most consequence.

 

WELL-DESIGNED JEWELRY MUST BE MANAGED
AT THE BOUNDARY BETWEEN JEWELRY AND PERSON

What exactly does it mean to “manage design at the boundary between jewelry and person?”  What kinds of things happen at that boundary?

A person breathes.   She moves.    She sits at a desk, perhaps fidgeting with her jewelry.     She might make sudden turns.    She gracefully transitions from one space to another.    She has shape, actually many shapes.

Her jewelry serves many purposes.    It signifies her as someone or something.     It expresses her feelings.   Or status.   Or future intentions.   Or past history.   It ties her to people and places, events and times.    It suggests power, or lack thereof.    It hides faults, and amplifies strengths.    It implies whether she fits with the situation.

Jewelry attracts.     It attracts seekers of the wearer’s attention.    It wards off denigrators.   It orients people to the world around them.    It tells them a story with enough symbol, clue and information to allow people to decide whether to flee or approach, run away or walk toward, hide or shine.

Jewelry has a feel and sparkle to it.    It reminds us that we are real.    It empowers a sensuality and a sexuality.    It elevates our esteem.     Sometimes uncomfortable or scratchy.   Sometimes not.    Sometimes reflective of our moods.  Othertimes not.

Jewelry is a shared experience.      It helps similar people find one another.   It signals what level of respect will be demanded.    It entices.   It repels.    It offers themes both desirable and otherwise.

Jewelry has shape, form and mechanics.    All the components must self-adjust to forces of movement, yet at the same time, not lose shape or form or maneuverability.    If a piece is designed to visually display in a particular way, forces cannot be allowed to disrupt its presentation.    Jewelry should take the shape of the body and move with the body.    It should not make a mockery of the body, or resist the body as it wants to express itself.

Jewelry defines a silhouette.    It draws a line on the body, often demarcating what to look at and what to look away from.    What to touch, and what to avoid.    What is important, and what is less so.

 

Managing here at the boundary between jewelry and person means understanding what wearing jewelry involves and is all about.     There is an especially high level of clarity at this boundary because it is here where the implications of any choice matters.

The choice of stringing material anticipates durability, movement, drape.    The choices of color and shape and silhouette anticipate aesthetics, tensions between light and shadow, context, the viewer’s needs or personality or preferences at the moment.    The choice of technique anticipates how best to coordinate choices about materials with purpose and objective.    The choice of price determines marketability, and where it’s out there, and whether it’s out there.

You choose Fireline cable thread and this choice means your piece will be stiffer, might hold a shape better, might resist the abrasion of beads, but also might mean less comfort or adaptability.

You choose cable wire and this choice means that your piece might not lay right or comfortably.    A necklace will be more likely to turn around on the neck.      It might make the wearer look clownish.    At the same time, it might make the stringing process go more quickly.  Efficiency translates into less money charged, and perhaps more sales.

You choose to mix opaque glass with gemstone beads, mixing media which do not necessarily interact with the eye and brain in the same way.   This may make interacting with the piece seem more like work or annoying.

The ends of your wirework will not keep from bending or unraveling, so you solder them.     Visually this disrupts the dance you achieve with wire bending and cheapens it.

You choose gray-toned beads to intersperse among your brightly colored ones.    The grays pick up the colors around them, adding vibrancy and resonance to your piece.    The gaps of light between each bead more easily fade away as the brain is tricked into filling them in with color.

You mix metalized plastic beads in with your Austrian crystal beads.    In a fortnight, the finish has chipped off all the plastic beads.

You construct a loom bracelet, flat, lacking depth or a sense of movement.    Your piece may be seen as pretty, but out of step with contemporary ideas of fashion, style, and design.

If we pretend our management choices here do not matter, we fool ourselves into thinking we are greater artists and designers than we really are.

 

JEWELRY DESIGN MANAGEMENT:
BUILDING A STRUCTURE AND ORGANIZATION FOR THINKING THROUGH DESIGN

Design management is multi-faceted.   We intuitively know that proper preparation prevents piss poor performance.     So let’s properly prepare.   This means…

  • PROJECT
    Defining what I do as a “Project To Be Managed” — My Project is seen as a “system”, not merely a set of steps. The “system” encompasses everything it takes that enables creativity and leads it to success.   These include things related to art, architecture, engineering, management, behavioral and context analysis, problem-solving, and innovation.    For some designers, these also include things related to business, marketing, branding, selling and cost-accounting.
  • INSPIRATION
    Documenting, through image, writing or both, the kinds of things that are inspiring me and influencing my design
  • PURPOSE
    Elaborating on the purpose or mission of my Project – why am I doing this Project as it applies to me, and as it applies to others?
  • SITUATION
    Measuring the context and situation as these will/might/could impact my Project
  • STRATEGY
    Developing a strategy for designing my piece — outlining everything that needs to come together to successfully work through my Project from beginning to end
  • SKILLS
    Verifying, Learning or Re-Learning the necessary techniques and skills
  • SUPPLIES
    Securing my supply chain to get all our materials, tools and supplies needed when I need them
  • CONSTRUCTION
    Applying design principles of composition, form and structure. Paying careful attention to building in architectural pre-requisites, particularly those involved with support, jointedness and movement.
  • SHOWCASE
    Introducing my Jewelry Design to a wider audience. This might involve sharing, show-casing, or marketing and selling
  • REPLICATION
    Anticipating all that it will take to replicate the piece, if it is not a one-off, especially if I am developing kits or selling my pieces
  • REFLECTION
    Evaluating whether I could repeat this or a similar Project with any greater efficiency or effectiveness – The better jewelry artist is one who is more reflective.

 

 

DESIGN THINKING

Designing jewelry demands that we both do and think.    Create and manage.    Experience and reflect.

The better Jewelry Designer sees any Project as a system of things, activities and outcomes.     These are interconnected and mutually dependent.    Things are sometimes linear, but most often iterative – a lot of back and forth and readjustments.

The better Jewelry Designer is very reflective.     She or he thinks about every detail, plays mental exercises of what-if analyses, monitors and evaluates all throughout the Project’s management.     She or he thinks through the implications of each choice made.    The Designer does not blindly follow a set of instructions without questioning them.

At the end of the day, your jewelry is the result of the decisions you made.

Something to think about.

 

 

HOW DO WE TEACH JEWELRY DESIGN THINKING
AS A MANAGEMENT PROCESS

We should teach students to design jewelry, not craft it.    Rather than have students merely follow a set of steps, we need to do what is called “Guided Thinking”.

For example, we might encourage students to construct and feel and touch similar pieces made with different materials, beads and techniques, and have them tell us what differences they perceive.   We should guide them in thinking through the implications for these differences.     When teaching a stitch, I typically have students make samples using two different beads – say a cylinder bead and a seed bead, and try two different stringing materials, say Fireline and Nymo threads.

We also should guide them in thinking through all the management and control issues they were experiencing.    Very often beginning students have difficulty finding a comfortable way to hold their pieces while working them.    I let them work a little on a project, stop them, and then ask them to explain what was difficult and what was not.     I suggest some alternative solutions – but do not impose a one-best-way – and have them try these solutions.    Then we discuss them, fine-tuning our thinking.

I link our developing discussions to some goals.    We want good thread management for a bead woven piece.    We want the beads to lay correctly within the piece.    We want the piece to feel fluid.    We return to Guided Thinking.     I summarize all the choices we have made in order to begin the project:   type of bead, size of bead, shape of bead, type of thread, strategy for holding the piece while working it, strategy for bringing the new bead to the work in progress.    I ask the students what ideas are emerging in their minds about how to bring all they have done so far together.

At this point, I usually would interject a Mini-Lesson, where I demonstrate, given the discussions, the smarter way to begin the Project.     In the Mini-Lesson, I “Think Aloud” so that my students can see and hear how I am approaching our Project.

And then I continue with Guided Thinking as we work through various sections of the Project towards completion.      Whatever we do – select materials, select and apply techniques, set goals, anticipate how we want the Project to end up – is shown as resulting from a managed process of thinking through our design.

In “Guided Thinking”, I would prompt my students to try to explain what is/is not going on, what is/is not working as desired, where the student hopes to end up, what seems to be enhancing/impeding getting there.

With guidance, demonstration and repetition, it is my hope that such thinking becomes a series of Thinking Routines my students resort to when starting a new project.    As students develop and internalize more Thinking Routines, they develop greater Fluency with design.

And that should be our primary goal as teachers:   developing our students’ Fluency with design.

 

Posted in Art or Craft?, bead weaving, beads, beadwork, business of craft, design management, jewelry design, jewelry making, Learn To Bead | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

BEAD SPILLS

Posted by learntobead on February 15, 2014

BEAD SPILLS

 QUESTION:
What was your initiation into that phenomenon called “Bead Spill”?

Share with our group your favorite BEAD SPILL story.    I’m sure you have many.

beadspill2

From an article I wrote…

“Yikes!” she screamed, shaking the ground, the store, the parking lot, in fact, the whole wide world, and I was, to everyone’s regret, caught in that earth-shattering scream.   I was carefully balancing twelve trays of loose beads, moving them to their new shelves when, behind my back, I heard that cry for help, that screech of fear, that siren of bead hell.

I instinctively turned.   It wasn’t something I thought out and planned rationally.   It wasn’t something that arose intuitively from my gut.   It was pure animal instinct.  Stimulus-Response.  Lust.  Fear.  Gluttony.  Raw Emotion.   I tried to juggle the twelve trays as they fled my nurturing hands and arms.   And I urgently called to the beads.   Which had been in the trays.   Which were now flying out of my hands.   As if to calm them, I said, “Beads, you won’t fall.”   You won’t get hurt.  You won’t leave the safety and sanctity of these trays.  Good beads.   Good, good beads.

And, for a brief moment, I thought I had saved all these little, little, beautiful, beautiful, very round, very round beads from a fate almost worse than death.   The trays were juggling and for a moment, I believed they had started to restack themselves.   They were home free.  One back on top of another on top of another….

If it weren’t for that scream and that deep primal instinct ripping my fear and anxiety from the depths of my soul, and the fact that it is hard to pivot wearing sneakers on a hard wood floor, juggle twelve trays of ever-more terrified loose glass beads, and respond to a lady in distress, the situation would have come to a pleasant end.

But alas, that was not to be.

With some shame, some guilt, much surprise and yes, a lot of embarrassment, this was to be my grand initiation into the phenomenon commonly known as The Bead Spill.   What a mess!

I know a lot of people have a fantasy where they are bathing in a tub of beads.   It’s sensuous.   Caressing.   You’re at one with the God of the Beads.

This wasn’t like that.   This was thousands of round objects falling and running and spreading every which way.    Along the walls, behind the legs of chairs and tables, under people’s feet.   In with the dust, the dog hairs, and previously spilled beads or beads that had mysteriously escaped their trays.

She should have said, “Shoo Fly!”   Not “Yikes!”.

I’ve never carried twelve trays of loose beads at once again.

Bead spills are not rare occurrences.   In fact, some people spill beads like other people drink water.

There are the people who like to carry big purses in small places.   These people are prone to sudden turns and distractions.  Guaranteed spills!

These people need to understand the interrelationships between space, lack of space and time.   Simple physics.   Bead spills have physics, and I’m sure could easily be considered a science.   Like, if you drop a bead, in what direction does it go?  How far does it go?  How fast does it travel?  Do red beads behave similarly as blue beads?   If someone dropped you from the top of a building, would you end up going in the same direction, and as far?   Probably not.  So what is it about beads that  makes things happen like dropping them off to the right, and finding them off to the left?  Bead spills do not have the same physics as pick-up-sticks.  That is for sure.  They have laws of gravity and mass and energy all of their own.

Then there are the people who are torn between their love of beads and their love for their pets.   It doesn’t matter if it’s a cat, a dog, a parrot or a fish.   Beads spill.  It could be a monkey or a ferret or even a Rogue Elephant.  Beads spill.  Sometimes it’s a dog AND a cat or a parrot AND a ferret.  Beads spill.

People need to understand that animals understand the situation.   Animals do not want to share their love – especially with beads.   Beads are beautiful, but don’t need water or food.   Beads are comforting to touch, but don’t need grooming.   Beads are glorious in their splendor, but will not bite.   It should come, then, as no surprise, that animals, when near any pile of beads, will instinctively have the urge to make them spill in ways you never thought of.    Animals spill beads, but for more selfish reasons than humans.

The strategies of animals are legend, and have been written down in a secret book – Bead Spill Techniques for Dogs and Cats.   You’ve seen these techniques in practice.   Your cat angling for attention, moves toward you to sit in your lap – of course, moves toward you over your tray of beads.   Your dog taking the pose to beg for treats while you’re moving your tray of beads from one end of the table to the other.  Your pet actually eating those particular beads you’re working with right now.   You catch them, but suddenly their tail goes swoof, and you are down on your hands and knees again picking up millions and millions of tiny, very small, eye-straining beads.    These animal-based-skills are very practiced and endless.   Animals do not like playing second fiddle to beads.    And if the pile of beads has been organized to accommodate the needs of a particular project, well, so much the better.    They score more bead spill points.

Picking up spilled beads is a familiar routine.   There’s nothing like dropping 14KT gold delica seed beads onto a gold shag carpet, getting on your hands and knees, and delving into product reclamation.   Picking up bead spills works better when set to jazzercise music, but no music will suffice as well.     Some people get crafty, and stretch a nylon stocking across the intake collection valve of a vacuum cleaner.   Other people, however, are just plain tired of picking up beads.   They let them stay where they fall.  On the floors.  In the couches.  In clothing, in boxes, in food, in pots and pans.

New beaders seem especially concerned and anal-compulsive about spilled beads.   They spot an errant bead, and rush to pick it up and place it in a container somewhere.   Seasoned beaders have learned to live with such minor nuisances as combing beads out of their hair.    They see a bead on the floor, and let it lay.

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COLORS: BLURRED TRANSITIONS or SHARP TRANSITIONS

Posted by learntobead on January 29, 2014

COLORS:  BLURRED TRANSITIONS  or SHARP TRANSITIONS

 

QUESTION:
Do you prefer the transitions between colors in your composition to be blurred, or to have sharp delineations?

 

 

 

The jewelry designer must be strategic in the placement of color within the piece.     The designer achieves balance and harmony, partly through the placement of colors.    The designer determines how colors are distributed within the piece, and what movement and rhythm and effect result.    And the designer determines what proportions of each color are used, where in the piece, and how.

 

Those of us who teach color theory try to come up with scientific and objective rules for choosing and using colors.    However, a lot of those choices, in reality, can be very subjective.

 

One subjective choice has to do with the transition from one color to the next.   Some people, like myself, prefer a blurring of colors at their boundaries.   Think: Impressionism.

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Other people prefer a sharp, clear, obvious boundary of colors at their boundaries.   Think: Realism.

flagsharp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which do you prefer – Blurred or Sharp?

 

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ADDICTED TO BEADS

Posted by learntobead on January 23, 2014

ADDICTED TO BEADS

CARD1b

 

 

 

 

 

QUESTION:
At what point did you realize you were addicted to beads?

 

People are always saying how addicting beads are.    They expressed surprise that the pull of beads was so strong.    They couldn’t stop buying and accumulating beads.    They couldn’t go anywhere without stopping at the local bead store for a bead fix.    They found themselves intentionally fooling or deceiving themselves about how many beads they actually had, or how much money they had spent on them.

 

Yes, beads are very addicting.   Even though your drawers are full, you never have enough.

 

We asked our students, customers and colleagues to complete this sentence:

 

I never knew how addicting this was until….

 

…My car automatically turned into the parking lot in front of the bead store.

 

…I was laying in bed looking at my ceiling tiles and realized they were done in a “Peyote” stitch pattern!

 

…I made my beaded fish in progress into a screen-saver.  It is all about the process, when will I finish?  who cares… I have this beautiful thing to handle and see as I work.  Such a pleasure! 

 

… I began hiding a stash of money to buy beads:   “It’s not like I’m sleeping around….I’m just buying beads.”

 

… I went shopping for clothes, but came back with only one bag – a bag of mixed beads.

 

…. I used 3 checks to pay for my order – one from a joint account with my husband, a second from an account in my name only, and a 3rd from my son’s account – luckily I had his checkbook in my purse.   So now, my husband will think that I’m only spending a little bit, I can fool myself, and my son doesn’t care one way or the other.

 

… I  converted my dining room to a bead room, and made my family eat in the den on TV trays.

 

… I found that despite my long and mostly constant love of fabric – I am after all a lifetime seamstress, having been comforted by the smell and color of fabric stores and the chush, chush, chushing of my mom’s Kenmore machine since first memories – could not resist the magnetic pull into the unknown.  There, standing at the front door of my local craft store with nothing on my mind or agenda but 2 yards of multi-colored backing fabric for a client’s project, I saw the front of my wobbly plastic basket steering to the Northwest (Fabric is definitely to the Southwest) with such abandon that the lovely glass shelves in the center front of the store were in danger!

 

…I turned to beads for solace and a quiet focus. I have been going through a very hard time trying to keep a very ailing relationship together and when I could have been stressed out and worrying, I spent the time quietly beading.  When I just wanted to go to bed and stay there for days, I was able to sit in my living room with my son and do bead work.  To him, I was being with him and calm; to me, I was hiding in my beadwork and being near him.  Beads have been my refuge.  I have even read where hand needle work is a stress reliever, I am a living testament to that!

 

…I saw seed beads in what I scooped out of my cat box!  I took my bead work and worked in the car on vacation. Every time I vacuum the sound of beads is heard. It seems every purse I clean out has some beads in it. I find beads on the back porch, when I sweep. It is a really tough decision, when I come to the off ramp which leads to the bead store and I really need to get home! I have more beads than projects for them!

 

…I gave up a Shoe Addiction for this…it better be worth it!

 

bdlogo1

 

 

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OUR 2013 ALL DOLLED UP CONTEST – Two Mermaids – What Do You Think?

Posted by learntobead on December 15, 2013

ALL DOLLED UP: BEADED ART DOLL COMPETITION
Fifth 2013

 

This year, we did not receive many entries. The Judges felt that there were not enough entries which met their criteria to hold a contest.

Two of the entries, however, were awarded Judges Honors with a $200.00 prize.

These two doll artists’ works are presented here.  (http://www.landofodds.com/store/alldolledup2013contest.htm )

It was interesting that both artists – one from California and the other from Texas —  both chose the “mermaid” to illustrate this year’s theme of Transformations.   Both artists, however, created their dolls using different technical methods and artistic goals.

 

QUESTION:
If you were a judge, which one of these entries would you have scored higher?
Visit the webpages and review their images, materials lists, and written stories.

 

CRYSTAL RECTOR
from Lomita, California
“Emergence”

CRYSTAL RECTOR  from Lomita, California “Emergence”

CRYSTAL RECTOR
from Lomita, California
“Emergence”

 

Yvette M. Lowry
from Dickinson, Texas
“Meredith”

Yvette M. Lowry from Dickinson, Texas “Meredith”

Yvette M. Lowry
from Dickinson, Texas
“Meredith”

 

 

Our ALL DOLLED UP Competition is structured , not  as a “beauty contest”, but more of a “design competition.”    The artist is asked, not only to design a doll, but to create a story – fictional, non-fictional or a mix of both – which illustrates the kinds of thinking and choices the artist made while creating the doll, its structure, its colors, and its artistic embellishment.

The judges evaluated all the entries in terms of:
1. INSIGHT: The Bead Artist’s inner awareness and powers of self-expression through sculptural beadwork

2. TECHNIQUE(S):Creativity of the artist in using various beading stitches, as well as creating the doll’s form.

3. VISUAL APPEAL: The overall visual appeal of the doll.

4. QUALITY OF WRITTEN STORY: How well the written short story enhances an appreciation of the Beaded Art Doll.

 

This year’s theme was: Transformations.   The written story had to begin with this sentence:

“As she turns towards me, her hands no longer seem familiar; her face, once recognizable, now unexpected; her aura, a palette of changed colors, I want to share, but can’t all at once. She is transforming, before my eyes, as if I wished it to happen, for whatever reason — fun, mundane or sinister — I’m not sure. But as she moves and evolves, a special insight occurs to me,  so I name her… “

 

 

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Sale/Promo at Land of Odds, 11/25/13

Posted by learntobead on November 25, 2013

Land of Odds – What’s On Sale

Land
of Odds
 
   

Land of Odds
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SALE
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Ends: Tues, 12/31/13

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DAZZLED BEADS”

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Visit
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THE JEWELRY DESIGN DISCUSSION GROUP

Please join our new group on facebook at:

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**********************

 

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MAKING THE ORDINARY NOTEWORTHY

Posted by learntobead on July 26, 2013

MAKING THE ORDINARY NOTEWORTHY

makeordinarynoteworthy1

I want to continue the discussion about Jewelry Design Principles of Composition with the principle I call “INTEREST”.

“Interest” means the degree to which the artist makes the ordinary…noteworthy.

Better designed and more satisfying jewelry has more Interest.

The WHOLE will be GREATER THAN the SUM OF THE PARTS.

makeordinarynoteworthy

Towards this end, the jewelry artist might do something of INTEREST when
– selecting materials or a mix of materials
– selecting color combinations
– varying the sizes of things
– pushing the envelope on interrelating lines, curves and planes
– playing with the rhythm
– using a focal point, or using it in a clever way

makeordinarynoteworthy3

THE QUESTIONS FOR YOU….

Among the pieces you have made, can you think of examples you can share with the group, in which you made the ordinary…noteworthy?

Can you think of examples, and share with the group, times where trying to make the ordinary…noteworthy did not work out well? Why do you think that was?

In this same vein, can jewelry artists often try too hard to make the ordinary…noteworthy?

Or not try hard enough? Have you visited stores – boutiques, department stores, galleries – in which everything seems too plain, uninteresting, boring? Too much like blue jewelry for a blue dress, without any distinction?

What kinds of things can teachers do to encourage students to make the ordinary…noteworthy?

makeordinarynoteworthy4

One example of the successful application of this principle…

There’s a company called Firefly, and I have always been intrigued by their jewelry. It is made up of mosaic components they fashion themselves from things you might use every day. I’ve included some pictures of their pieces with this post.

makeordinarynoteworthy5

Their creativity is infinite. In one component, they take a Swarovski square donut and glue a back on it, typically a piece of metal which has been stamped or otherwise decorated, and has two holes or two rings near the top corners. In the center of the donut, they might inlay some seed beads, some crystal beads, some colorful metal shards.

In another piece, they do the same thing with a Swarovski ring donut.

On the back of some bezel settings for drops they etch in words, like Spirit or Hope.

They have beautiful and often unexpected combinations of colors in their pieces.

Often a simple bead drop has that extra, “interesting” touch; it is not only a bead on a head pin, with a loop on one end. This bead would be set off by two small 15/0 seed beads, often of a contrasting color and finish.

makeordinarynoteworthy6

Their website is: http://www.fireflyjewelrydesigns.net/

You can read up on all the principles of composition on this webpage:
http://www.landofodds.com/store/goodjewelrydesign.htm

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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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So You Want To Do Craft Shows…

Posted by learntobead on May 8, 2013

SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFT SHOWS…
New CraftArtEdu.com Video Tutorial By Warren Feld
http://www.craftartedu.com/warren-feld-so-you-want-to-do-craft-shows

cf-naples-fair2
In this class, presented in 6 parts with 16 lessons, artist and businessman, Warren Feld, will fill you in on the ins and outs, the dos and the don’ts of selling at craft shows and fairs. Which are best for you, which may be a waste of your time. How to compute the revenue you must earn to justify participating in an event. This is a must see class for anyone thinking of entering the art and craft show world and will maximize your chances of success in these venues. 6 Broadcasts.
Price:
$30
Level: All Levels
Duration: 113:58

Posted in bead weaving, beads, beadwork, business of craft, jewelry making, Resources | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

FASHION AND JEWELRY DESIGN

Posted by learntobead on May 6, 2013

TO WHAT DEGREE DOES/SHOULD “FASHION” INFLUENCE OUR JEWELRY DESIGN DECISIONS?

reposted from my Jewelry Design Discussion Group on FaceBook
https://www.facebook.com/groups/jewelrydesign/

pearl10-full-moneyshot-hi-res-medium

In our store, I am asked repeatedly about what the current fashion colors are? Did I see what so-and-so was wearing on TV or at an awards show? But usually, at least in Nashville, TN, a sense of fashion plays a small part in the day-to-day decisions most people make about the jewelry they want to wear.

What are your feelings and views? What are your experiences? What role should “Fashion” play? How important is Fashion to jewelry design? Should we take our design “cues” from New York and Los Angeles? To what extent do you think Fashion influences the average woman’s choices she makes, when purchasing or wearing a piece of jewelry?

Warren Feld

ctamayadetail1

From an article I wrote… APPLIED FASHION Women don’t just wear pieces of jewelry – they inhabit them.

Buying a piece of jewelry for yourself – a necklace, a bracelet, earrings, a brooch, something else – isn’t a task easily given to someone else. It’s often not a spur of the moment thing either. You just don’t rush off to the local boutique or the local Wal-Mart, grab whatever you see, and go home. I’m not talking about that impulse buy during your leisurely visit to the mall. I’m referring to purchasing those pieces of jewelry you know will have to do a lot of the hard work to accessorize your wardrobe and help you get the compliments and notice of your family, friends and   co-workers you comport with and compete with each and every day.

No, buying a piece of jewelry for yourself is a multi-purposed moment, one which must be thought through carefully and one which must be savored. Lest you buy the wrong piece. That doesn’t really go with what you intend to wear. Or is over-priced. Or poorly made. Or conveys the wrong impression about status. Or is out of fashion. Or something one of your friends already has.

The jewelry you buy has to conform to quite a long list of essential criteria before you could ever think of buying it. It is something you will wear more than once. As such, it is your companion. Your necklace is not merely lying around your neck. Or your bracelet around your wrist. Or your earrings dangling from your ears. Jewelry can cause you to lose face with others. It can irritate or scratch your skin, or get caught up in your hair. It might weigh you down or stretch or tear your ear lobes. Jewelry can break without warning in the most unexpected and embarrassing of places. It can get caught on things, sometimes hurting you in the process.

Jewelry conveys to the world something about who you really are, or think you are. As such, jewelry is very personal. Your private, innermost, most soul searching choices made very public for all to see. As you caress it, as you touch the smooth or faceted or crevice’d beads and metal parts or the clasp or the material the beads are strung on, when you twist and move the piece within your hand, you are confirming to yourself the extent to which your jewelry is doing its job.

When you buy new jewelry, the dilemmas multiply. How will the new compare to the old? Will it be able to handle all these responsibilities – looking good, representing you, fitting in with your wardrobe, meeting the expectations of others? Like divorcing, then remarrying, changing your jewelry can take some time for readjustment. And you do not want to be seen as noncommittal to your jewelry. This would sort of be like going to a hotel, but not unpacking your suitcase while staying in the room.

Conveying some sort of social or psychological distance from your jewelry can be very unsettling for others. So you need to inhabit it. You need to inhabit your jewelry, wear it with conviction, pride and satisfaction. Be one with it. Inhabiting jewelry often comes with a price. There becomes so much pressure to buy the “right” pieces, given all the roles we demand our jewelry to play, that we too often stick with the same brands, the same colors, the same styles, the same silhouettes.

We get stuck in this rut and are afraid to step out of it. Or we wear too many pieces of jewelry. The long earrings, plus the cuff bracelets on both arms, plus the head band, plus the hair ornament, plus the 7-strand necklace, plus the 5 rings. We are ever uncertain which piece or pieces will succeed at what, so hopefully, at least some combination or subset of what we wear will work out.

In a similar way, we wear over-embellished pieces – lots of charms, lots of dangles, lots of fringe, lots of strands. Something will surely be the right color, the right fit and proportion, the right fashion, the right power statement, the right reflection of me.

And our need to inhabit our jewelry comes with one more price. We are too willing to overpay for poorly made pieces in our desperation to have that right look. The $100.00 of beads strung on elastic string. The poorly dyed stones which fade in the light. The poorly crimped and overly stiff pieces with little ease for accommodating movement and frequent wear. It is OK to inhabit our jewelry. In fact, it is necessary, given all we want jewelry to do for us. But we need to be smart about it. We need to learn to recognize better designs and better designers.

This need not be expensive at all.

Just smarter.

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Call For Submissions: SHOWCASE 1000 BEADS, Lark Pub.

Posted by learntobead on February 5, 2013

Call For Submissions:
Showcase 1000 Beads
Lark Publications
2/14/13 deadline

Lark Jewelry & Beading (http://www.facebook.com/LarkJewelryBeading) seeks
excellent photographs of original, contemporary beads in all materials to
publish in a new juried, international collection in our 500 Series of
books: Showcase 1000 Beads. This book is scheduled to be published in
January 2014. The book will be juried by glass beadmaker Kristina Logan.

We welcome and encourage submission of photographs of your handmade beads in
all materials, including glass, metal, polymer clay, metal clay, ceramics,
paper, fiber, plastic, wood, stone, etc., and in all design styles. All work
must be made no earlier than 2010, and the more recent the work the better;
we would prefer to see your 2012 work over your 2011 work, and your 2011
work over your 2010 work.

We strongly prefer images of beads that have not been published previously,
and please do NOT submit images of pieces that have been published in any
Lark book. We can accept only high-quality digital images. Artists will
receive full acknowledgment within the book and a complimentary copy.
Artists retain copyright of their work. There is no entry fee.

All submissions must be submitted electronically through Juried Art
Services. Note that there is no fee for using Juried Art Services. The entry
page can be found at the following link: http://bit.ly/VTfT6E or, the full
URL:
http://www.juriedartservices.com/index.php?content=event_info&event_id=614.

Entries must be submitted by February 14, 2013.

All visuals submitted must represent work that is original in design. A
maximum of four entries per artist is allowed, so please submit your best
work. An entry may consist of no more than two visuals: an overall shot and
one detail (or alternate view); the detail shots are not required. The
primary images you submit should each be different designs. For example,
please do not submit four variations of very similar beads; instead, submit
one bead from each of four series.

Important: Lark will only publish photos of entries containing images and
text that are free of copyright or for which the artist (or approved
institution) holds copyright.

I've already received two questions repeatedly about this call for entries,
so I'll answer them here: My model for the work in the book is Showcase 1000
Glass Beads. That means most of the photos are of a bead or beads, but some
photographs of beads incorporated in jewelry or other artwork, in which the
beads are highlighted, will be considered. Ultimately those choices will
rest in the juror's final decision-making. Also, beaded beads are acceptable
as submissions.

Thank you for your participation, either in submitting entries yourself or
sharing the call for entries with your craft community.

Please join us on Facebook, as well:
http://www.facebook.com/LarkJewelryBeading.

Thank you!
Ray Hemachandra
Lark Jewelry & Beading

67 Broadway
Asheville, North Carolina 28801
(828) 253-0467 ext. 762
ray@larkbooks.com
http://www.larkcrafts.com/jewelry-beading

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Learn To Pearl Knot

Posted by learntobead on January 21, 2013

Pearl Knotting with Warren Feld
By: Warren Feld
http://www.craftartedu.com/warren-feld-pearl-knotting-with-warren-feld
pearl10-full-moneyshot-hi-res-medium

New video tutorail on CraftArtEdu.com.

Everything you need to know for successfully designing with pearls, including knotting – traditional vs non traditional methods, attaching clasps, finishing, care of your pearls, repair and types of pearls, the nature of the pearl. Jewelry designer Warren Feld will lead you through this comprehensive CraftArtEdu class that is all about pearls. 6 Broadcasts.
Price:
$40
Level: All Levels
Duration: 106:17

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LARK PUBLICATIONS: Call For Entries

Posted by learntobead on June 10, 2012

LARK PUBLICATIONS
CALL FOR ENTRIES
8/1/2012 deadline
I received the following email from Ray Hemachandra of Lark Publications. They are
requesting submissions to possible be included ina book to be published called Showcase
500 Necklaces. -- Warren
"I'm pleased to announce a two-month call for entries for a new 500 Series gallery book of handmade contemporary jewelry from Lark Books: Showcase 500 Necklaces. The opportunity closes on August 1, 2012. That is a short window of time, so I ask you please to share the call for entries promptly with your entire jewelry-making community, including peers, associations, schools, students, and all online forums as well as social media like Twitter and Facebook, and to respond to it yourself in a timely way. As always, we hope to receive a wide array of entries from around the world. I'm also pleased to report Lark has converted to using an online entry system; entries are now online only, through a portal provided by Juried Art Services. Here is the link for the informational prospectus and to enter: http://bit.ly/NmsmQm


You'll find all the information you need at that link, so please follow the instructions carefully, but here are some key points: We'll accept jewelry in all materials with all techniques and design styles, including both wearable and conceptual but biasing toward the wearable, simply because most readers prefer seeing wearable jewelry in these books. Jurying will favor more recent work, and so we ask you to submit very recent or current work from no earlier than 2010. The submission limit is two pieces (one photo of each, with an option of one or two alternate or detail photos per piece). 'Necklaces' can include neckpieces, chokers, torques, collars, operas, ropes, chains, bibs, etc. There is no charge for entry for this book; Lark is covering the Juried Art Services cost. We strongly prefer work that has not been previously published in book form. The JAS form will walk you through the process, but a few notes: 1. No need to complete the Artist Statement section. 2. Please read and follow Lark's Digital Image Submission Guidelines. 3. We encourage early entries, especially to avoid having any last-minute difficulties with the new entry process: Complete the process ahead of the deadline so you're assured of having time to resolve any technical issues you might encounter. For questions about registering with Juried Art Services or uploading your material to the site, contact support@jurying.net. For other questions about the book, please direct them to Hannah Doyle at hannah@larkbooks.com. And please be sure to join Lark Jewelry & Beading on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LarkJewelryBeading for updates and future calls for entries. We invite you to copy the web ad for the book at http://www.larkcrafts.com/submit/calls-for-submissions/ for your own website or blog, or to share it on your Facebook page, linking either to that link or to the JAS page at http://bit.ly/NmsmQm, whichever you prefer. We are very excited about this book, the third jewelry book since the 500 series evolved into 'Showcase 500'. Showcase 500 Rings (http://amzn.to/yEERZm ) just published in May, and Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry (http://amzn.to/z6tZH2) will publish in August. We know Showcase 500 Necklaces will be a book devoted to work of creative excellence and innovation, and we invite and welcome your contribution to the book. Thank you very much. Sincerely, Ray Join us on Facebook: facebook.com/LarkJewelryBeading Follow us on Pinterest: pinterest.com/larkjewelry Ray Hemachandra Team Lead and Business Manager Lark Jewelry & Beading 67 Broadway Asheville, North Carolina 28801 (828) 253-0467 ext. 762 ray@larkbooks.com
http://www.larkcrafts.com/jewelry-beading"

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Piece accepted for inclusion 500 BEADED JEWELRY book

Posted by learntobead on February 8, 2012

Just found out that one of my pieces — Little Tapestries/Ghindia — was juried into the book SHOWCASE 500 BEADED JEWELRY, Lark Publications. The book comes out August 2012, but is already listed on Amazon.com at http://amzn.to/z6tZH2 .

From Amazon.com:

This book gathers photographs of 500 of the most breathtaking beaded jewelry designs created in recent years. The techniques the beaders employ are as varied as the aesthetic sensibilities they bring to their gorgeous creations and include beadweaving in every stitch imaginable, embroidery, quilling, loom weaving, and kumihimo braiding, as well as basic stringing, simple wirework, and fine metalwork. Sometimes, a bead maker’s focal piece simply is set in a straightforward, unpretentious, and beautiful design.

 

Virtually all of the world’s most famous beaders who make jewelry have pieces included — including Carol Wilcox Wells, Diane Fitzgerald, Marcia DeCoster, Jamie Cloud Eakin, Huib Petersen, Paulette Baron, Sabine Lippert, Sherry Serafini, Margie Deeb, Maggie Meister, Melanie Potter, Ann Tevepaugh Mitchell, Laura McCabe, Suzanne Golden, Jean Campbell, Rachel Nelson-Smith, Eva Dobos, and many more — but we also present work from many artists who have never been published before. All together, this extensive, international, and fabulous survey of 500 pieces includes work from nearly 300 artists from 30 countries and reveals the striking vision and ambition of today’s beading community.

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