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New Book By Warren Feld! Conquering The Creative Marketplace

Posted by learntobead on January 20, 2023

CONQUERING THE CREATIVE MARKETPLACE:
Between the Fickleness of Business and the Pursuit of Design

How dreams are made
between the fickleness of business
and the pursuit of jewelry design

This guidebook is a must-have for anyone serious about making money selling jewelry.   I focus on straightforward, workable strategies for integrating business practices with the creative design process.   These strategies make balancing your creative self with your productive self easier and more fluid. 

Based both on the creation and development of my own jewelry design business, as well as teaching countless students over the past 35+ years about business and craft, I  address what should be some of your key concerns and uncertainties.   I help you plan your road map.

Whether you are a hobbyist or a self-supporting business, success as a jewelry designer involves many things to think about, know and do.  I share with you the kinds of things it takes to start your own jewelry business, run it, anticipate risks and rewards, and lead it to a level of success you feel is right for you, including   

  • Getting Started:  Naming business, identifying resources, protecting intellectual property
  • Financial Management: basic accounting, break even analysis, understanding risk-reward-return on investment, inventory management
  • Product Development: identifying target market, specifying product attributes, developing jewelry line, production, distribution, pricing, launching
  • Marketing, Promoting, Branding:  competitor analysis, developing message, establishing emotional connections to your products, social media marketing
  • Selling:  linking product to buyer among many venues, such as store, department store, online, trunk show, home show, trade show, sales reps and showrooms, catalogs, TV shopping, galleries, advertising, cold calling, making the pitch
  • Resiliency:  building business, professional and psychological resiliency
  • Professional Responsibilities:  preparing artist statement, portfolio, look book, resume, biographical sketch, profile, FAQ, self-care

548pp.

Kindle, Print, Epub

OTHER BOOKS BY WARREN FELD

SO YOU WANT TO BE A JEWELRY DESIGNER
Merging Your Voice With Form

So You Want To Be A Jewelry Designer reinterprets how to apply techniques and modify art theories from the Jewelry Designer’s perspective. To go beyond craft, the jewelry designer needs to become literate in this discipline called Jewelry Design. Literacy means understanding how to answer the question: Why do some pieces of jewelry draw your attention, and others do not? How to develop the authentic, creative self, someone who is fluent, flexible and original. How to gain the necessary design skills and be able to apply them, whether the situation is familiar or not.

588pp, many images and diagrams Ebook , Kindle or Print formats

The Jewelry Journey Podcast
“Building Jewelry That Works: Why Jewelry Design Is Like Architecture”
Podcast, Part 1
Podcast, Part 2

PEARL KNOTTING…Warren’s Way
Easy. Simple. No tools. Anyone Can Do!

I developed a nontraditional technique which does not use tools because I found tools get in the way of tying good and well-positioned knots. I decided to bring two cords through the bead to minimize any negative effects resulting from the pearl rotating around the cord. I only have you glue one knot in the piece. I use a simple overhand knot which is easily centered. I developed a rule for choosing the thickness of your bead cord. I lay out different steps for starting and ending a piece, based on how you want to attach the piece to your clasp assembly.

184pp, many images and diagrams Ebook, Kindle or Print

SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFT SHOWS:16 Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows

In this book, I discuss 16 lessons I learned, Including How To (1) Find, Evaluate and Select Craft Shows Right for You, (2) Determine a Set of Realistic Goals, (3) Compute a Simple Break-Even Analysis, (4) Develop Your Applications and Apply in the Smartest Ways, (5) Understand How Much Inventory to Bring, (6) Set Up and Present Both Yourself and Your Wares, (7) Best Promote and Operate Your Craft Show Business before, during and after the show.

198pp, many images and diagrams, Ebook, , Kindle or Print

___________________________________________

Posted in architecture, Art or Craft?, art theory, bead weaving, beads, beadwork, business of craft, craft shows, creativity, design management, design theory, design thinking, Entrepreneurship, jewelry collecting, jewelry design, Learn To Bead, pearl knotting, professional development, Stitch 'n Bitch, wire and metal | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

CONQUERING THE CREATIVE MARKETPLACE: What You Need To Know When Preparing A Portfolio

Posted by learntobead on January 19, 2023

Your Portfolio

Your Portfolio will most likely be the first impression a gallery, store, or collection gets of your work. You want to make it a positive and lasting one.

As with the Artist Statement, you do not want to follow anyone’s template when designing your Portfolio. This won’t serve you well. In reality, too many Portfolios look the same.

You will most likely want several versions, say 3 or 4, of your Portfolio in anticipate of different audiences and different ways you might use this. Specifically, you might want versions differentiated by one or more of these characteristics:

· Document without dates for jewelry pieces

· Document with dates for jewelry pieces

· Organized by theme

· Organized by audience

· Only those pieces representative of the brand you are trying to sell to a particular venue

· All your pieces

· Digital, including an online copy, an online copy with some graphical animations, an ebook, or a video online

NOTE: Your digital versions should be responsive. That means they are created in such a way that no matter what browser or what device (computer, tablet, phone, TV) they are viewed on, they will look good.

NOTE: I suggest sharing your digital copy with a URL link to where it would be posted online, say on your website. I suggest not sending a digital copy on a CD, disc or flash drive. I think the potential viewer might get annoyed having to set up their computer to ready it to read the digital copy off these formats.

· Print, including something you print yourself off an office printer, or something available from a bookseller as a print-on-demand.

· Presentation folder: basically a binder with plastic sheet holders, into which you can place sheets of printed images of your work and related text.

· PowerPoint slide show. Can easily be shared on a Tablet or Computer or Notebook Computer.

· With or without prices

Your Portfolio will include images, short text descriptions of each piece, its materials, techniques, and inspirations. You might include your Artist Statement, Testimonials, resume, copy of a significant press article about you. Of course, you would have all you contact information present.

Look Book is a more focused portfolio. It includes a limited number of your best pieces and pieces representative of your brand. The images are the stars. There is limited text, most often in the form of captioning or a short relevant quote. The Look Book should feel cohesive and feel like it targets a very specific audience.

Look Book by Laura McCabe, cover
Look Book by Laura McCabe, inside pages

In Print: These days it is easy and very inexpensive to develop a print-on-demand book for your Portfolio. You have many size options. It can be printed in high quality color. You can have a hard cover and/or a soft cover. You can go with a high quality paper if you want. A printed Portfolio is something that you can give away or sell. This format ups your legitimacy and credibility significantly. You only have to print one copy at a time. It is not difficult to keep the book updated.

Check out kdp.Amazon.com and Ingram Publishing for information about print-on-demand book publishing.

The print version would include,

· Front cover art, back cover art, and side binding art

· Back cover text

· Bar code

· ISBN number

· Library of Congress number

· Your content with images

Designing Your Portfolio

STEP 1: Decide who this is for.

Research and delineate who their audiences are and to which they have to be responsive. For example, a gallery and its collector patrons. Or a store and its core customer base.

Given who it is for, what format and content would they prefer? How do you want them to respond after they view your Portfolio; what action (of course in your interest) do you want them to take?

STEP 2: Select your content.

Ask yourself:

· How consistent and coherent is my content? Have I described each project from inspiration to aspiration to designed outcome to production and distribution? If it is important to present yourself as a brand, how well does your selected content support your brand image?

· Does my content clearly show and demonstrate how I think and problem solve when designing jewelry? Have I identified the design challenges for each project, and how I solved them? Some design challenges might be time constraints, selecting materials, selecting techniques, availability of technologies and tools, consistency with fashion and style expectations.

· Does my text support my images, and vice versa?

· You do not want to settle for a laundry list of projects. You want a set of projects and their related content with which you can create a story.

STEP 3: Organize your content.

Does your organization reaffirm your communication and presentation skills? Have you made clear your style, process and design philosophy? Do the substance, look and feel support an image of you as a professional jewelry designer? Does your organization tell a story, with a beginning, middle, and end, and some takeaways or learnings? Does it have a good narrative flow?

You might organize by theme or color or technique or silhouette. You might organize by price point. You might organize by the context in or types of outfits with which the jewelry might be worn.

NOTE: Cognitively, it is much easier for the reader to digest 3 or 4 pieces of information at a time. So, you might group projects into collections of 3 or 4 pieces. For each piece, you might present 3 or 4 critical pieces of information. And so forth.

STEP 4: Design the cover.

This can be all image, all text, or a mix of image and text. How well does the cover coordinate with your jewelry and brand image?

STEP 5Evaluation.

Does anything seem too vague or incomplete? Are the words you use strong, active, sufficiently descriptive and powerful? Does the narrative flow make sense, or can it be improved?

Ask yourself and some of your designer friends whether your Portfolio, given your audience and how you want them to act in response, prove that you are the right fit.

Given your audience, what questions can you anticipate that you think they might ask you? Example, what was difficult? What might you do differently if doing the piece again? Why would someone want to buy this piece? What kinds of related designs have you considered?

Some Advice

· Layout doesn’t matter nearly as much as the content and how you present your work

· Include some photos which demonstrate the scale of your work and the wearability of your work

· For a gallery, retail venue, or agency, show the retail prices you believe your work should sell for. Don’t include dates. A buyer might wonder, given an earlier date, why the piece hadn’t sold.
For other audiences, you can decide whether or not to include either prices and/or dates. You might want to show your evolution and history as a jewelry designer.

· Keep images separated from text. Don’t interrupt a series of images about a particular piece with text. The viewer will have a visual journey that is a very different experience than a reading journey.

· Keep only 1–2 images per page.

· Make it easy for the viewer to know what you are showing them: detail name of piece, materials, size, technique, price.

· You might include several SOLD pieces, clearly marked as sold.

· Back up all your digital files!

· Unless asked to, I would suggest not sending images on 35mm slides.

· A vertical (portrait), rather than a horizontal (landscape), format will work best. If one of your pieces looks best presented horizontally, take that horizontal image and embed it on a vertical formatted page.

· Include a TITLE PAGE after your COVER. Acts as a visual transition to the images of your pieces. The Title Page should have the artist’s name and some kind of tag line or catchy informative heading.

· 8 ½ x 11” is always a good size, but you do not have to limit yourself to these dimensions.

· A white background will work well, but you do not have to limit yourself to white. Be sure your font colors will easily be seen when printed on a color other than white.

· Where using text, always have a HEADING LINE, which usually is a larger font, than the text you use in paragraphs.

· Start each piece on its own page. Usually, consistency in page/text/image formats from piece to piece will be more pleasing to the reader.

· Ideally, showing 20–30 pieces is a good goal. Depending on how you intend to use the Portfolio and who your audience is, you might present more pieces, but not less than 20.

· Create a BACK PAGE or BACK COVER. This might include a photo of yourself, some biographical information, and contact information.

_______________________________

Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft Video Tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.

Follow my articles on Medium.com.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Check out my Jewelry Making and Beadwork Kits.

Add your name to my email list.

_________________________________

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Saying Good-Bye! To Your Jewelry: A Rite Of Passage

The Jewelry Design Philosophy: Not Craft, Not Art, But Design

What Is Jewelry, Really?

The Jewelry Design Philosophy

Creativity: How Do You Get It? How Do You Enhance It?

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Becoming The Bead Artist and Jewelry Designer

5 Essential Questions Every Jewelry Designer Should Have An Answer For

Getting Started / Channeling Your Excitement

Getting Started / Developing Your Passion

Getting Started / Cultivating Your Practice

Becoming One With What Inspires You

Architectural Basics of Jewelry Design

Doubt / Self Doubt: Major Pitfalls For The Jewelry Designer

Techniques and Technologies: Knowing What To Do

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

Jewelry Making Materials: Knowing What To Do

Teaching Discplinary Literacy: Strategic Thinking In Jewelry Design

The Jewelry Designer’s Approach To Color

Point, Line, Plane, Shape, Form, Theme: Creating Something Out Of Nothing

The Jewelry Designer’s Path To Resonance

Jewelry Design Principles: Composing, Constructing, Manipulating

Jewelry Design Composition: Playing With Building Blocks Called Design Elements

Contemporary Jewelry Is Not A “Look” — It’s A Way Of Thinking

__________________________________

CONQUERING THE CREATIVE MARKETPLACE: Between the Fickleness of Business and the Pursuit of Design

This guidebook is a must-have for anyone serious about making money selling jewelry. I share with you the kinds of things it takes to start your own jewelry business, run it, anticipate risks and rewards, and lead it to a level of success you feel is right for you, including
Getting Started, Financial Management, Product Development, Marketing, Selling, Resiliency, Professional Responsibilities.

548pp.

KindlePrint

SO YOU WANT TO BE A JEWELRY DESIGNER
Merging Your Voice With Form

So You Want To Be A Jewelry Designer reinterprets how to apply techniques and modify art theories from the Jewelry Designer’s perspective. To go beyond craft, the jewelry designer needs to become literate in this discipline called Jewelry Design. Literacy means understanding how to answer the question: Why do some pieces of jewelry draw your attention, and others do not? How to develop the authentic, creative self, someone who is fluent, flexible and original. How to gain the necessary design skills and be able to apply them, whether the situation is familiar or not.

588pp, many images and diagrams Ebook , Kindle or Print formats

The Jewelry Journey Podcast
“Building Jewelry That Works: Why Jewelry Design Is Like Architecture”
Podcast, Part 1
Podcast, Part 2

PEARL KNOTTING…Warren’s Way
Easy. Simple. No tools. Anyone Can Do!

I developed a nontraditional technique which does not use tools because I found tools get in the way of tying good and well-positioned knots. I decided to bring two cords through the bead to minimize any negative effects resulting from the pearl rotating around the cord. I only have you glue one knot in the piece. I use a simple overhand knot which is easily centered. I developed a rule for choosing the thickness of your bead cord. I lay out different steps for starting and ending a piece, based on how you want to attach the piece to your clasp assembly.

184pp, many images and diagrams EbookKindle or Print

SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFT SHOWS

16 Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows

In this book, I discuss 16 lessons I learned, Including How To (1) Find, Evaluate and Select Craft Shows Right for You, (2) Determine a Set of Realistic Goals, (3) Compute a Simple Break-Even Analysis, (4) Develop Your Applications and Apply in the Smartest Ways, (5) Understand How Much Inventory to Bring, (6) Set Up and Present Both Yourself and Your Wares, (7) Best Promote and Operate Your Craft Show Business before, during and after the show.

198pp, many images and diagrams, Ebook, , Kindle or Print

___________________________________________

Posted in architecture, Art or Craft?, art theory, bead weaving, beads, beadwork, business of craft, craft shows, creativity, design management, design theory, design thinking, Entrepreneurship, jewelry collecting, jewelry design, jewelry making, Learn To Bead, pearl knotting, professional development, Stitch 'n Bitch, wire and metal | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

CONQUERING THE CREATIVE MARKETPLACE: Smart Advice When Writing Your Artist Statement

Posted by learntobead on January 19, 2023

PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES:
Artist Statement

Guiding Questions?
1. What is an Artist Statement?
2. How do I write one?

Your Artist Statement

Simply, your Artist Statement is a description of you, your work and your design philosophy. It is usually 1–2 pages, with the first 3 sentences able to stand on their own and substitute for the longer version. Note: some applications will set a 200–250 word limit.

Your design philosophy is all about how you think through the designing process. You make choices about materials, techniques, styles, silhouettes, colors, patterns, construction. You anticipate the kinds of customers who will wear and purchase your pieces. What are all these choices? Explain what you think about when making these kinds of choices. How does making these kinds of choices lead to pieces which are appealing, wearable, collectible, situationally appropriate, whatever?

When writing your Artist Statement, you do not want to follow anyone’s template. This won’t serve you well. In reality, too many Artist Statements sound the same.

Make the Statement deeply personal. You want the Statement to feel like you are speaking to a client, but maintaining a professional tone of voice. Visually, you want the look to be comparable in relation to your brand identity.

You share your Artist Statement with venues in which you want to sell your jewelry, such as a boutique or gallery. You share it with sales reps and agencies. You share it with your customers and collectors. You share it with the press. You share it in print. You share it online. It can be written from the first person (that is you) or the third person (referring to you).

Your Artist Statement tells your audience who you are, what is significant about your work, your methods and techniques.

As with most things in business, you will probably want to have more than one version of your Artist Statement — one for galleries, one for stores, one for the press, and one for submissions to juried contests, competitions, shows and other venues.

Topics which might be included and get you thinking:

1. How you got started

2. Your inspiration(s)

3. Your design approach and process and philosophy

4. The challenges you face as a designer

5. Artistic influences

6. How people understand you and your work

7. What about you and your jewelry makes you stand out from the crowd

8. The materials you use

9. The techniques and technologies you use

10.What makes your jewelry a collection?

Start by thinking about these topics, and make a long list of keywords that you free-associate with these topics.

If you have difficulty thinking of keywords, write down 5 questions you would like an interviewer or reporter to ask you about yourself as a designer and about your work.

KEYWORDS (generate at least 25–30)

Next, organize these key words into 2–3 sentences.

2–3 Opening Sentences

Next, elaborate on each thought, perhaps over 1–2 written pages.

Last, edit. Remove cliches, any jargon, repetitions, and tangents which do not fit or flow.

Strengthen weakly sounding adjectives and adverbs. Your words should be descriptive, visual, active, colorful, powerful.

Can anything be re-written or expanded up to help your audience even better understand you and your work?

Keep things focused, consistent and coherent.

You want to avoid using words like unique or best or other superlatives.

If your work is very varied, do not try to encompass everything with one particular Artist Statement.

Expect to have to generate multiple drafts before you settle on a finished Statement.

Periodically, review your Artist Statement and revise it to reflect what is currently happening in your artistic life.

_______________________________

Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft Video Tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.

Follow my articles on Medium.com.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Check out my Jewelry Making and Beadwork Kits.

Add your name to my email list.

_________________________________

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Saying Good-Bye! To Your Jewelry: A Rite Of Passage

The Jewelry Design Philosophy: Not Craft, Not Art, But Design

What Is Jewelry, Really?

The Jewelry Design Philosophy

Creativity: How Do You Get It? How Do You Enhance It?

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Becoming The Bead Artist and Jewelry Designer

5 Essential Questions Every Jewelry Designer Should Have An Answer For

Getting Started / Channeling Your Excitement

Getting Started / Developing Your Passion

Getting Started / Cultivating Your Practice

Becoming One With What Inspires You

Architectural Basics of Jewelry Design

Doubt / Self Doubt: Major Pitfalls For The Jewelry Designer

Techniques and Technologies: Knowing What To Do

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

Jewelry Making Materials: Knowing What To Do

Teaching Discplinary Literacy: Strategic Thinking In Jewelry Design

The Jewelry Designer’s Approach To Color

Point, Line, Plane, Shape, Form, Theme: Creating Something Out Of Nothing

The Jewelry Designer’s Path To Resonance

Jewelry Design Principles: Composing, Constructing, Manipulating

Jewelry Design Composition: Playing With Building Blocks Called Design Elements

Contemporary Jewelry Is Not A “Look” — It’s A Way Of Thinking

__________________________________

CONQUERING THE CREATIVE MARKETPLACE: Between the Fickleness of Business and the Pursuit of Design

This guidebook is a must-have for anyone serious about making money selling jewelry. I share with you the kinds of things it takes to start your own jewelry business, run it, anticipate risks and rewards, and lead it to a level of success you feel is right for you, including
Getting Started, Financial Management, Product Development, Marketing, Selling, Resiliency, Professional Responsibilities.

548pp.

KindlePrint

SO YOU WANT TO BE A JEWELRY DESIGNER
Merging Your Voice With Form

So You Want To Be A Jewelry Designer reinterprets how to apply techniques and modify art theories from the Jewelry Designer’s perspective. To go beyond craft, the jewelry designer needs to become literate in this discipline called Jewelry Design. Literacy means understanding how to answer the question: Why do some pieces of jewelry draw your attention, and others do not? How to develop the authentic, creative self, someone who is fluent, flexible and original. How to gain the necessary design skills and be able to apply them, whether the situation is familiar or not.

588pp, many images and diagrams Ebook , Kindle or Print formats

The Jewelry Journey Podcast
“Building Jewelry That Works: Why Jewelry Design Is Like Architecture”
Podcast, Part 1
Podcast, Part 2

PEARL KNOTTING…Warren’s Way
Easy. Simple. No tools. Anyone Can Do!

I developed a nontraditional technique which does not use tools because I found tools get in the way of tying good and well-positioned knots. I decided to bring two cords through the bead to minimize any negative effects resulting from the pearl rotating around the cord. I only have you glue one knot in the piece. I use a simple overhand knot which is easily centered. I developed a rule for choosing the thickness of your bead cord. I lay out different steps for starting and ending a piece, based on how you want to attach the piece to your clasp assembly.

184pp, many images and diagrams EbookKindle or Print

SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFT SHOWS

16 Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows

In this book, I discuss 16 lessons I learned, Including How To (1) Find, Evaluate and Select Craft Shows Right for You, (2) Determine a Set of Realistic Goals, (3) Compute a Simple Break-Even Analysis, (4) Develop Your Applications and Apply in the Smartest Ways, (5) Understand How Much Inventory to Bring, (6) Set Up and Present Both Yourself and Your Wares, (7) Best Promote and Operate Your Craft Show Business before, during and after the show.

198pp, many images and diagrams, Ebook, , Kindle or Print

___________________________________________

Posted in architecture, Art or Craft?, art theory, bead weaving, beads, beadwork, business of craft, color, Contests, craft shows, creativity, design management, design theory, design thinking, Entrepreneurship, jewelry collecting, jewelry design, jewelry making, Learn To Bead, pearl knotting, professional development, Stitch 'n Bitch, wire and metal | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Selling Your Jewelry In Galleries: Some Strategic Pointers

Posted by learntobead on October 1, 2022

About Working With Galleries

Typically, an art gallery is a small business which exhibits and sells art. Galleries attract different kinds of clientele. Some people who purchase art might want to have something to hang in their home or business. Others would be considered art enthusiasts and collectors. They purchase art as investments. The profits the gallery takes in need to be sufficient to cover the cost to run the business, and have money left over to live on and play with.

The gallery owner, in effect, curates what is shown. The gallery will want to have some variety, but also some consistency in what is shown. Galleries tend to have reputations around what they specialize in. The gallery owner is typically very knowledgeable about art and how art connects with the current culture. Many galleries are biased against jewelry because jewelry is not understood universally as an art form. When you research galleries, you will want to document which ones would be more amenable to carry your jewelry pieces.

Most galleries have physical store spaces, but with a website presence. There are also digital galleries and online sales platforms. Some are open to all artists; some specialize in gallery shop membership. There are auction houses both physical and online. Also places like Amazon and Ebay have fine art and collectibles sections. Most sales are conducted in physical spaces, but more and more online.

Before you approach any gallery, be sure you have answered two important questions up front:

1. Does your work and your needs fit the gallery? Do some research. Look at the lines represented, the artists represented, how things are organized. Contact some of those artists and ask about their experiences with the gallery and how exhibiting there works for them.

2. What benefit(s) does your work offer the gallery, in other words, why should they represent you? It is important to establish and define your professional relationship with the gallery. Determine what the gallery needs from you to make things work out for both of you.

When you work is represented by a gallery, regular communication is important. Be on time with deadlines and materials needed. In a big sense, your relationship is a collaboration.

Gallery representation will increase your reputation, credibility and legitimacy. It will lead to you getting higher prices for your work. It will increase your visibility. It will enhance your brand.

Your Goals

The gallery needs to represent and promote you when you are not around. They will need to know a lot about you, and feel good about you as a designer and as a person.

That means your goals will be to:

· Research galleries which are a good fit between you, your jewelry, and their clients.

· Research artists/designers they represent and visit their websites; make note of their selection, styles, pricing and possible pricing formula they might have used.

· Create a strategy for presenting yourself and your work.

· Make your pitch to the gallery.

· Place your jewelry in a gallery for sale, priced so that you receive a good return.

· Create a collaborative relationship with the gallery owner around how best to serve the gallery’s clientele and collector base.

· Maintain good and frequent communication.

· Create jewelry for the gallery which has a high degree of consistency and coherency with you as a designer and the brand you are promoting.

· Have a high enough level of productivity so that the gallery can be confident you will always have enough jewelry (usually 30–35 pieces available at any one time) for them to sell, particularly if they want to replace pieces which have sold.

First, A Self-Assessment:
Is Selling In A Gallery Right For You?

Step back for awhile and answer these kinds of questions about you as a designer and your work. Be honest with yourself.

1. Is your jewelry consistent and cohesive? Have you developed a distinctive designer style and is this consistently reflected in the jewelry you want to place in a gallery?

2. Is your jewelry made of quality materials?

3. Have you implemented the best standards of technique, technology and craftsmanship?

4. Are your pieces appropriately finished from end to end?

5. How marketable are your pieces? Which are most marketable?

6. How should you refer to your jewelry style and aesthetic in marketing when talking with galleries and collectors? What labels would you give these? How accessible are these labels to galleries and collectors?

7. Where should you concentrate your efforts to find galleries and promote your jewelry to them?

8. Would your pieces fit in the highest-quality surroundings?

9. Are your presentation materials — portfolio, artist statement, business card, jewelry displays — professional and engaging?

Do this simple exercise. Imagine who the typical collector of a particular gallery might be. How does your jewelry look through their eyes? What would the collector think and feel and see when trying on a piece of your jewelry? What are their needs and desires, and how does your jewelry help them to meet these?

Make a good list of anything you can do to improve.

Also, you might get an objective opinion, say from another jewelry designer, or even a gallery representative. What kinds of things do they see which could enhance the appearance and marketability of your work?

Build Consistency Into Your Work

Consistent work makes it easier for the gallery owner to represent, market and sell your work. It makes it easier for the collector to connect with your body of work and purchase it. Consistency means that your jewelry is immediately recognized as designed by you.

Consistency can mean many things. If you are consistent on 3 or 4 factors listed below, then you have some wiggle room with the others.

Consistency can be conveyed by:

· Color, pattern, texture

· Use of point, line, plane and/or shape

· Theme

· Forms

· Rhythm, balance, volume, size/shape distribution

· Medium

· Materials

· Techniques and technologies

· References to history, time, place, situation, culture

· How your pieces are finished off

· Signature elements, like a certain bead or tag, included with your pieces

· Comfort, movement, drape and flow

· Predominant silhouettes

· How your pieces feel and look when draped on the body

· Size adjustability

· Selection of clasp and design of clasp assembly

· Display and presentation

Getting Your Portfolio and Presentation In Order

You will be bringing several pieces of information with you when making your pitch, whether in person, through email or online. At the lease, these will include an Artist Statement, a Portfolio, and a business card or resume or biographical profile, and sample pieces and or images.

Some pointers:

1. Everything should be well organized and reaffirm your designer style and brand

2. You should have very clear images of your pieces; in a few of your pictures you want to demonstrate the scale of your pieces, such as sitting them next to a recognizable object or being worn on the body or laying on your work bench as you construct it

3. You want to have up-to-date information about pricing and sold works

4. In your portfolio, you may want to include current prices, but you also may want to leave off dates; track the dates for yourself in other records not to be shared with the gallery; always refer to your prices in retail values, not wholesale

5. Your pricing strategy should be consistent from piece to piece; it should be based on both the cost of creating a piece as well as your current brand value; it should be based on a simple formula that can be explained to others.

6. The images in your portfolio should represent you as a jewelry designer today

7. If visiting in person, you want to always have samples of your work with you. The samples should be representative of the kinds of things you would want to place in this gallery.

Have A Clear Image About The Typical Buyer Of Your Work

You should be keeping good records of your buyers.

Who are they?

· Average age

· From particular neighborhood, city, area

· Buying for a business or for personal

· Situations in which they wear your jewelry

· Price points they favor

· Income / wealth

· Married / single

· Male / female

Why would your buyer come to a gallery rather than another setting to purchase jewelry?

Why would they come to this particular gallery you are targeting?

Some Notes About Pricing

Use a formula. Keep it simple and explainable.

Don’t undersell your piece. You need to make a profit.

Don’t underprice your piece. This disvalues it.

Keep your prices competitive with those of other designers you are competing with.

In a gallery setting, you want national or international prices. If you live in a lower cost locale, you do not want to base your prices on their expectations.

Don’t overprice. You won’t get repeat business that way. Keep your prices competitive.

Review your pricing regularly.

As you make more and more sales, adjust your prices upward for all your pieces accordingly.

It is better to suggest pricing to the gallery owner rather than ask their opinion of what prices to set. In this way, you come across as a more established, experienced designer. Depending too much on the gallery owner to set prices might make you come off as a novice with unproven market value.

Finding Target Galleries

Do online searches. Ask other jewelry designers.

Begin with galleries that are nearby to you. Do not limit yourself to the most prominent galleries. If at all possible, visit each gallery in person.

You want to answer for yourself these kinds of questions:

· Is the location good, bad or indifferent?

· Are the staff friendly and approachable?

· Are the staff knowledgeable about the pieces in the gallery?

· Do I like the way the pieces are displayed and labeled?

· Would the gallery be a good fit for my work?

· Does your work fall out of the general pricing of other jewelry in the gallery?

Making The Pitch

You can make your pitch by email, phone, online, or in-person. In-person is the best, if possibleCreating a personal connection with a gallery will make them more likely to want to work with you. Getting recommended to the gallery by an artist, designer or collector can often open doors for you.

Emailing:

Start your emails by asking them if they are currently seeking new jewelry designers.

In your first email, do not include attachments. This makes it too easy for them to reject you. Instead, use this first email opportunity to establish a personal connection. If you get a positive response, follow-through with attached documents.

Galleries can be overwhelmed with emails, so this is probably your weakest strategy for contact. It is easy for the gallery to send a thanks-but-no-thanks form letter in response to an email.

Online Submission Through Their Website

The gallery will present you with guidelines and a form to fill out. This helps them weed out designers who might not be a good fit. This helps the gallery discourage designers from approaching them. It may get you some attention, but do not depend on this approach.

In-Person:

Make sure ahead of time that the gallery is a good fit for your work. Otherwise this will be a waste of time.

If feasible, you might shoe-horn yourself into their operations. Be around. Visit the gallery. Attend their openings. Strike up conversations. Talk to the designers they represent. Ask them how they came to be represented by the gallery. Talk to the clients walking around the gallery and looking at the pieces, particularly the jewelry. Ask them what they particularly like about the jewelry they are viewing. Casually mention you are a jewelry designer looking for galleries in which to place your work. Don’t be sales’y. Perhaps email them after a visit thanking them for the showing or giving your take-aways about the show.

If cold calling or making a specific appointment, be sure your portfolio and presentation are in order. Make the talk very conversational. Try to elicit things which connect you and your experiences to those of the gallery owner. Be prepared with several questions. Also ask the gallery owner for feedback on your work and on your presentation.

NOTE: It is easier for the gallery to reject you if you try to make an appointment by phone, and more difficult to ignore you if you cold call.

Hand the gallery owner your portfolio. Give them space to review it. Don’t do a running commentary as they page through this.

Always make eye contact. Don’t be shy. Don’t look away or look down when you are speaking with someone. Use their first name and repeat it during your conversation.

The gallery owner, if interested in your work, will ask you a series of questions. Always be upbeat in your answers. Keep your answers short and to the point. Often the style of how you answer will be just as important as the content of your answer.

Depending on where your target galleries are, you most likely will be making your pitch in all these different ways. So your materials have to be adaptable — file structure, size, both digital and print files.

One thing the gallery, if representing you, will want to do is tell your story over and over again. Part of your pitch will be some subtle introductory training of them towards this end. Your story should be easy to understand and easy to repeat.

Emphasize the consistency in your work.

Show how your work will fit with other designers the gallery represents, yet at the same time offer something different and special. Tell them how your work can be distinguished from your competition.

Demonstrate your in-depth knowledge of their clientele and their needs and desires. Explain how your jewelry will meet their needs and desires.

Demonstrate that you are serious about your work, and are always striving to improve your technique and further hone your style.

Even if you get a positive reaction to your work at one gallery, do not stop approaching other galleries until you have a firm offer.

Be persistent.

After each interaction, send a thank you note.

Now Your Work Is In A Gallery
What Do You Do Next?

Maintain frequent communication with the gallery.

Keep the gallery informed of your new work. New work often sells best.

If your pieces are in more than one gallery, rotate them from gallery to gallery.

If you have ideas for the gallery, such as changes in displays, offer them as suggestions, not demands.

Frequent thank you notes are a good strategy.

If your pieces are getting a lot of positive responses, you might ask the gallery owner to do a show or special event for you and your work.

Ask the gallery for a letter of recommendation. The gallery owner should mention how great you are to work with, how buyers appreciate your work, and how sales of your pieces have done for them.

____________________

FOOTNOTES

Denter, Carlin. Between Commerce and Art. About Galleries and Market. Art Jewelry Forum, 01/29/2019.

Horejs, Jason. A Post For Gallery Owners | How To Work Successfully With Artists. RedDotBlog, 10/4/2021.

Horejs, Jason. “Starving” To Successful. The Artist’s Guide to Getting Into Galleries and Selling More Art.

Volpe, Christopher. How To Get Into Galleries.

_______________________________

Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft Video Tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.

Follow my articles on Medium.com.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Check out my Jewelry Making and Beadwork Kits.

Add your name to my email list.

_________________________________

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Saying Good-Bye! To Your Jewelry: A Rite Of Passage

The Jewelry Design Philosophy: Not Craft, Not Art, But Design

What Is Jewelry, Really?

The Jewelry Design Philosophy

Creativity: How Do You Get It? How Do You Enhance It?

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Becoming The Bead Artist and Jewelry Designer

5 Essential Questions Every Jewelry Designer Should Have An Answer For

Getting Started / Channeling Your Excitement

Getting Started / Developing Your Passion

Getting Started / Cultivating Your Practice

Becoming One With What Inspires You

Architectural Basics of Jewelry Design

Doubt / Self Doubt: Major Pitfalls For The Jewelry Designer

Techniques and Technologies: Knowing What To Do

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

Jewelry Making Materials: Knowing What To Do

Teaching Discplinary Literacy: Strategic Thinking In Jewelry Design

The Jewelry Designer’s Approach To Color

Point, Line, Plane, Shape, Form, Theme: Creating Something Out Of Nothing

The Jewelry Designer’s Path To Resonance

Jewelry Design Principles: Composing, Constructing, Manipulating

Jewelry Design Composition: Playing With Building Blocks Called Design Elements

Contemporary Jewelry Is Not A “Look” — It’s A Way Of Thinking

__________________________________

SO YOU WANT TO BE A JEWELRY DESIGNER
Merging Your Voice With Form

588pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

“Building Jewelry That Works: Why Jewelry Design Is Like Architecture”
Podcast, Part 1
Podcast, Part 2

PEARL KNOTTING…Warren’s Way
Easy. Simple. No tools. Anyone Can Do!

184pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFT SHOWS

16 Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows

198pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

___________________________________________

Posted in architecture, Art or Craft?, art theory, bead weaving, beads, beadwork, business of craft, craft shows, design management, design theory, design thinking, Entrepreneurship, jewelry collecting, jewelry design, jewelry making, Learn To Bead, pearl knotting, professional development, wire and metal | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Visit To Jewelry Artisans, Galleries and Bead Shops in Barcelona, Spain

Posted by learntobead on July 28, 2022

Before the pandemic, I was trying to arrange some Enrichment Travel tours. One was to Rome. This was part of the itinerary. If any group wants me to lead a Jewelry Discovery Tour to Rome or elsewhere, I would be happy to talk with you about this.

BARCELONA

1. BEAD STORE SHOPPING

There are about 11 bead shops very close to each other on Carrer del Call / Carrer de la Boqueria off the Rambla in the Gothic Quarter (Barri Gotic). Most of these stores specialize in gemstone beads, and some of these stores specialize in jewelry findings and stringing materials. Some have finished jewelry. Most allow retail sales, some are primarily wholesale, where I would use my wholesale license. (3 hour walking tour; less than 1 mile; begin at 3pm (any day except Monday or Sunday) when these shops are most likely to be open)

BARCELONA 2. ART JEWELRY GALLERY TOUR

Visit prominent art jewelry galleries in Barcelona, including those shown below. About 5 hours with lunch break. Need bus. About 6 miles between furthest points.

A. Masriera Gallery
Passeig de Gracia, 41) (hours mon-sat, 10am-8:00pm)(

The Bagués dynasty has bejeweled Barcelonians since 1839. While they stock much that glitters, the Lluís Masriera line of original Art Nouveau pieces is truly unique; intricate flying nymphs, lifelike golden insects, and other easily recognizable motifs from the period take on a new depth of beauty when executed in the translucent enameling process that Masriera himself developed.

B. Klimt02 SL Gallery (Carrer de la Riera de Sant Miguel, 65) (Hours Tues-Fri, 5–8pm)

The gallery show in Barcelona the work of the best international jewelry artists; as well as showing it to the international community, thanks to our gallery website. Avant garde artists. It is owned by Amador Bertomeu and Leo Caballero and has become an influential and informative source of information for everyone interested in contemporary jewelry.

warren@warrenfeldjewelry.com
www.warrenfeldjewelry.com

_______________________________

Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft Video Tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.

Follow my articles on Medium.com.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Check out my Jewelry Making and Beadwork Kits.

Add your name to my email list.

_________________________________

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Saying Good-Bye! To Your Jewelry: A Rite Of Passage

The Jewelry Design Philosophy: Not Craft, Not Art, But Design

What Is Jewelry, Really?

The Jewelry Design Philosophy

Creativity: How Do You Get It? How Do You Enhance It?

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Becoming The Bead Artist and Jewelry Designer

5 Essential Questions Every Jewelry Designer Should Have An Answer For

Getting Started / Channeling Your Excitement

Getting Started / Developing Your Passion

Getting Started / Cultivating Your Practice

Becoming One With What Inspires You

Architectural Basics of Jewelry Design

Doubt / Self Doubt: Major Pitfalls For The Jewelry Designer

Techniques and Technologies: Knowing What To Do

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

Jewelry Making Materials: Knowing What To Do

Teaching Discplinary Literacy: Strategic Thinking In Jewelry Design

The Jewelry Designer’s Approach To Color

Point, Line, Plane, Shape, Form, Theme: Creating Something Out Of Nothing

The Jewelry Designer’s Path To Resonance

Jewelry Design Principles: Composing, Constructing, Manipulating

Jewelry Design Composition: Playing With Building Blocks Called Design Elements

Contemporary Jewelry Is Not A “Look” — It’s A Way Of Thinking

__________________________________

SO YOU WANT TO BE A JEWELRY DESIGNER
Merging Your Voice With Form

588pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

PEARL KNOTTING…Warren’s Way
Easy. Simple. No tools. Anyone Can Do!

184pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFT SHOWS

16 Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows

198pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

___________________________________________

Posted in Art or Craft?, bead weaving, beads, beadwork, craft shows, creativity, cruises, enrichment travel, jewelry collecting, jewelry design, Travel Opportunities | Leave a Comment »

Is Beaded Jewelry Art? If The Critics Say It’s Not … What Does That Say About Me?

Posted by learntobead on July 28, 2022

The other day, I looked up some quotes that Art Critics and Art Theorists have had to say about beaded jewelry and jewelry artists. What do you think?

(1)

“Anything done with beads is not art.”

Here the art critic equates “beads/beadwork” with the canvas of a painting, and not the painting itself. To the critic, beads are merely decoration. In this point of view, it is impossible to use beads in any way so that the finished project would be seen as art.

(2)

“Beading speaks for that branch of culture which is too homey, too functional, too archaic, for the name of ‘art’ to extend to it.”

To this reviewer, art is associated with clarity of choice and purpose, a sense of presence, and the evoking of an emotional response (or unleashing psychological content). To this reviewer, these kinds of things are not associated with beadwork and jewelry. In fact, to this reviewer, they can never be. Thus, beadwork and jewelry are not “art.”

(3)

“Beading as Art Brut — The work of children, asylum patients, and others untouched by artistic culture.”

My local paper in Nashville — The Tennessean — refuses to cover anything that is not fine art in their art pages. Many galleries and museums refuse to display bead art, often justifying this by saying there is no audience for bead art.

(4)

“Objects may only be valued as ‘art’ if they have a link to the academic setting.”

Many galleries and art critics only recognize the art of those artists with formal credentials. The reputation of the schooling of the artist is directly related to the judged “artistic” value of their work. However, there really are very few academic programs in beading/jewelry making. These are mostly involved with technical training, rather than theory and investigation. There are no professional journals where ideas and theories are proposed, discussed, tested and proven. In this model, beaders/jewelry makers stand little chance of getting judged as true artists.

(5)

“An object is ‘art’ if someone is willing to pay for it as ‘art’.”

In this sense, making a distinction between craft and art, or trying to blur the distinction between craft and art, becomes irrelevant. Within this definition, a lot of what gets sold as beadwork and jewelry, which many people would not value as ‘art’, will get included within the concept. When a piece of jewelry can get labeled as ‘art’, and retain this label, it becomes more valuable. It can sell for more. More people will indicate that it is good, rather than not good. It (and the artist) have more power.

(6)

“There’s nothing conceptual about jewelry. It’s mere hedonism.”

Jewelry is seen as visual spectacle. There are no self-reflective qualities to jewelry. There is no artist’ hand involved in its creation.

It seems that the more beadwork mimics painting or sculputre, the more it gets acceptable as ‘art’. A beaded tapestry or a beaded art doll is much more readily accepted as art, than jewelry.

(7)

“The object is ‘art’ if the object shows the artist’s process of conceptualization in its final form.”

Somehow, we must be able to recognize how the artist conceived of the piece, and how the artist implemented his/her conceptions. How did the artist tewst the limits of the materials — in this case, beads? How did the artist exploit the possibilities through the use of beads? How did the artist compose and design the piece?

Within this framework, all the parts of the jewelry — the center piece, the fringe, the strap, the bail, the surface embellishment — are critical to the appreciation of the jewelry as an object of art. Each of these elements of the piece of jewelry require the artist to exploit the possibilities of the material — the beads. Only with this fuller understanding of the piece in its entirety than Classical Art Theory would allow, can the artist, through the jewelry, create something where the whole is more than the sum of its parts. And this, then, is jewelry as art. In Classical Art Theory, the strap, fringe, bail would have to be seen to be subservient to the centerpiece.

Should I Still Call Myself An Artist…
…If The Critics Say I’m Not?

Classical Art Theory is often at odds with my self-image as a jewelry artist and designer. It often denies the very essence of my artistic being, relegating what I do to some secondary status. Who is more right, I often ask myself.

Classical Art Theory holds that if, when talking about a piece, you talk or focus to much on ‘technique’, your piece is not Art. It’s Craft.

Craft is seen as having nothing to do with aesthetics. It is merely a creative engagement with materials.

With paint, the technique to apply it, is seen as virtually irrelevant. What matters with painting is what it says, not how it was made.

If the sense of ‘technique’ supersedes an object of art’s ‘statement’, then the art is really craft, thus a failure… and an embarrassment. Craft is an affront to art.

Art is exploring the expressive qualities of the medium, stoking the imagination of its audience. In fact, crafters supposedly do not play to an audience; art does.

Art critics would want us to talk about beadwork or jewelry making without speaking about technique. With a minimal reference to functionality. With a focus on the central part of the piece, not its strap or fringe or other noncentral embellishment. Apart from our audience as they are wearing our pieces.

The prominence of these are critics and their ideas and beliefs are some of the key reasons people are more willing to pay $5,000 for a painting, but not for most beadwork. They are why these critics see something special about the artist, but nothing special after the craftsperson. There is the pernicious assumption that the jewelry maker does not have to exercise judgment, does not have to worry about presentation, does not need to bring a high level of care and dexterity to the project, uses technique but not really skill, and does not need to take many risks.

Of course, I don’t buy into any of these Classical Art Critics and what they have to say. I know I am an artist. I know my pieces should be judged as a whole, and judged as the pieces are worn.

It is the process of linking the technique to the materials that is “art.” A successful process of jewelry making and design requires an understanding of the intrinsic values of the materials. It requires an understanding of how to manipulate the materials to elicit a positive response from others. It is expressive, intuitive and evokes emotions. The critical focus is not on the techniques. The critical focus in on the linking of technique and material to create something that others emotionally interact with.

_______________________________

Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft Video Tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.

Follow my articles on Medium.com.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Check out my Jewelry Making and Beadwork Kits.

Add your name to my email list.

_________________________________

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Saying Good-Bye! To Your Jewelry: A Rite Of Passage

The Jewelry Design Philosophy: Not Craft, Not Art, But Design

What Is Jewelry, Really?

The Jewelry Design Philosophy

Creativity: How Do You Get It? How Do You Enhance It?

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Becoming The Bead Artist and Jewelry Designer

5 Essential Questions Every Jewelry Designer Should Have An Answer For

Getting Started / Channeling Your Excitement

Getting Started / Developing Your Passion

Getting Started / Cultivating Your Practice

Becoming One With What Inspires You

Architectural Basics of Jewelry Design

Doubt / Self Doubt: Major Pitfalls For The Jewelry Designer

Techniques and Technologies: Knowing What To Do

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

Jewelry Making Materials: Knowing What To Do

Teaching Discplinary Literacy: Strategic Thinking In Jewelry Design

The Jewelry Designer’s Approach To Color

Point, Line, Plane, Shape, Form, Theme: Creating Something Out Of Nothing

The Jewelry Designer’s Path To Resonance

Jewelry Design Principles: Composing, Constructing, Manipulating

Jewelry Design Composition: Playing With Building Blocks Called Design Elements

Contemporary Jewelry Is Not A “Look” — It’s A Way Of Thinking

__________________________________

SO YOU WANT TO BE A JEWELRY DESIGNER
Merging Your Voice With Form

588pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

PEARL KNOTTING…Warren’s Way
Easy. Simple. No tools. Anyone Can Do!

184pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFT SHOWS

16 Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows

198pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

___________________________________________

Posted in Art or Craft?, art theory, bead weaving, beads, beadwork, creativity, design management, design theory, design thinking, jewelry collecting, jewelry design, jewelry making, Learn To Bead, pearl knotting, professional development, wire and metal | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Coming Out As A Jewelry Artist

Posted by learntobead on July 28, 2022

At what point did I first begin to call myself a Jewelry Artist?

Coming out as a jewelry artist is similar, though not exactly the same, as someone coming out as gay. It is fraught with fear and dread. It means very visibly presenting yourself with a new public identity. It means preparing your ego to receive some negative comments, critiques, reviews, perhaps doubt or disbelief, and in some rarer instances, rejection or denial. It means asking others to accept and support you in your new role as Jewelry Designer.

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

There is some hesitation. “I am a jewelry designer.” Can’t quite get the words out.

“I am a jewelry designer.” But I wasn’t trained and educated to be one. It was not my original passion, though I am passionate about it now.

“I am a jewelry designer.” Keep wanting to say “but” or add some qualification, so other people don’t say, with mocking and astonishment, “You’re a what?!@#$” “Can you make a living at that?”

“I am a jewelry designer,” you whisper to yourself over and over, but don’t tell anyone else.

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

After multiple levels of transition, I realize that the only thing that would diminish me as a jewelry artist is if I turned my back on it.

_______________________________

Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft Video Tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.

Follow my articles on Medium.com.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Check out my Jewelry Making and Beadwork Kits.

Add your name to my email list.

_________________________________

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Saying Good-Bye! To Your Jewelry: A Rite Of Passage

The Jewelry Design Philosophy: Not Craft, Not Art, But Design

What Is Jewelry, Really?

The Jewelry Design Philosophy

Creativity: How Do You Get It? How Do You Enhance It?

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Becoming The Bead Artist and Jewelry Designer

5 Essential Questions Every Jewelry Designer Should Have An Answer For

Getting Started / Channeling Your Excitement

Getting Started / Developing Your Passion

Getting Started / Cultivating Your Practice

Becoming One With What Inspires You

Architectural Basics of Jewelry Design

Doubt / Self Doubt: Major Pitfalls For The Jewelry Designer

Techniques and Technologies: Knowing What To Do

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

Jewelry Making Materials: Knowing What To Do

Teaching Discplinary Literacy: Strategic Thinking In Jewelry Design

The Jewelry Designer’s Approach To Color

Point, Line, Plane, Shape, Form, Theme: Creating Something Out Of Nothing

The Jewelry Designer’s Path To Resonance

Jewelry Design Principles: Composing, Constructing, Manipulating

Jewelry Design Composition: Playing With Building Blocks Called Design Elements

Contemporary Jewelry Is Not A “Look” — It’s A Way Of Thinking

__________________________________

SO YOU WANT TO BE A JEWELRY DESIGNER
Merging Your Voice With Form

588pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

PEARL KNOTTING…Warren’s Way
Easy. Simple. No tools. Anyone Can Do!

184pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFT SHOWS

16 Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows

198pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

___________________________________________

Posted in Art or Craft?, art theory, bead weaving, beads, beadwork, craft shows, creativity, design management, design theory, design thinking, jewelry collecting, jewelry design, jewelry making, Learn To Bead, pearl knotting, professional development, wire and metal | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Visiting Jewelry Artisans Studios and Shops in Istanbul, Turkey

Posted by learntobead on July 20, 2022

Before the pandemic, I was trying to arrange some Enrichment Travel tours. One was to Rome. This was part of the itinerary. If any group wants me to lead a Jewelry Discovery Tour to Rome or elsewhere, I would be happy to talk with you about this. — Warren@warrenfeldjewelry.com

Some favorite sites and studios in Instanbul:1. Topkapi Museum, Treasury Section Guided Tour

Once the palace of the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire, Topkapi is a vast treasury of Islamic culture, jewelry, costumes, science and weaponry. This tour is of the Treasury section (7 Halls of Exhibits) of the Topkapi Palace Museum (3rd courtyard) where you will find masterpieces of Turkish art of jewelry from different centuries and exquisite creations from the Far East, India and Europe.(2 hours guided tour of Treasury Section; 1–2 hours free time for guests to wander other parts of museum on their own.)
Open every day except Tues, 9am-4:45pm (til 6:45 in april- october)
2015: most of Treasury Section is under restoration and is closed; check back for when work is finished)

WALKING TOUR OF ARTISAN JEWELRY GALLERIES IN NISANTASI / TESVIKIYE AREA
Nisantasi / Tesvikiye is one of the best shopping districts of Istanbul. It contains designer label stores, very nice restaurants and cafes, a beautiful mall, and a few outstanding hotels. It is home to several galleries showcasing the best of Turkish jewelry artists and artisan jewelry. The store hours in this district are typically 11–7pm Tuesday through Saturday. Need to verify Monday and Sunday hours.

  1. Urart (abdi ipekci Cad. 18/1)

One of Turkey’s most established jewelry companies, Urart makes re-creations, and also chic interpretations, of ancient Anatolian designs and motifs, Hittite symbols of noblesse and glory, the arabesques of Islamic art speaking to the infinity, Seljuk tiles echoing the dreams of the Silk Road or fluid objects of modern life… Design commits to matter, not only the striking form but also the wisdom that abides at the heart of a culture.

2. Fenix (abdi ipekci Cad, Deniz Apt No: 20 D:4)

Fenix aims to bring the beautiful creations of Turkish jewelry brands such as Tohum and Alosh to the enthused consumer.

3. Zeynep Erol Taki Tasarim (Atiye Sok, Yuva Apt No: 8 D:3)

İn her first years, Zeynep Erol was mainly inspired by nature and created forms with her own modern interpretation. İn later years however, her designs have become more geometrical. Zeynep Erol’s Jewelry reflects her spiritual inner world, affections, relations, feelings, desires and change in the philosophy of life. The main materials used by Zeynep Erol in creating her pieces are; green, white and red gold (18k) together with silver (950). The selection of the remaining materials and the precious stones are chosen differently for each particular theme she wants to get across. A wide range of materials such as coconut shells, pearls, brilliants, sapphire, ruby, emeralds, quartz, glass, rose cut and uncut diamonds, sandalwood and feathers are used by her as necessary.

4. Aida Bergsen Jewellery (abdi Ipekci Cad., Atiye Sokak Ak Apt No:7, Daire 8)

Based in Istanbul, jeweller and sculptor Aida Bergsen creates jewellery with different themes that reflect traces of her hometown and its multi-layered cultural fibre. She Draws inspiration mainly from mythological heroes, organic forms and the human anatomy. Each of her wearable sculptures are meticulously crafted in wax then transformed into timeless jewels using traditional techniques.”I try to re-inerprate traditional crafts and skills in jewellery making in order to create a more contemporary approach. I like to have a play on the contrast between light and shadow as I believe it is key in capturing form at a deeper level.”Aida

Bergsen was awarded with the “étoile de mode” at BIJHORCA in Paris and she was named the first runner- up for the very prestigious Couture Show Las Vegas in 2011 and 2014.

5. ECNP Galeri — Elacindoruknazanpak (Ahmet fetgari sokak No: 56)

ECNP Gallery is a contemporary jewelry gallery showing the designs and collections of Ela Cindoruk and Nazan Pak. Partners since 1989, Ela and Nazan’s designs and creative process have reflected their philosophy of ‘less is more’. The duo have participated in numerous fairs in Turkey and abroad; their works can be found in many museum shops and galleries. Ela has received the 2012 Red Rot Design Award. Same year, the creative duo was awarded 2012 Jewelry Designer of the Year Award of Elle Style Awards. On September 2014, the designers opened their new showroom and studio, on the 21st year work anniversary. The showroom also has a gallery under its roof, Ela and Nazan’s a long time dream, a reflection of their commitment to design and aesthetic and their ambition to this gallery hosts design exhibits and aims at becoming a meeting point for the design/art world.

6. Soda, (Tesvikiye Mh, Sakayik Sokak No:1)

SODA, founded in 2010, focuses on contemporary trends in art, particularly of jewelry artists. They are interested in showcasing the use of new materials and design concepts. Some permanent artist representations as well as rotating exhbitis.

7. Alef (Tesvikiye Mh, Haci Emin Efendi Sokak, No:4)

This goldsmith adapts classical goldsmith principles to contemporary techniques and designs. Alef’s founder, jewelry designer Yeşim Yüksek,

8. Boybeyi (abdi ipekci Cad. No: 10)

BoyBeyi is a family-run business that has been around for more than 100 years, their collection features many traditional rose-cut diamonds, as well as modern and colorful pieces, all inspired by the Turkish culture.

WALKING TOUR OF JEWELRY GALLERIES, JEWELRY AND BEAD SHOPS IN AND NEAR THE GRAND BAZAAR

This walking tour takes you in and around the Grand Bazaar, discovering jewelry galleries displaying works by local artists, as well as a myriad of stores in the Grand Bazaar which sell jewelry, beads and beading supplies.

  1. Tiara (yavuz Sinan mah., rakip gumus pala cad. No; 69)

Antique jewelry, award-winning designs, modern designs that reflect trends in the world, some might find at Tiara Jewelry … Byzantine, Roman and Ottoman cultures, inspired by the collections, since the ancient civilizations in history has produced reflections of jewelry. Traditional hand-made items by craftsmen in the production of valuable, native jewelry lovers to win the admiration of the foreign guests

2. Kafkas (kalpakcilarbasi cad.)

Widely considered to be one of Istanbul’s top jewellers, with several locations throughout the city. The cuffs are studded with precious stones, the necklaces are vintage-inspired, and the gold rings are topped with enormous yellow diamonds. The Bazaar outpost is Kafkas’ first store, and you’ll often find the owners presiding behind the glittering displays.

3. Sevan Bicakci (gazi sinan pasa sok No 16)

Sevan Bıçakçı has started his journey as a jeweler when he was only 12 years old as an intern in Hovsep Çatak’s workshop. His first personal collection that he created in 2002 was inspired by the historical Grand Bazaar — Sultanahmet area where he spends a considerable part of his daily life. Since then his unique designs that require intensive craftsmanship have been attracting the attention of collectors as well as some distinguished stores.

4. Walk up Nuruosmaniye Caddessi Past the heart of jewelry and bead stores in the Grand Bazaar

There are piles and piles of antique rings, bracelets, necklaces, and earrings from Central Asia, as well as walls covered in strands of colorful beads made out of precious and semiprecious stones.

OPTIONAL: 3 block side trip to http://www.haciburhan.com) aka Emin Bead Company, Sterling Silver Handcrafted Turkish Beads. Sell different silver jewelry, beads and accessories for silver jewelry. Wholesale. Eminsinan Mah. Yeniceriler Cad. Evkaf Sok. No: 15 (Formerly 9) Cemberlitas, Fatih (verify store hours)

5. Angel Old Jewellery (kiliccilar sok., cuhaci han No: 36)

When you’re visiting this tiny, poorly lit (the blindingly bright interior doesn’t do their products any justice) store, you will be transformed into a museum where you can purchase anything you want from a collection of princess-worthy jewelry. From tiaras to necklaces, brooches to bracelets, these elegant pieces are bedecked with intricate, precious stones like diamonds. This store has both antique pieces, as well as new jewelry that looks vintage due to a special ageing method they use.

6. Bagus (cevahir bedesteni sok, kapali carsi D: 133)

In the Grand Bazaar’s Cevahir Bedestani, Bagus sells the proprietor’s own reasonably priced collection of handmade jewelry made with silver and semiprecious stones as well as intriguing pieces imported from countries including India, Nepal, Thailand, and Indonesia.

warren@warrenfeldjewelry.com
www.warrenfeldjewelry.com

_______________________________

Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft Video Tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.

Follow my articles on Medium.com.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Check out my Jewelry Making and Beadwork Kits.

Add your name to my email list.

_________________________________

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Resiliency: Do You Have The Most Important Skill Designers Must Have?

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Backward Design is Forward Thinking

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business

Part I: The First Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: Is What I do Craft, Art or Design?

Part 2: The Second Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: What Should I Create?

Part 3: The Third Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: What Materials (and Techniques) Work Best?

Part 4: The Fourth Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: How Do I Evoke A Resonant Response To My Work?

Part 5: The Firth Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: How Do I Know My Design Is Finished?

Doubt / Self-Doubt: 8 Pitfalls Designers Fall Into…And What To Do About Them

Part 1: Your Passion For Design: Is It Necessary To Have A Passion?

Part 2: Your Passion For Design: Do You Have To Be Passionate To Be Creative?

Part 3: Your Passion For Design: How Does Being Passionate Make You A Better Designer?

__________________________________

SO YOU WANT TO BE A JEWELRY DESIGNER
Merging Your Voice With Form

588pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

PEARL KNOTTING…Warren’s Way
Easy. Simple. No tools. Anyone Can Do!

184pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFT SHOWS

16 Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows

198pp, many images and diagrams Ebook or Print

___________________________________________

Posted in Art or Craft?, bead weaving, beads, beadwork, craft shows, creativity, cruises, design management, design thinking, enrichment travel, jewelry collecting, jewelry design, jewelry making, Learn To Bead, pearl knotting, Stitch 'n Bitch, Travel Opportunities, wire and metal, Workshops, Classes, Exhibits | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Visit To Jewelry Artisans and Galleries In Rome, Italy

Posted by learntobead on July 20, 2022

Before the pandemic, I was trying to arrange some Enrichment Travel tours.    One was to Rome.     This was part of the itinerary.   If any group wants me to lead a Jewelry Discovery Tour to Rome or elsewhere, I would be happy to talk with you about this.

ROME 1.  JEWELRY GALLERIES WALKING TOUR, ROME.  There are several stores/galleries specializing in artisan jewelry, with both some very famous local jewelry designers, as well as some less known between the Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps) and Piazza del Orologi.     This is a 1.25 mile (2.1km) leisurely jewelry shopping tour along ancient walking streets in the heart of historic Rome, where we discover the works of local jewelry artisans. (5 hour walking tour with dinner break; begin at 3pm (any day except Monday) when these shops are most likely to be open.  Typical hours:  open 10-1:30pm and 3:30-7:30pm).

  1. Damiani, via condotti 84 (All Damiani collection jewels are exclusive and unique creations, combining the allure of Italian jewelry with the unmistakable, always modern and fashionable Damiani taste.)
  2. Nicola Boncompagni, via de Babuino 15 (vintage jewelry)

        3. Oreficeria Franchi, via di Ripetta 156 (works of enrico franchi)

   4. Melis Massimo Maria, via dell’Orso 57 (ancient techniques reproduced in gold)

5. Studio Giorelleria R. Quattrocolo, via della Scrofa 54 (both antique jewelry and jewelry produced in their own workshop studio, including their line of micro-mosaics)

6. Alternatives, via della Chiesa Nuova 10  (Specializes in contemporary. Avant guard jewelry and is dedicated to the promotion of both newcomers and internationally established artists from all over the world)  

7. Del Fina Delettrez, via Governo Vecchio 67 (Delfina Delettrez Fendi is a designer and jeweller based in Rome. Original use of figurative surrealism and natural iconography including hands, eyes, bees, and lips.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ROME 2.  SHOPPING TRIP TO ARTISAN MARKET IN ROME.    Visit to Mercato Monti, 30+ artisans selling fashions, jewelry and accessories, first 3 Sundays and last Saturday of the month, 8am-8pm, inside exhibit hall of Palatino Hotel, via Leonina 46.   (4 hours)

warren@warrenfeldjewelry.com

www.warrenfeldjewelry.com

Posted in Art or Craft?, art theory, bead weaving, beads, beadwork, business of craft, craft shows, creativity, design theory, design thinking, enrichment travel, jewelry collecting, jewelry design, jewelry making, Learn To Bead, pearl knotting, Stitch 'n Bitch, Travel Opportunities, wire and metal, Workshops, Classes, Exhibits | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Check out these new books by Warren Feld!

Posted by learntobead on April 26, 2022

SO YOU WANT TO BE A JEWELRY DESIGNER
Merging Your Voice With Form

588pp, many images and diagrams
Ebook or Print

You make jewelry. That is what you do.

But when you think jewelry and speak jewelry and work jewelry, this is what you have become. This is your purpose.

Becoming a Jewelry Designer is exciting. With each piece, you are challenged with this profound question: Why does some jewelry draw people’s attention, and others do not? When designers turn to how-to books or art theory texts, however, these do not uncover the necessary answers. They do not show you how to make trade-offs between beauty and function. Nor how to introduce your pieces publicly. You get insufficient practical guidance about knowing when your piece is finished and successful. In short, you do not learn about design. You do not learn the essentials about how to go beyond basic mechanics, anticipate the wearer’s understandings and desires, or gain management control over the process.

So You Want To Be A Jewelry Designer reinterprets how to apply techniques and modify art theories from the Jewelry Designer’s perspective. This very detailed book, by jewelry designer Warren S. Feld, reveals how to become literate and fluent in jewelry design.

Available here: Ebook or Print

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Acknowledgements, p. 7
An Introduction, p. 11


Section 1-JEWELRY BEYOND CRAFT, p. 19
1. Jewelry Beyond Craft, p. 21

Section 2-GETTING STARTED, p. 27
2a. Becoming the Bead Artist and Jewelry Designer, p. 29
2b. 5 Questions Every Jewelry Designer Should Have An Answer For,
p. 39
2c. Channeling Excitement, p. 51
2d. Developing Your Passion, p. 65
2e. Cultivating Practice, p. 79

Section 3-WHAT IS JEWELRY, p. 97
3. What Is Jewelry, Really?, p. 99

Section 4-MATERIALS, TECHNIQUES AND TECHNOLOGIES,
p. 113
4a. Materials — Knowing What To Know, p. 115
4b. Techniques and Technologies — Knowing What To Do, p. 143
4c. Mixed Media, Mixed Techniques, p. 175

Section 5-RULES OF COMPOSITION, CONSTRUCTION, AND
MANIPULATION
, p. 179
5a. Composition — Playing With Blocks Called Design Elements, p. 181
5b. The Jewelry Designer’s Approach To Color, p. 197
5c. Point Line Plane Shape Form Theme, p. 231
5d. Jewelry Design Principles: Composing, Constructing, Manipulating,
p. 253
5e. How To Design An Ugly Necklace — The Ultimate Challenge, p. 289
5f. Architectural Basics, p. 309

5g. Architectural Basics — Anatomy of a Necklace, p. 335
5h. Architectural Basics — Sizing, p. 343

Section 6-DESIGN MANAGEMENT, p. 349
6a. The Proficient Designer: The Path To Resonance, p. 351
6b. Jewelry Design: A Managed Process, p. 377
6c. Designing With Components, p. 387

Section 7-INTRODUCING YOUR DESIGNS PUBLICLY, p. 407
7a. Shared Understandings and Desires, p. 409
7b. Backward-Design Is Forwards Thinking, p. 437

Section 8-DEVELOPING THOSE INTUITIVE SKILLS WITHIN,
p. 445
8a. Creativity Isn’t Found, It’s Developed, p. 447
8b. Inspiration and Aspiration, p. 459
8c. Your Passion For Design, p. 467

Section 9-JEWELRY IN CONTEXT, p. 483
9a. Contemporary Jewelry Is Not A Look — It’s A Way Of Thinking, p. 485
9b. Contemporizing Traditional Jewelry, p. 499
9c Fashion Style Taste Art Design, p. 513
9d. Designing With The Brain In Mind: Perception, Cognition, Sexuality,
p. 523
9e. Self-Care, p. 535

Section 10-TEACHING DISCIPLINARY LITERACY, p. 543
10. Teaching Disciplinary Literacy In Jewelry Design, p. 545

Final Words of Advice, p. 579
Thank You, p. 581
About Warren Feld, p. 583
Other Articles and Tutorials, p. 587

________________________________________________________

PEARL KNOTTING…Warren’s Way
Easy. Simple. No tools. Anyone Can Do!

184pp, many images and diagrams
Ebook or Print

In this very detailed book, with thoroughly-explained instructions and pictures, you are taught a non-traditional Pearl Knotting technique which is very easy for anyone to learn and do. Does not use special tools. Goes slowly step-by-step. Presents a simple way to tie knots and position the knots to securely abut the bead. Anticipates both appeal and functionality. Shows clearly how to attach your clasp and finish off your cords. And achieves that timeless, architectural perfection we want in our pearl knotted pieces.

Most traditional techniques are very frustrating. These can get overly complicated and awkward. They rely on tools for making and positioning the knots. When attempting to follow traditional techniques, people often find they cannot tie the knots, make good knots, get the knots close enough to the beads, nor centered between them. How to attach the piece to the clasp gets simplified or glossed over.

Fortunately, Pearl Knotting doesn’t need to be this hard.

Pearl Knotting…Warren’s Way teaches you how to:

· Hand-knot without tools

· Select stringing materials

· Begin and finish pieces by (1) attaching directly to the clasp, (2) using French wire bullion, (3), using clam shell bead tips, or, (4) making a continuous piece without a clasp

· Add cord

· Buy pearls, care for them, string and restring them, store them

By the end of this book, you will have mastered hand-knotting pearls.

I know you are eager to begin. Let’s get started.

Available here: Ebook or Print

Table of Contents

Intro To Book and Acknowledgements, p. 4

1. Pearl Knotting Is For You, p. 11

2. Materials-Tools-Your Workspace, p. 16

3. All About Pearls, p. 24

4. All About Hand-Knotting Pearls, p. 37

5. Design Considerations, p. 57

6. Measurements, p. 66

7. Selecting and Testing Bead Cord, p. 71

8a. Var1-Attaching Directly To Clasp, p. 76

8b. Var2-Using French Wire Bullion, p. 105

8c. Var3-Using Clam Shell Bead Tips, p. 125

8d. Var4-Continuous Without Clasp, p. 148

8e. About Adding Cord, p. 168

9. Handling Contingencies, p. 171

10. Finishing Touches, p.176

Final Words Of Advice, p. 177

About Warren Feld, p. 180

_______________________________

Thank you. I hope you found this chapter useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft Video Tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.

Follow my articles on Medium.com.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Check out my Jewelry Making and Beadwork Kits.

Add your name to my email list.

My ARTIST STATEMENT

My TEACHING STATEMENT.

My DESIGN PHILOSOPHY.

My PROFESSIONAL PROFILE.

My PORTFOLIO.

_________________________________

Posted in architecture, Art or Craft?, art theory, bead weaving, beads, beadwork, craft shows, creativity, design management, design theory, design thinking, jewelry collecting, jewelry design, jewelry making, pearl knotting, professional development, wire and metal, Workshops, Classes, Exhibits | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

SELF-CARE: Critical Advice For The Jewelry Designer

Posted by learntobead on January 28, 2022

Warren Feld

Warren FeldJust now·11 min read

Abstract
Balancing work and life is a challenge for everyone, but particularly for creatives. Designing pieces of jewelry involves a complicated process of finding inspiration and translating often-fuzzy images and ideas into aspirations and then finished designs. The designer usually creates each piece of jewelry over an extended period of time, often in solitude and isolation. Moreover, the designer, by the very nature of jewelry, must introduce their pieces to the public, opening the designer to feedback and critique. Balancing work and life can be very stressful, both mentally and physically. If in the business of selling jewelry, then there can be additional financial stresses. Suggested are a series of things the jewelry designer can do to manage the balancing act. These things have to do with acting, organizing, thinking, nourishing, and relating.

SELF-CARE

Finding Work-Life Balance

There is always one more thing to do. One more piece to make. One more component to buy. One more social media post. One more supplier to talk to. One more client to get. One more family’ or friend’s demands to deal with. It’s never-ending and can overwhelm you mentally, physically and financially. There is struggle. Slumps. Getting overwhelmed. Burn-out.

So the problems and resolutions depend on your ability to set boundaries. Limits on the use of your time. Allocations on the use your time. The places where you want to use any of your time. The people you want to interact with and share your time. Work-Life balance is never fully achieved; it’s a continual give and take. More a balancing, than a balance.

This requires a high degree of honesty with yourself. Some facing of the realities of limited resources. Some confronting of your fears to get them out of the way. Some feeding of your soul — your creative self.

We call this self-care. Self-care is a management strategy for managing the ever-present tensions between work and life. Everyone needs a plan and program of self-care for themselves. This can be very formal or informal. It means recognizing when the balance has tilted too far in one or the other direction. It requires a self-care tool box of strategies to employ to correct any imbalances. But you need that balance and a plan and program for maintaining it. You want joy from jewelry creation. You want productivity. You want people to want to wear your jewelry, perhaps buying it. Below I discuss some ideas that you might incorporate into your own self-care routines.

Because creatives love what they do, they may be especially vulnerable to putting in too many work hours. They may isolate themselves too freely or for too long. Yes, you might get a lot of projects finished, but you are also shortchanging yourself. It is not a positive thing to be unbalanced. You need enrichment. You need time to reflect and relax. You need to feel connected to others.

Self-Care Can Be Hard

Self-Care might feel like a long list of to-do’s. Eat. Take breaks. Phone calls, meetings and get-togethers. Time at the gym or salon. Adequate sleep. And so forth. This list might never get done to completion or satisfaction. It might feel burdensome. You might find yourself keep adding things to the list. This list, in and of itself, does not really resolved the tensions between work and life.

Knowing everything you need to do and should do is not the same as doing these. A more selective list where you can see the connections between your wellness and the activity will always make more sense.

Self-care takes work. It uses up time. It is one more thing to keep up with. Exerting effort can feel like a tall order — even when you know you will feel better after doing it. Again, a more realistic set of activities will be more manageable and effective.

For some people, taking time out for self-care generates a sense of guilt and shame. They feel they will be seen as avoiding work, instead of using self-care to enhance their work. Self-care should not be confused with an indulgence.

Handling Stress

One of the greatest challenges jewelry designers have is handling stress. There is the stress of finding inspiration. The stress of translating that inspiration into a concrete design. The stress of finding and selecting beads and other components, as well as colors, patterns and textures. The stress of placing mass within a negative space. The stress of construction. The stress of showing your jewelry to others. If you are selling your pieces, the added stresses of promotion, marketing, pricing and selling. You do not want all these stresses to add up to the point you become paralyzed — unable to start your project, finish your project or introduce it into the creative marketplace.

Stress can be both mental and physical. You need self-care for both.

Mental stress is often associated with doubt and self-doubt. Doubt holds you back from seizing your opportunities. It makes getting started or finishing things harder than they need to be. It adds uncertainty. It makes you question yourself. It blocks your excitement, perhaps diminishing it. You begin to question how to measure your progress and success, perhaps unfairly comparing yourself to other jewelry designers. You begin to fear criticism and rejection, whether real or imagined. While sometimes doubt and self-doubt can be useful in forcing you to think about and question your choices, it mostly holds you back.

Mental stress can be associated with pain. It begins to build and amplify when you think that mental and/or physical pain means you no longer will be able to make jewelry, at least the designs you prefer to make. Put a stop to these thoughts. With tools, physical aids and ergonomic solutions, and a good self-care plan of operation, you will be able to continue to design and make any jewelry you want.

The creative process can result in our feeling vulnerable. Not everything is clear at first. More fuzzy. More experimental. The creative process is messy. Nonlinear. A lot of back and forth iteration. Eventually creative ideas coalesce within a completed piece of jewelry. But this creative process may extend for long periods of time. Living with vulnerabilities is part of any jewelry designer’s daily process. It is something to get used to. It makes having that good support system all that more important.

Making jewelry can take a physical toll on your body. Physical stresses begin as occasional pain, but eventually become major flare-ups. You might find yourself using your fingernails as tools, such as opening a split ring, or forcing a closure, or opening and closing a jump ring. After awhile, your fingernails start to split and crack and break. You might be do the same physical operation with your hands over and over again, slowing getting repetitive motion injuries, where your wrists hurt, the joints in your fingers hurt, your elbows hurt, your neck hurts. Your fingers may cramp up. You may be sitting in one position for a very long time, and over time, you begin to develop neck and back problems and knee problems and leg and foot problems. You may hate to wear your eyeglasses when you make jewelry. You forget the maxim: If you need glasses to read, you need glass to make jewelry.

The immediate solution to physical stresses is to stop making jewelry. Give yourself a rest. Take time off. I know you want to be making jewelry, but you need to listen to your body. It is telling you it needs some time for healing.

The long term solution is to rely on tools and ergonomic furnishings. Tools are an extension of your hands (and other parts of your body). They reduce the stress on your hands (and other parts of your body). Ergonomic designs reduce the stresses and strains placed on your body and channel the negative energy elsewhere. There are ergonomic chairs, arm rests, arm rest and pulley systems, and the like. Also be sure seating is comfortable and lighting is good.

When returning to jewelry making, pace yourself. Take breaks. Do finger, arm and leg stretching exercises. Wear braces to support the wrist, thumb and elbow.

Solutions and Resolutions

How You Act

Work-life balance is really a balancing act.

Look for places to pause your work.

Train yourself to be able to put down your work before it is completed without the stress of leaving it unfinished or undone.

Leave the house. Change locations. Take a walk or a drive. Take the day off.

Take time off to relax and disconnect.

How You Organize

Good organization leads to more efficiency and effectiveness and better work-life balance.

Designate one area of your house for your creative work, a different area for business work, and yet another area for thinking, meditating, reflecting and relaxing.

Schedule sufficient times for creativity, times for business, and times for reflection.

Keep your work area neat and generally organized, but not necessarily perfectly organized. Remember: Perfection is the enemy of the Good.

Budget for things to go wrong. Don’t put yourself on such a tight financial rope that any mistake or any supply issue or other business related issue creates panic.

Plan for enough time in your schedule to acquire materials and supplies, learn a new technique if necessary, and communicate and work with clients, if this is part of your practice.

Keep your website (and other promotional venues) up-to-date.

How You Think

Applying your creativity and finding work-life balance are actually sets of thinking routines where you explore choices, narrow them down, and make selections.

Remember that creativity involves more than staying seated in front of beads and other jewelry components in your work space. Creativity also involves looking for inspirations. It involves thinking through all the options for translating those inspirations into aspirations and then into specific design.

Recognize that taking time away from work for self-care is a positive reflection on you. It is not something to hide or be ashamed of.

It is not hard to set yourself up for failure. Set your expectations that are reasonable and realistic for you.

Set attainable goals and objectives. Revisit these often as you work on any project.

Remind yourself periodically why you like to create and make jewelry.

Make sure you have something to get excited about — an activity or event, a book or movie, an exploration about jewelry design, exercising, yoga, whatever.

How You Nourish Mind and Body

A healthy mind and body will keep your creative juices flowing and make that work-life balance easier to maintain.

Don’t skip meals or avoid satisfying any hungry feelings when they occur.

Hydrate often.

It is difficult to make good jewelry design choices when you are tired. Be aware of times when you are overextended.

Exercise. Take frequent breaks to move around a bit.

Do some focused breathing exercises.

Meditate.

Go somewhere where you can let out your primal scream.

Take a nap.

Do something out of the ordinary for you. Make jewelry using your non-dominant hand. Stick your hands into a bowl of mud.

How You Relate

Most jewelry is created in solitude. Feelings of isolation may build up. If not careful, this can negatively affect your work-life balance.

Surround yourself with people who inspire you. Avoid people who are negative and toxic. Don’t isolate yourself for too long a period.

Spend time with real friends. Build up and maintain a supportive social network.

Don’t compare yourself and compete with others. Keep the focus on yourself.

Talk things out. With others as sounding boards and informers, help each other see what matters and what does not.

Attach yourself to a group, say an online jewelry making group, or a local artist community group. But don’t take up residence there. Moderation, moderation.

Detach yourself from the online world for awhile, if you are spending too much time living there.

Don’t take criticisms personally.

If in business, evaluate your pricing, selling and marketing strategies. Is the price you are getting for your jewelry reflective of your worth as a designer? Are your target markets in line with the styles and prices of your pieces?

If in business, keep your clients aware of your progress.

Turn some of your projects into collaborations.

Attend classes and workshops.

Enter juried exhibitions and competitions.

Take part in group art critiques.

_________________________

FOOTNOTES

Alexis, Renee. 7 Self-Care Tips For Artists and Creatives. Your Art Path, May 2021. As referenced in:
https://yourartpath.com/7-self-care-tips-for-artists-and-creatives

Artwork Archive. 7 Counterintuitive Self Care Habit For Artists. As reference in:
https://www.artworkarchive.com/blog/7-counterintuitive-self-care-habits-for-artists

Branch, Allan and Steven Bristol. Chapter 16, Entrepreneur-Work Life Balance. Business Guide: Run Your Business, Don’t Let Your Business Run You. LessEverything, 2018. As referenced in:
http://lesseverything.com/business-advice/entrepreneur-work-life-balance/

Clark, Alicia H., Psy.D. Why Does Self-Care Sometimes Feel So Hard? These 6 common pitfalls could be holding you back. 2/15/20. As referenced in:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hack-your-anxiety/202002/why-does-self-care-sometimes-feel-so-hard

Feld, Warren. Doubt / Self-Doubt: 8 Major Pitfalls For Designers…And What To Do About Them. 9/5/2020. As referenced in:
https://medium.com/design-warp/doubt-self-doubt-8-major-pitfalls-for-designers-and-what-to-do-about-them-fbbf1bec18de

Hammond, Lee. Artists and Self-Esteem: 4 Tips To Overcome Insecurity. Artists Network, n.d. As referenced in:
https://www.artistsnetwork.com/art-inspiration/art-self-esteem/

Horejs, Jason. Working Alone | Breaking the Isolation that Can Surround the Pursuit of Art. Xanadu Gallery, 9/2/21. As referenced in:
https://reddotblog.com/working-alone-breaking-the-isolation-that-can-surround-the-pursuit-of-art-21/#comments

Mayher, Miguel, Director of Education, Professional Artist Institute. How To Handle Stress.

Mindful Art Studio. Overcoming Creativity Block. What Is Creative Self-Care? June, 2016. As referenced in:
https://mindfulartstudio.com/what-is-creative-self-care/

Tartakovski, Margarita, MS. 10 Ways to Overcome Creativity’s №1 Crusher. Psychcentral.com, 3/3/2013. As referenced in:
https://psychcentral.com/blog/10-ways-to-overcome-creativitys-no-1-crusher#1

_______________________________

Thank you. I hope you found this chapter useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft Video Tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.

Follow my articles on Medium.com.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Check out my Jewelry Making and Beadwork Kits.

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My ARTIST STATEMENT

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Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Resiliency: Do You Have The Most Important Skill Designers Must Have?

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Backward Design is Forward Thinking

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business

Part I: The First Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: Is What I do Craft, Art or Design?

Part 2: The Second Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: What Should I Create?

Part 3: The Third Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: What Materials (and Techniques) Work Best?

Part 4: The Fourth Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: How Do I Evoke A Resonant Response To My Work?

Part 5: The Firth Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: How Do I Know My Design Is Finished?

Doubt / Self-Doubt: 8 Pitfalls Designers Fall Into…And What To Do About Them

Part 1: Your Passion For Design: Is It Necessary To Have A Passion?

Part 2: Your Passion For Design: Do You Have To Be Passionate To Be Creative?

Part 3: Your Passion For Design: How Does Being Passionate Make You A Better Designer?

Posted in Art or Craft?, bead weaving, beadwork, business of craft, craft shows, creativity, design management, design thinking, jewelry collecting, jewelry design, jewelry making, Learn To Bead, professional development, Stitch 'n Bitch, wire and metal | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

BASICS OF BEAD STRINGING AND ATTACHING CLASPS:How To Make The Smartest Design ChoicesWhen Stringing Beads

Posted by learntobead on December 1, 2021

Video Tutorial Series by Warren Feld

PREVIEW (Click Here)

I am so excited to share my online video tutorial with you!

USE THIS COUPON CODE FOR 25% DISCOUNT:   25PERCENTOFF

Learning bead stringing is more than putting beads on a string and tying on a clasp.

Successful designers need to bring a lot of knowledge to bear, when creating a successful piece of jewelry — one which is appealing, functional, satisfying to the client, and durable.

Jewelry designers need to become skilled at making tradeoffs between beauty and functionality, and designer intent and client desire, Jewelry you make needs to be appealing, comfortable, move with the person as the person moves, and be appropriate for the situation or context.

Jewelry designers have to know some things about:

  • Materials
  • Techniques
  • Some architecture and physical mechanics
  • Some sociology and anthropology and psychology
  • Even some things about party planning

In my explanations about bead stringing and the various stringing techniques in how jewelry is made, I reference all these things. It is important that you have more insights and understandings about bead stringing and jewelry design. 

This series of video tutorials takes a comprehensive look at the things you need to know to string beads and make jewelry.

In this video tutorial series, I go into depth about:

  • Choosing stringing materials, and the pros and cons of each type
  • Choosing clasps, and the pros and cons of different clasps
  • All about the different jewelry findings and how you use them
  • Architectural considerations and how to build these into your pieces

On our bead stringing journey, I teach you several different bead stringing techniques. In particular, you will learn:

  • How better designers use cable wires and crimp
  • How designers use needle and thread to string beads
  • How best to make stretchy bracelets
  • How to make adjustable slip knots, coiled wire loops, and silk wraps
  • How to finish off the ends of thicker cords or ropes, so that you can attach a clasp
  • How to construct such projects as eyeglass leashes, mask chains, lariats, multi-strand pieces, twist multi-strand pieces, and memory wire pieces.

https://so-you-want-to-be-a-jewelry-designer.teachable.com/courses/basics-of-bead-stringing-and-attaching-clasps/lectures/27541444

PREVIEW (Click Here)

USE THIS COUPON CODE FOR 25% DISCOUNT:   25PERCENTOFF

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Posted in architecture, Art or Craft?, art theory, bead weaving, beads, beadwork, craft shows, creativity, design management, design theory, design thinking, jewelry collecting, jewelry design, jewelry making, Learn To Bead, professional development, wire and metal, Workshops, Classes, Exhibits | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

COMPONENT DESIGN SYSTEM: Building Both Efficiency As Well As Effectiveness Into Your Jewelry Designs

Posted by learntobead on April 16, 2021

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Abstract

 Jewelry designers do not necessarily think of efficiencies when organizing and arranging their designs. They primarily focus their thinking and energies on how to effectively and successfully go from one end to the other. But the next question becomes: Is this efficient, as well as effective? Could the same piece be done just as well in less time? With less effort? Component Based Design is a process of building a piece of jewelry in pieces, sections or segments. A component is a something well-defined that feels like a whole unto itself. It can be a form. It can be a shape. It can be an object. It can be a set of steps or procedures. It has these kinds of characteristics: modularity, replaceability, portability and re-usability. Component Based Design unifies the design process and reduces variability in the numbers and types of choices we have to make as designers. It helps us tackle Design Debt. Design Debt refers to all the inefficiencies in the design process which add more time and effort to what you are trying to accomplish. This article finishes with discussion about how to create a Component Based Design System for jewelry designers.

 

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Can Jewelry Designs Be Both Effective And Efficient?

Jewelry designers do not necessarily think of efficiency when organizing and arranging their designs. They ponder how to go from one end to the other, focusing their efforts on achieving an effective level of satisfaction and appeal. They think a lot about the use and placement of colors, textures and patterns. They figure out ways to attach a clasp. They jump from selecting design components to arranging them. And in this sense, visually, they tend to see their designs as a Gestalt - that is, they appreciate and evaluate their satisfaction with the piece as a whole. That piece as a whole should evoke a greater satisfaction, sense of finish and success moreso than the individual parts. And in general, that’s the way it should be. Designers want to be effective as designers. This is what effectiveness is about.

But the next question becomes is this efficient, as well as effective? Could the same piece have been done just as well in less time? With less effort? With less thought about design elements and their arrangement? With less investment in all the beads and other pieces which eventually become finished pieces of jewelry? Is this a piece which could be created over and over again for multiple clients and larger productions? Could we be just as creative and just as effective by building in more efficiency into the process of design? Would adding an intervening step - that is, using design components to build components and then using components to build compositions - be smarter?

Re-thinking the design process in terms of components and component design systems provides one intriguing set of answers. Approaching design as a Component Based Design System is an especially good option for designers to incorporate, and for those designers who want to build their designing into a profitable business. Even if you are not headed in a business direction, thinking of design in terms of components and component systems offers a whole new way of creative thinking and design possibilities.


What Is A Component?

A component is a something well-defined that feels like a whole unto itself. It can be a form. It can be a shape. It can be an object. It can be a set of steps or procedures. It has these kinds of characteristics:

· Modularity
· Replaceability
· Portability
· Re-usability
· Functionality encapsulated within the component’s design
· Is minimally dependent on the use or presence of other components
· Anticipates its implementation
· Intended to interface and interact with other components
· Not context specific
· Can be combined with other components to create new possibilities


If we think of a piece of jewelry as an architectural object, then it would be made up of a set of components which in some way conform to one another and interact with one another in a common, predictable way. The designer would create sets of components. Then any finished composition and design would be assembled from these components.
Components will range in complexity. In general, the more complex the component, the more limited its applications. The more re-usable your components are, the easier they are to design with. The more re-usable your components are, the easier it will be to scale your projects larger or smaller, longer or shorter, more volume or less volume. Components allow you to take something apart which isn’t selling or no longer useful, and re-use all the parts.


What Is Component Based Design?

Component Based Design is a process of building a piece of jewelry in pieces, sections or segments.
These pieces are combinations of design elements.

These combinations of design elements become a set of smaller, manageable parts, which themselves are assembled into a piece of jewelry.

Systems of re-usable design components will allow any number of design possibilities. A component based design system provides a commonality within a visual language.

Instead of focusing on designing a particular product, the designer concentrates on creating a design system. The designer’s principal responsibility in the formation of style is to create meaningful forms. These forms are more than shapes. These forms contain the essential elements which contribute to the jewelry’s aesthetic and functional structure and composition. Some forms will be able to stand on their own; others, may be dependent on the presence and organization of others.

Component Based Design Systems enable the designer to build better products faster by making design re-usable. Re-usability allows designs to more easily be adapted to different body types, context-requirements, and/or scales.
Component Based Design Systems require clear documentation for each component, and a set of rules or standards for their use and assembly. Standards govern the purpose, style, and usage of these components. Documentation and standards help the designer avoid situations where you find yourself reinventing the wheel, so to speak. It helps the designer deal with such things as backlog, adapting different versions of a particular design, and concurrently managing both short-term and long-term goals and aspirations. It allows the designer to spend more time and focus on the trickier and more difficult part of coming up with designs specific or unique to each client.


How Is Component Design Helpful For Jewelry Designers?

Component Design allows for the designer to…
– Design consistently
– Prototype faster
– Iterate more quickly
– Improve usability

Design consistently. Standardized components used consistently and repetitively create a more predictable outcome. Standardized components also allow designers to spend less time focused on style, and more time developing a better user-experience and client outcome.

Prototype faster. Working within a coherent design system allows you to more quickly and easily organize your work flows. It allows you to experiment over and over again with the amount of prototypes and variants. Working with and within a design system should also provider greater and faster insights into design dilemmas and solutions.
Iterate more quickly. Design systems reduce the effort in design, from having to try out myriad colors, patterns, textures, scales and other design elements, to only having to try out a few components in the design system.

Improve usability. Should reduce inconsistent, unworkable or illogical combinations of things within any composition. In return, this should increase client satisfaction when wearing any piece of jewelry so created.


Design Systems Do Not Limit Creativity Or Design

Creating a design system does not limit or restrain the designer. In fact, it opens up more possibilities, more easily attainable. Design systems will also allow pieces to be easily customized and adapted to different situations. Design systems take away a lot of the worry about what to do next.

Design systems do not limit creativity. They offer a different way of allowing the designer to assert their creativity. The designer is still free to experiment, evolve, play, adapt. Design systems improve efficiency; they save time. Design systems do not constrain, restrain or otherwise limit the designer to work and think and speak and play as a designer.
Design systems can evolve and adapt to changes in styles and fashions. In fact, these systems trigger insights more easily apparent, as to how things need to change. After all, a change in one component will automatically define what changes need to be made in all other components it will interface and interact with.

Component based design systems are not one-shot, one-time deals. They are never complete. The work to create and maintain and improve them is ongoing. These systems are living. But because a change in one component will trigger changes in others, the effort it takes to maintain and grow these system can be many times less than what happens when the designer does not rely on such a system.




Design Debt: Something Serious Which Needs To Be Managed

In more jargoned, but eye-opening, language, Component Based Design Systems reduce what is called Design Debt.
Design Debt refers to all the inefficiencies in your design process which adds more time and effort to what you are trying to accomplish, as you are designing any piece of jewelry. Design Debt continues to accumulate and increase as a project matures over time. Even after the designer has relinquished the project to the client, Design Debt will continue to accumulate if the designer fails to deal with it head on.

Design Debt includes things like…
– Taking too much time to meet your goals
– Having to do too much research or experimentation when figuring out how to proceed
– Spending too much time thinking how to make a particular piece of jewelry unique or special for a certain client

Design Debt also includes all the good design concepts or solutions you skipped in order to complete your project on time. Design Debt includes all the additional time and effort you will have to make, should you have a backlog of projects which keep accumulating and accumulating as you are trying to finish the particular project you are now working on.

Some designers might approach the ever-accumulating Design Debt by cutting corners or relinquishing the project to the client prematurely. The designer might settle for a lower fee or less profitability. The designer might find that negative word-of-mouth is building too quickly with unsatisfied clients or demanding business stakeholders.

There are many sources of Design Debt, some very tangible, others less so. Examples of these sources of Design Debt include…

· The designer relies on an overabundance of non-reusable materials, or too much variation in inventory, or, inconsistent styles and conventions, all difficult to maintain

· The designer might start a project with assumptions, rather than research

· The designer might not have sufficient time or budget to implement each choice and step with care

· The designer might not have a full understanding of how each design element, form and component should best be arranged and interact within a particular composition

· The designer might be working with a partner or assistant, with incomplete information passing hands, as each works on the project

· The designer might not have a chance to test a design before its implementation or sale

· The designer might not get the opportunity to find out what happens with a particular piece after it has left the studio and the client wears it

· The designer might not have in place any formal or informal time and procedure for reflection and evaluation, in order to understand how various choices led to good or bad designs, or whether there is an improvement or degradation in the designer’s brand due to good or bad performance

· The designer might rely on published patterns without the wherewithal to adapt or customize them, or otherwise approach unfamiliar situations


Ultimately, Design Debt is measured in how satisfied our clients are with the products we design, and how that satisfaction affects what is referred to as contagion - the spread of word of mouth and its positive or negative impacts on our brand and reputation. Over time, Design Debt accumulates and becomes a great burden on any designer and design business.



Component Based Design Systems Help Us Tackle Design Debt

Anything which unifies the design process and reduces variability in the numbers and types of choices we make as designers will help us tackle Design Debt. That is what Component Based Design Systems are all about.
Component Based Design allows the designer to deal with a smaller number of pieces and variables at any one time.
Component Based Design leverages previous thinking and exploring, reducing the number of tasks which have to be done for each subsequent piece of jewelry.

And Component Based Design allows the designer to more easily and directly relate any kind of feedback to specific project design choices.



Creating A Component Based Design System

A Component Based Design System has…
· Visual elements
· Modular elements
· Standards
· A voice and tone
· A relationship to client needs

 

Your Component Based Design System can either be
(a) decoupled from any specific project, which is effective for establishing a brand identity, or
(b) coupled to a specific project, which is more effective for developing a line of jewelry made up of individual pieces.

 

Creating a Component Based Design System involves Six Key Task-Activities, which are…
(1) Conducting Visual Audit of Current Designs / Inventory
(2) Determining Your Voice and Tone / Brand Identity
(3) Designing A Component / Modular Elements
(4) Creating Component Based Design System(s) / Library of Documentation and Standards
(5) Defining Rules of Scale / Size, Volume, Distribution and Placement
(6) Relating To Customer Needs / Shared Understandings

 


(1) Visual Audit of Current Designs / Inventory


You will need to carefully review the visual elements you use in your current jewelry design practice.
You want to create a visual design language of discernable design elements, shapes, forms and components you are using now.

You will in effect be creating two inventories:
· First, a Visual Inventory of design elements which are visual features, and
· Second, a Functional Inventory of those beads, findings, shapes, forms and/or other component parts which are functional and interface with the wearer, such as clasp assemblies or things which allow a piece to move, drape and flow, or things which make a piece of jewelry adjustable, or things which allow a piece of jewelry to maintain a shape or position.


For each discernable set of design elements, (such as, color, pattern, shape, form, movement, dimensionality) or completely formed component, you would generate a description based on auditing the following design elements:
a. color, finish, pattern, texture
 b. point, line, plane, shape, form, theme (typology)
 c. sizing and spacing and scale (2–4 sets of standards of utilization; or by body type)
 d. movement and dimensionality
 e. canvas (stringing materials; foundation)
 f. principles of composition, construction, manipulation; layouts
 g. support systems (allows movement, drape and flow), structural systems (allows maintaining shapes or positions) and other functional elements
 h. plans, guidelines, icons


Your inventories can be a simple check-list, or more narrative descriptions.

By creating a 2-layer Inventory of Design, you will be able to visualize the possible design components and patterns you might have at your disposal, as well as quantify what you are working with. Cataloging these details puts you in a better management/control position. This makes visible many of the consequences of your choices and selections in terms of managing Design Debt.

After you have finished creating your initial Inventory, review it. Identify where inconsistencies are. What things are must-haves? What things are superfluous?

Then look for things which go together or will be used together. Develop a simple system of categories to group things into. Keep the number of categories short. Examples of categories might include Patterns, Templates, Themes, User Interface, Foundations, Center Pieces, Color Palettes, Linkability.



(2) Determine Your Voice and Tone / Brand Identity


You want your parts, components and groupings of components, when used in the design of a piece of jewelry, to give the impression of you as a designer and/or your business’s personality.

Look at your inventory and ask yourself: What are the more emotional, intangible qualities these seem to evoke? Do they evoke things, not only about my design sense today, but about what I aspire to be as a designer? How do I want my clients to respond to my pieces?

There should be a high level of coherence within your groupings of components. They should express a voice and tone, either of your entire brand, or of a particular line of jewelry you have created.

If there is not a high level of coherence, determine why not. What adjustments do you need to make in your inventory to achieve this?

 


(3) Design A Component / Modular Elements


Begin to take your visual inventory and re-imagine it as one or more collections of components.

Types of components to think about:
– Re-usable
– Repeatable
– Build-upon / Connectible / Linkable
– Scale-able
– Evolvable over time
– Has necessary function
– Has necessary shape, form or theme
– Can easily interface with customer as the jewelry is worn

Some components will be modular and self-contained, thus not dependent on the presence of other components. Some components will be compositional in that they fit or coordinate well with others. Some components will be generic, thus usable in many different kinds of situations. And some components will be flexible because they can be tweaked and made to work in a variety of situations.

Now, actually begin to develop components. Towards this end, start with developing one component.

1st: List the key design elements, such as color, pattern, texture, shape, movement, dimensionality, and the like. These are the particular design elements you want associated with your core brand identity.
2nd: Define the smallest re-usable parts, such as beads, bead clusters, connectable links, stringing material and the like.
3rd: Scale up and define a complete component
4th: Scale up and define a composition consisting of several arranged components
5th: Fully layout the piece of jewelry, which will consist of one or more components and one or more compositions.


As you develop components, you will always need to keep in mind two things:
a) How you want the component to behave within your piece, and
b) How you want the component to interface with the client wearing the jewelry



CHAIN LINK COMPONENTS
 A Simplified Example of Component Design
G-CLEF COMPONENT

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I have a basic component I call a G-Clef Component. It is a simple chain link which is very connectable to other things. I use this as a simple example of a Component Based Design System.

I use this in several ways. I can use these as links in a standard chain. I can easily adapt two of these links to function as a hook and eye clasp. I can add beads between each link. I can use this as the basis for creating a pendant center piece. I can use this for earring dangles.

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The general infinity shape and reference to music (I’m based in Nashville, Tennessee - ”Music City USA”) are easily incorporated into several lines of my jewelry, though there is one particular line of jewelry totally focused on this link component.

My documentation for this component is as follows:

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Two Other Examples Of Jewelry Designed Based On Components

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(4) Component Based Design Systems / Library of Documentation and Standards

Your design system is much more than a pattern library. It is a collection of re-usable components which can be assembled together in any number of ways, and used to clearly signal and cement the identify of your brand as a whole, or of a particular line of jewelry you have developed.

As such, the system has meaning. It has structure. It embodies a system of concepts relevant to and representative of you as a designer and your design business or avocation. It is resilient.

Towards this end, to build in these meanings and intentions and expectations, you will develop a set of standards. Adhering to standards is how we manage and maintain consistency with how these meanings / intensions / expectations are expressed within any piece of jewelry we create. Following the standards is how we influence our clients to consistently come to share these understandings. Standards remove a lot of the arbitrariness in our design decisions. These standards should be put in writing, and be part of your documentation library.
Regardless of what materials, tools and techniques specific to your jewelry design practice, a successful design system will follow a core set of standards developed by you. These standards will inform you how components should be designed and how they should be organized within any composition.

These standards will focus on the following:

Brand touch points. What design elements or their arrangements evoke immediate associations with your jewelry designs?

Consistent client experience. What design elements, components or their arrangements result in a consistent client experience? When your client buys your jewelry and wears it, how does the client feel? How does the client want others to react, and does the client in fact get these reactions? When you client wears your jewelry, what needs, wants and desires does s/he want to be fulfilled, and how successful has your jewelry been towards this end? How do you maintain consistency in construction, functionality and durability of your pieces?

Coherent collection. To what extent do all the pieces in your collection similarly represent your brand and result in a similar, consistent client experience?

Naming conventions. What names should we give to our components, our pieces of jewelry, our lines of jewelry, our business and brand identity as a whole? How will these names resonate with our clients? Which names do you want to be universal, and which iconic?

Emphasis. What aspects of your jewelry do you want the client to focus on? Which aspects of your jewelry are most likely to trigger a conversation between you and the client, and between the client and that person’s various audiences? Is that the conversation about your jewelry you want people to have?

Utility. What is each component, and how should you use it? What rules should you follow for building modular, composable, generic and flexible components? For linking and connecting them? How do you manage modifying any one component?

Potential. What determines if a component is to have a high potential value? Does the component have great commonality in use and/or re-use? Does the component have great business potential, whether or not it can be commonly used? Does the component have great potential in creating patterns or textures or shapes or forms or themes? Is the component technically feasible to create? Can this component be created within a certain timeframe, if there are time constraints? Does this component have the potential to excite others?

 


Codify, thus standardize, how components are described and detailed. Include information about basic design elements, such as color, pattern, texture, finishes. Give your component a name. Describe how you can adjust for scale - making something larger, smaller, with more volume, with less volume. Elaborate on any assembly considerations. Also anticipate in writing any situational or contingency requirements. Provide insights into how this component fits in with other components, or becomes the core component from which additional components might be fashioned. Write some notes about how the component is consistent with the standards for your brand / jewelry lines which you have developed. Last, take a picture of your component and include this image in your database.

 

 


(5) Scale / Size, Volume, Distribution and Placement


Scalability has to do with size and volume, and your strategies for adapting your component to different scales. You might think about a larger version for a necklace and a smaller version for a bracelet. You might think of modifying the component to increase its volume for use as a center piece pendant.

Scalability in jewelry will also refer to the ease of placing or distributing variations in size and/or volume.

Scalability begins with taking a modular approach to your jewelry design work. Additionally, your component must express some characteristics which are both generic as well as flexible. You want your components to be able to grow and shrink with the content of your pieces. I like to develop both a larger and a smaller version of each component, which I get very specific on and document. This usually gives me enough information should I still want to change size or volume.

 


(6) Relate To Customer Needs / Shared Understandings


For any design, it is a long journey from idea to implementation. This journey involves different people at different times along the way. The designer’s ability to solve what is, in effect, a complex problem or puzzle becomes a performance of sorts, where the designer ferrets out in various ways - deliberate or otherwise - what the end users will perceive as making sense, having value and eliciting a desire powerful enough to motivate them to wear a piece of jewelry, buy it, utilize it, exhibit it or collect it. The designer, however, wants one more critical thing to result from this performance - recognition and validation of all the creative and managerial choices he or she made during the design process.

People will not use a design if their agendas and understandings do not converge in some way. They will interact with the designer to answer the question: Do You Know What I Know? If they get a sense, even figure out, that the answer is Yes, they share understandings! - they then become willing to collaborate (or at least become complicit) with the designer and the developing design.

A Component Based Design System forces the designer to incorporate these shared understandings into the development and organization of components. Component choices must be justified according to a set of standards. This set of standards relates design choices to how the client will perceive and respond to your brand identity or the identity you want any line of jewelry to reflect. A Component Design System creates tight guidance and boundaries, increasing not only the efficiency of your operation, but your effectiveness at developing jewelry which is consistent, coherent, user-friendly, user-desirable, and contagious.

Re-orienting your design practice towards a Component Based Design System may seem daunting, at first. But it gets easier and faster as the system grows and evolves. It is well worth the effort.


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FOOTNOTES

Elliott, Gavin. “Design Debt: How to Identify Design Debt, Measure It and Overcome It.” 5/7/20. As referenced in:
 https://medium.com/@gavinelliott/design-debt-f8026795cc1c


Fanguy, Will. “A Comprehensive Guide To Design Systems.” 6/24/19. As referenced in:
 https://www.invisionapp.com/inside-design/guide-to-design-systems/


Feld, Warren. “Jewelry Design Composition: Playing With Building Blocks Called Design Elements,” Medium.com, (2020).
As referenced in:
https://warren-29626.medium.com/jewelry-design-composition-playing-with-building-blocks-called-design-elements-d2df696551d8


Koschei, Jordan. “How To Tackle Design Debt.” 4/19/17. As referenced in:
 https://www.invisionapp.com/inside-design/tackle-design-debt/


Mazur, Michal. “What Is Design Debt and Why You Should Treat It Seriously.” 8/12/18. As referenced in:
https://uxdesign.cc/what-is-design-debt-and-why-you-should-treat-it-seriously-4366d33d3c89#:~:text=In%20simple%20terms%2C%20design%20debt,the%20users%20will%20make%20do
Suarez, Marco, with Jina Anne, Katie Sylor-Miller, Diana Mounter, and Roy Stanfield. Design Systems Handbook. DesignBetter.Co by InVision.


__________________________
Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design
Backward Design is Forward Thinking
How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business
Part I: The First Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: Is What I do Craft, Art or Design?
Doubt / Self-Doubt: 8 Pitfalls Designers Fall Into…And What To Do About Them
Part 1: Your Passion For Design: Is It Necessary To Have A Passion?
RESILIENCY: Do You Have The Most Important Skill Every Designer Must Have?
PART 1: SHARED UNDERSTANDINGS: THE CONVERSATION CENTERED WITHIN DESIGN

______________________
I hope you found this article useful.


Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).
Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online.
Add your name to my email list.
Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Posted in architecture, Art or Craft?, art theory, bead weaving, beads, beadwork, business of craft, color, craft shows, creativity, design management, design theory, design thinking, jewelry collecting, jewelry design, jewelry making, Learn To Bead, professional development, Stitch 'n Bitch, wire and metal | Leave a Comment »

MY ONLINE VIDEO TUTORIALS: So You Want To Be A Jewelry Designer

Posted by learntobead on September 25, 2020

 


VISIT MY ONLINE SCHOOL

Learn to Think and Speak and Work
Like a Jewelry Designer!

Making and designing jewelry is fun, awesome, challenging and rewarding.  You enter a world full of inspiration, creativity, color, texture, construction, beauty and appeal.  With your jewelry, you impact the lives of many people as they go about their day, attend special events, or interact with friends, acquaintances and strangers.

As a jewelry designer, you have a purpose. Your purpose is to figure out, untangle and solve, with each new piece of jewelry you make, how both you, as well as the wearer, will understand your inspirations and the design elements and forms you chose to express them, and why this piece of jewelry is right for them.

Your success as a designer is the result of all these choices you make.   Our courses are here to help you learn and apply key insights about materials, techniques and the jewelry design process when making these kinds of choices.  We also introduce you to things you need to know when trying to conquer the creative marketplace.

Empower yourself to become fluent, flexible and original in jewelry design.

Enroll now.

Begin with our ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE. For newbies just getting started, or experienced designers as a great refresher.

 


Everything People Wished They Had Known
Before They Started Beading and Making Jewelry!

We require all our students to take our ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS class first, before taking any of our other classes.

I have created an updated, extended version of this class online, which you can register for.    The class is divided into 18 short video tutorials on such topics of seed and delica beads, metal beads, clasps, stringing materials, adhesives, miscellaneous findings, and the like.   There is a downloadable handout that accompanies each video segment.

19 lesson modules.   This class is $30.00.
You can find it online and register here.


 

16 Important Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows!

In this SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFT SHOWS… video tutorial class, I discuss critical choices jewelry designers need to make when doing craft shows.  That means, understanding everything involved, and asking the right questions.

Learn How To…

…Find, Evaluate and Select Craft Shows Right For You

…Determine a Set Realistic Goals Right For You

…Compute a Simple Break-Even Analysis

…Best Ways to Develop Your Applications and Apply

…Understand How Much Inventory To Bring

…Best Promote and Operate Your Craft Show Business

 

Doing craft shows is a wonderful experience.  You can make a lot of money. You meet new people. You have new adventures.  And you learn a lot about business and arts and crafts designing.

 

19 lesson modules.  This class is $45.00.
You can find it online and register here.


 

Learn An Easy-To-Use Pricing Formula
and Some Marketing Tips
Especially Relevant for Jewelry Designers!

 

This PRICING AND SELLING YOUR JEWELRY course is about one key to success: SMART PRICING!

 

I share with you my knowledge, experiences and insights about…

(1) Why Jewelry Sells

(2) Three alternative pricing formulas used by jewelry makers and the jewelry industry

(3) A simple, mathematical formula for pricing your jewelry which I developed and prefer to use

(4) How to break down this mathematical pricing formula intoa series of easy to implement steps

 

Then, we practice applying the formula to some different pieces of jewelry.

At the end of the course, I discuss the differences among retail, wholesale and consignment.

I briefly discuss several key business strategies which are very related to pricing.

And I offer some final words of advice.

11 lesson modules.  This class is $35.00.
You can find it online and register here.

 


Posted in Art or Craft?, art theory, bead weaving, beads, beadwork, business of craft, color, craft shows, creativity, design management, design theory, design thinking, jewelry collecting, jewelry design, jewelry making, Learn To Bead, professional development, Resources, wire and metal, Workshops, Classes, Exhibits | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

THE JEWELRY DESIGNER’S APPROACH TO COLOR

Posted by learntobead on February 16, 2019

THE JEWELRY DESIGNER’S APPROACH TO COLOR

by Warren Feld, Jewelry Designer


Abstract
Color is the single most important Design Element, whether used alone, or in combination with other Design Elements.    Yet jewelry creates a series of dilemmas for the colorist not always anticipated by what jewelry designers are taught in a typical art class.    This article reviews the basic concepts in color theory and suggests how to adapt each of these to the special requirements of beads and jewelry.   Special attention is paid to differentiating those aspects of color use we can consider as objective and universal from those which are more subjective.    The fluent designer is one who can maneuver between universal understandings and subjective beliefs when selecting and implementing colors, color combinations and color blends.  This involves managing the sensation of color light value (balance), the sensation of color contrasts (proportion), and the sensation of simultaneous color contrasts (context) among designer, wearer and viewer.

RETHINKING THE TEACHING OF “COLOR” IN JEWELRY DESIGN
You cannot paint with beads and other jewelry components.
I am going to repeat this:   You cannot paint with beads and other jewelry components.
When you take color class after color class rooted in art, they are teaching you how to paint.    You can’t do this with jewelry and beads.

As frustrating as this can be, you cannot ignore the fact that Color is the single most important Design Element.   Colors, their selection, use and arrangement, are believed to have universal powers to get people to see things as harmonious and appealing.   Color attracts attention.   A great use of color within and object, not only makes that object more coherent, it can be contagious, as well.    Using colors that do not work well together, or using too many colors or not enough colors, or using colors which look good on paper but distort in reality can put people off.

Designers can learn the artistic basics of Color concepts and theories.   They can reference this visual language of color to influence how they go about making choices, including those about picking and using colors.    However, jewelry artists who are fluent in design will be very aware of the limitations this artistic, painterly language imposes on them.    They will have to learn how to decode, adjust and leverage their thinking to anticipate how the bead and other related and integrated materials assert their needs for color, and how to strategically compose, construct and manipulate them.

Jewelry, unlike painting or sculpture, has certain characteristics and requirements which rely on the management and control of color, its sensation and its variability with a slightly different emphasis than learned in a traditional art class.  Jewelry is a 3-dimensional object, composed of a range of materials.  Jewelry situates, moves and adjusts in relation to the human body and what that body is doing at the moment.   To get the attention their jewelry deserves, jewelry artists must become fluent with color selection and application from their own disciplinary perspective.    We must understand color in jewelry as the jewelry is worn, and worn in a particular context or situation.

Beads  [here I use ‘beads’ as a stand-in for all the component parts and stringing materials used in a piece of jewelry]  are curved or faceted or otherwise shaped, and the shape and texture and material and dimensionality affect the color, its variation and its placement and movement on the beads surface.  They affect how light reflects and refracts, so depending on the angle at which you are standing, and how you are looking at the bead, you get some unexpected, unanticipated, sometimes unwanted colors in your piece of jewelry.

Additionally, you need to anticipate how the bead, when worn, can alter its color, depending on the source of light, the type and pace of movement of the wearer, and how the eye interacts with the bead at any point of time or positioning.   There are many gaps of light between each pair of beads, and you can’t paint these in.  The colors don’t blend, don’t merge, don’t spill over, don’t integrate.    You can’t create the millions of subtle color variations that you can with paint.

I’m not suggesting that beaders and jewelry makers be afraid of colors.    Rather, they should embrace them.  They should learn insights into understanding colors.  They should be inspired by colors.   They should express their artistic and creative selves through color.    They should use color palettes to their fullest.    They should recognize how their various audiences see and claim and interact with color.

It is most important that jewelry designers understand color, its use and application from their own disciplinary standpoint.   In some sense, however, the approaches of most bead artists and jewelry designers too often remain somewhat painterly – too routed in the Art Model.    The Art Model ignores things about functionality and context.    It diminishes how the individuality of the designer, and the subjective responses of the wearer and viewer affect each other.  In many respects, these are synergetic, mutually dependent and reciprocal.  The Art model understands the success of jewelry as if sitting on an easel, not as it is worn.

As a result, color theories get oversimplified for the jewelry artist.   “Value” is barely differentiated from “Intensity”.   Color selection focuses too much on harmony, and too little on resonance and edginess.  Color training too often steers jewelry designers towards a step-by-step, paint-by-number sort of approach to color selection and application.   The co-dependent relationship between Color and other Design Elements is downplayed and glossed over.    This is a major disservice.

So, I’ve tried to re-think how we could and should think about and teach “color” to jewelry artists.     Not easy.   Art and Design Theory suggests that, in order to teach designers to make good choices, we need to break down color concepts and theories into teachable and digestible groups of skills.    And then show how the next set of skills builds upon the first.

We need to show jewelry artists what kinds of color choices they will be making as they create pieces of jewelry, and then put them in situations where they are forced to make these kinds of choices.     We need to think of colors as “building blocks”, and the process of using colors, as one of creative construction.   Creative construction requires focusing on how color (and multiple colors) is (are) sensed, and sensed by various audiences which include the artist him- or herself, and the wearer and the viewer, and the exhibitor, collector, and the seller, if need be.

So, that’s where I’ll begin with color:   Delineating the types of choices that the jewelry artist needs to make, starting with choices about picking colors.

Picking Colors
As a design element, color is used to attract attention.   It aids in grouping some objects and setting boundaries between others.   It can emphasize and focus.   It conveys meaning and value.   Usually color enhances the aesthetics and appeal.    Color can be used as an organizing tool and create segments, components, rhythms, movement, dimension and hierarchical arrangements within your jewelry composition.   Color can affect the figure/ground relationship of the composition.

There are many different kinds of choices involved, when using Color:

Choices about colors based on our understanding of…
– Personal strategies for picking colors or finding inspirations for colors
– Color theories and concepts
– How the bead (and related jewelry materials) asserts its (their) needs for color
– How color affects the viewers of color
– The process for designing jewelry with color
– The situation or context within which the jewelry is to be worn

Part of picking colors is very personal and subjective.   And part of this is very strategic and must be managed.    That is, part of picking colors is about anticipating more universal understandings about how various audiences will sense and pick colors.     How do you actually go about picking your colors, and then deciding on your final colors for your piece?   What kinds of things influence you in choosing colors?   What inspires you?   Where do you look for inspiration?    Do you have favorite colors and color combinations?    Or colors and color combinations that you detest?    How do you anticipate how others will view and evaluate the colors you pick?

Choosing Colors is an involved exercise.     Most people avoid this kind of exercise, and settle for a set of colors that match.    But, in design terms, Colors are used by the designer to clarify and intensify the effects she or he wants to achieve.

What does it mean to “clarify and intensify” the effects you might want to achieve?   For example, the artist may use color to clarify and/or intensify any of these kinds of things…
– delineation of segments, forms, themes, areas
– expressions of naturalism or abstraction
– enhancing the sense of structure or physicality (forward/recede; emphasize mass or lines or surfaces or points)
– playing with light (surprise, distort, challenge, contradict, provoke)
– altering the natural relationship between the jewelry and the situation it is worn in (context, clothing, setting)

Color is the primary Design Element designers choose to express their intent, establish unity, create rhythm, set movement and dimensionality in place, enhance shape, make points, lines and planes come alive, and the like.    Alas, too few people apply this kind of thinking and make this kind of effort when choosing colors.

For myself, I know that as I start to play with my design arrangements, I also begin to identify potential color issues.    Designs are imperfect.   Beads are imperfect.  Colors are imperfect.   With each issue, I try to figure out solutions – other things I can do with colors to make everything work.   My choices begin with scientifically proven color theories – shared universals that virtually everyone has about picking colors.

In literacy terminology, this is called decoding. Then I begin to personalize my choices so that my results show more of my individuality as an artist.   Some of these latter choices do not necessarily reflect shared universal understandings about color, its sensation and its use.   In literacy terminology, my ability to move back and forth between the objective and subjective is called fluency.

Bead Choices
The bead – its very being – creates as series of dilemmas for the colorist.    And each dilemma is only overcome through strategically making and managing choices about color and design.
Such dilemmas include things like… 

  • Beads are not the same as using paints
  • Can’t blend beads
  • Boundary issues
  • Issues associated with shapes, faceting, edges, crevices
  • Jewelry reflects and refracts light, and this may change as the wearer moves, or lighting changes, or perspective and angle of vision changes, or materials or material mixes change
  • Limits in the range of colors (and color tones) you can pick from
  • Issues associated with the fact that jewelry as worn, takes many shapes/positions, as the person moves, and the color appearance may change or vary
  • Beads are parts in whole compositions, and juxtaposition of 2 or more beads may change or vary the colors’ appearance
  • Jumping from bead to bead within the composition, means the viewer’s mind has to fill in where there are gaps of color to give the illusion there is a continuance of color throughout the composition

Yet most people do not recognize or anticipate these kinds of dilemmas.

Emotions, Moods and Choices
The emotional and psychological effects of color are undeniable.  These effects are usually felt through processes of color comparisons and contrasts.   The better designer anticipates the goals of the wearer, and what emotions and moods the wearer wants to evoke in all that see the jewelry as worn.    This might be appeal, beauty, trust, power, wealth, intelligence, and the list goes on.


Designing With Color – Many Choices
The jewelry designer must be strategic with color, which comes down to..

  1. Selection
  2. Placement
  3. Distribution
  4. Transition
  5. Proportion

Designers must be intentional, not only with the selection of colors, but in the placement of color within the piece, as well.     The designer achieves balance and harmony, partly through the placement of colors.    The designer determines how colors are distributed within the piece, and how colors transition from one color to the next.   And the designer determines what proportions of each color are used, where in the piece, and how.   These kinds of choices affect movement and rhythm, dimensionality, and resonance.

Subjective or Objective Choices?
SOME TOOLS FROM ART THEORY

Many people are often skeptical that you can choose colors with any basis of rationality.     Choosing colors is intuitive, subjective, personal.    You can’t teach people to be better users of colors, because you’re either born with a sense of color, or you are not.

People seem to have cultural or social expectations about the meanings of some colors.   When Vanderbilt students see black and gold, they associate it with school colors.   When others see black and gold, they associate it with something else.    The same goes for University of Tennessee Orange, and so forth school to school.

If we are to be able to teach jewelry makers and beaders to be more scientific in their choices of colors, and be able to anticipate how their various audiences respond to colors, then we would need to have some objective rules, rules that refer universally to just about everyone.  Rules that inform people what colors are best.   What colors go together, which ones do not.   Rules that show how to manipulate color and its expression in perfect and predictable ways.

But everything seems so subjective.

When people see colors on the vertical, they may respond very differently than when they see these same colors on the horizontal.

Look at flags of countries around the world.   Many flag colors are red, white and blue.

If you look at France’s flag, you have red/white/blue on the vertical.

Russia’s flag has red/white/blue on the horizontal.

You frequently find that people might like a color arrangement in a vertical organization, but feel very uncomfortable, or have much disdain for those same colors, when found in the horizontal.

COLOR TOOLS AND THEIR THEORETICAL BASIS
Sensation Management

Color research over the past 100 years or so suggests that there are many universals in how people perceive, understand and respond to colors.   These universals provide the basis for several “sensation-management-tools” jewelry designers might use to help them manipulate various design elements and their arrangements within a jewelry composition.    Some of the most useful color tools are those which designers use to control how to make one color relate to another.     These have to do with creating and managing…

A. Sensations of Color Balance (Light Values)
B. Sensations of Color Proportions (Color Contrast)
C. Sensations of Simultaneous Color (Simultaneous Color Contrasts)

As jewelry designers, we need to know…

  • What these color TOOLS are, and with which we can play
  • What the special demands beads (and all other materials) place on our use of these TOOLS
  • How we can push the limits of these TOOLS to achieve harmony, variety and emotional responses
  • How Far We Can Push the limits of these TOOLS to achieve parsimony and resonance

Toward this end, we need to know a little bit about the research and theories these tools are based upon.We need to understand some things about perception and cognition.That is, we need to understand, as people interact with our jewelry, how the brain comes to see color, recognize color, and interpret color in context.

Theory / Research Underlying These Color-Sensation Management Tools
My favorite book on the research into the theoretical bases of these kinds of color management tools is by Johannes Itten [2] called The Elements of Color.    The most important theories about color universals for jewelry designers, as detailed in his book, include,

  1. After Images
  2. Use of the Color Wheel
  3. Color Schemes
  4. Color Proportions
  5. Simultaneity Effects

As a design element in and of itself, Color (and its attributes) are universally understood as if they were objective facts which comprise a visual grammar.  It is important to understand how to employ universal understandings about color.

Universality, in and of itself, however, is necessary but not sufficient for understanding why some color use draws your attention, and others do not.  Here aspects of subjective interpretations and reactions, given the context, have great influence.The fluent, successful jewelry designer should understand both those universal and subjective aspects of color.

The initial discussion below, however, primarily concerns itself about color as a design element – that is, as something universal and objective.

(1) After Images
The first research had to do with After Images.    If you stare at a particular color long enough, and close your eyes, you’ll begin to see the color on the opposite side of the color wheel.   So, if you stare at red, close your eyes, and you’ll see green.

I know you want to do this, so stare away:


So our first color-sensation tools are based on LIGHT VALUE.    Each color has its own energy signature.  This seems to be universally perceived, and perceived in the same way.

Some colors have a positive energy signature; other colors have a negative energy signature.   The brain wants to balance these out and harmonize them into some kind of zero-sum outcome.    Everyone seems to see after images and see the same after images.    It seems that the eye/brain wants somehow to neutralize the energy in color to achieve some balance or 0.0 point.      The brain always seeks a balanced energy in light and color.   The human eye is only “satisfied” when the complementary color is established.

[This is the basis underlying the various color schemes below. ]

If red had an energy of +10  (I’m making up this scale), and the eye/brain then convinced your psyche to see green, then I would suppose that green would have an energy of -10.   Hence, we reach a 0.0 point (+10 – 10 = 0).

Again, the brain wants balance, harmony, beauty, non-threatening situations.   The brain does not want edginess, tension, anxiety, fear, or ugliness.   So, when you perceive red, your brain, in knee-jerk fashion, and in the absence of other information which might lead to a different interpretation of the situation, tries to compensate for the imbalance by also seeing green.

And we can continue to speculate that your eye/brain does Not want you the designer to overly clarify and intensify, should this result in a more resonant, perhaps edgy, composition.   This takes you too far away from 0.0 energy, and starts to become threatening.   It might excite you.   It might revolt you.   In either case you would react, feel, sense the power of color, but maybe not in a more balanced way the eye/brain would prefer.

But all jewelry designers need to know, and this is important, that their guiding star is “Resonance”, and this can take you a little beyond the harmony the brain seeks.     Creating a little “edginess” in your jewelry can’t hurt, and might better help in achieving finish and success.   But creating too much “edginess” might strike too forcefully at the heart of our pre-wired anxiety response, and our brain will not let us go there.   Your eye/brain does Not want you to push yourself and your jewelry too far to the edge with color.  This countervailing force might create tensions with your artistic and design intentions.

The eye/brain wants balance, harmony, monotony.     Red and green can seem so much fun at Christmas time.    But if you put your red and green necklace on a copy machine, and took a photocopy of it, it would all look like one color of black.    Red and green will always copy as the same color and shade of black.

And that is how we perceive them.    And cognate them.   We see red and green as the same.   As the same color black.    And if we assign red a +10 score, and green a -10 score, the eye/brain is happy to end up with a 0.0 score.  This combination can be boring and monotonous.   Combinations of red and green can feel unified and appear varied, yet somehow fail as choices in our jewelry designs.

And it is important to recognized that if, your composition only uses red, that in reality, when something doesn’t balance off the color red, in this case, the brain will create its own after image – some sensation of green —  to force that balance.   The brain wants to feel safe and in harmony and balance.    Everyone’s brain seems to operate similarly so that this aspect of perceiving color is universally employed.

How far the jewelry designer should fight this universal tendency is up for debate.    However, when initially picking colors to combine in a piece, we might try to achieve this 0.0 balance score (thus, a point of harmony and balance), and then, by clarifying and intensifying, deviate from it a little bit, but always with an eye on that 0.0 – what anyone’s eye/brain is driving it to do.    We want the eye/brain to feel satisfied and “safe”, but as a designer, we also want to give the jewelry a punch, a wow, an edge.    There are many color tricks and techniques that the designer can apply here.


(2) The Color Wheel: A Spectrum of Light Values
Science and Art Theory have provided us with tools to help us pick and combine colors.    One tool is the Color Wheel.    With almost every book about color, there is a Color Wheel.   Some are more detailed than others.   Some are easier to turn and manipulate.    They all have different colors at the North, South, East and West points, but it is the same series of colors, ordered in the same way, color to color.

It is important to understand how to use the Color Wheel.  This curtain of color provides the insights for selecting and arranging colors that might go together well.   The color wheel helps us delineate what color choices we can make, and which combinations of colors might work the best together, to achieve a perceived harmony and balance.

The Color Wheel is a tool and a guide.   It’s not an absolute.   Beads don’t always conform to the colors on the wheel; nor do they reflect light and color in ways consistent with how these colors appear on the wheel.

Look at this color wheel:

Get some color pencils, and color in all the colors around the wheel.

On the Color Wheel, there are 12 colors arranged into three families of color.

The Primary Color [3] family includes three colors:   yellow, blue and red.     These colors present the world as Absolutes.  They are definitive, certain, and steady.   They convey intelligence, security, and clarity.

The Secondary Color family includes those colors you can make by mixing any two primary colors.   These three colors are:  green, orange and violet.    These colors present the world as Contingencies.  They are situational, dependent on something, and questioning.   They convey questioning, inquiry, risks assessed against benefits.

The Tertiary Color family includes six colors.    Each of these colors is a mix of one of the primary colors and one of the secondary colors.  These include:  red-violet, yellow-orange, blue-green, blue-violet, yellow-green, red-orange.   These colors show Transitions.   These colors are useful for transitioning from one primary or secondary color to the next.    They bridge, integrate, tie things together, stretch things out.   They give a sense of before and after, lower then higher, inside and outside, betwixt and between.    They convey ambiguity or a teetering on the fulcrum of a scale.

As you begin to pick colors, you will also want to manipulate them – make them lighter or darker, brighter or duller, more forward projecting or more receding, and the like.   Expressions of color are referred to as attributes.  Expressive attributes are the ways you use color as building blocks in design.   So, here are some important building block/color terms/attributes and vocabulary.


(3) Color Schemes – Rules for Balancing Light Values
Color schemes are different, universally recognized and proven ways to use and combine colors, in order to achieve a pleasing or satisfying result.

Good color combinations based on color schemes have balanced, harmonious tonal values – their light energy levels balance out at the zero-zero (0.0) point.    Better designers like to tweak these combinations a bit, in order to evoke an emotional and resonant response to their work.

Color Schemes, then, as represented in a Color Wheel, are based on harmonizing (e.g., zero-sum) combinations of colors.   Color schemes – like the split complementary scheme of violet, yellow-green and yellow-orange – are different combinations of colors the Light Values of which add up to zero, and achieve harmony.

You can place geometric shapes inside the Color Wheel, and rotate them, and where the points hit the wheel, you have a good color combination.    For example, if you place an equilateral triangle (all sides are equal length) within the circle, as in the diagram below, the points touch Yellow, Red and Blue.   If you rotate it two colors to the right, it touches Orange, Violet and Green.

Different color schemes are associated with different geometric shapes that you can overlay within the wheel, and rotate, thus helping you select colors that work well together.


With color schemes, you always need to think about things like:

  1. Whether one color should predominate, or all colors should be more or less equal
  2. Whether there should always be a “splash of color”, as interior designers like to say — a “drama” color to achieve exciting, focal, look at me first effects
  3. If symmetry works with or against your color choices
  4. If you need to adjust intensity (brightness) or value (lightness) in each color, to get a better sense of satisfaction
  5. If you need to adjust the proportions or distributional patterns or arrangements of each color used; that is, experiment with same colors, different placement or different sizes or different quantities or different shapes or mixes of shapes

Let’s look at the three most popular, often-used Color Schemes – Analogous, Complementary, and Split Complementary.

Analogous
The analogous color scheme is where you pick any 3 hues which are adjacent to one another on the color wheel.   For example, you might pick yellow-green, yellow, and yellow-orange.   This scheme is a little trickier than it seems.    It works best when no color predominates.    Where the intensity of each color is similar.   And the design is symmetrical.   I also think this scheme works best when you have blocks of each color, rather than alternating each color.   That is, BETTER:  color 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 3 rather than WORSE: color 1, 2, 3, 2, 1, 2, 3, 2, 1, 2, 3, 2, 1.

Complementary  (also known as “true complementary” or “dyadic”)
The complementary color scheme is where you pick any 2 colors which are the direct opposite on the color wheel.   For example, you might pick yellow and violet.   To use this color scheme effectively, you would balance the contrast of the colors by value (lightness/darkness) and/or intensity (brightness/dullness).   In this color scheme, one color has to predominate.

Split Complementary
This is the most popular color scheme.  Here you choose three colors:  a hue and the hues on either side of its complement.   For example, you might choose yellow and blue-violet and red-violet  (thus, the two colors on either side of Violet – the complement).   In this scheme, one color needs to predominate.   This scheme works well with both symmetrical and asymmetrical designs.  You can use an isosceles triangle (has two sides with equal length) within the Color Wheel to pick colors.

One thing I like to do with this scheme is arrange all my beads, then replace one color with one of the others, and vice versa.    Let’s say you had 20 blue-green (aqua), 10 orange, and 5 red beads, which you had laid out in a satisfactory arrangement.    You could change it to 20 orange, 10 blue-green, and 5 red beads, and it would look just as good.

A lot of people have difficulty using the color orange in jewelry designs, but find it easy to use blue-green.   Here’s a nifty way to trick them into using orange, and liking it.   Do the composition with blue-green dominant, then switch out all the blue-green for orange, and any orange you used for blue-green.

There are many other color schemes.   Some examples:

Analogous Complementary
.(3 analogous colors, and one complement of one of these 3).             Example:  blue-violet, violet, red-violet with yellow-green.

Triadic
:  (3 tertiary hues equidistant on the color wheel.)             Example:  red-violet, yellow-orange, and blue-green.  You can use an equilateral triangle within the color wheel to help you pick choices.

Tetradic:
   (Using 4 colors, a double complementary scheme).   Example:   Yellow-green, orange, red-violet, and blue.   You can use a square or rectangle within the color wheel to help you pick choices.

Hexadic:   (Using 5 colors).   Can use a pentagon within the color wheel to select your colors.

Monochromatic:   (A single hue, though with different intensities, tints and shades)

Achromatic:  (black and white and gray  (without color))

Neutrals:   (mixes of hues to get browns (or grays))

Clash:  (combines a color hue with a color on either side of its complement).

Example:   blue w/red-orange or orange-yellow

There are many books, as well as free on-line color scheme designer apps to check out and play with.

(4) Color Proportions and the Sensation of Color Contrasts
Just because the colors picked conformed to a Color Wheel, doesn’t mean that they will be successful within your jewelry composition.   It turns out that making color choices based on Light Values alone are less than perfect.   Colors do not occur in a vacuum.    They appear next to other colors.   They appear within a situation or context.   They reflect and refract light and shadow differently, depending on setting, lighting, and context.

That means, perceiving and recognizing one or more colors is important information to have, but not enough information for the brain to determine if the object is satisfying or not, or safe or not.    People do not yet have enough information to make an absolute choice whether to wear or buy a piece of jewelry, at this point.

This bring us to the sensation of Color Contrasts.   Colors appear together in different proportions.   This also affects the brain’s processes of trying to harmonize them – that is, achieve a light value of zero.

Another series of color research focused on the effects of color proportions.   These scientifically derived proportions show the joint effect of 2 or more colors, if the brain is to score their sum as a value of 0.0.   (Again, I’ve made up this scoring, but you get the point about reaching equilibrium).     The brain would like to know, not only what color it is, but what proportion relative to other colors, we have before us.

As designers, to achieve a sense of harmony and balance, we are going to mimic what the brain does when seeing more than one color – we are going to vary the proportions so that, in combination, the sense of that perceptual and cognitive zero-sum game is still maintained.

And again, I’ll make the point that not all compositions have to be perfectly harmonious.

Itten has a picture of the ideal and relative proportions of colors in harmony and balance.

Yellow to purple, 1:4   (This is read as “1 in 4”, and means that given 4 parts, 1 should be yellow and the remaining 3 should be purple.  )

Orange to blue, 1:3
Red to green, 1:2
Yellow to orange: 1:1.3

Choreographing Color Blending and Transitioning:
Playing With Proportions

ColorBlock Bracelet, Warren Feld, 2017   (playing with progressive proportions)

Every so often, you might want to create a rainbow, or some sequencing of colors, say from light to dark, where all the colors seem to emerge from the last, and bleed into the next.    This is much more difficult with beads than with paints for all the usual reasons discussed above.

A “Random” selection or placement of colors doesn’t usually work as well as selecting and placing based on some more mathematical formula.  “Alternating” or “graduating” colors doesn’t always work as well, either.    You must create a more complex, involved patterning.   You must choreograph the layout of colors, so that, from a short distance, they look like they are blending, and gradually changing across the length of your piece.

Monet’s Garden Bracelet, Kathleen Lynam, 2013  (using math formula)

One of the easier mathematical formulas to come up with as a way to choreograph things, is to play with color proportions.   Go bead by bead or row by row, and begin with the ideal proportionate relationship between two colors.    Gradually manipulate this down the piece by anticipating the next ideal proportionate relationship between the next two colors that need to follow.

In fact, any kind of statistical or mathematical formula underlying an arrangement will work better than something random or intuitive, when managing color blending and transitions.

(5) Simultaneity Effects and the Sensation of Simultaneous Color Contrasts
It turns out there is even more to how the brain recognizes and tries to harmonize colors.  Knowing (1) the color (light value) and (2) the relative proportions (contrasts) of color within the piece of jewelry is necessary, but still not enough for the brain to decide whether the piece of jewelry will be satisfying, finished and successful, or somewhat ugly, not buy-able or unwearable.

Some colors, when sitting on or near a particular color, are experienced differently, than when sitting on or near a different color.    The line of research we are focusing on here deals with what are called Simultaneity Effects.   Colors can be affected by other colors around them (simultaneous color contrasts).    Colors in the presence of other colors get perceived differently, depending on the color combination.

Simultaneity Effects are a boon to the jewelry designer.   They are great tools for such things as… 

  • Filling in the gaps of light between beads
  • Assisting in the blending of colors or the sense of movement of colors along a line or plane
  • Assisting in establishing dimensionality in a piece that otherwise would appear flat
  • Harmonizing 2 or more colors which, on as a set, don’t quite match up on the color wheel
  • Establishing frames, boundaries or silhouettes
  • Re-directing the eye to another place, or creating sense of movement

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.


Gray always picks up some of the color characteristics of other colors around it.


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 what I call “grays” [thus, simultaneity effects] gives the designer tools to overcome some of the color limitations associated with the bead.

Simultaneity effects trick the brain into filling in those gaps of light between beads.  Simultaneity effects trick the brain into believing colors are more connected and blended and mutually-supportive than they would, if separately evaluated.    Simultaneity effects trick the brain into seeing satisfying arrangements, rhythms, and dimensionality, where, without them, things would be unsatisfying instead.

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”.

Here the yellow square surrounded by white feels lighter, brighter and a different temperature than its counterpart.    The red square surrounded by the black feels darker, duller, and a different temperature than its counterpart.

Again, simultaneity effects give tools to the jewelry designer for intensifying and clarifying the design, without disturbing the eye/brain pre-wired fear and anxiety responses.    These allow you to “blend” and build “bridges” and create “transitions.”   You have a lot of tricks to use here which enable you to push the envelop with your designs.   And still have your piece be judged as beautiful and appealing.

Simultaneity Effects are some of the easiest things the jewelry artist can control and manipulate, to fool the brain just a little bit.    They let you bring in unexpected colors, and fool the brain into seeing color coordination and color blending.   They let you convince the brain that the color proportions are correct when, in reality, they are not.  They let you convince the brain to jump the cliff, which the gap between beads presents.

For the brain, gaps between beads – that is, areas with undefined colors, creates work for the brain, and is fraught with danger.  The brain has to actually construct a color and meaning to fill in this gap.  Without any clues or rules or assistance, it is more risky for the brain to jump the cliff, so to speak, and fill in the gaps with color, than it is for the brain to follow an easier pathway and simply define the jewelry as ugly or boring and reject it and move on.   Similarly, simultaneity effects convince the brain to look around corners, go into crevices, explore and move around the whole piece from end to end.

It is at this point in the design process where the jewelry artist must be most fluent, creative and strategic in using color.     It is primarily and most often through establishing, and then managing, the sensation of simultaneous color contrasts where the artist begins to build that connection between audience and self, wearer and resonance, the wearing-of and the context, coherency and contagion.

With Simultaneity Effects, colors begin to take on meanings and emotions.    These can be as simple as sensations of warm and color, close and far, approaching and fleeing, soft and harsh.   Or they can be much more complex, even thematic and symbolic.


The Use of “GRAYS” (simultaneity effects) to tie things together – Blending and Bridging

With beads, the eye often needs to merge or coordinate colors, as it scans any piece.  And then there are the gaps of light between beads.  The eye needs help in spanning those gaps.   The Artist needs to build color “bridges” and “transitions”, so that the eye doesn’t fall off a cliff or have to make a leap of death from one bead, across the gap, all the way to the next.

One easy technique to use is to play with simultaneity effects.  One such effect is where gray takes on the characteristics of the color(s) around it.

In beads, there are many colors that function as “grays” – gray, black diamond, alexandrite, Montana blue, prairie green, fuchsia, Colorado topaz – colors that have a lot of black or gray tones to them.    Most color lined beads result in a gray effect (where the class encasing distorts the inside color).  Metallic finishes can result in a gray effect.

Aqua/peach lined Antique rose Teal iris

In one piece I made, for example, I used 11/0 peach lined aqua beads as a “gray” to tie in larger teal and antique rose beads together.    While aqua is different than teal and the peach is different than the antique rose, in combination, the aqua/peach-lined beads acted like a gray.  When close to the teal iris beads, the aqua took on the teal color; when close to the antique rose beads, the peach took on the antique rose color.   Gray colors pull from one bead, and transition to the next in a very subtle way, that tricks the brain, but does not disturb it.


Expressive Attributes of Color and Color Contrasts:
Important Color Terms and Vocabulary

Each color on the wheel is called a HUE.     Hues are pure colors – any color except black or white.    And if you look again, there is no black or white on the Color Wheel.

BLACK
is the absence of color.   We consider black to be opaque.   Usually, when people see black, they tend to see shadows.   With black, designs tend to feel older, more antique’y, richer, more traditional and solid, and seem to have a patina around them.

WHITE is all the colors merged together.    When all colors in “light” merge, you get White.  When all the colors in paints or pigments are merged, you get a neutral gray-black or beige.   With White, designs tend to feel sharper, brighter, more contemporary.

INTENSITY and VALUE.  Better jewelry designers are those who master how to play with INTENSITIES and play with VALUES.   This means they know and are comfortable with manipulating bright and dull (intensity), and light and dark (value).    They know the subtle differences among red, pink and maroon, and how viewers react to these.    They know how to punctuate – BAM! – with Yellow, and EASE – with purple, and CALM – with blue.

The contrasts between Bright and Dull or Light and Dark are not quite the same.    Bright and Dull (intensity) has to do with how much white, gray or black underlay the Hue or pure color.    Low intensity is duller; high intensity is brighter.    Think of a Stop Sign.   It could have just as easily been Red, Pink or Maroon.    Red is the most intense – the brightest of the 3 – and hence the sign is Red.   You can see red from the farthest distance away.    Red is “Bright (intensity)”, but not necessarily “Lighter (values)” than Pink or Maroon.

The contrasts between Light and Dark are called VALUES.  A lower value is darker, though not necessarily duller (intensity).   Pink has a higher value than maroon, because it is lighter.   Yellow is the lightest color; violet is the darkest.    Yellow has a higher value than violet.

Unfortunately, in many texts and guides written by Bead Artists and Jewelry Designers, they combine the concepts of intensity and value into a single concept they refer to as “Values”.   Bead Artists and Colorists often write that the “secret” to using colors is to vary “values”.     When they refer to “values”, they are actually combining these two color theory concepts – “values” and “intensities”.    Both are really different, so this combined meaning is a disservice to the bead artist and jewelry designer trying to learn to control color choices and color expression.

INTENSITY AND VALUES EXERCISE
Intensity Exercise:

Use your Blue Pencil, as well as your White, Gray and Black Pencils, to color in the 2nd column.   Start by coloring in all the squares with a medium shade of blue.

Using your white, gray and black pencils, now vary the darkness of the blue to approximate the darkness of the grays in the 1st column. 

Values Exercise:

Using your Blue Pencil only, color in each cell in the table below, making the top cell the lightest (highest value), subsequent cells darker than the previous ones, and the last bottom cell, the darkest (lowest value).   [Press lightly on the pencil when coloring in the first cell, and then harder and harder as you go down the column.]

So, as you work with people to create jewelry for them, you make choices about, and then manipulate:

– colors
– balance and harmony (distribution, placement, and proportions)
– intensities
– values
– simultaneity effects

Let’s say you wanted to design a necklace with blue tones.   If you were designing this necklace for someone to wear at work, it would probably be made up of several blue colors which vary in values, but Not in intensities.   To give it some interest, it might be a mix of light blue, blue, dark blue and very dark blue.    Thus, the piece is pretty, but does not force any power or sexuality issues on the situation.

If you were making this same necklace for someone to go out on the town one evening, you might use several blue colors which vary in intensity.    You might mix periwinkles and Montana blues and cobalt blues and blue quartzes.     You want to make a power or sensual statement here, and the typical necklace someone would wear to work just won’t do.

Let’s continue with some more important color building blocks or concepts.

TINT, SHADE and TONE are similar to values and intensities.    They are another way of saying similar things about manipulating color Hues.    TINTS are colors with white added to them.  Pink is a tint of Red.    SHADES are colors with black or gray added to them.   Maroon is a shade of Red.    And TONES define the relative darkness of a color.    Violet is a dark tone and yellow is a light tone.    Red and green have the same tonal value.   “Tones” are what copy machines pick up, and the depth of the black on a photocopy relates to the tonal value of the colors on the original paper you are copying.   Red and green photocopy the same black color.   They have the same tonal value.

TEMPERATURE.  Colors also have Temperature.   Some colors are WARM.   The addition of black tends to warm colors up.   Warm colors are usually based in Red.   Red-Orange is considered the warmest color.   Warm colors tend to project forward.

COOL
colors are usually based in Blue.   Green-blue is the coldest color.   Addition of white often cools colors.   Cool colors tend to recede.

Given the other colors which surround them, however, usually warm colors may appear cold, and vice versa.

Juxtaposing colors creates MOVEMENT and RHYTHM.   By creating patterns, you guide the brain/eye in its circuitous route around the piece, as it tries to make sense of it.   Juxtaposing Warm with Cool colors increases the speed or sense of movement.


Some colors tend to PROJECT FORWARD and others tend to RECEDE.   Yellow is an advancing color.  Black recedes.     You can play with this effect to trick the viewer into seeing a more MULTI-DIMENSIONAL piece of jewelry before her.   By mixing different colors and different finishes, you can create a marvelous sense of dimensionality.

 

  • Faceted, Glossy beads will tend to look closer and capture the foreground
  • Smooth, Glossy beads will tend to capture the middle ground
  • Matte, Dull, Frosted, or Muted beads will tend to fall into the background



To Reiterate Some of The Key Ideas and Understandings
The color research begins to open up ideas about how the brain processes color, and which of these processes might be seen as universal, and which more subjective.

The brain first perceives, then tries to understand the color as a color.    It senses Light Values.

The brain perceives, then tries to understand the color relative to other colors around it.    It senses Color Contrasts.

At the same time, the brain perceives and tries to understand the color within some context or situation, to gauge more meaning or emotional content.   It interprets Simultaneous Color Contrasts within the boundaries of a context, situation, personal or group culture.

The END RESULT is simple:
Should we consider the jewelry to be finished and successful?
Should we like the jewelry or not like it?
Should it get and hold our attention, or not?
Should we approach it, or avoid it?
Should we get excited about it, or not?
Should we comment about it to others?
Should we buy it?
Should we wear it?

All this perceptual and cognitive and interpretive activity happens very quickly, but somewhat messy.  Some of it follows universal precepts.   Some of it is very subjective.   Our brain is trying everything it can to make sense of the situation.   It tries to zero-sum the light values.   It has to take in information about a color’s energy signature.  It has to take in information about how much of one color there is in relation to other colors.   It has to take in information about emotional and other meaningful content the juxtaposition of any group of colors within any context or situation represents.

With any piece of jewelry, the artist and designer is at the core of this all.    It is the designer, in anticipation of how others perceive, recognize and interpret colors in their lives, who establishes how color is used, and manages its expression within the piece.    The jewelry designer is the manager.    The designer is the controller.   The designer is the influencer.   The designer establishes and conveys intent and meaning.

DECODING COLOR AS A DESIGN ELEMENT


A composition in orange and blue.

Art and design theory informs us how to objectively use color.    That means, there are universally accepted shared understandings and expectations about what makes a piece of jewelry more satisfying (or dissatisfying) in terms of choices about color.

So, when we refer to our lessons above about color use, and examine the orange and blue necklace above, we can recognize some problematic choices about color.

The first is about color proportions.      The most satisfying proportionate relationship between orange and blue is 1:3.    That means, for every 3 parts, one should be orange and two should be blue.    In our illustrated composition, the relationship is more 1:2 or half orange and half blue.   To make this piece more attractive and satisfying, we would need to reduce the amount of orange and increase the amount of blue.

The second is about color schemes.    Here we have a 2-color, complimentary color scheme.   To make this piece more attractive and satisfying as a complimentary color scheme, we have learned that one of the two colors should predominate.   Either we have to add more orange, or have to add more blue.

So, we have decoded our Color Design Element and we see that the proportions are less than optimal, and the color scheme chosen is less than optimal.    To make the necklace more appealing, and in conformance with universally agreed upon understandings about good color use, we will need to increase the amount of blue and decrease the amount of orange, so that we get a 1:3 (orange to blue) proportionate outcome, and we allow one color to predominate.

Let’s look at another example:


Composition in green, white and red.

First, white is not considered a color.   We can ignore it.

Second, proportionately, there should be equal amounts of green to that of red.   The relationship is 1:2, meaning for every 2 parts, 1 should be green and 1 should be red.    Proportionately, in this piece, we are close to this proportionate relationship.

Third, we have, in effect, since we ignore white, a 2-color complimentary color scheme.    We have learned that in this scheme, one color should predominate.

That means, in this composition, the current use of color will not and cannot work.  It results in an unacceptable and unsatisfying use of color.    Proportionately, both colors need to be equal.   Color Scheme wise, one color needs to clearly predominate.    We can’t conform to both universally-accepted shared understandings about the use of green and red in a 2-color scheme.


DESIGNING JEWELRY WITH COLOR
Always remember that your choice of color(s) should be secondary to the choices you make about concept, theme, arrangement and organization.    Color should be used to enhance your design thinking.    Color should not, however, be the design.

When we study color from a design standpoint, we think of color as part of the jewelry’s structure.  That means, color is not merely a decorative effect or object.    It is more like an integral building component which has been organized or arranged within a larger composition.   As a component, it is a “Design Element”.    Color is the most important Design Element.      It can both stand alone, as well as easily be combined with other Design Elements.  There are some universal aspects when color is objectively understood as an element of design.   As part of an arrangement, we begin to treat color in terms of Principles of Composition, Construction and Manipulation.   Color takes on some subjectivity.    Its effects become much more dependent on the artist’s intent and the situation in which the jewelry is worn.

Color is used to express meaning and enhance meaningful expressions.   We use color to express elements of the materials used, like glass or gemstone.   We use color to express or emphasize elements of the forms we are creating.   We use color to enhance a sense of movement or dimension.   We use color to express moods and emotions.   We use color to influence others in sharing the artist’s inspirations and aspirations.

As designers, we…
– Anticipate how the parts we use to make a piece of jewelry assert their needs for color
– Anticipate shared universal understandings among self, viewer, wearer, exhibitor and seller about color and its use
– Think through how colors relate to our inspirations and how they might impact our aspirations
– Pick colors
– Place and arrange colors
– Distribute the proportions of colors
– Play with and experiment with color values and color intensities
– Leverage the synergistic effects and what happens when two (or more) colors are placed next to one another
– Create focus, rhythm, balance, dimension and movement with color
– Create satisfying blending and transitioning strategies using color
– Anticipate how color and the play of color within our piece might be affected by contextual or situational variables
– Reflect on how our choices about color affect how the piece of jewelry is judged as finished and successful by our various client audiences
– Use color to promote the coherency of our pieces, and the speed and extent to which attention by others continues to spread

Fluent designers can decode color and its use intuitively and quickly, and apply color in more expressive ways to convey inspiration, show the artist’s strategy and intent, and trigger an especially resonant, energetic response by wearers and viewers alike.

Don’t get into a Color Rut
And a last piece of advice.

Don’t get into a color rut.    Experiment with different colors.   Force yourself to use colors you usually do not use or avoid.     If it’s too psychologically painful, make a game of it.

————————————————————————————


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, wire weaving and silversmithing, 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, wire weaving, 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.    Many of his classes and projects have been turned into kits, available for purchase from www.warrenfeldjewelry.com  or www.landofodds.com.     He conducts workshops at many sites around the US, and the world.

Join Warren for an enrichment-travel adventure on Your World Of Jewelry Making Cruises.

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.

He is currently writing a book – Fluency In Design:   Do You Speak Jewelry?

_________________________________________________________

FOOTNOTES
[1] Pantone website   https://www.pantone.com
[2]  Itten, Johannes.  The Elements of Color: A Treatise on the Color System of Johannes Itten, NY: John Wiley & Sons, 2001

[3] In reality, the selection of primary colors is arbitrary.    The primary colors depend on the light source, the color of the background, and the biology of the color-sensing components of the eye.    We choose red-yellow-blue when referencing painting or coloring on white background, like paper.   We choose red-green-blue when referencing color placed on a black background, such as a TV or computer screen.   We choose cyan-maroon-yellow-black when using overlapping inks to create color on a white background, and better reproduce true colors.    We understand that the eye sees red-greenish yellow-blue-violet most clearly.


Color References Worth Checking Out
Rockport Publishers, Color Harmony Workbook, Gloucester, MA: Rockport Publishers,
1999.
Deeb, Margie.  The Beader’s Guide to Jewelry Design, NY: Lark Jewelry & Beading,
2014.

 

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