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KEEPING YOUR FINGERS, HANDS, ARMS, EYES AND MIND IN GOOD WORKING ORDER

Posted by learntobead on September 26, 2013

KEEPING YOUR FINGERS, HANDS, ARMS, EYES AND MIND
IN GOOD WORKING ORDER

QUESTION:
What kinds of things do you do to keep your fingers, hands, arms, eyes and mind focused, nimble and in good working order?

finger-exercises2

Beading and Jewelry Making require lots of mind-body coordination. This takes work. It is work.

You have to control your stringing material. With needle and thread, you have to be able to get from your fingers to the needle to the beads, back along the thread to the needle to the fingers, hands, arms, eyes, mind. And then again. And again. Over and over, one more time. You need to get into a rhythm. All these working parts need to be working. No time for cramping. No time to get tired. No time to lose concentration.

A rhythm. Needle, pick up bead, pull down along thread, check the tension, pick up a bead, pull down along thread, check the tension, pick up a bead….

I noticed that different instructors had various techniques and strategies for maintaining this rhythm. Yes, music was involved sometimes. Othertimes simple meditation or creative reading and discourse. Some people had some stretching exercises that they did. Others tested themselves before proceeding with their big project. Still others did small things to reconfirm their learning.

I adapted some of their techniques into a workshop I do on Beading Calisthenics. Here is Exercise # 1.

finger-exercises3

BEADING CALISTHENICS #1: 5-Finger Stretchies

This exercise is used to prevent your fingers from cramping. Often, when beading, you are holding your hand and fingers in a very tight, controlled, sometimes unnatural or uncomfortable position. You should stop periodically, and do 5-Finger Stretchies. This is a wonderful exercise which relaxes the muscles in your hands.
Take one hand and hold it arm out, palm forward. Your arm is parallel to the floor. Your palm, fingers up, is perpendicular to the floor. Tighten every muscle in every finger, and pull each finger inward and downwards towards the point they meet the palm, but don’t touch the palm. Picture making a claw with your pulled back fingers.
Squeeze the tension, release. Squeeze, release. Squeeze, release. Do this rapidly, perhaps 4 squeeze/releases a second. Do this for 10 seconds.
Now do this with the other hand. 10 seconds.
Do this a couple times with each hand.
Then return to your beading.

finger-exercises

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Learn An Easy, Anyone-Can-Do-It, Pearl Knotting Technique

Posted by learntobead on September 25, 2013

PEARL KNOTTING WITH WARREN FELD
Our class now a video tutorial online at CraftArtEdu.com .

http://www.craftartedu.com/warren-feld-pearl-knotting-with-warren-feld

Pearl40-8mm

 

 

Classic Elegance! Learn a simple Pearl Knotting technique anyone can do. No special tools. Beautiful. Durable. Wearable.

 

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.  Downloadable handout.

 

Price: $40

Level: All Levels

Duration: 106:17 minutes

 

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MIXED MEDIA BEADWORK

Posted by learntobead on September 3, 2013

MIXED MEDIA BEADWORK

It’s my belief that you cannot combine two different media to make a piece of jewelry without letting one of them predominate over the other.

 

Agree or disagree?

 

kumihimo

kumihimo

 

Whether combining fiber with beads or metal with beads or paint and sculpture with beads, it is difficult to have a successful, satisfying outcome, without letting one of the media be dominant over the other.

Each media has its own set of structural rules and requirements.    Each interacts with light and shadow very differently; that is, the materials and techniques associated with a particular media reflect, absorb and refract light differently.

These kinds of things make the viewer’s experience and interaction with the media and its resulting products different, from media to media.

kumihimo

kumihimo

So, you can have a “knitting” project that incorporates some beads, or a “beading” project that uses a knitting stitch.   In the former, knitting would predominate, with more focus on the fibers; in the latter, beading would predominate, with more focus on the beads.    You can have a wire project that incorporates some beads, or a beading project that incorporates some wire elements.

But it is rare that you can look at a project, and say it concurrently meets the criteria for success of both media – so, both a successful, satisfying knitting AND beading project, and both a successful wire AND beading project.   It is difficult to preserve the integrity of either media if you force them to be co-equals.

 

beaded art doll

beaded art doll

And you can draw parallels across media to situations crossing materials, as well.    It is difficult to mix materials within the same project.    For example, it is difficult to mix glass and acrylic beads, or glass and gemstone beads….Unless, you let one material become predominant over the other.

But all of this is very challenging, almost off-putting, to the jewelry designer who wants to combine media techniques and materials.

How can techniques and materials in other craft and art disciplines be combined with beads to make jewelry?    And, how can other art and craft disciplines incorporate beads or traditional beading techniques to make jewelry?

 

beaded art doll

beaded art doll

If you have created mixed media projects, or enjoy viewing them,

  1. What lessons can we learn from attempting to mix media and have two or more media, techniques and materials co-exist in the same piece?
  2. How easily can you combine beads with fibers, without  diminishing the integrity of either medium as an art form?
  3. What are the pros and cons?
  4. What kinds of compromises do we have to make?
  5. Does Mixed Media affect our vision of the piece as art?   Or craft?
  6. Can you “bead” the same way you “work wire” and in the same way you “manipulate fibers” or “sculpt clay”, and so forth? – all to impact the viewer, their experience and satisfaction with your piece?    Or do you have to develop new strategies for coordinating media?

 

What do you think?

Share them by posting them to our group.

 

 

 

Warren
Land of Odds (www.landofodds.com )
Warren Feld Jewelry
Center for Beadwork & Jewelry Arts

 

 

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HOW HAS TECHNOLOGY IMPACTED YOU AS A JEWELRY DESIGNER?

Posted by learntobead on August 26, 2013

 

HOW HAS TECHNOLOGY IMPACTED YOU AS A JEWELRY DESIGNER?

tech-3-d-print

The impact of technology on work and jobs was the focus of a recent opinion piece in the New York Times by David H. Autor and David Dorn.     And, as jewelry designers, we are living through and with all the positives and negatives that arise through this technological change.

How has technology affected what we do as designers?

How has it affected what we do to survive and thrive as designers?

Have we mechanized and computerized the jewelry design business into obsolescence?

How have you had to organize your jewelry designer lives differently?
given the rise of
-the internet,
-Ebay, Etsy and Amazon.com
-blogs, facebook, twitter, pinterest, instagram
-new technologies and materials like precious metal clay, polymer clay, crystal clay, 3-D printing

What has happened to your local bead stores?

What has happened to bead magazines?

If you teach classes for pay, or sell kits and instructions, how do you compete against the literally millions of online tutorials, classes, instructions and kits offered for free?    How does this affect what you teach or design to sell as kits?

If you sell jewelry, how do you compete against the 60,000,000 other people who sell jewelry online?   How does this affect your marketing, your pricing, your designs?

If you make part of your living doing a arts and crafts show circuit, will there still be a need for this in the future?

 

tech-3-d-print2

 

The authors in this NYT article pose the questions raised by several prominent authors and scholars:

Are we in danger of losing the “race against the machine?” (M.I.T. scholars Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee)

Are we becoming enslaved to our “robot overlords,?” (journalist Kevin Drum warned in Mother Jones)

Do “smart machines” threaten us with “long-term misery?” (economists Jeffrey D. Sachs and Laurence J. Kotlikoff)

Have we reached “the end of labor?” (Noah Smith in The Atlantic)

 

tech-crystal-clay

 

 

Let me paraphrase these a bit in terms more specific to jewelry design and beadwork.

Does the reach of technology, through such vehicles as the Internet, make things so productive and efficient, that we no longer need so many people making jewelry, or teaching jewelry  making, or marketing businesses / products or selling the parts to make jewelry?

If we do not need so many people to design / teach / market / or sell, and there happen to be a lot of people doing this anyway, does this necessarily make the relative worth and price for any of these activities “$zero”?

Does all this technological efficiency diminish the act of “creativity”?   Now so many things can be standardized that everything – even the manufacture of complex pieces of jewelry through 3-D technology – can be reduced to a set of how-to instructions – mere recipes?

Has this technology reduced the need for bead magazines, and bead stores, and traditional classes?

 

 

 

 

On the other hand, technology has made jewelry design, and good jewelry design, more and more accessible to more and more people.

It has opened up a myriad of possibilities for people to explore their creative selves.

It has let jewelry designers reach a broader audience with their wares, their knowledge and their endeavors.

With new materials and technologies have come many new possibilities for creating jewelry.

It has made it easier for more people to get into the various jewelry design-related businesses.

It has made it easier to stay current and learn.

It has made it easier to meet and learn with fellow jewelry designers.

It has made it easier to mine big data, identify the most relevant target customers, and to market to them in very specific, cost-effective ways.

It has made it easier for retail outlets to find the merchandise they need to sell.

 

tech-internet

 

 

Some quick observations from my own professional life:

–          We have an elaborate curriculum of classes that we teach.   However, many of the beginning classes are becoming obsolete, in the sense that students can find similar classes on YouTube, in bead magazines, and throughout the internet, now for free.    The issue for us is how to adapt, given that one of our goals is still to charge money for these classes, and make money.   And a concurrent goal is to offer the student a learning opportunity worth the price paid.

–          Each year, we used to have 1 or 2 national level instructors do workshops at our store.    But it has become difficult to attract students.    There are so many projects easily available – including from these national-level instructors – that students started to indicate that their interests in these workshops had diminished.   They could do these same or similar projects on their own.

–          When we opened our store in 1991, there were few places for people to acquire what we sell.    Now there are almost 100 million places for people to go.    It is obvious that most of our in-store customers purchase more of their supplies online or through catalogs than they do in the store.

–          We used to do craft shows a long time ago.    But the cost of travel got very expensive, and, with the internet, people had more opportunity to find what we sold without going to the craft shows.

–          It used to be that the crux of our advertising dollars were spent with bead magazines.   No longer.   Bead magazines get a very small part of our advertising dollars.    I can remember when all our customers read the bead magazines to get all their information.   Now very few do.   Most have organized themselves into small groups in various social media sites.   To get your marketing message across, you have to spend a lot of time doing this online, and you can no longer market with a “broad brush”.   That is, it has become ever-more-difficult to reach people.

–          Our online business – Land of Odds – has been in existence since 1995.   It has gone through 6 technology upgrades/re-designs since then.    The e-commerce and website design technology moves and evolves so incredibly fast.   Personally this constant updating has been grueling. The site needs more re-design, but my motivation to learn and cope with yet another computer language and new sets of tasks has diminished.   Land of Odds was a pioneering online business.  But the very large bead companies have gotten their acts together online, and are much better capitalized to expand their operations.

Technology has been a dauntingly mixed bag for us.   On the negative side, the rapid advance and spread of technology has overwhelmed the various activities we do.   On the positive side, it has forced us to become ever more creative and ever more efficient in what we do.    It forces us to constantly re-define who we are and what we want to do.   And it forces us to constantly re-define how we do things.

What do you think?

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MANAGING DESIGN AT THE BOUNDARY BETWEEN JEWELRY AND PERSON

Posted by learntobead on July 18, 2013

MANAGING DESIGN
AT THE BOUNDARY BETWEEN
JEWELRY AND PERSON

abw1som6-bw-moneyshot1-hires-full

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

That’s a powerful idea, but we somewhat ignore it, when thinking about making jewelry.    We like to follow steps.  We like to make beautiful things.   But too often, we avoid having to think about the difficult choices and tradeoffs we need to make, when searching for that balance among aesthetics, functionality, context, materials and technique.

I am going to get on my soap box here.

Good jewelry design must answer questions and teach practitioners about managing the processes of selecting materials, implementing techniques, and constructing the piece from one end to the other.

We tend to teach students to very mechanically follow a series of steps.

What we should be doing, instead, at least from the Design Perspective which is so influential in my approach for creating jewelry, is teach students how to make choices when managing at the boundary between jewelry and person.

I recently put together a video tutorial for a brick-stitched project I call Tuxedo Park Bangle Bracelet, where I tried to write and present the instructions, from this Design Perspective.     I first discuss the jewelry design process as a series of choices and tradeoffs.   And only then do I list the steps the student needs to follow for completing the project.   But each step is presented as the result of a particular analytical or problem-solving process, something to the effect, “I confronted this situation, I weighed these options, and, for these reasons, I decided to execute the next step this way….”.

abw1som6-gl-moneyshot5

This bangle bracelet has to stretch wide to get over the hand, and then shrink back to its original dimensions, all the while keeping its shape and integrity.    It will have to do this many times.   That means, the beads within the piece, as well as each bead woven component of the piece, will need to be able to bend in more than one direction, yet remain somewhat stiff enough for maintaining each component’s shape as well as the bangle’s aesthetic and functionality over all.   If we redefine the brick stitch architecturally, we can see its versatility and flexibility, making it is the perfect stitch to achieve these goals.

abw1som6-supportsystem3

You can find this tutorial at CraftArtEdu.com, or
http://craftartedu.com/warren-feld-tuxedo-park-bangle-bracelet

The preview is free, and introduces some of my ideas.

 

Discussion Questions for you…

1.        Re-look at one of your favorite pieces.   Review the questions posed in the article below.   Now, describe your piece for the group, in design and architectural terms, using the questions posed below to guide your thoughts.    And post your description for the group along with an image of your piece.

2.       Think about your favorite technique – whether bead stringing, bead weaving or wire working or some other jewelry-making interest area.  How does this technique help your pieces, which are made using it, keep their shape?  How does the technique help your pieces withstand the forces that come from wearing and movement? 

 

 

From an article I’m writing about the architectural approach to defining bead weaving, bead stringing and wire working….

In addition to teaching students “steps”, we need to teach students about making good design choices.   The “steps” should be presented as the results of these choices.  The thinking and reasoning processes should be the focus.   How we arrived at these choices, and how we have made tradeoffs, should be at the forefront of what we teach.   The steps should not be presented as fait accompli.   But rather, the steps should be overtly understood as the logical outcomes from our thought and design process.

This is the architectural manifesto and challenge for re-thinking and re-defining jewelry design.   We need to teach students to think this way and answer these 10 core questions at the heart of this manifesto:

 

(1) Why or how does a particular bead stringing technique, wire work technique or bead weaving stitch suggest a particular form of representation?

 

(2) How does my work relate to the complex factors at play in design, including philosophy, science, religion, ecology, politics, cyberspace, gender, literature, aesthetics, economics, history, culture, and technology?

 

(3) What kinds of things characterize contemporary design, and its aesthetics and functionality?

 

(4) What about the materials you are using helps you transform them into a pleasing, satisfying piece?

 

(5) What about the particular techniques you are using helps you transform materials into a pleasing, satisfying piece?

 

(6) What should the design process look like?   What are the design elements which need to be managed?   What are the rules for their manipulation?

 

(7) How do you best define, create and use components, forms and structures?

 

(8) What is the structure (or, you might visualize the anatomy) of your piece of jewelry, and how is that structure construed and constructed?    What specifically about the structures or building blocks of your piece contributes to a successful and satisfying design?

 

(9) How does your jewelry, given its structure and the techniques you used to assemble it, withstand forces?    What, in the designing, the selecting of materials or techniques, or the strategizing about the overall construction help you better manage things like movement, drape, flexibility, strength, comfort, and interplay of light, shadow and color?

 

(10) How do you best manage your visual presentation in terms of color, light, shadow, dimensionality, pattern, texture, and perspective?

 

 

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TUXEDO PARK BANGLE BRACELET

Posted by learntobead on July 13, 2013

TUXEDO PARK BANGLE BRACELET
New Video Tutorial at CraftArtEdu.com

Purchase kits at:
Land Of Odds online

abw1som6-bw-moneyshot1-hires-full

IN THIS CLASS, LEARN HOW MUCH SHAPING, INTEREST, AND DIMENSIONALITY YOU CAN ACHIEVE WITH THE SIMPLE, BASIC BRICK STITCH. BY CREATING MY TUXEDO PARK BANGLE BRACELET.    THE BRICK STITCH IS EASY TO LEARN.  FUN TO DO.  AND OFFERS MANY DESIGN POSSIBILITIES FOR THE BEAD WEAVING ARTIST.

 

BRICK STITCH IS OFTEN OVER-SHADOWED BY ITS VERY CLOSE, BUT MORE POPULAR COUSIN – THE PEYOTE STITCH.  I OFTEN THINK THAT ONE OF THE REASONS FOR THIS, IS THAT INTRODUCTORY BRICK STITCH PROJECTS LACK SOME OF THAT “WOW” FACTOR.  THE BASIC BRICK STITCH TYPICALLY IS TAUGHT BY HAVING THE STUDENT MAKE A SIMPLE PYRAMID, PERHAPS SOME LONG DANGLING FRINGE IS WORKED OFF THE BASE OF THE PYRAMID TO MAKE NATIVE AMERICAN EARRINGS. OR, PERHAPS LINKING SEVERAL PYRAMIDS TOGETHER TO MAKE A BRACELET. WHEN THE INTRODUCTORY PROJECT IS “BORING”, STUDENTS LOSE INTEREST IN THE STITCH.

 

HOWEVER, TOO OFTEN IGNORED IN THESE INTRODUCTORY BRICK STITCH PROJECTS ARE THE POWERFUL, STRUCTURAL PROPERTIES OF THE STITCH ITSELF.
THE STITCH IS VERY VERSATILE.

THE BRICK STITCH CAN BE USED TO CREATE A BROAD CANVAS, AND GIVE THIS CANVAS A GREAT DEAL OF FLEXIBILITY, WHERE MANY STITCHES WOULD LEAVE IT TOO STIFF.

AT THE SAME TIME, THE BRICK STITCH CAN ALLOW THE CANVAS  TO HOLD AND MAINTAIN ITS SHAPE, WHERE MANY OTHER STITCHES MIGHT GET FLOPPY AND TOO LOOSE.

BRICK STITCH CAN ALSO EASILY GIVE THIS CANVAS VERY VARIED SHAPES, EDGES AND OPEN SPACES, AND ALLOW A GREAT DEAL OF CONTROL OF THREAD PATH AND BEAD PLACEMENT WHERE OTHER STITCHES COULD NOT.

THE TUXEDO PARK BANGLE BRACELET IS AN INTRODUCTORY PROJECT THAT INTRODUCES THE STITCH AND SEVERAL VARIATIONS TO PEAK YOUR INTEREST.
AND TURN YOU INTO A BRICK STITCH FAN.

 

THIS VIDEO TUTORIAL IS PRESENTED FROM WHAT IS CALLED THE DESIGN PERSPECTIVE. THE DESIGN PERSPECTIVE FOCUSES ON HOW THE JEWELRY DESIGNER AND BEAD WORKER MAKE CHOICES

ABOUT WHAT TO DO, AND NOT TO DO,

ABOUT WHAT TO INCLUDE, AND NOT INCLUDE,

AND ABOUT HOW TO BALANCE OFF CONFLICTING DEMANDS

BETWEEN BEAUTY AND FUNCTIONALITY.

abw1som6-gl-moneyshot7

IN THIS VIDEO TUTORIAL, I FIRST GUIDE YOU THROUGH THE PROJECT PLANNING PROCESS. THAT IS, I DISCUSS THE TYPES OF CHOICES I MADE, WHEN CREATING THIS PIECE. THESE CHOICES INCLUDE THINGS ABOUT TECHNIQUE. THEY INCLUDE THINGS ABOUT COLOR AND MATERIALS. THEY INCLUDE THINGS ABOUT FORM, STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION.

THEN, I GO OVER, IN DETAIL, STEP-BY-STEP, EASY-TO-FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS FOR COMPLETING THE PROJECT.

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HOW DO YOU STAY FOCUSED?

Posted by learntobead on July 13, 2013

 

HOW DO YOU STAY FOCUSED?

It is easy to get distracted.   Dagmar sent me an email with a link to a picture of a bead woven piece she liked.    At first, I reacted with some resistance, to click the link.   I needed to finish up several projects, and didn’t want to cloud my thinking, or add one more image or one more pattern I liked, or color I liked, or technique I liked, to that mix of ideas and tasks and things swirling around and around in my head.

earring1

But, you guessed it, I clicked.   The piece was beautiful, intriguing, and l discovered many more of this artist’s work on display online.    I spent time with each piece.   I read the artist’s statement because I wanted to learn more about her inspiration.    She had many embedded links in her statement.  Which led me to many other websites.   One concept was discussed, and I did a Google search on that.     And then an images.google.com search on it as well.    Which somehow got me over to Amazon, then Wikipedia, and over to some other bead artist’s website.

 

Three hours later – how does time pass away so quickly?    A simple click three hours earlier had led me through the looking glass and down the rabbit hole, through, what must have looked like to others, some torturous pathways, meeting all kinds of strangers.

I am always working on several projects at a time.     So in my head, are several sets of instructions, several color palettes, several understandings of inspiration.    And I want to keep some focus.   And I want to finish all of these projects.    And I want to be able to conceptualize and invent my next projects, which involves lots of trial and error experimentation.    I want to have the time and clear head space for all this.

romari1-hires-full-moneyshot

 

And yet, there are so many easily accessible distractions.

I know I’m not alone, so the question I put forward to you:

How do you stay focused?

 

And perhaps, I should phrase the question differently:   Can you stay focused?

Or, in the face of so many great examples of jewelry and bead art, so many evolving changes in styles and fashions, the introduction of many new colors and new bead shapes and new techniques – in the face of so much wonderfully inspiring, so many things to learn and educate yourself about – how do you keep in touch with your inner designer self, and find the time and energy for self-expression?

 

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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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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

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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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A LESSON IN USING COLOR SIMULTANEITY EFFECTS:

Posted by learntobead on April 22, 2013

A LESSON IN USING COLOR SIMULTANEITY EFFECTS:
The Contemporized Etruscan Collar
By Warren Feld
http://www.warrenfeldjewelry.com

 

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

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Several years ago, I had been asked to do a week-long jewelry design workshop in Cortona, Italy. The topic I selected was on Contemporizing Traditional Etruscan Jewelry. One of the projects I developed for the workshop was this Contemporized Etruscan Collar. The challenge, here for me, was to create a sophisticated, wearable, and attractive piece that exemplified concepts about contemporizing traditional jewelry.

Contemporizing Traditional Jewelry has to do with how you take particular traditional forms and techniques, and both add your personal style to the pieces, as well as make them more relevant to today’s sense of fashion and style. The challenge for the designer is how to keep traditional ideas essential and alive for today’s audience.

Things clicked. I found a traditional Etruscan Collar that I immediately connected with.

The Contemporized Etruscan Collar

The contemporized piece basically consists of two staggered and overlapping bead-woven strips. The bead-woven technique used is the Ndebele Stitch (sometimes called Herringbone).

There are many design theory elements incorporated into this piece, including dimensionality, curvature, malleability, and movement. One of the more interesting theories I applied here has to do with color simultaneity effects.

Color Simultaneity Effects
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Picking colors is about making strategic choices. Picking colors is very revealing about the jewelry artist’s understanding of how the bead asserts its needs for color. One set of color-theories employed to make these kinds of choices has to do with Simultaneity Effects. Colors in the presence of other colors get perceived differently, depending on the color combination.

For example, a White Square on a Black background looks bigger than a Black Square on a white background. White reaches out and overflows the boundary; black contracts.
colorsimulataneity1
Another example: Gray always picks up some of the color characteristics of other colors around it. Gray next to orange will appear to have an orange tone to it. Gray next to green will appear to have a green tone to it. A “Gray” bead is one, the color of which, has a strong gray or black tone to it. Besides the obvious “gray”, these other colors function as a “gray”: montana blue, alexandrite, colorado topaz, prairie green. Many color-lined and silver-lined beads can function as a “gray”, particularly when the glass color is other than clear. Many metallic or otherwise reflective surface beads can function as a “gray”.

A final example of simultaneity effects has to do with how people sense whether colors are warm or cool. In one composition, depending on the color mix, a particular color might be felt as “warm”. In a second composition, with a different color mix, that same color might be felt as “cool”. You can picture a yellow square surrounded by white feels lighter, brighter and a different temperature than its counterpart surrounded by black. A red square surrounded by black feels darker, duller, and a different temperature than its counterpart surrounded by white.

Existence of these simultaneity effects is a great piece of information for the designer. There will be gaps of color and light between beads. Many bead colors are imperfect, particularly in combination. Playing with simultaneity effects gives the designer tools to overcome some of the color limitations associated with the bead and the gaps of light between beads. These allow you to “blend” and build “bridges” and create “transitions.”

Look back at the images of the Ndebele-stitched piece. When you work with beads, there are always gaps between them. In the Ndebele-stitch, there are many and very pronounced gaps of light between beads. This can be very threatening to a viewer. People are pre-wired to avoid things which might harm them, such as snakes and spiders. This is our fear- or anxiety-response.

We can summarize most color theories as a set of principles the brain uses – both in perception and cognition – to find a state of color or colors which are harmonious. That is, people like to see and feel comfortable and safe with colors which harmonize and go together. When we start to lose that harmonious state of color, this makes the brain edgy. When the brain starts to get edgy, we start to interpret pieces as boring, monotonous, scary, dangerous, will cause death. We innately reject, as part of our pre-wired fear response, that which does not follow good principles of color.

Any viewer’s brain will immediately try to interpret what it sees and make sense of it. This includes jewelry. The viewer’s brain needs to know immediately whether to approach or flee. Each time the eye/brain comes to the end of the bead and is confronted with a gap of light separating it from the next bead, it’s similar to a person approaching a cliff, and getting asked to jump off of that cliff.
No one wants to jump off a cliff. And no one’s eye/brain wants to jump over a gap of light between two beads.

We have to fool ourselves, that is, our brain, in some way. Color theories offer us many possible ideas on how to do this. I find using simultaneity effects works especially well in jewelry compositions using beads. Certain colors, when juxtaposed, create their own meanings, and fool the brain into thinking it sees something in these gaps, or is somehow more motivated to fill in the gaps, and proceed from one bead to the next.

In this Etruscan Collar project, many of my color choices were based on an understanding of simultaneity effects.

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ALL DOLLED UP: Beaded Art Doll Competition

Posted by learntobead on January 30, 2013

ALL DOLLED UP:
BEADED ART DOLL COMPETITION
deadline: 8/31/2013

Create a BEADED ART DOLL by manipulating beads and forms into an imaginative
tactile and visual 3-dimensional representation. And then write a Short Story
about your Beaded Art Doll, what it represents, and how it was created.

ALL DOLLED UP: BEADED ART DOLL COMPETITION is offering a first prize of a $1000.00
shopping spree on the Land of Odds web-site (www.landofodds.com), and a Runner-Up
prize of a $400.00 shopping spree on the web-site. This is more than a beauty
pageant. It is a design competition. The Competition will take into account
the Artist’s intentions and how well these are incorporated into the design.
Enter to Win!

Beaded Art Dolls submitted as entries for this competition may be realistic,
surrealistic, whimsical or imaginary. They may be humanistic, animalistic, caricatures,
cartoons, impressions or abstractions. A Beaded Art Doll is a physical representation
in three dimensions, using human figural and expressive characteristics, through
the creative use and manipulation of beads. Beaded Art Dolls should be between
8” and 36” in size. They must be at least 80% composed of beads.

The Artist is given wide leeway in techniques for how the doll is to be beaded,
and may use one particular technique or several. Techniques, for example, may
include bead weaving stitches, bead embellishment, bead appliqué, bead
knitting, bead crochet, bead embroidery, lampworking.

Review the Official Rules on the website.

Sponsored by Land of Odds, Be Dazzled Beads, LearnToBead.net, and The Center
for Beadwork & Jewelry Arts

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JEWELRY DESIGN DISCUSSION GROUP

Posted by learntobead on January 30, 2013

 

THE JEWELRY DESIGN DISCUSSION GROUP

Please join our new group on facebook at:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/jewelrydesign/

 

We’ve taken our BEAD STUDY group at The Center for Beadwork & Jewelry Arts, and opened it up online at Facebook.

 

Current Discussions:
– Art vs. Craft
– Technique vs. Skill
– How to organize your ideal work space
– Getting a management handle on client “Wants”
– Color Blending
– Bead Spills
– How did you get your start in beading/jewelry making?

 

Posted in beadwork, jewelry design, Workshops, Classes, Exhibits | Leave a Comment »

The Artistry of Barbara Natoli Witt

Posted by learntobead on January 30, 2013

THE ARTISTRY OF BARBARA NATOLI WITT
http://necklaceart.com/NecklaceArt.com.html
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I wanted to share with you some of the beautiful, fascinating and romantic works of Barbara Natoli Witt.

witt1

Her pieces blend tapestry techniques with captivating webs of colored threads, beads, stones, artifacts and found objects.

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I frequently advocate among my students that they learn to incorporate several types of techniques and materials within their pieces, and Witt is a perfect example of the result.

witt3

Her use of historical motifs, signs, symbols and materials imbued with meaning within necklace pieces with a contemporary flair add synergy and power to her pieces.    She marries “meaning” to “aesthetic” particularly well.

witt4

The historical referents  make you think of themes of classical beauty, the classical role of women and the classical role of jewelry, and how these relate to women and jewelry today.

witt5

A good background biography of the artist can be found here.

witt6

 

 

 

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CONTEMPORIZING TRADITIONAL JEWELRY: ETRUSCAN COLLAR

Posted by learntobead on September 6, 2012

BE DAZZLED BEADS: WORKSHOP ANNOUNCEMENT

Create a sophisticated, contemporary Etruscan-style collar!
Layer two Ndebele stitched strips, slightly curving the interior edge and embellishing
with chain.

ETRUSCAN COLLAR WORKSHOP

Instructor: Warren Feld
at Be Dazzled Beads, 718 Thompson Lane, Ste 123, Nashville, TN 37204

Sat, 11/3, Noon-5pm
Register by phone (615)-292-0610, or in-person

(REGISTRATION CLOSES: 10/15/12)


($35.00 fee + Kit $160.00 + Upgrade Option) (deposit = $195.00 + Upgrade Option)
Kit at $160.00 includes gold plated clasp, chain and findings.

UPGRADE OPTIONS 

#1: 14KT CLASP and GOLD FILLED CHAIN Chain For Embellishment
ADD + $884.00

#2: STERLING SILVER CLASP and STERLING SILVER CHAIN For Embellishment
ADD + $148.00

#3: GOLD FILLED CLASP and GOLD FILLED CHAIN for Embellishment
ADD + $165.00

ABOUT THE WORKSHOP:
Bead weaving is a collection of hundreds of different stitching techniques and
strategies for creating pieces that approximate a piece of cloth.

The Ndebele stitch, sometimes called Herringbone Stitch, is a loose-knit stitch that lends itself
to many creative variations. It results in a herringbone pattern, or zig-zag effect.

This Etruscan Collar Necklace consists of two overlapping strips of Ndebele Stitch, a chain embellishment, and an attached choker clasp. The strips are overlapped so that they curve slightly
along the inner edge.
The challenge, here for me, was to create a sophisticated, wearable, and attractive piece that exemplified concepts about contemporizing traditional jewelry. There is considerable artistry and craftsmanship underlying Etruscan jewelry. I began to interpret and analyze this piece. I first broke it down in terms of its Traditional Components.

Contemporizing Traditional Jewelry has to do with how you take these particular traditional forms and techniques, and both add your personal style to the pieces, as well as make them more relevant to today’s sense of fashion and style. The challenge for the designer is how to keep traditional ideas essential and alive for today’s audience.

Part of the artistry of the jewelry designer has to do with the control over color. Picking colors
is about making strategic choices. And picking Bead Colors is about understanding how the bead asserts its needs for color.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.
One set of color-theories, widely used in our Etruscan Collar, employed to make these kinds of choices have to do with Simultaneity Effects. Colors in the presence of other colors get perceived differently, depending on the color combination.

What You Will Learn:
– Creating a design-plan for a layered bead woven necklace collar
– Strategically selecting a color palette, especially in reference to “simultaneity effects”
– Implementing the Ndebele Stitch using a 4mm cube and two 2mm beads to create two strips which will later overlap
– Reinforcing the Ndebele strips
– Attaching and assembling two layers of Ndebele Stitched strips using a hybrid brick stitch/ndebele stitch technique

– Weaving in a decorative chain element along the inner boundaries of the piece, using a bookbinding stitch
– Attaching a choker clasp assembly
– Some ideas about what it means to “contemporize” a traditional piece
of jewelry

Prerequisites:
– Orientation To Beads & Jewelry Findings
– Introductory Knowledge of Ndebele stitch
– An intermediate level knowledge of and experience with bead weaving

Kit Contents:
– Step by Step instructions with text, diagrams and images
– 4mm Miyuki glass cube beads, 11/0 seed beads or 11/0 delicas or 1.8mm cubes
– Swarovski crystal Series 5000 round beads, 2mm
– gold plated cable chain
– gold plated adjustable hook/eye choker clasp
– FireLine cable thread, size D
– 4ea of size #10 and size #12 beading needles
– bees wax
– Plastic case with tight lid for carrying these supplies

 

THE PALETTES:

LOOK N’SEE: http://www.warrenfeldjewelry.com/ecollar.htm

 1. Spectrum Gold

2. Brilliant Gold

3. Teal Terra/Antique Rose

4. Antique Amethyst/Sage Green


5. Antique Rose/Terra Cotta


ABOUT WARREN FELD

warrenfeldjewelry.com

The Design Perspective is the driving force that defines Warren Feld as a jewelry artist. Whether creating jewelry, teaching students theory and application, or helping jewelry and beading artists
establish themselves in business – the focus always comes back to how best to make functional, materials and aesthetic choices and tradeoffs.

Warren’s jewelry designs are characterized by multi-method approaches, intricate plays of color, contemporary adaptations of traditional pieces, and experimentation. He is adept at bead weaving, bead stringing, wire working and silver smithing. He works to bring senses of movement, dimension and sensuality to his pieces. Pieces must be both beautiful and wearable, concurrently meeting
the needs of wearer, viewer and designer alike.

In 2000, Warren founded The Center for Beadwork & Jewelry Arts, an educational program in Nashville, TN. In 2008, “Canyon Sunrise” necklace was selected as Finalist, 4th Place, SWAROVSKI’s Be Naturally Inspired Contest. “Little Tapestries/Ghindia” — was juried into SHOWCASE 500 BEADED
JEWELRY, Lark Publications, 2012. He is writing a jewelry design series entitled “How To Bead A Rogue Elephant.” Owner, Be Dazzled Beads, and Land of Odds (www.landofodds.com). Director, Jewelry Design Camp. Warren’s pieces are available for purchase at The Open Window Gallery, or online at www.warrenfeldjewelry.com.

Administers three international contests: The Ugly Necklace, All Dolled Up-Beaded
Art Dolls, and Illustrative Beader-Beaded Tapestries.

He is working to bring the CBJA curriculum online as LearnToBead.net.

Be Dazzled Beads is located in the Berry Hill section of Nashville, Tennessee. It is 3 miles south
of downtown, off of I-65.

Lunch Options:

The workshop will take a break for lunch. Within easy walking distance are these lunch places:

Applebees
The Yellow Porch
Sam & Zoes
Baja Burrito
Subway
Kebab Gyro Shop
Pizza Hut
Wendy’s
Calypso Cafe
Pfunky Griddle
Firehouse Subs
Logans Steak House
Monell’s
Jersey Mikes
Cheeseburger Charlies
Einstein Bagel
Panda Express
Panera’s Bread Company

Lodging:
If you are coming from out of town, the closest motels are
La Quinta Inn (Sidco Drive near Harding Place and I-65)
Red Roof Inn (Sidco Drive near Hading Place and I-65)

There are additional motels 1 exit further south on I-65 on Old Hickory Blvd in Brentwood.

JEWELRY
DESIGN CAMP
 

October 2013

Session
I: Contemporizing Traditional Etruscan Jewelry


Sun,
10/6/13 thru Sat, 10/12/13

Session
II: Fringe, Edge, Strap, Bail, Surface Embellishment in Jewelry — Art
or Not?

Sun,
10/13/13 thru Sat, 10/19/13

Immerse
yourself into a week-long study of jewelry design theories, and their
applications and manipulations with various materials, techniques and
strategies.
CENTER
FOR BEADWORK & JEWELRY ARTS

WARREN
FELD JEWELRY

BE
DAZZLED BEADS

 

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