Learn To Bead

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

Archive for the ‘jewelry design’ Category

It’s not too late to VOTE! for the UGLIEST NECKLACE of 2014

Posted by learntobead on December 4, 2014

OnLine Voting Ends 12/15/2015!
10th International 2014 The Ugly Necklace Contest
A Jewelry Design Competition With A Twist

Your expert opinion counts!

It ain’t easy doing Ugly!

Five Jewelry Artists from around the world have been selected as Semi-Finalists of The 10th International 2014 The Ugly Necklace Contest –  A Jewelry Design Competition With A Twist, by a panel of judges from Be Dazzled Beads, The Center for Beadwork & Jewelry Arts and Land of Odds.

Vote Online for your favorites, and help determine who will win the Grand Prize – a $992.93 shopping spree on the Land of Odds web-site (http://www.landofodds.com).  Runner Up Prize:  $399.07 shopping spree.   Voting Ends December 15, 2014

Help the world determine which necklace is the absolutely ugliest necklace in 2014!

More details and images on-line at:
http://www.landofodds.com/store/ugly10contest.htm

 

2014 Semi-Finalists Announced:

Patricia Parker, Quakertown, Pennsylvania

Joan Veress, Norwood New York

Cecilia Wells, Brentwood, Tennessee

Lynn Davy, Wimborne, Dorset, United Kingdom

Pamela Orians, Zanesville, Ohio

 

 

 

Synopsis:

It’s not easy to do Ugly!

So the many jewelry designers from across America and around the Globe who entered our 10th International 2014 The Ugly Necklace Contest — A Jewelry Design Competition With A Twist, found this contest especially challenging.   After all, your brain is pre-wired to avoid and reject things which are ugly.   Think of snakes and spiders.   And even if you start your necklace with a bunch of ugly pieces, once you organize them into a circle, the very nature of an ordered round form makes it difficult to achieve Ugly.   Yes, “Ugly” is easier said than done.

Who will win?   We need your help to influence our panel of judges.

Our respected judges evaluated these creatively-designed pieces in terms of hideousness, use of materials and clasp, the number of jewelry design principles violated, and the designer’s artistic control.   Extra points were awarded for artists’ use of smaller beads, because it’s much more difficult to do Ugly with these.

Now it’s time for America and the World to help finalize the decision about which of these 8 semi-finalists’ Ugly Necklaces to vote for.   The winner will truly be an exceptional jewelry designer.   The losers….well….this isn’t a contest where you really can “lose”.

Come see these and the other semi-finalists’ pieces at www.landofodds.com, and vote your choice for the Ugliest Necklace,  2014.

And if you are in the Nashville, Tennessee area, please stop by The Open Windows Gallery (fine art jewelry) at Be Dazzled Beads, where the 8 semi-finalists’ Ugly Necklaces are on display through March 15, 2014.

 

LAND OF ODDS-BE DAZZLED BEADS
Attention: Warren Feld
www.landofodds.com
718 Thompson Lane, Ste 123, Nashville, TN 37204
Phone: 615-292-0610; Fax: 615-460-7001
Email: warren@landofodds.com

Posted in Contests, jewelry design | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

GWYNIAN ROPES BRACELET WORKSHOP, 9/27/14

Posted by learntobead on August 20, 2014

Untitled Docum

Center For Beadwork & Jewelry Arts - beadworking and jewelry-making classes

Be Dazzled Beads and 
The Center for
Beadwork & Jewelry Arts

in Nashvile, Tennessee

welcomes

Warren Feld

September 27, 2014
10am-5pm Sat

Gwynian Ropes Bracelet Workshop
Intermediate/Advanced Level

https://i2.wp.com/www.landofodds.com/store/images3/coplime-gwyn-worn-full1.jpg

COPPER LIME and CELSIAN Palettes

 

For more information, Click Here:
GWYNIAN ROPES BRACELET WORKSHOP

1 Day
Saturday, September 27, 2014, 10am-5pm 
(with a break for lunch)

FEES: $85.00 plus Kit Fee

[Optional Kit available for puchase from instructor.

Palettes: 
Celsian Lime Czech Fire Polish ($140.00)

Dark Amethyst Czech Fire Polish ] ($140.00)

Copper Lime Crystals ($445.00)

Wine Crystals($445.00)

gwyn-wine-full6

WINE AND DARK AMETHYST PALETTES

Registration
Deposit: $85.00 + Kit Fee

Registration by
September 13th, 2014

 

 

For more
information, Click Here:

GWYNIAN ROPES BRACELET WORKSHOP

 

 

Posted in beadwork, jewelry design | Leave a Comment »

The Ugly Necklace Contest – Submission Deadline Approaching

Posted by learntobead on April 28, 2014

 

THE UGLY NECKLACE CONTEST
– A JEWELRY DESIGN COMPETITION WITH A TWIST
Submission Deadline Approaching:  August 31, 2014

uglynecklace1

 

 

QUESTION:  Have you ever designed something truly ugly? Look at some of the previous submitted entries to the Ugly Necklace Contest? In your view, and from a design sense, are there any particularly outstanding  examples of “Ugly”?

Past Contests — View  the Galleries of Entries

2003:  http://www.landofodds.com/store/ugliest2003a.htm
2004:  http://www.landofodds.com/store/ugliest2004a.htm
2005:  http://www.landofodds.com/store/ugliest2005a.htm
2006:  http://www.landofodds.com/store/ugliest2006a.htm
2007:  http://www.landofodds.com/store/ugliest2007a.htm
2008: http://www.landofodds.com/store/ugliest2008a.htm
2010: http://www.landofodds.com/store/ugliest2010a.htm
2012: http://www.landofodds.com/store/ugly9contest.htm

 

 

About The UGLY NECKLACE CONTEST — A Jewelry Design Competition With A Twist
Submission Deadline: August 31, 2014
Enter To Win! http://www.landofodds.com/store/uglynecklace.htm

The UGLY NECKLACE CONTEST is a jewelry design contest with a twist. The contest presents a challenge not often tackled — at least intentionally. The contest draws the jewelry designer into an alternative universe where beautiful artists create ugly necklaces. It’s not easy to do.

“Ugly” is more involved than simple surface treatment. It is not just laying out a bunch of ugly parts into a circle. It turns out that “Ugly” is something more than that. “Ugly” is the result of the interplay among Designer, Wearer, and Viewer. “Ugly” is very much a result of how a necklace is designed and constructed. “Ugly” is something the viewer actively tries to avoid and move away from. “Ugly” has deep-rooted psychological, cognitive, perceptual, sociological and anthropological functions and purposes.

As research into color and design has shown, your eye and brain compensate for imbalances in color or in the positioning of pieces and objects – they try to correct and harmonize them. They try to neutralize anything out of place or not quite right. You are pre-wired to subconsciously avoid anything that is disorienting, disturbing or distracting. Your mind and eye won’t let you go here. This is considered part of the fear response, where your brain actively attempts to avoid things like snakes and spiders…. and ugly necklaces.

This means that jewelry designers, if they are to create beautiful, wearable art, have to be more deeply involved with their pieces beyond “surface”. Or their pieces will be less successful, thus less beautiful, thus more disturbing or distracting or disorienting, thus more Ugly.

Luckily, for the jewelry designer, we are pre-wired to avoid these negative things. This makes it easier to end up with pieces that look good. Beauty, in some sense, then, is very intuitive. On the other hand, it makes it more difficult to end up with pieces that look bad. You see, Ugly goes against our nature. It’s hard to do.

To achieve a truly hideous result means making the hard design choices, putting ourselves in situations and forcing us to make the kinds of choices we’re unfamiliar with, and taking us inside ourselves to places that we are somewhat scared about, and where we do not want to go.

– Can I push myself to use more yellow than the purple warrants, and mix in some orange?

– Can I make the piece off-sided or disorienting, or not have a clear beginning, middle or end?

– Can I disrupt my pattern in a way that, rather than “jazz,” results in “discord?”

– Can I work with colors and materials and patterns and textures and placements and proportions I don’t like?

– Can I design something I do not personally like, and perhaps am unwilling, to wear around my neck?

– Can I create a piece of jewelry that represents some awful feeling, emotion or experience I’m uncomfortable with?

– Can I make something I know that others won’t like, and may ridicule me for it?

 

Because answering questions like these is not something people like to do, jewelry designers who attempt to achieve “Ugly,” have to have a lot of control and discipline to override, perhaps overcome, intuitive, internally integrated principles of artistic beauty. The best jewelry designers, therefore, will be those artists who can prove that they can design a truly Ugly Necklace. In our contest, we invite all those jewelry designers out there to give it a try.

The Ugly Necklace Contest is one of the many programs at Be Dazzled Beads and The Center for Beadwork & Jewelry Arts in Nashville, Tennessee, that encourage beadwork and jewelry makers to challenge themselves and to test their design skills, and learn some fundamentals about jewelry design in the process.

 

 

What Is Ugly?

Different participants in The Ugly Necklace Contest have interpreted “Ugly” in different ways.

Some focused on the ugliness of each individual component. Some used materials that they felt conveyed a sense of ugly, such as llama droppings, or felted matted dog hair, or rusty nails, or cigarette butts, or a banana peel. Some focused on mood and consciousness, and how certain configurations of pieces and colors evoked these moods or states of consciousness.

Others focused on combining colors which don’t combine well. Still others focused on how the wearer’s own body would contribute to a sense of ugliness, when wearing the piece, such as the addition of a “Breast Pocket” which would lay just below the woman’s breast, or peacock feathers that covered the wearer’s mouth, or the irritating sounds of rusty cow bells, or the icky feeling of a rotting banana peel on the skin. Still others saw Ugly as a sense of psychological consciousness, such as being homeless, or an uncomfortable transition from adolescence to adulthood. For some Ugly meant politically ugly, like Saddam Hussein of Iraq, or the trans-fats associated with fast foods.

It is not enough just to string a bunch of ugly beads on a wire. Ugly pieces do not necessarily result in an ugly necklace. As one entrant learned, when she strung her ugly beads together, the final project was beautiful, and sold for $225.00, before she could enter it into the contest! Actually, if you look at many of the entries, you see that ugly pieces, once arranged and organized, don’t seem as ugly. Organization and arrangement contribute their own qualities and sense of beauty that transcends the ugly parts.

Adding to the fun, the contestant also has to create a piece of jewelry which is functional and wearable. This is what sets beadwork and jewelry design apart from other design arts. A piece of jewelry as art, (even Ugly art), has to maintain its essence and purpose, even as the wearer moves, bends down, or rubs against things. Jewelry is Art as it is worn. Jewelry is not a subset of painting or a type of sculpture.

Jewelry is something more. Jewelry is art and architecture in motion, often frenetic motion. The pieces that make it up, and the techniques and designs which coherently interrelate these pieces, must also anticipate this dynamic totality. Otherwise, the piece of jewelry becomes a failure not only as a piece of jewelry, but of art, as well.

 

The Ugly Necklace Contest is an arena for budding and established beadwork and jewelry designers to strut their stuff – to show how adept they are at creating ugly-necklace-pieces-of-art. It’s a jewelry design competition with a twist.

The finalists of The Ugly Necklace Contest are those beadwork and jewelry designers who can best elaborate upon rules of design, whether intuitively or strategically. These rules of design are, in effect, an underlying grammar and vocabulary – the theoretical and professional basis of beadwork and jewelry making as art, not just craft.

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

Be sure to check out this new book by Margie Deeb, in which she includes a discussion about The Ugly Necklace Contest:

The Beader’s Guide to Jewelry Design: A Beautiful Exploration of Unity, Balance, Color & More Paperback
by Margie Deeb  (Author)

Once beaders have mastered the basics and enjoyed bringing others’ patterns to life, they’re ready and eager to take the next step: creating their own original pieces. Here, finally, is their must-have guidebook to the fundamental principles of visual design. Focusing on jewelry, it helps beaders explore concepts such as unity, scale, proportion, balance, rhythm, volume, shape, pattern, texture, movement, drape, and color in their work. Exercises, reader challenges, and lavish photos enhance understanding and assure design success.

This book is available for Pre-Order at Amazon.com.

deeb-jewelrydesign

 

http://www.amazon.com/The-Beaders-Guide-Jewelry-Design/dp/1454704063/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1391443968&sr=8-1&keywords=the+beaders+guide+to+jewelry+design

Posted in Contests, jewelry design | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

DIMENSIONALITY: One Principle of Composition

Posted by learntobead on February 25, 2014

DIMENSIONALITY: One Principle of Composition

hrstep10c

Jewelry Design is the application of basic principles of artistic expression. One set of principles involves COMPOSITION.    In an article online – Good Jewelry Design (http://www.landofodds.com/store/goodjewelrydesign.htm ) – I describe 10 Principles of Composition.     Principles of Composition define what types of goals the good jewelry designer should achieve.   Discussion on these principles and their application focus on what elements in our pieces we , as jewelry designers, manipulate in order to achieve a principled, satisfactory outcome.

In this post, I focus on one in particular:   Dimensionality.

QUESTION:
What kinds of things have you manipulated within your piece(s) that helps you achieve a satisfying sense of dimensionality?

Conversely, where do you see failures in attempts to achieve “dimensionality”, and what kinds of wrong-way choices do you think the jewelry designer made, that might have led to this failure?    What better choices could the designer have made?

Share images, if you have them.

gjddimbb1

Dimensionality

Good Dimensionality  refers to the degree to which, whether the piece is flat or 3-dimensional, the placement of objects (and their attributes) is satisfying, and does not compete or conflict with the dimensionality of the piece as a whole.

Sometimes dimensionality is achieved through the positioning of masses of objects or planes of interconnected pieces, such as varying sizes/heights/lengths or layering or cut-aways, or varying positive and negative spaces.

Othertimes, dimensionality is achieved through color/texture optical effects, such as the use of glossy and matte beads in the same piece, or mixing darker/more intense colors with light/less intense colors.

gjddimbb2

How often have you seen something like a flat loomed bracelet and a button clasp, that sits so high on the bracelet, that it detracts from the 2-dimensional reason-for-being of the piece. Would a clasp, and a flatter clasp, at the end of the piece have worked better?

Glossy surfaces move toward the viewer, and matte ones recede.   Can you point to successful examples of this?

Achieving Good Dimensionality is considered, not only a desirable design goal, but a critical and important characteristic of contemporary jewelry.

This doesn’t mean we want to pile up bead up bead and layer upon layer.   It means we want to show how creative we can be to achieve something more satisfying than flat and more satisfying than one-dimensional.

We want to demonstrate more artistic control over line and plane.

gwynian-wine-detail2-medium

Posted in jewelry design | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

COLORS: BLURRED TRANSITIONS or SHARP TRANSITIONS

Posted by learntobead on January 29, 2014

COLORS:  BLURRED TRANSITIONS  or SHARP TRANSITIONS

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

flagblurry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

flagsharp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which do you prefer – Blurred or Sharp?

 

Posted in beads, jewelry design | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

THE CHALLENGES OF CUSTOM WORK

Posted by learntobead on October 27, 2013

THE CHALLENGES OF CUSTOM WORK

QUESTIONS:
How do you handle the challenges of doing custom work?
What lessons have you learned, that you might share with others?

soundtrackcolor

When I began my jewelry making career, one of the smartest things I did was take on repairs.    I learned so much.   With each repair, I was able to re-construct in my mind the steps the jewelry designer made when creating this piece of jewelry – choices about stringing materials, clasps, beads, and how to connect everything up.    And at the same time, I could see where these choices were inadequate.   I could see where the piece broke or wore down.   I could question the customer about how the piece was worn, and what happened when it broke.

And with each repair, I gained more knowledge from yet another jewelry designer’s attempt to fashion a piece of jewelry.

All these repairs resulted in more self-confidence about designing jewelry and designing jewelry for others.   And it led to more custom work.

When you do custom work, I think you need an especially steeled personality to deal with everything that can go awry.

First comes the fitting.   You take some initial measurements, but after the piece is made, the perspective changes, and so do the desired measurements.

Then comes a lot of customer indecision – colors, lengths, beads, silhouettes, overall design.

Or they want to use several gemstones, but want them all to have the exact same markings and coloration.

Not to mention the sometimes questionable taste.

Or the possibilities of infringement of other jeweler’s designs, when the customer wants you to re-produce something they saw in a magazine or on-line.     Identically.

And then time-frame.   Can I finish the piece by the time the customer wants it done?

We discuss pricing, where many customers seem resistant to paying anything for my time.

And last, payment.     It’s not so easy to get some people to pay.

 

I still do a lot of custom work.    But I delay a bit, sitting down and actually constructing the piece.    I have a lot of discussions with the client.   If there are color or materials questions, I usually present the client for 3 colors or materials at a time, and ask them to choose which they prefer.   Then another 3-at-a-time forced-choice exercise, until things get narrowed down.

I photo-shop a lot of images – different colors, designs, beads – with the client, and get a lot of feedback.     As I assemble all the information, I sketch/photo-shop what a final piece might look like.   I superimpose this image on a mannequin to show the customer what it might look like.     I have the customer formally sign-off on a final design.    And only then, do I begin to construct the piece.

I require a 50% deposit up front.

I agree to make some adjustments for 6 months after the customer has the piece in hand.

 

 

 

Posted in jewelry design | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

DOES TODAY’s WORLD AFFECT YOUR DESIGNS IN ANY WAY?

Posted by learntobead on October 13, 2013

DOES TODAY’s WORLD AFFECT YOUR DESIGNS IN ANY WAY?

ghindia3-80

I recently read an article about Paul Klee, a prominent modern artist in the early 1900’s.     In 1914, in an interview, Klee noted that as the world became a scarier, less organized place, art became more and more abstract.

That got me thinking.   To what extent does the outside world affect my jewelry design decisions?    Has it changed my choice of materials?  Colors?  Patterns?  Silhouettes?

My initial thought, frankly, was not that much.

Except that I began to think of the image I had of the “woman” wearing my jewelry and I definitely have a very feminist view of that “woman”.   She’s empowered and self-assured.   She plays both gender-specific as well as gender-neutral roles.

And when I picture the contexts in which this “woman” will be wearing my piece, I picture the kinds of places an assured business woman would be, and how that woman would present herself.

I also want most of my pieces to transition well between formal and informal settings, and with the woman wearing informal and more formal attire.

I have difficulty designing for the traditional Southern woman.   Or the woman who only wants something blue for a blue dress.   Or the woman for whom jewelry plays a supplemental function, rather than a supporting role.

My jewelry tends to be very architectural, yet my color palette and its application is very impressionistic.     An urban vs. rural Or modern vs. vintage tension always resonant in my pieces.   I feel this thrust towards modernity that needs to be tempered by some kind of emotion, the roots of which I often find in vintage and ancient designs.

So, there might be some of this outside world influence seeping into my design process.    But I think for me, this jewelry design process is more often an escape from the realities of our world today.   My pieces need to be powerful enough to allow my “woman” to escape these realities, as well.

 

How about you?   Does today’s world affect your designs in any way?

 

Posted in jewelry design | Leave a Comment »

GOOD JEWELRY DESIGN: Subjective or Objective?

Posted by learntobead on September 12, 2013

GOOD JEWELRY DESIGN:
The Result of Subjective or Objective Choices?

soundtrackcolorfull2

QUESTION: Can choices about jewelry design ever be truly objective? Or are they primarily subjective?

 

Is good jewelry design more a matter of “taste”, or is there some scientific basis which underlies it?

 

What do you think?

 

Do you think there are “universal” rules and understandings that good jewelry designers would be wise to adopt, or is each and every designer on their own?

 

colormetalblockcloseup1

 

 

I think, that if we observed and measured the jewelry design process, that much of it is very subjective, that is a matter of personal taste.   Much appreciation of design and color and color combinations seems very subjective.

 

People have certain social and cultural preset notions about what they prefer.   Some people have a personal preference for browns, others for purples, and so forth.   So people like a lot of fringe; others are minimalists.

 

Psychologists have found that some people will like a color or combination of colors or design elements if arranged vertically.     If arranged horizontally, they then don’t like them.    And vice versa.  Some people like things, when horizontally arranged, but dislike these same things when vertically arranged.

tamayadetail1

 

People respond in very different ways to how design elements and colors, as well as shading, highlighting and tinting, are distributed throughout the piece.    They might like the components, when distributed in a certain way, but dislike the piece, when the components are re-arranged and re-distributed.

 

Some people get very excited when the colors or elements in their jewelry have very sharp boundaries and clear demarcations.    Others hate this.   They prefer a blurring or blending or smudging up of things.

 

When confronted with a very monochromatic piece, or one with little rhythm, some people feel relieved, and others bored or anxious.

 

Some people prefer pieces that exude a lot of power; others prefer their pieces subdued.

romari1-hires-full-moneyshot-medium

 

 

 

 

As a designer, if things are mostly a matter of personal taste, style, and perspective, it gets more confusing about how to design things.   What kinds of things should be included and which excluded?   What strategies can you employ for choosing and combining colors and design elements?   What things should you learn, if anything at all?

 

Without proven, universal, objective, grammatical set of rules for using and combining things, how do we design things?   How do we know which things are better, smarter and more satisfying, and which are not?

 

Yet, as we page through the bead magazines, and click through the various jewelry-themed web-pages, I find that a lot of people agree on what is good, and what isn’t.    On what is satisfying, and what isn’t.  On what works, and what doesn’t.   When there is a lot of agreement, perhaps, there are some universal understandings – OBJECTIVE rules – operating here.   What might these be?

 

Is Design purely subjective, or can you see some objective framework that may be at play, as well?

 

 

What do you think?

 

 

 

 

Warren

Land of Odds (www.landofodds.com)
Warren Feld Jewelry

 

Posted in jewelry design | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

MIXED MEDIA BEADWORK

Posted by learntobead on September 3, 2013

MIXED MEDIA BEADWORK

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

 

Agree or disagree?

 

kumihimo

kumihimo

 

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

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

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

kumihimo

kumihimo

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

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

 

beaded art doll

beaded art doll

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

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

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

 

beaded art doll

beaded art doll

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

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

 

What do you think?

Share them by posting them to our group.

 

 

 

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

 

 

Posted in Art or Craft?, beadwork, jewelry design | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

HOW HAS TECHNOLOGY IMPACTED YOU AS A JEWELRY DESIGNER?

Posted by learntobead on August 26, 2013

 

HOW HAS TECHNOLOGY IMPACTED YOU AS A JEWELRY DESIGNER?

tech-3-d-print

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

How has technology affected what we do as designers?

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

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

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

What has happened to your local bead stores?

What has happened to bead magazines?

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

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

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

 

tech-3-d-print2

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

tech-crystal-clay

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

It has made it easier to stay current and learn.

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

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

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

 

tech-internet

 

 

Some quick observations from my own professional life:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you think?

Posted in bead weaving, beadwork, business of craft, jewelry design, jewelry making, Stitch 'n Bitch | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

ODDS or EVENS…What’s your Preference?

Posted by learntobead on August 9, 2013

ODDS or EVENS…
What’s Your Preference?

oddsevens-onestrand

Sometimes, jewelry must conform to a type of numerology – odds or evens or multiples of some number, like the number 3 – related to the numbers of beads or the numbers of strands or the numbers of drops.

 

Do you have a personal preference for ODDS or EVENS?     Such as,
— The number of strands in a necklace or bracelet?
— Or the number of bangle bracelets you wear on one arm?
— Or the number of beads you use to begin a peyote stitch project?
— Or the number of drops you include in your piece, or dangles you include in an earring?
— Or the number of colors or elements repeated in a pattern or jewelry segment?

 

Is this ODDS/EVENS preference consistent all the time?

oddsevens-twostrand

Or is it situational?  That is, in certain circumstances you prefer ODDS, and in others, EVENS.

 

Is there any experiential, aesthetic or hypothetical basis for your preferences?

 

If you have a preference for one over the other, has does that affect your design process?

 

Do you get more compliments, when you are wearing one- or three-strand necklaces, than when you are wearing a two-strand necklace?

 

 

 

 

 

Historically in Europe, it was considered bad luck and inappropriate to have an EVEN number of strands in a necklace.     If you had a very long necklace that you would occasionally wrap around your neck multiple times, then it had to be long enough so that you could wrap it around an ODD number of times – such as tripled, never doubled.    Even today, in etiquette books, such as “Miss Manners”, the rule is “Always Wear Odd Numbers of Strands of Pearls.”    No explanation is given.

 

Russians even believe that you should never give an even number of flowers to your wife or girlfriend!

 

In ancient Babylon, even numbers were believed to be unlucky and somewhat demonic.    To them, something should never be repeated an even number of times.

 

oddsevens-threestrand

 

An ODD number of beads lets you define a specific center and focus.   Cognitively we prefer things with clear pointers and with clear symmetry.

 

But we also like balance and harmony and things to be distributed EVENLY.

 

 

 

Where do you come down in this ODDS vs. EVENS debate?

 

Posted in jewelry design | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

MAKING THE ORDINARY NOTEWORTHY

Posted by learntobead on July 26, 2013

MAKING THE ORDINARY NOTEWORTHY

makeordinarynoteworthy1

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

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

Better designed and more satisfying jewelry has more Interest.

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

makeordinarynoteworthy

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

makeordinarynoteworthy3

THE QUESTIONS FOR YOU….

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

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

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

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

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

makeordinarynoteworthy4

One example of the successful application of this principle…

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

makeordinarynoteworthy5

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

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

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

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

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

makeordinarynoteworthy6

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

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

Posted in beads, jewelry design | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

MANAGING DESIGN AT THE BOUNDARY BETWEEN JEWELRY AND PERSON

Posted by learntobead on July 18, 2013

MANAGING DESIGN
AT THE BOUNDARY BETWEEN
JEWELRY AND PERSON

abw1som6-bw-moneyshot1-hires-full

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

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

I am going to get on my soap box here.

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

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

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

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

abw1som6-gl-moneyshot5

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

abw1som6-supportsystem3

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

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

 

Discussion Questions for you…

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Posted in bead weaving, beadwork, jewelry design, jewelry making | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

HOW DO YOU STAY FOCUSED?

Posted by learntobead on July 13, 2013

 

HOW DO YOU STAY FOCUSED?

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

earring1

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

 

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

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

romari1-hires-full-moneyshot

 

And yet, there are so many easily accessible distractions.

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

How do you stay focused?

 

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

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

 

Posted in beadwork, jewelry design, jewelry making | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

HOW DO YOU MAKE “ASYMMETRY” WORK FOR YOU?

Posted by learntobead on July 7, 2013

HOW DO YOU MAKE “ASYMMETRY” WORK FOR YOU?

28coins2

Another Principle of Jewelry Design Composition is called “PLANAR RELATIONSHIPS”.     This primarily has to do with the placement of lines and planar surfaces within your piece, and how satisfying all this placement is, so that the lines and/or planes interrelate.

 

It turns out it is relatively easy to have lines and planes relate symmetrically.   That is, it is easy to get people to be more satisfied with your pieces, if you makes things line up evenly to the right and to the left of your center point or line.

 

Conversely, it is not so easy when you try to create something asymmetrical.     In fact, based on the art theory and cognitive psychology theory underlying this principle of planar relationships, I would say that, if your piece is asymmetrical, there must be something else on the person wearing the piece to create the illusion of symmetry.   This might be the way the hair is styled, the pattern on a dress, the neckline silhouette of the dress, the shape and positioning of the person’s ears, and the like.

 

So, for those of you who have tried and succeeded, or tried and failed, to create asymmetrical pieces, how would you describe your design process?    And people’s reactions to your piece?   Or how it looked on the wearer?     If successful, what kinds of things did you do in the design process, that worked in your favor?

 

Off-centered piece or someone wearing just one earring, can be disorienting and disturbing.   How do you feel about asymmetrical pieces, or people wearing only one earring?

 

 

— Warren

 

28coinslarge

 

 

 

 

Excerpts from some of my writings about this principle of planar relationships…
(also read: Principles of Good Jewelry Design Composition online at http://www.landofodds.com/store/goodjewelrydesign.htm

 

 

PLANAR RELATIONSHIPS

 

This is the degree the piece is not disorienting to the viewer, or particularly confusing in terms of what is up and what is down.

 

People always need to orient themselves to their surroundings, so that they know what is up and what is down. They usually do this by recognizing the horizontal planes of the floor and the ceiling of a room (ground and sky outside), and the vertical planes of the walls of a room (buildings, trees and the like outside).

 

Jewelry must assist, or at least not get in the way of, this natural orienting process. It accomplishes this in how its “lines” are arranged and organized. If a piece is very 3-dimensional, then how its “planes” are arranged and organized becomes important, as well.

 

The goal here is to “see” the piece of jewelry, especially when worn, as something that is coherent, organized, controlled, and orienting.

 

Design elements we might use to achieve a satisfactory planar relationship within our piece:

– a strategic use of lines and planes
— shapes

— boundaries

– -silhouettes

— contours
– symmetry

– or, more difficult to achieve, a satisfying asymmetry

– a planar pattern in how each section of the piece relates to the other sections

– how sections of the piece interlock

– how we “draw and interrelate” parallel lines, perpendicular lines and curved lines within the piece

 

 

 

Example:

How can a person truly pull off wearing only one earring? After all, visually, it pulls the person off to one side, thus violating the basic orienting planar relationships. What about the composition of the earring, allows this to work; what about the composition doesn’t?

 

 

Example:

When wearing a necklace, where the clasp is worn on the side, instead of the back, sometimes this works, and sometimes it does not. Again, what about the composition of the necklace, allows this to work; what about the composition doesn’t?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in jewelry design | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »