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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 »

Tapping Into That Creative Element Is Such A High

Posted by learntobead on July 28, 2022

Translating thoughts, feelings, emotions into color, form, structure. Can never get enough of this. But where does all this creativity come from?

I remember in college — way back when — I took a physiological psychiatry class with a professor name Ina Samuels. Dr. Samuels was one of my mentors. She discussed what was new-thinking then, how the brain is this self-actualizing entity. Thoughts reside less in certain defined areas of the brain, and are more a collection of organized chemical-electrical pathways traversing the brain, all around and within it. Memories are more defined pathways that get traversed a lot.

The brain has the ability to invent, and re-invent itself. It is self-stimulative. The brain pleasures itself with creative thoughts over and over and over again each day. Sexy. Sensual. The act of creating is almost masturbatory. The brain discovers, organizes, reinforces and remembers.

Of course, I did not wax so eloquently on my final exam in Dr. Samuel’s class. She gave me a C, and I was embarrassed to have performed so poorly. I got carried away with creatively building upon my understanding of neural pathways, synapses, and thinking — too much so, that my thoughts were way off course. I carried the discussion to mechanics of three way connections and power boosters and revolving tracks — all ideas never before expressed in texts or classes or on final exams.

Yes, I let my creativity carry the day. While it didn’t earn me a good grade at the time, it sure was fun. To be wrapped up in my insights, imaginations, and good ole fashioned, solid in an organizing way, brain sex.

_______________________________

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, business of craft, craft shows, creativity, jewelry design, jewelry making, Learn To Bead, pearl knotting, wire and metal | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

DESIGNWORKS: Getting Credit Terms For Your Business

Posted by learntobead on July 15, 2022

Getting Terms

Whenever possible, I suggest trying to get net terms with your suppliers. Net terms is a form of trade credit. Instead of paying upfront for your supplies, your suppliers will give you some predetermined period of time to pay for these goods. You get your supplies right away without having to pay until an agreed-upon future date.

Usually, you would get Net 30 terms, meaning you would pay within 30 days. Sometimes, if you have not paid within the terms set, you might get assessed a penalty fee.

To apply for net terms with any supplier, you would submit a Credit Sheet.

CREDIT SHEET

You will want to prepare a Credit Sheet which lists the following information. You give this sheet to businesses where you want to apply for terms.

When you buy things from businesses, you can pay cash (sometimes check or credit card) — this is considered Pre-Payment.

You can pay COD (cash on delivery), but there is usually an extra COD charge tacked on.

Or you can pay on terms or “on account”, usually signified as Net 30 or Net 10, where you would have 30 or 10 days to pay your bill. If you don’t pay within that time, the business may take away your privilege to buy on terms, or charge you a late fee.

___________________________________

FOOTNOTES

Fundbox.com. Trade Credit: Everything you need to know about net terms for your business. n.d.
As referenced in:
https://fundbox.com/resources/guides/trade-credit/

_______________________________

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, business of craft, craft shows, jewelry design, jewelry making, Learn To Bead, pearl knotting, professional development, wire and metal | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Getting Paid: The Designer’s Challenge and Some Strategies For Overcoming This

Posted by learntobead on July 15, 2022

Getting Paid

Getting paid for your work can range from the straight-forward to the nightmare. People love your work, but often, you will find that people will be slow or resistant to pay for it. You run into this with consignment shops. you run into this with custom work for clients. You run into this with retail shops to whom you’ve offered net 30 terms. You run into this with contract and grant work, particularly with government agencies and non-profits. You run into this with people who pay you by check. (NOTE: I don’t accept checks for payment in my own design work.)

You need to get paid so you can move on to the next project.

No money, no inventory, no once-in-a-blue-moon fancy dinner.

Structuring Payments

If you are doing a lot of custom work, your clients will probably pay you in increments, say 50% up front, and 50% upon completion.

If you are doing a lot of consignment, the shops may pay for anything of yours that sells perhaps quarterly. Beware that often consignment shops are slow to pay their consignees.

If you are selling wholesale to other retailers, you might have extended them terms, say Net 30, where you expect to get paid at the end of the term period. If you extend terms to someone, get them to complete a credit application ahead of time.

For each piece sold, or for several pieces sold at the same time, you will be generating some kind of invoice.

Each month, you might also be following up with your customers with a statement form, showing what has been paid, and what still needs to be paid.

INVOICE or STATEMENT FORMS (2-part forms — one for you and one for your customer). You can get a blank pad at a local stationery store, or have these pre-printed with your business name, address and phone.

More Advice

1. Establish a clear payment policy, put it in writing, post it on your website.

2. Find out in advance when the client or business will pay you.

3. Ask if the client needs a W9 form from you in order to pay you.

4. Be clear on whom in the company is responsible for paying you, and be sure to send your invoice to that particular person. If there are also special procedures for you to follow, in order to get paid, get clarity on these right up front.

5. Don’t be shy about using a collection service — even if this means you’ll only receive a portion (say 50%) of the money originally owed you.

6. Invoice your customers promptly.

7. Stay on top of your receivables. If a customer is late, send a reminder note. If a customer is very late, assess a penalty, say 1.5 or 2% per month. Be sure if you charge penalties that these are clearly specified in your written and posted payment policies.

8. Don’t worry about losing the customer. If you are polite but firm, the customer will probably stay with you. If the customer is a dead-bead, then you do not need to continue to do business with them.

9. For large orders, you might ask for a deposit, say 25–50%.

10.Accept multiple payment options. If someone is having difficulty paying you on time, perhaps they can pay you with a credit card.

11.You might offer early payment discounts.

12.Do not payout any commissions or royalties to sales or design staff until the full invoice is paid by the customer.

_______________________________

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.

My ARTIST STATEMENT

My TEACHING STATEMENT.

My DESIGN PHILOSOPHY.

My PROFESSIONAL PROFILE.

My PORTFOLIO.

_________________________________

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, business of craft, craft shows, jewelry design, jewelry making, pearl knotting, professional development, Stitch 'n Bitch, wire and metal | 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 »

ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS  A Video Tutorial By Warren Feld

Posted by learntobead on March 17, 2021

https://so-you-want-to-be-a-jewelry-designer.teachable.com/courses/orientation-to-beads-jewelry-findings/lectures/16682282

SCHOOL HOME PAGE: https://so-you-want-to-be-a-jewelry-designer.teachable.com

CLASS HOME PAGE: https://so-you-want-to-be-a-jewelry-designer.teachable.com/p/orientation-to-beads-jewelry-findings

FREE PREVIEW PAGE: https://so-you-want-to-be-a-jewelry-designer.teachable.com/courses/orientation-to-beads-jewelry-findings/lectures/16682282

WHY YOU NEED AN ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS

Most people who make jewelry learn the craft in a haphazard way. Taking a course here or there. Watching some video tutorials online. Making a few pieces with some friends.

I have found over the years that, because of this, most jewelry designers are unfamiliar with all the various possible choices of stringing materials, clasps, jewelry findings, beads and the like. And they are unfamiliar with the implications of making one choice over another. They do not have a clear conception of how one part relates to another part or relates to how to execute a particular technique.

Because of this, most jewelry designers do not seem to fully understand quality issues associated with the materials they use. They have a weak understanding of what materials should best be used, and best not be used, and with what projects. They do not know what happens to all these different materials over time as the jewelry is worn. They do not know the required design tricks and strategies for making pieces more durable and more comfortable.

That’s why I developed this very comprehensive ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS.

This course reviews the various materials jewelry designers use. I point out the pros and cons for selecting and using these. I go over how these impede or enhance function, movement, and the mechanics of construction.

Some topics covered:

HISTORY, GLASS BEADS, LAMPWORK BEADS, CRYSTAL BEADS, SEED AND DELICA BEADS, METAL BEAD, CLASPS, FINDINGS, STRINGING MATERIALS, TOOLS, ADHESIVES, TYPES OF BEADING AND JEWELRY MAKING, 3 APPROACHES FOR TEACHING BEADING AND JEWELRY MAKING, SUPPORT SYSTEMS AND OTHER ARCHITECTURAL CONSIDERATIONS,

This Series of 18 modules, most around 20 minutes, and totaling a full 5 1/2 hours of introductory materials about all kinds of beads, metals, clasps and stringing materials for the beader and jewelry maker.

And one more thing. For those who take this Orientation, I also have a 75-page article for you to download about getting started in jewelry making. You have a purpose as a jewelry designer: To merge your voice with form. This covers things you will need to know to find that voice.

  • how to channel your excitement
  • what types of jobs are available for those with jewelry making skills
  • how to develop your passion
  • what you need to learn
  • what tools you will need
  • how to cultivate your practice
  • how to define a level of success right for you
  • what it takes to achieve that level of success

FREE PREVIEW PAGE: https://so-you-want-to-be-a-jewelry-designer.teachable.com/courses/orientation-to-beads-jewelry-findings/lectures/16682282

Warren Feld
 
warren@warrenfeldjewelry.com

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THE JEWELRY DESIGNER’S APPROACH TO COLOR:

Posted by learntobead on February 14, 2021

Learn To Adapt Basic Concepts In Art When Making Jewelry

PREVIEW MY ONLINE VIDEO TUTORIAL:

https://so-you-want-to-be-a-jewelry-designer.teachable.com/courses/the-jewelry-designer-s-approach-to-color/lectures/21825453

Jewelry creates a series of dilemmas for the jewelry maker — not always anticipated by what most jewelry makers are taught in a typical art class.

That’s the rub!

Painters can create any color and color effect they want with paints.

Jewelry makers do not have access, nor can they easily create, a full color palette and all the desired coloration effects with the beads and other components used to make jewelry.

Jewelry is not like a painting or sculpture that sits in one place, with controlled lighting, and a more passive interaction with anyone looking at it.

Jewelry moves with the person through different settings, lighting, times of day. Jewelry sits on different body shapes. Jewelry must function in many different contexts. Jewelry serves many different purposes.

People use and understand colors using their senses. These perceptions among wearer, viewer and designer include:

(1) The Sensation Of Color Balance

(2) The Sensation Of Color Proportions

(3) The Sensation Of Simultaneous Color Contrasts

Better designers are able to manage these sensations. They do so, in major part, by relying on a series of color sensation management tools.

We review these in great detail in this course.

In this course, you will learn some critical skills for jewelry designers that you will want to know…

  • How to pick colors for jewelry, and how this differs from picking colors as a painter
  • How to adapt basic color concepts in art when making jewelry
  • How to recognize the differences between universal responses to color from the more typical subjective ones, and what better designers do about this
  • How to manage the sensation of color within your pieces to achieve your designer goals

You will learn to make smart choices about color when designing and making jewelry.

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online.
Of special interest: My video tutorial THE JEWELRY DESIGNER’S APPROACH TO COLOR

8 Lesson Units
1 1/2 hours of video plus practice exercises and downloadable information .pdf files
$45.00

___________________________

I hope you found this article useful. Be sure to click the CLAP HANDS icon at the bottom of this article.

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

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online.
Of special interest: My video tutorial THE JEWELRY DESIGNER’S APPROACH TO COLOR

Add your name to my email list.

_________________________

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

The Jewelry Designer’s Approach To Color: Video Tutorial Preview

Cleaning Sterling Silver Jewelry: What Works!

What Glue Should I Use When Making Jewelry?

Why Am I So Addicted To Beads?

A Very Abbreviated, But Not Totally Fractured, History of Beads

The Martha Stewart Beaded Wreath Project

When Choosing Colors Has You Down, Check Out The Magic Of Simultaneity Effects

The Use of Armature In Jewelry: Legitimate or Not?

Pearl Knotting Warren’s Way

Organizing Your Craft Workspace…Some Smart Pointers

You Don’t Choose Clasps, You Choose Clasp Assemblies

Know Your Anatomy Of A Necklace

Mini Lesson: Making Stretchy Bracelets

Mini Lesson: Making Adjustable Slip Knots With Thicker Cords

Mini Lesson: How To Crimp

Mini Lesson: Attaching End Caps, Cones, Crimp Ends

Mini Lesson: Flat Even Count Peyote

Mini Lesson: Ndebele Stitch

Mini Lesson: Petersburg Chain

Mini Lesson: Right Angle Weave

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

Everyone Has A Getting Started StoryThe Nature-Inspired Creations of Kathleen

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Lampwork Beads

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Crystal Beads

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Seed and Cylinder Beads

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Choosing and Using Clasps

How To Design An Ugly Necklace: The Ultimate Designer Challenge

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Stringing Materials

Posted in Art or Craft?, art theory, color, creativity, design theory, design thinking, jewelry design, jewelry making, Stitch 'n Bitch | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFTSHOWS… LESSON 5: Get Those Applications In Early

Posted by learntobead on December 2, 2020

LESSON 5: GET THOSE APPLICATIONS IN EARLY

John Jacob thought he could set up anywhere and anytime. So he missed the April 30th deadline for the Red Hills Fair. And he sent in an incomplete application without the required pictures to Napa Sweets Festival. And he didn’t take seriously the fact that Naples Symphony Days was a juried competition. And he couldn’t understand how adding one more jewelry vendor to the Rocky Mountain Showroom would make much of a difference.

He had calculated that he needed to do 4 shows a year to make a living. But for several years now, although he had applied to at least 12 shows each year, he rarely was approved for more than 2.

Sample Application Form

THE APPLICATION

1. PREPARE A GENERIC APPLICATION

2. UNDERSTAND THE JURIED SELECTION PROCESS

3. SUBMIT APPLICATIONS AND FOLLOW-UP ON THEM

4. SCHEDULE YOURSELF FOR THE YEAR

Prepare a Generic Application

1. PREPARE A GENERIC APPLICATION

Some organizations have a formal, printed application form to fill out. More and more, however, organizations are using online application services.

I suggest creating a generic application form, from which you can cut and paste into these printed or online application forms.

They may ask you for these types of information:

1. Company information, address, phone, email, contact phone, onsite-contact phone, website, license plate #, re-sale or tax number and state which issued it

2. Type of merchandise to be sold

3. Hand-made?

4. High and low price range of merchandise

5. Describe your craft (techniques, materials, designs)

6. Artist Statement (about 150–250 words)

7. Booth size requirements (will you need more than one 10’x10’ booth space?)

8. Requirements for additional services, such as electricity, table and chair rental, tent

9. 5 photos of your crafts (be sure your photos are sharp and attractive, as if they were publishing in a book. No dark photos. .jpg or .tif)

With photos, you might need slides, or you might need .jpg images that are 72–96 dpi, or you might need hi-resolution .jpg images which are 300 or 600 dpi. Use 16-bit color. Be prepared with each of these.

10. 3 photos of your booth set-up (They want visually appealing, customer enticing, user friendly booth set-ups, again, no dark photos.)

11. List of special preferences, such as “corner booth, if available”.

12. Credit card number, expiration date, security code number, billing address (They will probably want this number to keep on file.

2. UNDERSTAND THE JURIED SELECTION PROCESS

At this point, you have selected shows which you feel are a good fit with your business.

Now, determine if you are eligible for them. Do they put any limitations on who can and cannot apply? Do they require that your creative work be juried?

Most craft shows make simple acceptance decisions based on
 — submitting an application form, and
 — paying the fee

Some may restrict the number of jewelry vendors they accept, because they want a balance of types of merchandise, and often, too many jewelry vendors apply.

Other shows want to maintain some level of merchandise quality standards. They subject the applicant to a more intensive jury-review process.

The jury process is probably what you would expect. Usually a few people review all the application and score them against a set of criteria. They choose the ones which score the highest.

Some typical criteria they use:
 — products considered best for the show
 — aesthetics and visual appeal
 — functionality
 — creativity
 — originality
 — technique
 — marketability
 — quality of work
 — booth design

They want to end up with vendors whose wares will sell, where there won’t be much duplication, and whose presence and set-up is exciting for the people who attend the show.

Your short write-up and submitted photographs need to make your case.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHEN A JUROR SAYS “NO!”?

Most rejections are based on the limited number of openings, particularly for jewelry vendors.

Another major reason for rejections is the poor quality of photos submitted. Look at your photos. Share them with some friends. Judge them according to the previously discussed judging criteria. How well do they make your case? Are they clear, focused, bright?

3. SUBMIT APPLICATIONS AND FOLLOW-UP ON THEM

You have created your list of possible shows, based on your sense of fit, the goals you have set for yourself, and your budget, given the costs involved. You have determined whether you are eligible for them.

Decide about how many shows you want to do a year. Select 5–10 more shows in addition to the number you ant to do.

Another rule of thumb is to select 3 events to apply to for each weekend you want to work. If you want to work 4 weekends, then apply to 12 events.

Get their application forms, and review the rules and application deadlines.

READ ALL THE RULES !!!

Determine how long their review processes are, and figure out when you should know whether you have been accepted.

Call or email each one, and verify that all the information you have — dates, fees, application requirements, deadlines — are true. Things change. Things get printed wrong.

4. SCHEDULE YOURSELF FOR THE YEAR

Organization is critical here.

Get a good 3-year calendar. Map out every date. Every Application deadline. Every application acceptance notification. Every deadline for notifying them, confirming your acceptance, and submitting any up-front fees. Every show date, including set-up and break-down dates and times.

Remember, for many craft shows, you will be applying 6–12 months ahead of time.

It takes a lot of coordinated effort to keep everything on track. You might set up a spread-sheet or data-base. I use a calendar app that links with my email program. I set up automatic reminders, so they pop up when I need to take action.

After you send in your fees, follow-up in 2 weeks to be sure they received your application and payment.

5. BEFORE SAYING YES!…

Re-review your
 — fit with the show
 — break-even analysis
 — calendar schedule
 — the money needed up front

And, …
 — whether there are any cancellation penalties or rules
 — what kinds of local and state licenses, certificates and permits you will need
 — if the show promoters assist you in obtaining temporary ones for the duration of the show

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Should I Set Up My Craft Business On A Marketplace Online?

The Importance of Self-Promotion: Don’t Be Shy

Are You Prepared For When The Reporter Comes A-Calling?

A Fool-Proof Formula For Pricing And Selling Your Jewelry

Designer Connect Profile: Tony Perrin, Jewelry Designer

My Aunt Gert: Illustrating Some Lessons In Business Smarts

Copyrighting Your Pieces: Let’s Not Confuse The Moral With The Legal Issues

Naming Your Business / Naming Your Jewelry

Jewelry Making Materials: Knowing What To Do

To What Extent Should Business Concerns Influence Artistic and Jewelry Design Choices

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business

Getting Started In Business: What You Do First To Make It Official

I hope you found this article useful. Be sure to click the CLAP HANDS icon at the bottom of this article.

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

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

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE.
Check out these two other tutorials:

Pricing and Selling Your Jewelry. Learn an easy-to-use pricing formula and some marketing tips.

So You Want To Do Craft Shows… 16 Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows. Understand everything involved and make the smart choices.

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

Add your name to my email list.

Posted in Stitch 'n Bitch | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Stringing Materials

Posted by learntobead on November 22, 2020

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online. Begin with my ORIENTATION TO BEADS & JEWELRY FINDINGS COURSE. There are 18 video modules including handouts, which this is one of.

STRINGING MATERIALS

I’m not proud to admit it, but I used to string things on fishing line and dental floss. It was there. I knew about it. I understood it. It was simple. Uncomplicated. Didn’t need directions. Didn’t need a 20-minute explanation about when these were used, and when they were not, or what they were used for, and what they were not.

Then I discovered Tiger Tail cable wire. This seemed magical, somehow. It was something more than fishing line or dental floss. It seemed strong. It was metal. It was masculine. You could swing from trees on it. You could tie up old planks together to secure them. You could string things on easily without a needle. You didn’t need glue. You didn’t need bead tips or knot covers. It tied easily to clasps. And although, it turned out, the Tiger Tail broke rather easily, I’d pretend like it never broke for me.

Luckily, today, beaders have been blessed with an abundance of stringing materials to choose from. Each has it’s pros and cons. Each much better than the choices I had a few decades ago.

When beaders and jewelry makers select stringing materials, they need to ask a lot of questions of the people who sell these products, as well as the people who use them. You’ll get a lot of contradictory advice. But you need a lot of information to help make your choices. For me, I prefer stringing materials that don’t break easily, allow pieces to drape nicely, move freely and correctly with the body, and are relatively easy to use. But don’t we all.

From a design perspective, you typically get your best results with needle and thread. Needle and thread projects always take the shape of your body. So they feel the best, move the best, and drape the best. However, needle and thread are very involved and time-consuming to do. Especially if you’re selling your stuff, it’s difficult to use needle and thread and expect to recoup your labor costs. As long as you know what the ideal is, however, it becomes a little easier to step back from the ideal, and compensate for any weaknesses through various design techniques and devices.

Threads, Needles, and More Threads

I discovered Nymo beading thread, Size #12 English beading needles, and Tiger Tail cable wire. This wasn’t a match made in heaven. I didn’t take to it like a duck takes to water. It wasn’t a piece of cake.

Have you ever seen a beading needle? They’re so thin. They have even thinner eye holes. First you learn that cotton sewing thread is round and sewing needles have round holes. Next you learn that nylon beading thread is flat like a ribbon, and beading needles have rectangular, narrow holes.

The shape of the eye-hole of a beading needle is like a funnel –one side of the hole is bigger than the other. If you are having trouble fitting that thread through the hole, turn the needle around. Try again.

I started with size #12 needles. I find #10 needles to be more useful for bead stringing and both #10 and #12 most useful for bead weaving. Proportionally, the eye holes in the #10 are much bigger than those in the smaller, thinner needles.

Major Beading Threads

NYMO thread is the granddaddy of them all. It comes in many colors and thicknesses. It doesn’t look like it, but it is one of the strongest things you can string things on. With NYMO, the black is stronger than the white. The white is stronger than the colors.

C-LON thread (also called SuperLon) is a relatively new thread. It’s similar to Nymo, but a little stronger. It comes in a lot of colors, but only a couple of thicknesses. In our store, if you came in for a Nymo product, and there was an equivalent C-Lon product, we would suggest you switch to C-Lon. With C-Lon, the colors and the white are as strong as the black. All are as strong as Nymo black.

ONE-G thread is made by TOHO. This is a premium nylon beading thread, and much more expensive than Nymo or C-Lon. I’m very fond of the strength of the thread, and the feel, give and take of the thread while I’m beading. It has a stretching quality to it that makes it less tiring to use on long projects. It’s my beading thread of choice.

SILAMIDE is a prewaxed thread. Lots of beaders love this. I’m not a big fan of this because it breaks very easily. Some people suggest that you double the thread to deal with the breakage issue, but I find it awkward to use a doubled thread. Even though Silamide is prewaxed, if you purchased it from us, we would tell you to wax it. There’s no waxy buildup on it, and this, we feel, is the major advantage of waxing.

When you use beading thread as your stringing or weaving material, you want to pass through each bead about 3 times. Most weaving techniques do this automatically as part of the step-pattern of the technique.

A Note About Waxing Your Thread

natural beeswax
synthetic beeswax (microcrystalline wax)

I advise all my students to wax their thread before they use it. The wax has these advantages:

  • Protects the thread from chemicals in the environment, including pollutants in the air, chemicals in a person’s sweat, and chemicals in cosmetics and hair sprays. Natural beeswax will protect the thread for 150 years. Synthetic beeswax provides protection for centuries more.
  • The hole of a bead looks like a broken coke bottle. The wax will fill in some of the jagged rim, lowering the risk of the hole cutting your thread.
  • Helps you maintain a tighter thread tension while you weave or string.

There are products called thread conditions. One brand, now defunct, was called Thread Heaven. When you keep pulling the thread through your beads over and over again, static electricity builds up. This results in the thread getting tangle up and knotted while you work. The conditioner prevents this from happening. Waxing will not.

You cannot use both products. You have to pick one. I suggest always picking the wax.

The Hybrid “Cable Thread”

Every year there are many new stringing materials. Many start as advances in fishing lines. One recent advance is what I call the hybrid “cable thread”. These are made from threads that are braided together (instead of braided wires as in a cable wire, see below) and encased in nylon,

Three brands — Power Pro, WildFire, and FireLine are very prominent. I especially like the FireLine.

You use these with needles, but do not have to wax them, though I suggest you do. You don’t have to go through your beads three times, like with the threads. Once is sufficient, though I sometimes go through 2 or 3 times to firm up the way the beads lay on the stringing material, and so the beads don’t wobble.

You don’t necessarily have to wax the FireLine, but a lot of people like to do this. The major advantage of waxing is that the wax protects the integrity of the nylon encasing. Cable threads are strong only to the point the nylon encasing is able to maintain the twist in the braided threads. As soon as the encasing is violated, the thread immediately untwists and breaks. You might pierce the thread with the needle as you are working your piece; the wax will melt into the hole and plug it. A pollutant in the air, or a chemical in someone’s sweat, or cosmetics or hairspray will make the nylon encasing deteriorate. Perfume oils will dissolve it. The wax provides a protective shield to minimize this happening.

If you wax it, this will increase your thread tension considerably. In most projects a tight tension is very desirable. With some very tight bead weaving stitches, like Peyote, cable threads may result in too tight a tension. Usually, I use regular beading thread with the Peyote stitch. With weaving stitches with loose tension, like Right Angle Weave or Ndebele, the cable thread’s tightness is an advantage, giving you more control over managing the thread tension as you work your piece.

Beading thread is flat and shaped like a ribbon. Beading needles have rectangular holes. FireLine, however, is shaped round. To make it easier to thread FireLine into a beading needle, you can flatten the end of the FireLine. I pull the end between two of my fingernails. You can also use a chain nose pliers to flatten the end. Then pop it into your needle. Don’t pull this through your teeth. It will cut into your teeth.

Pieces done with the cable threads lay stiffer and feel stiffer than the threads, like Nymo or C-Lon, but they drape and feel much better than the cable wires.

Many stringers and bead weavers have switched to cable threads.

Bead Cords

For some types of jewelry projects, you don’t want to cover and hide all the stringing material with beads. You might be putting knots between beads, or you might be doing macramé, braiding or kumihimo with beads, or you might be doing something like a Tin Cup necklace, where you have a cluster of beads, then some cord showing, then another cluster of beads, then more cord showing, and you get the idea.

In this case, if we used threads, the raw and waxed threads would be kind of ugly. Most cable wires, if showing, would be ugly. So instead, we use what is called Bead Cord.

Bead Cords are threads which have been braided together to make the stringing material look pretty. However, we don’t wax the bead cord to deal with issues like fraying or stretching. This would ugly it up.

Thus, when we use Bead Cord, we are trading off durability for appearance. If we were going to cover all the bead cord with beads, then this would not be the best choice of stringing material. You would want to use either a thread or cable wire, in this case.

There are many brands and qualities of bead cord.

Most people prefer Griffin Bead Cord, which comes on cards, and has a needle fixed to one end of the 2-meter long cord. There are many colors and thicknesses. It is available in Nylon and in Silk. I’d give this cord a grade of a “B”. What people like about this cord is that it comes with a needle attached on one end. This makes it easier to use when you are knotting between beads. It allows you to start with a thicker cord.

I recommend using silk bead cord if your project is all pearls or mostly pearls. I suggest using nylon bead cord if your project is very few pearls or no pearls. Unfortunately, every other type of stringing material, except the silk, will ruin the pearls. These other materials cut into the nacre around the pearl, starting at the hole, leading to cracking and chipping around the bead, thus ruining them. Only silk won’t cut into the pearls. Unfortunately, silk naturally deteriorates in 3–5 years, so anything you do on silk will have to be re-done every 3–5 years.

Nylon doesn’t deteriorate, so that’s why we suggest it for everything else. Now some people tell me things were always done on silk. I tell them nylon wasn’t always. But I can reverse hats. Say you’re selling your pieces. There’s more marketing cache if you say “it was strung on silk”, than if you said “it was strung on nylon.” You can make it your customer’s problem to re-string in 3–5 years.

Basically, at the same level of quality, the pros and cons of nylon and silk are the same. At the same quality level, they fray the same, stretch the same and get dirty the same. It’s just that the silk deteriorates and the nylon does not.

Bead cords are also used in knotting, macramé, braiding, bead crochet and kumihomo.

C-lon or S-lon (same thing, two different brand names) is the A-grade nylon. It comes in 4 thicknesses. It’s excellent.

Flexible Cable Wires

When I first started beading and making jewelry, I was not a big fan of thread. I was never one to sew. Needle and thread seemed so complicated. It took so long. The threads seemed to break. They frayed. They stretched. They got tangled up and they got knotted up. It was hard to see and keep in my field of vision a very thin thread on a very thin needle going through some very small beads. I poked myself with the needle. It made me cranky.

I turned to Tiger Tail cable wire. Cable wires are flexible wires that are braided together and encased in nylon. The wire is stiff enough to be its own needle. Stringing beads on a cable wire seemed so perfect. You only had to go through your beads once. The wire was stiff enough to be its own self-needle. Zip, zip. Fast, fast. For years, I made everything on cable wires. Always satisfied, never a complaint.

Today, there are many brands, qualities and distinctions of cable wires. There are easily over 24 choices. Each brand organizes its worst to best wires differently. None of the brands provides sufficient information on their labels to make a fully informed choice. It’s very confusing. It’s virtually impossible to compare across brands. You need to know the materials the braided wires are made of, the thicknesses of the finished wires, and the number of wires braided together within the cable, the material the nylon sheathing is made of, and the thickness of this sheathing.

The true measure of wire strength is called “tensile strength.” This is the amount of force it takes to keep the wire from untwisting within the nylon sheathing. Tensile strength depends on what the wire is made of, what the nylon sheathing is made of, and how thick and nonporous this nylon sheathing is. This information is not found on any of the labels.

On the labels of these products, the manufacturers list the number of strands braided together within the cable. This gives you some information, but not enough information to make a choice. You don’t know what the wire is made of, or it might say “stainless steel”, but there are hundreds of grades of stainless steel. They do not list what the nylon sheathing is made of, or how thick and nonporous it is. Some companies differentiate their lowest from highest qualities based on the number of strands. For example, one company’s low end is 7-strand and its high-end is 49-strand. However, other companies do not differentiate by number of strands. Another company’s 7-strand high end product is stronger and softer than its middle-range 49-strand product. It’s middle range 49-strand product is stronger and softer than that first company’s high-end 49-strand product.

A long time ago, manufacturers put “pound strength” on their labels. It’s on some labels, but not all. The actual pound strength numbers change more often than feels comfortable.

There are no government standards about measuring “pound strength.” Because of this, whenever you see “pound strength” on a label, whatever the product, you need to take this with a large degree of skepticism. First, there are two definitions of how to measure pound strength — (1) how heavy the fish is that the line will support, and (2) how much force the line will support when reeling in a fish of a given weight. But because there are no standards, it is up to the factory to put whatever they want. Most of these wires are made in total or in part in one factory in Taiwan. The person at the factory responsible for labeling pound strength many years ago never got it right, and never got it the same. One batch would show 20#, then the next time it might show 2#, then 5#, back to 20#, down to 10#. Since he could never get this right, the manufacturers asked him to leave this information off the label.

There are many brands of flexible, nylon coated cable wires. These cable wires can be grouped into three levels of quality:

— Craft (Tiger Tail)
 — Designer (Flex Wire)
 — Professional or Artist

I start people at the Designer (flex wire) quality cable wires. Most craft stores only carry the Craft quality. This is rather useless. Most bead stores carry the Craft and Designer levels, and sometimes the Professional or Artist level as well. The “best” level is extremely expensive, so I feel the beader or jewelry-maker needs to justify the extra expense when moving up to this quality. I’ve rarely seen a situation where the Professional quality was needed.

Tiger Tail was the original cable wire, and today it is the low-end product. It’s the Craft level wire, and all brands carry it. Often you don’t see the word Tiger Tail on the label. You can tell it’s Tiger Tail because it’s very cheap — substantially cheaper than anything else — usually under $5.99 for a 30ft spool. Tiger Tail wire breaks very easily in and of itself. The wire tends to kink. The way you should attach Tiger Tail to the clasp is to tie the wire into a knot or a double-knot. This gives you a very secure connection to the clasp.

Tiger Tail Cable Wire

Flex-wire is the Designer Level. Flex-wire (again available in several forms in each of the brand lines) is noticeably more expensive than the Tiger Tail — usually starting at $10.99 — $18.99 and up for a 30ft spool. It does not break easily in and of itself. It does not kink. However, it is very difficult to tie into a knot. So you have to use a crimp bead in order to hold the wire in place and secure the clasp. [I only recommend 2 brands — Soft Flex and Flexrite. These are very supple; the nylon sheathing has a high degree of integrity; they are very strong]

Flex wire cable wire

The way you use a crimp bead is that you take the wire and go through the crimp, through the clasp, then back through the crimp. You crush the crimp with a pliers (preferably a crimping pliers) to hold it into place. The major reason to use a crimp bead is to make your piece look more finished, than if you had tied a knot. However, it does make your piece less secure.

When you crush your crimp bead onto the wire, this flattened crimp becomes like a little razor blade. All jewelry moves. So your crimp is constantly trying to saw through your wire. On Tiger Tail, crimps easily cut through the wire, so that is why we suggest tying a knot. If you don’t like the look of the knot, you can either use beads on either end with large enough holes to swallow the knot. Or you can use a piece called a crimp cover and slip this over the knot, squeeze it shut, and it looks like you have a bead there.

With Flex-wire, this wire is so strong that we feel very comfortable recommending that you use a crimp bead on each end. However, and this is a big However, we DO NOT suggest that you use more than one crimp on each end. Sometimes your friends, or your mind, will tell you that if 1 crimp was good, then using 2 or 3 crimps on each end will be more secure. It’s not. All you are doing is adding razor blades. You’re increasing the chances that one of these crimps will cut through the wire.

If you’ve crimped correctly, one crimp on either end is sufficient. It doesn’t matter what the shape or the size of the crimp bead is. It doesn’t matter how heavy the beads are.

Cable wires come in different thicknesses.

For necklaces, you want to choose the thinnest wire that is the most durable. This is because the major design goal here is to have your necklace drape as best and as comfortably as possible. We suggest something around .014” or .015”. If someone sits at their desk and fidgets with the necklace a lot, then this thinner thickness will break. In this case, since durability is becoming an issue, the .018″ or .019″ will work fine.

For bracelets, you want to use the thickest wire that is most comfortable. Bracelets take a huge beating on a daily basis. We suggest something around .018” or .019”.

For eyeglass leashes, we suggest .024” or .019”. These take the most beating. You don’t want the leash or the eyeglasses themselves to break.

Cable wires are fast and easy. They are not as involved as using needle and thread. However, with the cable wires, the finished projects tend to be stiff. They don’t lay well. They don’t move well at all. If you make a bracelet with needle and thread, the bracelet, when worn, conforms to your wrist. If you move your wrist to the right, your bracelet also moves in the same direction to the right. If you made that same bracelet on cable wire, the wire takes the shape of a circle. Your wrist is actually oval. If you moved your wrist to the right, the bracelet done on cable wire would actually move in the opposite direction — to the left.

Lots of deep physics here. But the results are obvious, and often embarrassing. This most often happens with necklaces that turn around when worn, bringing the clasp front and off-centered, sometimes making the wearer look somewhat clownish.

Most brands of cable wire I find too stiff. They have major problems of draping and moving with the body. They lay on the body funny. Two brands I find particularly good, and these are the only brands I use, are Soft Flex and Flexrite.

Hard Wire

People use hard wire to make things like ear wires and clasps, earring dangles, chains, rosaries, coils and components, and wire-wrapped settings for stones.

But hard wire is not a stringing wire. You can’t simply put beads on it and attach the ends. The hard wire would bend and distort, but not return to its original shape, like a cable wire would.

There are many kinds of hard wire.

At the low end is called Craft Wire. Craft Wire is plated wire over steel or a brass alloy of steel. Craft Wire is bad for finished jewelry projects. It’s OK for practice. It’s OK for stationary objects like a beaded ornament. All jewelry moves. The plating doesn’t bond at all to steel. So when you bend the steel back and forth, the plating tends to wear off quickly. Also when you bend steel back and forth, it doesn’t take long before it breaks.

Craft wire, no matter the brand, tends to be packaged like the white spool pictured below.

Above Craft Wire is Plated Copper Wire. If you need to work with a plated wire, then Plated Copper Wire is a great product. There are many brands. The packaging varies but it never looks like that of the craft wire above. The plating and enameling bonds well to copper, so it takes a very long time to wear off. Also, when you bend copper back and forth, it takes a very long time to break. It comes in lots of colors and lots of metallics.

Higher in quality than plated wire is called “Raw” wire. In our store, we sell raw brass, raw copper, raw nickel. We sell sterling silver wire, fine silver wire, gold-filled wire and a new metal called argentium silver. Argentium is tarnish-resistant sterling silver.

The sizes of wire are measured by “gauge”. What Gauge means is that somewhere on earth there is a standard sized pipe. Gauge refers to how many wires will fit into the pipe. So, if you can fit 20 wires into the pipe, the wire is 20 gauge. If you can only fit 6 wires into the pipe, that wire is 6 gauge.

When buying wire, another choice to make is how HARD or stiff the wire should be at the start of your project. Wire is usually sold as 
 “Hard”,
 “Half-Hard”, or
“Dead-Soft.

With “Hard” hard wire, you can’t bend the wire. This is useful when making a hat pin or stick pin. You cut the length of wire you want. You take a metal file and file one end into a point. The wire is stiff, so it will easily puncture a hat or a fabric, without bending. However, if you wanted to make a loop on one end of the hard wire, say to make an earring dangle, you could not; it won’t bend.

With “Half-Hard” and “Dead-Soft” wire, you can manipulate the wire. You can twist it, bend it, curve it, wrap it, hammer it. Each time you manipulate the wire, you harden it. If you keep manipulating and manipulating the wire, it eventually hardens to the point where it is “Hard”, that is, unbendable. If you kept going still, the wire would become brittle and break.

Your goal as a wire artist is to find that level of hardness/softness where, after you manipulate the wire the way you want, you’ll end up with wire that keeps its shape, stays in place, or if it is holding a stone in, that the stone won’t pop out.

If I want to make an earring dangle by putting some beads on a wire, and bending one end into a loop so that I can hang it, if I started with “Half-Hard” wire, I would grab the end of my wire with a round nose pliers, twist my wrist to form the loop-shape, and let go of the wire with the pliers. I can trust that the loop-shape will keep its shape.

If I had started with “Dead-Soft” wire, however, and repeated this same procedure, the loop would open up and lose its shape. The wire is too soft. To start at “Dead-Soft”, I probably would have to grab the wire at both ends with vises or pliers, twist the wire until it started to harden, make a loop with a round nose pliers, and perhaps hammer on this loop a bit — all before I could trust that the loop-shape will keep its shape.

Most wire artists and how to books tell you to start at dead soft. Many of my students and customers who follow these directions have their bracelets pull apart, their shapes distort, their stones pop out of their settings. This is because they have not manipulated the dead soft wire enough to get it stiff enough. I suggest, either starting with half hard wire, or to twist the dead soft wire somewhat to stiffen it before you begin to shape it.

Plated Craft and Copper-Core wire typically comes as “dead soft”. It is up to the manufacturer to determine what that means. So, you will find that one company’s dead soft might be stiffer or softer than another’s. Typically, if I start at dead soft, I twist the wire or hammer it to harden it a little bit, before I start my projects.

Some Other Popular Stringing Products

Elastic String: People hate clasps. So they love this material. You put the beads on, tie a surgeon’s or square knot, put a drop of glue on the inside, then the outside of the knot, cut the tails, and that’s it. Comes in different colors, different thicknesses, different textures. Does deteriorate a little over time, and it does lose its memory. There are many brands. Some labels say they don’t deteriorate or lose their memory, but from experience, they all do.

The elastic string which is round lasts a long time. The elastic string which is flat like floss shreds rather quickly.

When using elastic string, you first take some super glue and coat the beginning 3/4″ to 1” of the string. Let it dry. Take a single edge razor blade and cut the end at an angle, so you have a point, and the end becomes a self needle. Put your beads on. Then tie a surgeon’s knot or square knot. As you tie your knot, put a drop of glue on the inside of the knot, pull tight, and put another drop of glue on the outside of the knot. Any glue EXCEPT super glue.

We suggest E6000 or Beacon 527, but, with this product, you can use school glue, rubber cement or elmers glue. Super glue dries like glass, so the bond becomes like a piece of glass. When you pull the string, the bond shatters like glass. Moreover, the broken bond looks like a piece of broken glass. The other glues dry more like rubber, so when you pull on the string, the bond acts like a shock absorber.

Elastic string can deteriorate in about 1–2 years, depending on its exposure to the air and sunlight.

Illusion Cord (monofilament): Basically a thin fishing line. Used to make illusion necklaces. Small crimp beads are used to hold clusters of beads in place. Not particularly durable. Any monofilament will dry out and crack from exposure to ultraviolet light and heat.

Hemp: Used with various macramé, micro-macrame, knotting and braiding techniques.

Irish Waxed Linen: Similar to hemp, but a higher quality. Used for more fashion-oriented jewelry that incorporates macramé, knotting and braiding techniques. In jewelry, the waxiness of this product draws dust and dirt to it. You might want to use, instead, an unwaxed bead cord for jewelry.

Leather: Always popular. Greek leather is the highest quality. Don’t shower in this. It makes the leather dry out and crack.

Waxed Cotton: A more durable leather substitute. It doesn’t have that great earthy smell of leather, however. Simply a waxed or glazed cotton wrapped around a nylon monofilament. You can shower in this.

Pearl Cotton #8: Used in making bead-knitted bags. 11/0 seed beads will slip over the Pearl Cotton #8.

Rubber Thong: Another leather substitute and more durable. Very soft to the skin.

Satin Cord (Rat Tail): A shiny, colorful cord that’s used to hang pendants from. Pretty. Frays relatively quickly. Not durable at all.

Organza Ribbon: The type of ribbon that you would string beads on. Use a Big-Eye needle to get your beads onto the ribbon.

Memory Wire: A stainless steel coil, like a slinky. Cut off some rings, put beads on, then, bend the ends. Caution: Memory wire will ruin all your jewelry tools. If you are using Memory Wire, then use industrial strength tools — things you would find in a wood-working shop.

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Jewelry Findings: Preparers

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Jewelry Findings: Controllers and Adapters

Cleaning Sterling Silver Jewelry: What Works!

What Glue Should I Use When Making Jewelry?

Why Am I So Addicted To Beads?

A Very Abbreviated, But Not Totally Fractured, History of Beads

The Martha Stewart Beaded Wreath Project

When Choosing Colors Has You Down, Check Out The Magic Of Simultaneity Effects

The Use of Armature In Jewelry: Legitimate or Not?

Pearl Knotting Warren’s Way

Organizing Your Craft Workspace…Some Smart Pointers

You Don’t Choose Clasps, You Choose Clasp Assemblies

Know Your Anatomy Of A Necklace

Mini Lesson: Making Stretchy Bracelets

Mini Lesson: Making Adjustable Slip Knots With Thicker Cords

Mini Lesson: How To Crimp

Mini Lesson: Attaching End Caps, Cones, Crimp Ends

Mini Lesson: Brick Stitch

Mini Lesson: Flat Even Count Peyote

Mini Lesson: Ndebele Stitch

Mini Lesson: Petersburg Chain

Mini Lesson: Right Angle Weave

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

Everyone Has A Getting Started StoryThe Nature-Inspired Creations of Kathleen

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Glass Beads

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Lampwork Beads

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Crystal Beads

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Seed and Cylinder Beads

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Choosing and Using Clasps

How To Design An Ugly Necklace: The Ultimate Designer Challenge

Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

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

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

Add your name to my email list.

Posted in Stitch 'n Bitch | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

JEWELRY DESIGN: What You Need To Know About Sizing

Posted by learntobead on October 30, 2020

Abstract:

To look great in a piece of jewelry — whether a necklace, or chain, or pendant, or bracelet, or ring and the like — people should look to the face, the neck, the wrist, the finger, the body type to get the right fit and look. There are often two main reasons why people do not wear their jewelry. First, it doesn’t work with their wardrobe or skin tone. But second, it doesn’t flatter them because of the silhouette, volume and length. Learning both about standard sizing and sizing customization measurement rules are critical for any jewelry designer.

SIZING

To look great in a piece of jewelry — whether a necklace, or chain, or pendant, or bracelet, or ring and the like — look to the face, the neck, the wrist, the finger, the body type to get the right fit and look.

There are often two main reasons why people do not wear their jewelry. First, it doesn’t work with their wardrobe or skin tone. But second, it doesn’t flatter them because of the silhouette, volume and length.

When designing a piece of jewelry, it sometimes is helpful to make the size of the piece adjustable. This is usually accomplished with the design of the clasp assembly, such as adding a chain extension, or having 2 or 3 button loops.

Necklaces[1]

There are many standard length options for necklaces for women. If you have a narrower or wider neck than average, you may have to adjust these standards. If you have a longer or shorter neck, you might prefer a particular length over another.

When choosing a size, start with your neck. Narrow, thin necks might prefer shorter lengths. Thicker, fatter necks might prefer the medium size lengths.

Next, consider your upper torso. If the necklace length will place the necklace over your breast, be sure it flatters your appearance.

Third, consider your height. Short women are usually overwhelmed by longer lengths. Taller women sometimes look funny with short lengths.

Last, consider the shape of your face. Faces are usually described as oval, round, square and heart-shaped. Oval faces can wear any length. Round faces do better with longer lengths, and silhouettes that take the shape of a “V”. Heart-shaped faces do better with shorter lengths, and silhouettes that are curved. Squarer, more rectangular faces do better with shorter lengths and rounded silhouettes.

For men,

Bracelets [1]

Usually, with bracelets, size is less an issue than with necklaces.

Measure the wrist at the wrist bone, using a piece of string or tape measure. If you use a string, it’s best to use a bracelet sizing cone to determine the actual wrist measurement. If you like your bracelets to be somewhat loose, add ¾” or 1” to the measurement. With larger beads or adornments, the linear length against a ruler will have to be larger than the actual size of your wrist, since these larger components will pull the bracelet further out from your wrist as you wear the piece.

For women, most wear between a 6” and 7” length.

For men, most wear between a 7” and 8” length.

But obviously, there will be some deviation from the typical, because not everyone is a standard size.

Also, some people like to wear their bracelets tight to their wrist, while others like to wear them somewhat or very loose on their wrists.

For bangles, it becomes important to anticipate the width of the widest part of the hand for which the bangle has to slide over.

This bangle formula works in general, but, again, everyone’s hand-width and wrist size will vary.

Rings [1]

Rings sizes are standardized and unisex, running in numbers (whole sizes and half sizes).

For women, standard size is 7, with the range from 5 to 9.

For men, standard size is 10, with the range from 8 to 12. Wider rings on men tend to run smaller in size when worn.

But again, as with necklaces and bracelets, people’s finger sizes will often vary from the standards.

Also, fingers swell and contract in size, depending on the weather, heat and humidity, or how active a lifestyle some has, or with age. Some people prefer to order a ring size a half size larger to accommodate these kinds of things.

________________________________________

FOOTNOTES

1 REEDS JEWELERS, Jewelry Wise, “Choosing the Right Necklace Length For You”, as reference

http://www.jewelrywise.com/just-for-you/article/choosing-the-right-necklace-length-for-you

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Cleaning Sterling Silver Jewelry: What Works!

What Glue Should I Use When Making Jewelry?

Why Am I So Addicted To Beads?

A Very Abbreviated, But Not Totally Fractured, History of Beads

The Martha Stewart Beaded Wreath Project

When Choosing Colors Has You Down, Check Out The Magic Of Simultaneity Effects

The Use of Armature In Jewelry: Legitimate or Not?

Pearl Knotting Warren’s Way

Organizing Your Craft Workspace…Some Smart Pointers

You Don’t Choose Clasps, You Choose Clasp Assemblies

Know Your Anatomy Of A Necklace

Mini Lesson: Making Stretchy Bracelets

Mini Lesson: Making Adjustable Slip Knots With Thicker Cords

Mini Lesson: How To Crimp

Mini Lesson: Attaching End Caps, Cones, Crimp Ends

Mini Lesson: Brick Stitch

Mini Lesson: Flat Even Count Peyote

Mini Lesson: Ndebele Stitch

Mini Lesson: Petersburg Chain

Mini Lesson: Right Angle Weave

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

Everyone Has A Getting Started Story

The Nature-Inspired Creations of Kathleen

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Glass Beads

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Lampwork Beads

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Crystal Beads

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Seed and Cylinder Beads

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Choosing and Using Clasps

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.

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

Posted in Stitch 'n Bitch | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

HOW TO DESIGN AN UGLY NECKLACE: The Ultimate Designer’s Challenge / You Be The Judge

Posted by learntobead on October 25, 2020

One of our The Ugly Necklace Contest Winners

Abstract
 
It’s not easy to do Ugly! Your mind and eye won’t let you go there. We are prewired with an anxiety response to help us avoid things that might harm us. So, it turns out, it is easier to design a beautiful piece of jewelry than an ugly one. Designing an ugly necklace, then, presents the designer with the ultimate challenge. 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. The International Ugly Necklace Contest, first announced in 2002, and held 10 times since then, was one of the programs we launched as a way to reaffirm our beliefs in a design-oriented, theory-based, professional craft education curriculum. This article discusses the idea of “Ugly”, and provides some clues to designers about achieving it.

At the end of the article, you are given the chance to review and judge three of the submissions to The Ugly Necklace Contest — How Ugly Are They? You decide.

HOW TO DESIGN AN UGLY NECKLAC:
 The Ultimate Designer’s Challenge

Can you put together a well-designed and functional, yet UGLY, necklace? What kinds of things might you do if you were trying to design a necklace that is ugly, hideous, unsatisfying and what have you?

It’s Not Easy To Do Ugly!

Your mind and eye won’t let you go there. 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.

You are pre-wired with an innate fear and anxiety response to subconsciously avoid anything that is disorienting, disturbing or distracting. You are genetically predisposed to avoid things that might hurt you or kill you, like snakes and spiders.

Moreover, necklaces are arranged in a circle. The circle shape itself errs on the side of beauty, and anything arranged, ordered or organized, such as the component parts of a necklace, will err on the side of beauty.

Because of all this, beauty is the norm. It is easier to design a beautiful necklace than an ugly one! How about that! Any jewelry designer who attempts to achieve “Ugly,” has to have enough control and discipline to override, perhaps overcome, intuitive, internally integrated principles of good design.

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. These are designers who can break the boundaries of form, material and technique.

What Is Ugly?

Some The Ugly Necklace Contest Submissions

We often like to say that beauty (and by inference, ugly) is in the eye of the beholder. But once we utter that phrase, we deny the possibilities of design — and the perspective from the eye of the designer. We refuse to accept universal understandings of beauty and appeal. We take away much of our power to reflect and evaluate and judge. We leave too much to the situation, and too little to our abilities as jewelry designers to translate inspiration into aspiration into finished designs which emotionally affect those around us.

As designers, we like to think we are capable of designing something beautiful. As teachers, we like to believe we are capable of training someone to be a better designer — one who can more readily choose colors, patterns, textures, forms and arrangements — in universally pleasing ways. As a discipline, we like to think of good design as resulting from sets of learned information, insights and behaviors.

Some The Ugly Necklace Contest Submissions

Different people interpret “Ugly” in different ways. Some might focus on the ugliness of each individual component. Some might use materials they feel convey a sense of ugly, such as llama droppings, or felted matted dog hair, or rusty nails, or cigarette butts, or a banana peel. Some might focus on mood and consciousness, and how certain configurations of pieces and colors evoke these moods or states of consciousness. Others might focus on combining colors which don’t combine well. Still others might focus 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 might view Ugly as a sense of psychological consciousness, such as being homeless, or an uncomfortable transition from adolescence to adulthood. For some Ugly might mean 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. Actually, if you look at many ugly pieces or components, once they are arranged and organized, they no longer seem as ugly anymore. Organization and arrangement contribute their own qualities and sense of beauty which transcend the ugly parts.

Adding to the fun (?difficulty?), designers want their ugly necklaces to also be functional and wearable. This goes to the heart of what jewelry is all about. Otherwise, they would merely be creating sculptures. The parts and techniques used to design an ugly necklace must also anticipate functional requirements. Otherwise, the piece of jewelry becomes a failure not only as a piece of jewelry, but of art, as well.

About The International Ugly Necklace Contest

The Ugly Necklace Contest, first announced in 2002, and held 10 times since then, was one of the programs Land of Odds-Be Dazzled Beads launched as a way to reaffirm our beliefs in a design-oriented, theory-based, professional craft education curriculum. The Contest was conceived as a fun way to break students out of the traditional craft mold, and get them to think, ponder, and translate their feelings and perceptions of what is UGLY into an organized and functional necklace design.

We made the contest international. We launched it on-line. Our goal was to politely influence the entire beading community to think in different terms and to try to work outside the box. We also wanted very actively to stimulate discussion about whether there are universal and practical design theories which underlie beadwork, and which can be taught.

Can you really design UGLY, or is UGLY merely in the eye of the beholder?

Four conceptual precepts underlying the creation of the Contest itself included:

1. The Necklace should be Ugly, yet still function as a piece of jewelry.
 2. Better designers will demonstrate a degree of control over achieving these ends.
 3. Better designers will show a sense of how both the larger context within which the jewelry is worn, as well as the overall effects of the wearer wearing the piece, will increase the piece’s Ugliness.
 4. Better designers will have an intuitive design sense; best designers will show some strategic control over the design process.

Our judges evaluated each Ugly Necklace submission according to 10 jewelry design criteria (See Below), and scored each criteria. Each criterion was weighted equally. The 10 necklaces with the highest average scores were selected as our 10 semi-finalists.
 
Ten Semi-Finalists were picked. They were asked to submit the actual necklaces to us, to be put on display at Be Dazzled Beads. We took images of each one — a full frontal image showing someone wearing the piece, a close-up, and a close-up of the clasp assembly. We posted these images, along with the poems, on-line (now on display here) so that visitors to the site could vote for the winner and runner up. The winner got a $992.93 shopping spree on the Land of Odds web-site; the runner-up got a $399.07 shopping spree on the web-site.

NOW, You be the JUDGE!

Below, I present three very different Ugly Necklace submissions. Each artist submitting their necklace must include the following in their packet:
 
 1) At least 4 images (front, back, someone wearing it, detail of clasp assembly)
 2) A poem where they get to put into rhyme the kinds of things they were thinking when they made their various design decisions
 3) A list of materials and techniques.

Some of this material is provided below to assist you when scoring each piece.

And you might want to take some aspirin first. It’s difficult to get your mind to evaluate things opposite to how you normally would do it.

The Judges Criteria

Each necklace is scored on 10 jewelry design criteria.

1. Overall Hideousness (first impressions; piece has noteworthy 
 elements which slant your impressions toward Ugliness)

2. Clever Use of Materials (something about the materials chosen 
 contribute to a sense of Ugliness)

3. The Clasp Assembly (any creativity applied here?)

4. Color Principles (the more violations, the better)

5. Balance or Arrangement (the more violations, the better)

6. Rhythm and Focus (the more violations, the better)

7. Orienting (the more disorienting, the better)

8. Parsimony (adding or subtracting 1 more element would make the 
 piece more appealing, satisfying, even beautiful rather than more 
 ugly; artist achieved maximum ugly effect efficiently and 
 economically)

9. Wearability (piece must be wearable; extra points if the wearing of 
 the piece makes the piece even uglier)

10. The Poem (expresses artist’s intent; artist shows power to 
 translate intent into Ugly)

The Criteria In More Detail

1. Overall Hideousness (first impressions; piece has noteworthy 
 elements which slant your impressions toward Ugliness)

The idea of “Noteworthiness” is key here. Noteworthiness means the extent the artist took something ordinary and made it extraordinary.

The best examples were the unexpected use of familiar materials. For example, felted dog hair shaped into beads; llama droppings, colored and drilled to be used as beads; a toothbrush used as part of a clasp assembly; a banana peel used as a pendant drop.

In some cases, the artist tried to make the necklace into a political statement, such as the Saddam Hussein necklace with bullets and pink shoes; or the glutenous fast food necklace with the gummi hot dog and gummi bun as the clasp.

In many cases, found objects, insignificant on their own, were organized to call attention to special meanings, such as the grenade box found among shells at the beach; or the remaining parts of a cat along with the chicken bone that led to her demise; or plastic jewels that seemed electrifying to the designer as a young girl, and so not as an adult.

Other things the judges look at include the clasp assembly, the artist’s anticipation of the effects of wearing the piece, the overall goals of the artist with the piece, and their first reaction to the piece.

2. Clever Use of Materials (something about the materials chosen 
 contribute to a sense of Ugliness)

In too many cases, the jewelry artist chose ugly pieces and assumed that a necklace made of ugly pieces would itself be ugly as well. But as you can see from the images on this web-site, this strategy does not work well.

The artist has to have a deeper understanding of why the materials are ugly. The artist also needs to stay focused and strategic enough in the design process, so that she or he maintains this sense of ugly as the necklace gets organized.

For example, one necklace used felted matted dog hair, and made beads out of this. This was a start at a clever use of materials. But once strung into a circle, the necklace looked like something someone might actually wear.

A necklace of cigarette butts, again once organized into a circle, doesn’t look quite as ugly. In addition, the necklace over-used cigarette butts — too many — which started to make the necklace a bit boring. While “boring” might take us in the direction of “ugly”, in this case, it diminished the power of the cigarette butts to make a statement about “ugly”.

This criteria looks at the total picture. Not just the ugliness of each individual piece. But also the degree to which the assembly of pieces maintains this sense of ugliness. The concern here is “design-cleverness in the USE of materials”.

3. The Clasp Assembly (any creativity applied here?)

A better clasp assembly is one that seems to be an integral part of the necklace, not just an after-thought or add-on. It should anticipate how it contributes to the ugliness of the piece, how it re-affirms the artist’s concept and goals, and how it adds to the wearability of the piece.

Successful Clasp Assemblies:

A gummy hot dog closes into a candy gummy bun

There is an elaborate strap, zipper, and suspender toggles system as the clasp assembly. With different configurations of parts, the necklace may be worn as a choker, a back pack, a wrap, a fanny pack, a clutch, or a traditional over-the-shoulder and around the neck necklace.

A troll doll is the clasp. One end of necklace string is tied into a loop and wraps around the left hand of the troll doll. The other end of the necklace string is tied into a loop and wraps around the right hand of the troll doll. The two hands of the troll doll push apart to open up, and push closed to secure the necklace.

4. Color Principles (the more violations, the better)

The degree the piece violates good principles of color. This might include using colors in incorrect proportions; or which violate color schemes; or violate rules of dominance/submission; or disturbing arrangements — vertical vs. horizontal, shading and tinting, sharp vs. blurred boundaries, placements and balance, projecting forward vs. receding; or violating socio-cultural rules and expectations.

This is self-explanatory. For example, the appropriate proportions of yellow to purple should be 1:4, meaning in any grouping of 5 beads, 4 should be purple and 1 yellow. When you deviate from this, your piece gets uglier.

COLOR THEORY discusses the use of the color wheel to select colors that work together within a “scheme”. There are many schemes, including Analogous, Complementary, and Split Complementary. An ugly necklace would select colors that violate this scheme. This might mean selecting colors that do not fit together within a scheme. It might mean using the wrong proportions of color within the scheme. It might also mean violating expectations about which colors should and should not predominate within the scheme.

5. Balance or Arrangement (the more violations, the better)

This is self-explanatory. Does the placement seem satisfying, such as a graduated necklace that starts with smaller sizes, works up to larger sizes in the center, then works back down to smaller sizes at the clasp? Or, not?

When looking at the piece, can you see alternative arrangements that might make the piece look even uglier?

Another aspect of bad balance and arrangement has to do with “dimensionality”. This is the degree, whether the piece is flat or 3-dimensional, that this is satisfying, or not. For example, a flat loomed piece with an extra large button clasp on the top of it, would probably be less satisfying than one with a smaller clasp on the end of the piece. Dimensionality can also be created through mixing beads or objects with different finishes, like mixing glossy and matte. An ugly mix somehow would feel dissatisfying.

6. Rhythm and Focus (the more violations, the better)

One of the goals of the jewelry artist is to motivate the viewer to take in, experience and appreciate the whole necklace. One of the major techniques is to create a rhythm with the patterning of the beads, and to create a focal point. This influences the viewer’s brain/eye to want to see each part of the necklace from beginning to end, and then come to rest.

An ugly necklace, would either have no rhythm or a boring rhythm or a nauseating rhythm. An ugly necklace would either have no focal point, or have a focal point that is in a very disorienting or disturbing place on the necklace, or be very disorienting or disturbing in and of itself.

7. Orienting (the more disorienting, the better)

Jewelry plays a critical psychological role for the viewer in a room or in a space. It orients them. It is one of the important things in any person’s visual environment that lets the person know what is up and what is down, and what is right and what is left.

The natural state in life is to be dis-oriented. It takes walls and ceilings, trees and horizons, things with clear right angles, clear perpendicularity, obvious horizontal and vertical planes, to enable us to orient ourselves within any space. Otherwise people would fall down, lose a sense of how to turn or position themselves, or feel paralyzed.

The wearing of jewelry plays a critical function here, in that it visually establishes for the viewer appropriate horizontal and vertical lines and planes. If you see someone with their earring dangle at a 90 degree angle, or their necklace turned around so that the clasp is showing when it shouldn’t — you know how uncomfortable this makes you feel, even wanting to cringe. And you know you want and need them to straighten things out. This jewelry is dis-orienting you, at a time when you subconsciously rely on it to be orienting.

If this wasn’t important, things like the odd-angled dangle wouldn’t bother you….But we know that it does.

8. Parsimony (adding or subtracting 1 more element would make the 
 piece more appealing, satisfying, even beautiful rather than more 
 ugly; artist achieved maximum ugly effect efficiently and 
 economically)

Once the artist has made their point, they don’t need to keep making it. For example, one entry used plastic trolls to create a sense of Ugly. There were over 20 on the necklace, but in their particular design, 6 or 8 were probably sufficient to make the point. The additional trolls served no other purpose in this piece. Just throwing in a lot of ugly pieces doesn’t necessarily result in something that is uglier. The additional trolls could have been used to make additional design points, but they were not. Instead they added a sense of repetition and disinterest.

A necklace of felted dog hair beads was a very clever idea. It was over 36″. No other design points were made, so an 18″ necklace of felted dog hair beads would have been as good as 36″. In a similar way, a very long necklace of cigarette butts would have been equally as good, or better if shorter, since no other design points were made.

9. Wearability (piece must be wearable; extra points if the wearing of 
 the piece makes the piece even uglier)

From a design perspective, Jewelry is Art As It Is Worn.

In other words, you can only appreciate the artistic qualities and sensibilities of any piece of jewelry only when you see it worn — as it moves with the body, as it conforms to the body, as it enhances the wearer’s sense of self, and the viewer’s sense of the situation and context.

In our contest, we set the rule that the piece has to be Wearable.
 This rule tends to make it more difficult to achieve “Ugly”, but we’ve had some clever submissions that succeed here.

Some examples from our entries:
— Peacock feathers that would fill the wearer’s mouth
 — An over-the-shoulder necklace that struggles to stay on the shoulders
 — A breast pocket strategically placed on the tip of the breast
 — Bloody teeth or a rotting banana peel meant to be worn against the skin

To the judges, wearability means that there should be clear evidence that the designer anticipated where the parts came from, and where they are going to, when the piece is worn.

10. The Poem (expresses artist’s intent; artist shows power to 
 translate intent into Ugly)

The poem must relate to the piece. It should clearly explain the artist’s goals and concept. It should detail the artist’s strategies for making the design choices she or he did.

The judges ask themselves, given what the artist wrote in the poem, to what degree have they successfully created an ugly piece of jewelry?

Your Turn

Use the scoring sheets below to evaluate UGLY NECKLACE #1 and UGLY NECKLACE #2 and UGLY NECKLACE #3.

Or even try your own hand at designing an Ugly Necklace. Can you do it?

UGLY NECKLACE #1: Brings Me To Tears

UGLY NECKLACE #2: Oooh! It Smells!

UGLY NECKLACE #3: Venerable Spirits

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

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

___________________________
 
 FOOTNOTES
 
 
Deeb, Margie. The Beader’s Guide To Jewelry Design: A Beautiful 
 Exploration of Unity, Balance, Color & More. NY: Lark Jewelry & 
 Beading, 2014.

The International Ugly Necklace Contest, sponsored by Warren Feld Jewelry, Land of Odds, Be Dazzled Beads, LearnToBead.net. As referenced:
 
http://www.warrenfeldjewelry.com/wfjuglynecklace.htm

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

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.

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

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Part 4: SHARED UNDERSTANDINGS:  THE CONVERSATION CENTERED WITHIN A DESIGN How Does The Designer…

Posted by learntobead on October 16, 2020

Practice-By-Design Series

Image by Feld, 2020

How Does The Designer Construct Shared Understandings?

A key part of the designer’s role is to interact with the various clients in such a way that construction of the relevant knowledge — assumptions, perceptions, expectations and values and desires — results in shared understandings. Not as difficult as all these big academic-type words sound.

The design process should be partly seen as creating a learning environment. The collective goal of this environment is to elicit shared understandings and feed back this information into all the choices involved with the design.

Design requires that works and words connect. As soon as we look at a design — even initially when that design is merely a fuzzy concept — we impose words on it. The words come from many sources. The designer. The critic. The teacher. The client. The buyer. The exhibitor. The seller. The collector. The user. The student. The public. The intents of imposing these words are myriad. Design triggers words. The designer needs to manage them.

Dialog has to happen between the designer and self, the designer and client(s), and the designer and all the audiences of the client(s) — either real or imagined. Dialog involves

– Brainstorming

– Exploring points of view

– Challenging perceptions

– Delineating options

– Evaluating the risks and rewards associated with each option

– Anticipating consequences

– Expanding ideas and perspectives

– Sharing experiences and feelings of connection to the project

The specific skills the designer applies include active listening, emotional reasoning, questioning, observing, probing, wondering, thinking out loud, synthesizing, connecting, creating, recognizing, interpreting, pushing and pulling.

The designer needs to know answers to these types of questions. When asking questions, if at all possible, the designer wants to frame them in such a way that they force choices. Examples of forced choices include things like,

– either / or

– this or that

– prioritizing

– grouping

– categorizing

– if this, then what

– organizing and arranging

– timing

– specifying criteria for evaluation

So, the designer might want to ask things like:

· What to do and What not to do

· Why this is important and necessary, moreso than what other things

· Why the client needs the designer to do this but not that

· To what degree the piece or project will impact the client under a list of different circumstances

· How and why the client values the designer’s work as well as the finished design above something else, like some other designer’s work, or not having the design at all

· What criteria the client will use to know that the finished design will have the intended value

· What alternative ways might the finished design be valued

· If any task or process or design element can be different or better?

A dialectic occurs to the extent that all parties actively listen to one another and think out loud. The design process needs to be welcoming. It should feel emotionally and cognitively comfortable. People should be free to express thoughts and free to disconnect from them when they change their minds. In a progressive and successful dialog, the participants will begin to shift their assumptions, expectations, perceptions, and values and desires, as necessary for the design project to proceed.

As the design process unfolds, then, all decisions, actions, words, focus and the like derive from these shared understandings. These shared understandings encapsulate ideas about possibility, purpose, and project criteria. They lay out what the designer and client(s) want to do, where they want to go, and how they will do it to the satisfaction of all.

The finished design serves as a permanent record of meanings — those shared understandings — — negotiated and conveyed by the designer and all the collaborators along the way. As a permanent record, it implicitly documents action, purpose, value and desire. It represents a narrative measure of how risks have been traded off with rewards.

The finished design only serves as this permanent record to the extent that the design has been introduced publicly in a such a way that its shared understandings are revealed.

The permanency of this record may be ephemeral and only last for a short time. Although the design itself is fixed, interpretations of the shared understandings underlying it may still change with the different contexts and situations or timeframes users of the design find themselves. The designer’s job, even after completing the piece or project, may never be completely done.

Importantly, all this communicative interaction is how design significantly differs from art or craft. Design is a lived experience.

The designer should be able to

· Distinguish the ideal from the real.

· Be aware of the interplay of the designer’s reactions and those reactions of the various client audiences.

· Discern intent and value, and the degree they are sufficient and enduring, as these evolve over the course of the design process.

· Specify tasks to be done which are truly supportive to the process of design management.

· Create a design process which, in effect, is a learning environment, conducive for the identification, negotiation, development and decision making which revolves around shared understandings.

· Improve their accuracy in becoming aware of client assumptions, expectations, perceptions, and values and desires.

· Distinguish options regarding form, content, materials and approach, assign measures of risk and reward to each option, and prioritize them in line with developing shared understandings.

Effective Risk Communication

One way to define the designer’s role is to view it as risk communication. Effective risk communication involves understanding people and issues. This means an ability to elicit assumptions, expectations, perceptions and values and desires. This means an ability to clarify options. An ability to either soften or intensify. An ability to organize and guide. An ability to prioritize, group, categorize, select among options. An ability to coordinate and resolve. An ability to maintain consistency over what could be a long period of time. An ability to share expertise and insights. An ability to restate things in measurable terms — exact numbers (10 hours of work) or relative concepts (slightly longer than the last project).

The client’s opinions are influenced by trust in the credibility of available risk information. This could relate to little things like identifying why one color might be a better choice than another. This could relate to bigger things like identifying what location sales should occur which might be better than another. Or like what to perform better in-house, than not.

There are many such risks which must be assessed, measured, conveyed and agreed upon in the design process, including, among others, …

· Making tradeoffs between beauty and function

· Resolving conflicts between designer values and desires with those of the client

· Over-doing or under-doing the project

· Choosing the wrong materials and techniques

· Mismatching materials with techniques

· Determining a stopping point for the project

· Incorrectly anticipating the context within which the design is to function

· Managing the design process over a period of time, without losing motivation, commitment or focus

· Handling budgets, administration, marketing tasks

How is this trust established? First off, the designer’s competence and expertise should be on display. Next, the designer should be able to demonstrate empathy, honesty and commitment. The designer should be able to delineate options for each task or goal. The designer should be able to understand and accept the developing assessments of risk in the choices to be made. The designer should be able to explain why something would not be a concern. Finally, the designer should be organized and prepared, a good communicator, and show a willingness to coordinate or collaborate, if need be.

Designers, then, communicate the levels of risk involved with any choice. All choices have consequences. Making one choice usually negates the opportunity for making alternative choices. Subsumed within any choice are sensations about workability, implementability, worth, some measure of risk relative to some reward. The choices could be about selecting materials or techniques. They could be about which design elements to use, and which ones not. They could be about which tasks to perform and when. They could be about criteria for determining whether a project should be judged finished and successful.

There are some keys to successful, adept messaging about risk. These include,

· Having a clear purpose and educating others about the purpose (both designer’s and client’s), how these relate to assumptions, expectations, perceptions and values, how to gain consensus

· Reducing all possible options to three or perhaps four major ones

· Supporting the pros and cons for each option with two to four facts

· Being up-front about uncertainty and possible consequences

· Detailing and explaining your preferences

· Explaining important conclusions about possible impacts with supporting reasons and details

· Tailoring the language to the client; working with the client to translate possible risks into language and measurements more familiar to that client

· Identifying things not yet known, such as having to learn techniques, or finding materials, or developing new forms or arrangements, or specifying a time frame for when you might be finished with the project

· Linking the project to past experiences or other things which the client might feel connected

· Asking the client to pre-test things and provide feedback and evaluation

· Keeping in regular touch with the client

· Being prepared for skepticism, controversy, misunderstanding, miscommunication or misdirection

· Being flexible, open to new ideas, and ready to suggest alternative solutions and ready to negotiate

· Not overlapping design projects; keeping things separate and compartmentalized

· If the overall project is especially large, breaking it up into a series of smaller projects; the project should be small enough so that risk and reward can be easily assessed and measured, and choices can be concise

· Having clear criteria for evaluating the project (and its continued value to and desirability for the client) at each increment of the way; allowing the criteria to grow, change and evolve, as necessary, without fostering disagreement

Designer Thinking: 
 Literate, Fluent and Flexible in the Discipline of Design

When designers think like designers, they demonstrate a degree of leadership skills which goes a little beyond those of basic management. The fluent designer has the courage to have a vision and the wherewithal to stick with it until it is a finished product design. That designer has the courage to help others share understandings about the vision and how it will fit with their desires, as well. And that designer brings along that Designer Toolbox of strategies for adapting to unfamiliar or new situations.

Designers literate in design create learning environments within which communication and dialog flourish. These environments must allow for the free-flowing exchange of ideas, the expression of feelings and thoughts and values, and the emergence of shared understandings.

The fluent designer attaches concepts to design elements. Meaning to compositional arrangements. Transforms assumptions, expectations, perceptions and values and desires. Comfortably adapts to new or unfamiliar situations. Anticipates the future, and strategically brings this knowledge to bear when defining current tasks and setting priorities. Is very aware of their own thought processes and is not afraid to share them, modify them or completely change them. Or, conversely, to respond to or re-shape those of others.

Designers literate in design are metacognitive. They are aware of their thinking and how their thoughts play out and impact any situation. They are aware of how their own thinking and their client’s thinking is reflected back in the things they have designed. If the designer does not provide a sense of the underlying intellect in their designs, others cannot appreciate or anticipate what the designer was trying to accomplish.

Fluent designers are sensitive to what knowledges and skills they currently possess, which ones they do not, what ones they need to learn to complete the project at hand, and how to go about learning these.

They are critical in that they recognize the tradeoffs between risks and rewards of any choice — large or small — that they make vis-à-vis any project. They are able to articulate their critiques and raise questions about the project or process.

Relinquishing Your Design To Others: 
 A Rite Of Passage

One of the most emotionally difficult things designers do is saying Good-bye! to their designs as they hand them over to their client or otherwise expose their work publicly. The designer has contributed so much thinking and has spent so much time to the project that it is like ripping away an integral part of your being.

This is the moment where you want to maintain the conversation and engage with your audience, but look at this from a different perspective. Your relationship with your design is evolving and you need to evolve with it. Its innate intimacy is shifting away from you and getting taken over by someone else.

But you still have needs here. You want that client to ask you to design something else for them. You want the client to share your design with others, expanding your audience, your potential clients, your validation and legitimacy as a designer. And you want to prepare yourself emotionally to take on the next project.

Relinquishing control over your design is a rite of passage. At the heart of this rite of passage are shared understandings and how they must shift in content and perspective. Rites of passage are ceremonies of sorts. Marking the passage from one status to another. There are three stages:

(1) Separation

You pass your design to others. You become an orphan. You have made a sacrifice and want something emotionally powerful and equal to happen to you in return. Things feel incomplete or missing. There is a void wanting to be fulfilled. You realize you are no longer sure about and confident in the shared understandings under which you had been operating .

(2) Transition (a betwixt and between)

There is a separation, a journey, a sacrifice. The designer is somewhat removed from the object or project, but not fully. The shared understandings constructed around the original project become fuzzy. Something to be questioned. Wondering if to hold on to them or let go. If they remain relevant. Pondering what to do next. Playing out in your head different variations in or changes to these shared understandings. Attempting to assess the implications and consequences for any change.

These original shared understandings must undergo some type of symbolic ritual death if the designer is to move on. Leverage the experience. Start again. As simple as putting all the project papers in a box to be filed away. Or having a launch party. Or deleting files and images on a computer.

(3) Reincorporation

The designer redefines him- or her-self vis-à-vis the designed object or project. The designer acquires new knowledge and new shared understandings. There is some reaffirmation. Triumph. This usually involves a new resolve, confidence and strategy for starting new projects, attracting new clients, and seeking wider acceptance of that designer’s skills and fluency in design.

The designer has passed through the rite of passage. The jewelry or other designed object or project has been relinquished. The designer is ready to start again.

But as a designer, you will always be managing shared understandings. These most likely will have shifted or changed after the design is gone. And new ones will have to be constructed as you take on new assignments.

About the Shared Understanding Series…

For any design, it is a long journey from idea to implementation. This journey involves different people at different times along the way. People will not use a design if their agendas and understandings do not converge in some way. They will not buy a design or contract with the designer unless there are some shared understandings about what should happen and when, what will happen, and what the risks and rewards of the finished project will be. Shared understandings are about recognizing intent and risk. Design is both an outcome as well as an instrument for new shared understandings, new relationships, new behaviors, new reflections. As such, any design represents a commitment to a conversation — between designer and self and designer and client. The conversation allows for the management of shifting assumptions, expectations, perspectives and values. Better designs show the designer’s conscious awareness of all the things affecting shared understandings.

Continue Reading With…
 PART 1: What Are Shared Understandings?
 PART 2: What Part Does The Designer Need To Know?
 PART 3: How Assumptions, Perceptions, Expectations and Values Come Into Play?
 PART 4: How Does The Designer Establish Shared Understandings?

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?

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?

______________________________
 
FOOTNOTES

Adamson, Glenn. Thinking Through Craft. 2007.

Baker, Jamie Feild. What is Shared Understanding? 6/24/2009. As referenced:

http://reverbconsulting.blogspot.com/2009/06/what-is-shared-understanding.html

Bittner, Eva Alice Christiane, and Leimeister, Jan Marco. Why Shared Understanding Matters — Engineering a Collaboration Process for Shared Understanding to Improve Collaboration Effectiveness in Heterogeneous Teams. Year: 2013, Volume: 1, Pages: 106–114, DOI Bookmark:10.1109/HICSS.2013.608.

Canel, Melissa. The Role of Perceptions in Conflict. April 9, 2016. As referenced:

https://prezi.com/auvtd6yylkkf/the-role-of-perceptions-in-conflict/

Cheung, Chung Fai. A Connected Critic: Can Michael Walzer Connect High-Mondernity with Tradition? Understanding, 2006. As referenced:
 http://www.emonastery.org/files/art/critic/2understanding.html

Clark, Garth. Shards. Ceramic Arts Foundation and Distributed Art Publications, 2003.

Cooper, J. David, Robinson, M, Slansky, J.A., and Kiger, N. Literacy: Helping Students Construct, 9th Edition, Cengage Learning, 2015.

Dunlop, Cole. You Are Not Worried Enough About Perceptions and Assumptions. May 7, 2014. As referenced:
 https://www.authoritylabs.com/worried-enough-perceptions-assumptions/

Feld, Warren. Backward Design Is Forward Thinking. 2020. As referenced:
 https://medium.com/@warren_29626/backward-design-is-forwards-thinking-design-in-practice-series-6f9a9f4f8cd9

Feld, Warren. Jewelry Design: A Managed Process. Klimt02, 2/2/2018. As referenced:
 https://klimt02.net/forum/articles/jewelry-design-managed-process-warren-feld

Hector, Valerie. The Art of Beadwork. NY: Watson-Guptill Publications, 2005.

Kroeger, Andrew. Prevent Conflict By Knowing Your talent’s Needs, Expectations, and Assumptions. n.d. As referenced: https://leadthroughstrengths.com/prevent-conflict-knowing-talents-needs-expectations-assumptions/

Mausolf, Judy Kay. How To Avoid 4 Communication Pitfalls:
 Assumptions, Perceptions, Comparison Expectations and Commitments. Spring, 2014. As referenced:
 https://www.practicesolutionsinc.net/assets/docs/communication_pitfalls.pdf
 Progressive Dentist Magazine
 
 Mazumdar, Pravu. All Art is a Critique of Reality. About Critique. Interview with Pravu Mazumdar. Klimt 02, 6/25/18. As referenced:
 https://klimt02.net/forum/interviews/all-art-is-critique-reality-about-critique-interview-pravu-mazumdar-carolin-denter?utm_source=phplist908&utm_medium=email&utm_content=HTML&utm_campaign=Criticism+is+not+the+application+of+a+norm+to+judge+a+work%2C+but+a+mode+of+cooperation+with+the+art.+All+Art+is+a+Critique+of+Reality%2C+the+new+klimt02+interview+about+critics%2C+with+Pravu+Mazumdar…+and+much+more.+Klimt02+Newsletter+423

Murray, Kevin. US VERSUS THEM IN THE CONTEMPORARY JEWELRY WORLD, 06/18/2018. As Referenced:
 https://artjewelryforum.org/us-versus-them-in-the-contemporary-jewelry-world

Norbeck, Edward. Rite of Passage. As referenced:
 https://www.britannica.com/topic/rite-of-passage

Ravick, Joseph. The Role Of Assumptions, Perceptions And Expectations In Conflict, n.d. As referenced: https://adm.viu.ca/workplace-conflict/assumptions-perceptions-expectations

Saylor Academy. Understanding Culture, Chapter 2. 2012. As referenced:
 https://saylordotorg.github.io/text_leading-with-cultural-intelligence/s04-understanding-culture.html

Skinner, Damian. ALL THE WORLD OVER: THE GLOBAL AMBITIONS OF CONTEMPORARY JEWELRY. 6/15/12.

Schultz, Quentin. Servant Leadership Communication is Shared Understanding — Not Transmission, Influence, or Agreement. 9/25/17. As referenced:
 https://quentinschultze.com/communication-is-shared-understanding

Spool, Jared M. Attaining a Collaborative Shared Understanding. 7/3/18. As referenced:
 https://medium.com/@jmspool/attaining-a-collaborative-shared-understanding-dc70cf03f98f

ThoughtWorks Studios. “How do you develop a Shared Understanding on an Agile project? 2013. As referenced:
 http://info.thoughtworks.com/rs/thoughtworks2/images/twebook-developing-a-shared-understanding.pdf

Unumeri, Godwin Ogheneochuko. PERCEPTION AND CONFLICT. Lagos, Nigeria: National Open University of Nigeria, 2009. As referenced:
 https://nou.edu.ng/sites/default/files/2017-03/PCR%20276%20PERCEPTION%20%26%20CONFLICT_0.pdf

Verwijs, Christiaan. “Create shared understanding with ‘What, So What, Now What’ 8/4/2018. As referenced:
 https://medium.com/the-liberators/create-shared-understanding-with-what-so-what-now-what-6dda51d5bcf9

Vilajosana, Lluis Comin. Connotations and Contributions of the Maker: The Value of Jewels. 6/26/18.

Wiggins, Grant and Jay McTighe. Understanding by Design, 2nd Edition, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2005.

Yusuf, Bulama. Understanding Shared Understanding: 5 Ways to Improve Shared Understanding in Software Teams. 12/8/2019. As referenced:
 https://dev.to/bulsyusuf/5-ways-to-improve-shared-understanding-in-software-teams-1f62

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

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.

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

Posted in Stitch 'n Bitch | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Part 3: SHARED UNDERSTANDINGS:  THE CONVERSATION CENTERED WITHIN A DESIGN How Assumptions…

Posted by learntobead on October 16, 2020

Practice-By-Design Series

Image by Feld, 2020

The Primacy of Subjectivity

The designer needs / wants / demands some level of acceptance by the client for the design. It is important to anticipate and assess how the client will form an opinion and make this kind of judgment.

For the client, some things will be accepted as true and right without proof. We call these things assumptions.

Other things for the client must be interpreted as to what they mean — a mental map or impression. We call these things perceptions.

The client will also have certain beliefs about what will happen or should have happened. We call these things expectations.

Last, the client will have certain preferences about what will or should happen which motivate the client to make certain judgments and take certain actions. We call these things values or desires.

Clients Have Opinions and Judge

We all know this. When we first meet the client, they have opinions about us and judge us. As we are working on the project, they have opinions about us and judge us. When we hand over the project to them, they have opinions about us and judge us. This is OK. This is natural and to be expected.

· Do they like it or not?

· Is it exciting to them or boring?

· Ugly or pretty?

· Useful or not?

· Worth it to them or not?

As a designer who wants people to wear or use your designs, sell your designs, exhibit your designs, buy your designs, share your designs with others, then you need to understand how your clients form their opinions and make their judgments. You need to understand the implications, consequences, impacts, effects and affects this all brings to your designs and your design process. You need to begin to formulate how you will incorporate these understandings into your design process. And you need to figure out how you will influence their understandings so that they will recognize your skill and worth as a designer. All this is essential to the design process. It should be stating the obvious that things go awry whenever the interests of people are incompatible.

One cautionary note: Your clients will probably have a certain naivete. They may know little to nothing about design, construction, selection of materials and techniques, compositions and arrangements of design elements — everything you know a lot about.

Will they appreciate the difference between hand-made and machine made? Will they be accepting your choices about what to include and what not to include? Will they recognize good design and be able to differentiate it from bad? Will they demand of you a higher level of fluency in design and motivate you to meet high expectations?

The better designer will look for ways to bring the client into the core of the design process. The designer will signal to the client that design requires some communication and conversation. The designer will take time to educate the client. The designer will guide the client through the process of eliciting assumptions, expectations, perceptions and values and desires. The designer will identify the emerging shared understandings and incorporate these into decisions about selecting materials and techniques, arrangements of objects within a design, and specifying tasks to be performed.

Assumptions

Our ideas and intents are supported by our assumptions about the world around us. Some assumptions are learned through our history and experiences. Some are taught to us. We take assumptions as givens and usually are unaware of them as we apply them. Except when our assumptions lead us on a path we do not want to travel.

Assumptions save us time and effort. As truisms, they allow us not to have to test and validate every little thing that comes our way. But they also can negatively affect our relationships, business or otherwise. We make assumptions about other people’s behavior, other people’s intentions, and our own behavior and intentions, and our assumptions can be off the mark. We may be laying a flawed foundation for our understanding of the relationship.

We need to identify and check our assumptions. We need to give our client the opportunity to identify and check their own assumptions. All this has to occur while developing a common, shared understanding of the design task at hand.

So, you can ask the client directly,

What do you want this piece or project to do for you?
 What do you see me doing?
 How familiar are you with the design tasks involved?

Assumptions are one of several things underlying client judgments. Let’s talk about Perceptions.

Perceptions

Perceptions are ways of regarding, understanding or interpreting something. Perceptions are subjective, and each person has their own subtle differences, even when responding to the same design or event. In fact, different people may have very different perceptions about the same design or event. Their assumptions, expectations and values may further color their perceptions.

Each person filters their perceptions with each move, each conversation, and each situation. Such filters may contingently alter perceptions. They may result in selectively perceiving some things, but not others. In design work, our clients might selectively focus on brighter lights, louder sounds, stronger odors, sharper textures. Selective perception can add some more muddiness to the interaction and finding and developing the shared understandings necessary for success.

Adequately sharing understandings within a situation and among the people in it depends on the amount of information available to each person and how correctly they interpret it. Perception is one of the critical psychological abilities we have in order to survive in any environment.

The designer needs to be open to understanding how the client perceives the design tasks and proposed outcomes, and to adjust their own perceptions when the management of the relationship calls for this. There is no formula here. Each situation requires its own management strategy. Each designer is left with their own inventiveness, sensitivity, and introspective skills to deal with perceptions. But it comes down to asking the right questions and actively listening.

How does the client begin to understand your product or service?
 Can the client describe what they think you will be doing and what the piece or product might look like when finished?
 Can the client tell you how the finished piece or product will meet their needs and feelings?
 Can the client tell you about different options?
 How will they interpret what you want them to know?
 What impressions do you want to leave with them?
 Do they perceive a connection between you as a designer and your design work as proposed?
 What levels of agreement and disagreement exist between your perceptions and theirs?
 Can you get at any reasons which might explain their perceptions, and any agreement or difference?
 Can you clear up any misperceptions?

Expectations

Expectations attach to perceptions. These are predispositions to perceive things in a certain way. They explain why people are more likely to prefer one interpretation or explanation over another.

Clients will have expectations about what the designer is like as a person. What the designer does. How the designer interacts with other people. How the designer sets a value and prices their work. What kind of ongoing information we will get. What the finished product or project might look like. How useful that product or project might be.

When expectations are not met, there is a sense of frustration. Even paralysis. There might be feelings of disrespect or disregard. Why didn’t the designer do what was expected? Why am I unhappy with the finished product or project?

As with assumptions and perceptions, the designer needs to define a management role for him- or herself relative to client expectations.

Was the designer aware of the client’s expectations?
 Was the client asked about their expectations?
 Was the designer skilled enough and insightful enough to meet those expectations?
 Was it in the client’s interest to steadfastly hold tight to their expectations, or to modify them?

Values and Desires

Values and desires are motivational. They signal a predisposition to act. They are a measure of the tradeoffs between the risks involved and the expected rewards. A social or economic calculation. A cognitive evaluation further affecting behavior. As such, they are a form of understanding.

Values and desires have a great impact on the assumptions people bring with them to the situation, and which ones they do not want to challenge. Values and desires have a great impact on the expectations people have, and which ones they want to prioritize. Values and desires have a great impact on the perceptions people have of the world, and which perceptions they want to act on.

Values and desires have two key components — the contributions of the designer and the motivations of the client. First, there is the value the designer places on the work, given the resources involved, the time spent, the skill applied, and meanings represented in the piece and importance to the designer. Second, there is the value the client places on the work, given their assumptions, perceptions, expectations, previous experience, and the socio-cultural-psychological context they find themselves in.

People project their feelings and thoughts and sensitivities onto the designed object, whether it be jewelry, an interior design, or a digitized representation online. These projections, however, can have many roots. Self-esteem. Self-expression. Social advantage. Tool of negotiation. Power.

Values and desires sometimes are expressed in monetary terms. Such and such a thing is priced at some dollar amount or assigned some worth also in monetary terms.

They more often are expressed with words. We hear words like beautiful, satisfying, appealing. And other words like ugly, boring, scary. Or phrases like worth it, I want it, I want to buy it, I want to collect it. Or more phrases like the designer’s pieces are in demand and rare, or the designer spent so much time creating the design, or the object contains several rare jewels.

Sometimes the meanings associated with these words are relative, comparative or proportional. That is, they reveal more about values and desires. We hear phrases like more satisfying, not as ugly as…, rarer than…, not as large as…, takes longer to make, about half as bright, and so forth.

Values and desires, then, involve direction (positive or negative) and intensity (a lot, somewhat, or a little). Both designer and client, more often than not, have to filter their assumptions, perceptions and expectations a bit and sensitively trade-off various assumptions, perceptions and expectations each brings to the design situation. They do this by establishing value and desire. They establish value and desire by communicating about risks relative to rewards.

Communicating about risks and rewards takes the form of (a) identifying various design or design process options, (b) talking about their pros, cons and consequences, ( c) attaching a sense of measurability (absolute or relative) to each option, and (d) selecting preferences for what should happen next.

About the Shared Understanding Series…

For any design, it is a long journey from idea to implementation. This journey involves different people at different times along the way. People will not use a design if their agendas and understandings do not converge in some way. They will not buy a design or contract with the designer unless there are some shared understandings about what should happen and when, what will happen, and what the risks and rewards of the finished project will be. Shared understandings are about recognizing intent and risk. Design is both an outcome as well as an instrument for new shared understandings, new relationships, new behaviors, new reflections. As such, any design represents a commitment to a conversation — between designer and self and designer and client. The conversation allows for the management of shifting assumptions, expectations, perspectives and values. Better designs show the designer’s conscious awareness of all the things affecting shared understandings.

Continue Reading With…
 PART 1: What Are Shared Understandings?
 PART 2: What Part Does The Designer Need To Know?
 PART 3: How Assumptions, Perceptions, Expectations and Values Come Into Play?
 PART 4: How Does The Designer Establish Shared Understandings?

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?

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?

______________________________
 
FOOTNOTES

Adamson, Glenn. Thinking Through Craft. 2007.

Baker, Jamie Feild. What is Shared Understanding? 6/24/2009. As referenced:

http://reverbconsulting.blogspot.com/2009/06/what-is-shared-understanding.html

Bittner, Eva Alice Christiane, and Leimeister, Jan Marco. Why Shared Understanding Matters — Engineering a Collaboration Process for Shared Understanding to Improve Collaboration Effectiveness in Heterogeneous Teams. Year: 2013, Volume: 1, Pages: 106–114, DOI Bookmark:10.1109/HICSS.2013.608.

Canel, Melissa. The Role of Perceptions in Conflict. April 9, 2016. As referenced:

https://prezi.com/auvtd6yylkkf/the-role-of-perceptions-in-conflict/

Cheung, Chung Fai. A Connected Critic: Can Michael Walzer Connect High-Mondernity with Tradition? Understanding, 2006. As referenced:
 http://www.emonastery.org/files/art/critic/2understanding.html

Clark, Garth. Shards. Ceramic Arts Foundation and Distributed Art Publications, 2003.

Cooper, J. David, Robinson, M, Slansky, J.A., and Kiger, N. Literacy: Helping Students Construct, 9th Edition, Cengage Learning, 2015.

Dunlop, Cole. You Are Not Worried Enough About Perceptions and Assumptions. May 7, 2014. As referenced:
 https://www.authoritylabs.com/worried-enough-perceptions-assumptions/

Feld, Warren. Backward Design Is Forward Thinking. 2020. As referenced:
 https://medium.com/@warren_29626/backward-design-is-forwards-thinking-design-in-practice-series-6f9a9f4f8cd9

Feld, Warren. Jewelry Design: A Managed Process. Klimt02, 2/2/2018. As referenced:
 https://klimt02.net/forum/articles/jewelry-design-managed-process-warren-feld

Hector, Valerie. The Art of Beadwork. NY: Watson-Guptill Publications, 2005.

Kroeger, Andrew. Prevent Conflict By Knowing Your talent’s Needs, Expectations, and Assumptions. n.d. As referenced: https://leadthroughstrengths.com/prevent-conflict-knowing-talents-needs-expectations-assumptions/

Mausolf, Judy Kay. How To Avoid 4 Communication Pitfalls:
 Assumptions, Perceptions, Comparison Expectations and Commitments. Spring, 2014. As referenced:
 https://www.practicesolutionsinc.net/assets/docs/communication_pitfalls.pdf
 Progressive Dentist Magazine
 
 Mazumdar, Pravu. All Art is a Critique of Reality. About Critique. Interview with Pravu Mazumdar. Klimt 02, 6/25/18. As referenced:
 https://klimt02.net/forum/interviews/all-art-is-critique-reality-about-critique-interview-pravu-mazumdar-carolin-denter?utm_source=phplist908&utm_medium=email&utm_content=HTML&utm_campaign=Criticism+is+not+the+application+of+a+norm+to+judge+a+work%2C+but+a+mode+of+cooperation+with+the+art.+All+Art+is+a+Critique+of+Reality%2C+the+new+klimt02+interview+about+critics%2C+with+Pravu+Mazumdar…+and+much+more.+Klimt02+Newsletter+423

Murray, Kevin. US VERSUS THEM IN THE CONTEMPORARY JEWELRY WORLD, 06/18/2018. As Referenced:
 https://artjewelryforum.org/us-versus-them-in-the-contemporary-jewelry-world

Norbeck, Edward. Rite of Passage. As referenced:
 https://www.britannica.com/topic/rite-of-passage

Ravick, Joseph. The Role Of Assumptions, Perceptions And Expectations In Conflict, n.d. As referenced: https://adm.viu.ca/workplace-conflict/assumptions-perceptions-expectations

Saylor Academy. Understanding Culture, Chapter 2. 2012. As referenced:
 https://saylordotorg.github.io/text_leading-with-cultural-intelligence/s04-understanding-culture.html

Skinner, Damian. ALL THE WORLD OVER: THE GLOBAL AMBITIONS OF CONTEMPORARY JEWELRY. 6/15/12.

Schultz, Quentin. Servant Leadership Communication is Shared Understanding — Not Transmission, Influence, or Agreement. 9/25/17. As referenced:
 https://quentinschultze.com/communication-is-shared-understanding

Spool, Jared M. Attaining a Collaborative Shared Understanding. 7/3/18. As referenced:
 https://medium.com/@jmspool/attaining-a-collaborative-shared-understanding-dc70cf03f98f

ThoughtWorks Studios. “How do you develop a Shared Understanding on an Agile project? 2013. As referenced:
 http://info.thoughtworks.com/rs/thoughtworks2/images/twebook-developing-a-shared-understanding.pdf

Unumeri, Godwin Ogheneochuko. PERCEPTION AND CONFLICT. Lagos, Nigeria: National Open University of Nigeria, 2009. As referenced:
 https://nou.edu.ng/sites/default/files/2017-03/PCR%20276%20PERCEPTION%20%26%20CONFLICT_0.pdf

Verwijs, Christiaan. “Create shared understanding with ‘What, So What, Now What’ 8/4/2018. As referenced:
 https://medium.com/the-liberators/create-shared-understanding-with-what-so-what-now-what-6dda51d5bcf9

Vilajosana, Lluis Comin. Connotations and Contributions of the Maker: The Value of Jewels. 6/26/18.

Wiggins, Grant and Jay McTighe. Understanding by Design, 2nd Edition, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2005.

Yusuf, Bulama. Understanding Shared Understanding: 5 Ways to Improve Shared Understanding in Software Teams. 12/8/2019. As referenced:
 https://dev.to/bulsyusuf/5-ways-to-improve-shared-understanding-in-software-teams-1f62

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

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.

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

Posted in Stitch 'n Bitch | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Part 2: SHARED UNDERSTANDINGS:  THE CONVERSATION CENTERED WITHIN A DESIGN What Does The Designer…

Posted by learntobead on October 16, 2020

Practice-By-Design Series

Image by Feld, 2020

What Kinds Of Things Does The Designer Need To Know?

The designer needs to be able to assess and manage shared understandings all through-out the design process. The designer needs to …

(1) Be clear about the role designers should play, and how to relate to the client

Design is an occupation in the throws of becoming a profession. “Design” and the designer role are claimed by three very different perspectives — what are called paradigms — about what the designer role should be about. These ways of looking at things come down to whether designers see their roles as craft, art or design. This can make it a little confusing about how the designer should go about assessing and managing shared understandings, and how the designer should relate to the client. To do so successfully, the designer may have to change their preferred paradigm, that is, how they think through what they should do.

(2) Be aware of the primacy of subjective experiences

How people interact with designs is very subjective. The designer can predict some universal understandings about color, object and placement. But the designer also needs to be prepared to ferret out those subjective assumptions, perspectives and values of the client (and the client’s various audiences).

(3) Be familiar with how designs have shared understandings, and why the development of these shared understandings is a social process

Conception, creation and implementation do not occur in a vacuum. They emerge as part of a social process. The recognition of a design — what it is, how useful it is, how enduring it is — is not wholly determined by that design’s objective characteristics. It is jointly determined.

Designers Operate Within One Of Three Professional Paradigms

There are three different paradigms or approaches within which designers operate — Craft, Art or Design. Each paradigm is very coherent and rule- and expectation-bound. Each is a standard perspective and set of ideas.

Each approach seeks to provide the answers to the question: Who Am I As A Designer? Each approach steers the designer to play out their role differently. Each approach leads the designer to make different assumptions about the process, what skills and abilities need to come to bear, how to approach and interact with the client, and how to evaluate the success of the outcome. Each approach provides guidance about the outcome the designer should strive for.

Designing is about making choices. Each approach gives you different advice about the norms for acceptable conduct. It is important to be aware of all this, and if you are to develop the necessary skills and insights for assessing and managing shared understandings, you may have to change the paradigm-perspective you have been operating under.

THE CRAFT APPROACH

By far, the most typically-encountered approach is called the Craft Approach
 The design process here is very mechanical. Tasks are reduced to step-by-step instructions, almost like paint-by-number. Things are very systematic. There is a clear beginning where you start your project, an organized middle, and a clear end when you finish it. Tasks are specified and carried out generically, that is, applied similarly over many design projects. The primary focus is on getting the job done with some attention to beauty and appeal.

The Craft Approach assumes:
 
 1. That the designer is either born with creative talents or not. Creativity is not something that you can learn.
 2. The only thing that matters in design is to complete the task.
 3. Designing is something anyone can do. It requires little to no specialized knowledge that must be garnered through a professional degree program.
 4. In unfamiliar or new situations, there are no issues of adaptability. There is sort of a Have-Design-Will-Travel mentality. 
 5. Disciplinary literacy and fluency result from repetition and practice. The designer learns to be able to produce the same object over and over again.

Some consequences:
 

 a. Since the singular goal is to get the job done, little thought or concern is placed on anticipating consequences and responding to them as they arise.
 
 b. Appeal and beauty are primarily based on simply completing the project — no matter how it looks or feels or holds up with wear or use. It is assumed the project will be functional.

c. The designer is taught to start with a set of instructions, flow-chart or a pattern, and follow these mechanically. The instructions are assumed to be written correctly, need no further clarification, and should not be altered.
 
 d. The better designer is one who has done more and more projects.
 
 e. Easy to define an acceptable outcome — completing the project instructions from start to finish. It is assumed that there are few compositional issues, and that the project will be appreciated universally simply because it has been completed.

THE ART TRADITION

A second approach designers gravitate towards is the Art Tradition. The Art Tradition believes that the designer needs to learn a set of rules that can be used to apply to any situation where you are making designs. It is less important that you follow a set of steps. It’s more important to know how to apply art theories — things like color, perspective, dimension, pattern, texture, balance, harmony, composition and the like — to your project at each stage of the process, whatever that process is, and wherever that process takes you.

These art theories detail what defines successful (and unsuccessful) manipulation of design elements — universally and objectively — within any piece of art or design. There is some acknowledgement that subjectivity influences perceptions, but this is minimized. The focus, is instead, on universally accepted ideas about harmony in design. Design is seen as either a subset of painting or of sculpture. It is not seen as having its own discipline and medium, with its own special rules, theories, techniques and approaches, apart from those in art. Design is judged apart from the setting in which it is put into use.

What is nice about the Art Tradition, is that the goal is Beauty and there are issues of choice to be solved. The designer is not encumbered by having to follow specific steps or patterns. Nor is the designer encumbered by the structural and functional properties of all the pieces she or he uses — only their beauty. The designer does not have to compromise Beauty for Functionality.

The Art Tradition assumes:
 
 1. While different people have different creative abilities, everyone has some creative ability, and can be influenced in how to apply these creative talents.
 2. What matters in design is how you approach the process. It is irrelevant whether the designer is deliberative or spontaneous. It does matter whether the designer has applied the rules intuitively and correctly at each increment of the way. The end result will be a very beautiful piece of jewelry.
 3. Design as art is really a form of sculpture or painting, and should be judged by the rules of sculpture or painting. The focus is on how you think through the process and make it intuitive. 
 4. The designer can achieve universally-accepted combinations and arrangements of design elements incorporated into any specific design piece or project.
 5. Disciplinary literacy and fluency result from rehearsing theories and applying them over and over again until they become intuitive for any design choices you make.

Some consequences:
 

 a. Little thought is given to issues of wearability or usability or durability.

b. The beauty of the design is as if it had been painted or sculpted. This is paramount.

c. The designer is taught that design is a matter of making choices, there are smarter choices to be made, and there are consequences when making any one choice. There is recognition that the designer may need to adapt to new or unfamiliar situations.

d. Design requires professional training and development over time.
 
 e. Success results from universal understandings about how design elements should be combined and arranged so that they are harmonious, preferably with a bit of variety.

f. The full attention is on managing composition. Little attention or concern is placed on managing construction.

THE ART AND DESIGN PERSPECTIVE

A third approach to design is called the Art and Design Perspective. This paradigm recognizes the importance of the Art Tradition, especially in understanding the design process as the culmination of a series of choices, each sensitive to the context within which they are made, and each with elements of risks, rewards and consequences. This approach adds, however, to the types of choices the designer is seen as making beyond those involving beauty and appeal. These include such things as functionality, usability, durability.

· Design creates its own challenges which the Art Tradition either ignores or cannot meet.

· Designs function in real (or virtual) 3-dimensional spaces, particularly sensitive to position, light/shadow, volume and scale.

· Design must stand on its own as an object of art, while simultaneously interacting with the people around it while they are using or utilizing it. Design alters people’s relationships to it in the moment, across situations and settings, and over time.

· Design has to succeed where the responses to it are primarily subjective, even quirky. It serves many purposes for many wearers and viewers and users and responders. Some are aesthetic. Some functional. Some social, cultural and/or psychological.

In the Art and Design Perspective, designers learn their roles developmentally. That means, certain steps and rules should be learned before others, and that continual learning keeps building upon itself. While many designers initially learn their profession in a more shot-gun, less-than-organized way, it is necessary for them to, at some point, return to some basics and begin that developmental, hierarchical process. Only in this way will they truly begin to comprehend how everything interrelates and is inter-dependent.

There are many things to know and learn that present themselves in the design process — some art, architecture, engineering, behavioral science, social science, psychology, physics, mechanics, planning, marketing, administering, many techniques, many different materials, perhaps some computer coding and technology management, and the list goes on. The only way to become to become fluent in design is to gain an intuitive understanding how all these things are integrated, inter-related, and inter-dependent. That means developmentally learning how to become a design professional.

Designers work backward. That is, they first assess the shared understandings of all their clients involved, and how they anticipate the design project will be understood as finished and successful. Then the designers begin to clarify what tasks they need to perform to get there. How deliberate they are in specifying and following through on the ordering of the tasks to be performed will vary, depending on their personality, experience and comfort level. They may not do everything a full scientific management approach might suggest if there is no cost-benefit in the use of this time and the materials; that is, if their assessment of shared understandings informs them that particular tasks are unnecessary to do.

The Art and Design Tradition assumes:
 

 1. Everyone has creative abilities, but for most people, these need to be carefully groomed and attended to developmentally. Expressing creativity is not a matter of turning a switch on and off. It’s a process that can be influenced by ideas and situations. The challenge is to teach people to become more intuitive in expressing their creative abilities and ideas.
 2. What matters in design is that your project be judged as a work of art. In this case, the definition of “art” is specific to the design, in anticipation of how it will be used or utilized. Design can only be understood as “art” as it is put into use.
 3. The end-user — the wearer or viewer, the buyer, the seller, the exhibitor, the collector, the student, the interactor, the inhabiter — responds to design mostly in a very subjective way.
 4. Disciplinary literacy and fluency result from continual learning, rehearsing, and applying sets of integrated skills in different situations.

Some consequences:
 
 a. This approach focuses on design issues. Beauty and appeal, along with functionality, wearability, durability, context, movement are all key considerations in selecting parts and interrelating these parts in a design. Very concerned with how you select parts and materials.
 
 b. The beauty of the piece involves its construction, its lay-out, its consistency with rules of art theory, and how it holds up (physically and aesthetically) as it is worn in different situations. The focus is on how you organize your construction, piece by piece.

c. The jewelry designer is taught that design is a matter of making choices, there are smarter choices to be made, and there are consequences when making any one choice. Choices involve making strategic tradeoffs among appeal, functionality, and contextual relevance. There is recognition that the designer may need to adapt to new or unfamiliar situations.

d. Design requires continue professional training, development and re-training and re-development over time.

e. The full attention is on managing composition, manipulation and construction, and making hard choices where strategies conflict.
 
 f. An acceptable outcome is one where the design maintains a sense of itself as art, as the piece is worn, inhabited or otherwise utilized. The piece or project should feel finished, usable and resonant to its intended client audience. The piece or project should reflect the designer’s hand while at the same time reveal its intimacy with the client.

The Universal and the Subjective

In design, we play with, organize and arrange design elements and objects, some of which are universally understood, like color schemes, and others in which clients respond to in very subjective ways.

For things universally shared and understood, we do not have to take the time to delineate and convey all the relevant information. Some of the relevant information is already understood. Designers do not have to spend a lot of time trying to anticipate and assess these universal and shared understandings.

These universals typically are predetermined. Sometimes by biology where our brains are prewired to either approach or flee. Universals are things which we approach. Other things we might have to interpret and figure out, perhaps deciding to flee. Othertimes, by culture or society, where we learn automatically to recognize various symbols, objects and meanings, and play out certain roles. And, yet, still othertimes by psychology, where we make certain assumptions, interpretations and value judgments where we accept things as fact without needing further proof.

Most things we will encounter, however, are not universals. They are subjective. Our work, our interactions with clients, our marketing our products and services all revolve around interpretation. Interpretation is subjective and judgmental.

What designers do need to figure out, when working with any client, is how that person’s assumptions, perceptions, expectations and values will impact the design process and the resulting piece or project so designed.

About the Shared Understanding Series…

For any design, it is a long journey from idea to implementation. This journey involves different people at different times along the way. People will not use a design if their agendas and understandings do not converge in some way. They will not buy a design or contract with the designer unless there are some shared understandings about what should happen and when, what will happen, and what the risks and rewards of the finished project will be. Shared understandings are about recognizing intent and risk. Design is both an outcome as well as an instrument for new shared understandings, new relationships, new behaviors, new reflections. As such, any design represents a commitment to a conversation — between designer and self and designer and client. The conversation allows for the management of shifting assumptions, expectations, perspectives and values. Better designs show the designer’s conscious awareness of all the things affecting shared understandings.

Continue Reading With…
 PART 1: What Are Shared Understandings?
 PART 2: What Part Does The Designer Need To Know?
 PART 3: How Assumptions, Perceptions, Expectations and Values Come Into Play?
 PART 4: How Does The Designer Establish Shared Understandings?

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?

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?

______________________________
 
FOOTNOTES

Adamson, Glenn. Thinking Through Craft. 2007.

Baker, Jamie Feild. What is Shared Understanding? 6/24/2009. As referenced:

http://reverbconsulting.blogspot.com/2009/06/what-is-shared-understanding.html

Bittner, Eva Alice Christiane, and Leimeister, Jan Marco. Why Shared Understanding Matters — Engineering a Collaboration Process for Shared Understanding to Improve Collaboration Effectiveness in Heterogeneous Teams. Year: 2013, Volume: 1, Pages: 106–114, DOI Bookmark:10.1109/HICSS.2013.608.

Canel, Melissa. The Role of Perceptions in Conflict. April 9, 2016. As referenced:

https://prezi.com/auvtd6yylkkf/the-role-of-perceptions-in-conflict/

Cheung, Chung Fai. A Connected Critic: Can Michael Walzer Connect High-Mondernity with Tradition? Understanding, 2006. As referenced:
 http://www.emonastery.org/files/art/critic/2understanding.html

Clark, Garth. Shards. Ceramic Arts Foundation and Distributed Art Publications, 2003.

Cooper, J. David, Robinson, M, Slansky, J.A., and Kiger, N. Literacy: Helping Students Construct, 9th Edition, Cengage Learning, 2015.

Dunlop, Cole. You Are Not Worried Enough About Perceptions and Assumptions. May 7, 2014. As referenced:
 https://www.authoritylabs.com/worried-enough-perceptions-assumptions/

Feld, Warren. Backward Design Is Forward Thinking. 2020. As referenced:
 https://medium.com/@warren_29626/backward-design-is-forwards-thinking-design-in-practice-series-6f9a9f4f8cd9

Feld, Warren. Jewelry Design: A Managed Process. Klimt02, 2/2/2018. As referenced:
 https://klimt02.net/forum/articles/jewelry-design-managed-process-warren-feld

Hector, Valerie. The Art of Beadwork. NY: Watson-Guptill Publications, 2005.

Kroeger, Andrew. Prevent Conflict By Knowing Your talent’s Needs, Expectations, and Assumptions. n.d. As referenced: https://leadthroughstrengths.com/prevent-conflict-knowing-talents-needs-expectations-assumptions/

Mausolf, Judy Kay. How To Avoid 4 Communication Pitfalls:
 Assumptions, Perceptions, Comparison Expectations and Commitments. Spring, 2014. As referenced:
 https://www.practicesolutionsinc.net/assets/docs/communication_pitfalls.pdf
 Progressive Dentist Magazine
 
 Mazumdar, Pravu. All Art is a Critique of Reality. About Critique. Interview with Pravu Mazumdar. Klimt 02, 6/25/18. As referenced:
 https://klimt02.net/forum/interviews/all-art-is-critique-reality-about-critique-interview-pravu-mazumdar-carolin-denter?utm_source=phplist908&utm_medium=email&utm_content=HTML&utm_campaign=Criticism+is+not+the+application+of+a+norm+to+judge+a+work%2C+but+a+mode+of+cooperation+with+the+art.+All+Art+is+a+Critique+of+Reality%2C+the+new+klimt02+interview+about+critics%2C+with+Pravu+Mazumdar…+and+much+more.+Klimt02+Newsletter+423

Murray, Kevin. US VERSUS THEM IN THE CONTEMPORARY JEWELRY WORLD, 06/18/2018. As Referenced:
 https://artjewelryforum.org/us-versus-them-in-the-contemporary-jewelry-world

Norbeck, Edward. Rite of Passage. As referenced:
 https://www.britannica.com/topic/rite-of-passage

Ravick, Joseph. The Role Of Assumptions, Perceptions And Expectations In Conflict, n.d. As referenced: https://adm.viu.ca/workplace-conflict/assumptions-perceptions-expectations

Saylor Academy. Understanding Culture, Chapter 2. 2012. As referenced:
 https://saylordotorg.github.io/text_leading-with-cultural-intelligence/s04-understanding-culture.html

Skinner, Damian. ALL THE WORLD OVER: THE GLOBAL AMBITIONS OF CONTEMPORARY JEWELRY. 6/15/12.

Schultz, Quentin. Servant Leadership Communication is Shared Understanding — Not Transmission, Influence, or Agreement. 9/25/17. As referenced:
 https://quentinschultze.com/communication-is-shared-understanding

Spool, Jared M. Attaining a Collaborative Shared Understanding. 7/3/18. As referenced:
 https://medium.com/@jmspool/attaining-a-collaborative-shared-understanding-dc70cf03f98f

ThoughtWorks Studios. “How do you develop a Shared Understanding on an Agile project? 2013. As referenced:
 http://info.thoughtworks.com/rs/thoughtworks2/images/twebook-developing-a-shared-understanding.pdf

Unumeri, Godwin Ogheneochuko. PERCEPTION AND CONFLICT. Lagos, Nigeria: National Open University of Nigeria, 2009. As referenced:
 https://nou.edu.ng/sites/default/files/2017-03/PCR%20276%20PERCEPTION%20%26%20CONFLICT_0.pdf

Verwijs, Christiaan. “Create shared understanding with ‘What, So What, Now What’ 8/4/2018. As referenced:
 https://medium.com/the-liberators/create-shared-understanding-with-what-so-what-now-what-6dda51d5bcf9

Vilajosana, Lluis Comin. Connotations and Contributions of the Maker: The Value of Jewels. 6/26/18.

Wiggins, Grant and Jay McTighe. Understanding by Design, 2nd Edition, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2005.

Yusuf, Bulama. Understanding Shared Understanding: 5 Ways to Improve Shared Understanding in Software Teams. 12/8/2019. As referenced:
 https://dev.to/bulsyusuf/5-ways-to-improve-shared-understanding-in-software-teams-1f62

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

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.

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

Posted in Stitch 'n Bitch | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Part 1: SHARED UNDERSTANDINGS:  THE CONVERSATION CENTERED WITHIN A DESIGN What Are Shared…

Posted by learntobead on October 16, 2020

Practice-By-Design Series

Image by Feld, 2020

How You Are Reflected Back In Your Own Work

A piece of jewelry, a website landing page, the interior of a room, the public face of a building, all these so designed, are objects of beauty and functionality. But they are more than that. Things which are designed are unique forms of artistic expression. They are not stationery in the sense of paintings hung in a museum. They have a different type of relationship with the user or utilizer. They have a specific relationship to the body. They might move with the person, or have the person move with them or through them. They might adjust positions as the person walks, sits, runs, turns, bends, maneuvers. They might relate to clothing and hair styles and dexterity and maneuverability and body shapes and sizes. They might flow through many contexts, environments and situations. Design is expressive. Relational. Both an object and, more importantly, an intent.

Design represents a commitment to a conversation — between designer and self, designer and client, and less directly, designer and all the various audiences of that client. Otherwise people would not use the design. Or influence others to use and buy it. Or bring it into a public space with them. Or interact with it. Or buy it.

That conversation does not happen all at once. It does not start and stop at the beginning of the design process. It does not fully resolve itself even after the piece or project is finished and then used or bought or shared. That conversation continues as that piece or project is introduced to others and they react to it.

The things we design and make and inhabit and wear speak about ourselves as artists and our clients as persons. The designer can be somewhat alone, but never alone. In his or her head, but simultaneously complicit or perhaps collaborative with others, either in reality, or virtually and in the abstract. Design emerges from this dialogue, imaginative or otherwise. And only emerges with some level of commitment to a conversation.

This commitment to a conversation, centered around any piece of jewelry or other designed product or project, then is progressive. It is perspective shifting. It is reflective. It keeps going as everyone who interacts with the design begins to formulate whether they like it or not. Whether it excites them or not. Whether they would wear it or buy it or inhabit it or utilize it or not. Whether it feels finished. Whether it seems successful. Whether it would suit some purpose, or fulfill some agenda. But the shifting perspectives and emerging collective, shared understandings about the design always reflect back on the authentic performance of the designer. Endlessly reflective.

Some designers are very aware of their thinking during their authentic performance in design; others are not. While the former is a more powerful position to be in, all designers will need to figure out — before, during and after the design process — what criteria these various audiences will use to assess any design as meeting their needs, desires and requirements. How do they evaluate a design as coherent, relevant and resonant for them? How do they determine how much the designer’s own design sense contributed to coherency, relevancy and resonance? How do they share these understandings with others as they use and interact with the design publicly? What makes these understandings contagious so that others get excited about the design, as well?

The better designer anticipates answers to these questions. The designer uses this information as evidence in formulating and judging the smartness of the choices to be made when designing and constructing something. This evidence — good, bad or indifferent — forms the basis for criticality. It is a measurement. It states a position and measures the deviation. That criticality guides the designer all along the way from inspiration to aspiration to design to introducing the piece or project publicly.

Evidence in this knowledge-building experience is assessed, managed and controlled. All designers want to get good at this. It is their way of inspiring their clients to recognize the designer’s power in translating thoughts and feelings into design, that is, to reflect back the designer in their own design. We call this coherency. It is their way to excite their clients on an emotional level. We call this resonance. It is their way of influencing their clients to want to wear and buy and utilize their designs. We call this contagion. As the clients use these designs publicly, we also want to get their audiences to see and experience coherency, resonance and contagion.

Design is both an outcome as well as an instrument for new shared understandings, new relationships, new behaviors, new reflections. It is a two-way mirror. It is a catalyst for exchange. It is a marker of validity. Design is a product of creativity. Design is a tool of engagement. Design is a means toward criticality and legitimacy. Better designs show the designer’s conscious awareness of all these things and how they might play out in any situation. Authentic performances in anticipation of shared understandings and with no apologies. That’s the goal, at least.

Why Shared Understanding Matters

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 design, inhabit it, 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.

Sometimes this convergence of understandings and meanings and intents occurs in a happenstance sort of way. But more often, it won’t happen without some degree of assertive leadership on the part of the designer. It is primarily up to the designer to establish these shared understandings. That is, the designer must take the lead to anticipate how they themselves should relate to their understanding of reality. The designer must invite the client to engage. So the designer, too, will ask the same question of the client that the client has asked of them: Do You Know What I Know?

The answer to this simple question — Do You Know What I Know? — is more than how the designer impresses the client and how the client impresses the designer. It is deeper than that. It is not surface meaning. It is not something descriptive. It is something critical. At its core are ideas about intent and desire. Its vocabulary gets very caught up in ideas about risks and rewards. The conversation to establish these shared understandings — we might call this a dance — proceeds on many levels, some assumptive, some perceptual, some through expectations, some through values and desires.

The designer, in effect, bridges the gap between how the designer sees the risks and rewards within any design process and outcome, and how the client might see these same risks and rewards. Both want to assess ahead of time whether the project will be satisfactory, feel finished, and meet their needs and desires. Both want to assess ahead of time whether there will be consequences, and what these consequences might be, should these communications and shared understandings about risk somehow fail or not meet expectations.

The designer wants to avoid any miscommunication. Any frustration. Any discomfort. So an in-depth, intuitive knowledge about shared understandings, how to anticipate them, and how to incorporate them into the design process is necessary for the success of any design.

The designer should not assume there will be shared understandings. The designer should not assume that there will be a pleasant, conflict-free relationship with the client. The designer should not assume that any disagreement or miscommunication will be worked out at the beginning of the process and not have to be dealt with again. Nor, conversely, should the designer assume that any disagreement about elements of the design would negate shared understandings. The designer and client can agree to disagree as long as they share certain understandings.

Shared understandings are about recognizing intent and risk. They are about

· Getting a sense of where the ideas for the design originate

· How the design process is to unfold

· What the design might be able to accomplish and what it might not

· What happens if conditions or intents and desires change over the course of the process

· How adaptable the designer is

· The chances the final design will feel finished and successful

· What criteria the final design needs to meet

If neither designer nor client understand intent and risk as each other sees it, there will be no shared understandings. The design will be ill-defined and poorly articulated. The designer’s performance will be inauthentic. There will be no trust. No legitimacy. No satisfactory outcome.

While the need for establishing shared understanding in the design process might seem obvious, it does not often occur. Designers too often assume this will happen automatically. They present designs as fait-accompli — their success predetermined and prejudged as successful. They lose some level of management control when the client responds negatively. They fail to adapt or become too inflexible when the situation changes. The designs get implemented imperfectly. When the client takes possession of the design, the relationship ends.

About the Shared Understanding Series…

For any design, it is a long journey from idea to implementation. This journey involves different people at different times along the way. People will not use a design if their agendas and understandings do not converge in some way. They will not buy a design or contract with the designer unless there are some shared understandings about what should happen and when, what will happen, and what the risks and rewards of the finished project will be. Shared understandings are about recognizing intent and risk. Design is both an outcome as well as an instrument for new shared understandings, new relationships, new behaviors, new reflections. As such, any design represents a commitment to a conversation — between designer and self and designer and client. The conversation allows for the management of shifting assumptions, expectations, perspectives and values. Better designs show the designer’s conscious awareness of all the things affecting shared understandings.

Continue Reading With…
 PART 1:
What Are Shared Understandings?
 PART 2:
What Part Does The Designer Need To Know?
 PART 3:
How Assumptions, Perceptions, Expectations and Values Come Into Play?
 PART 4:
How Does The Designer Establish Shared Understandings?

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?

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?

______________________________
 
FOOTNOTES

Adamson, Glenn. Thinking Through Craft. 2007.

Baker, Jamie Feild. What is Shared Understanding? 6/24/2009. As referenced:

http://reverbconsulting.blogspot.com/2009/06/what-is-shared-understanding.html

Bittner, Eva Alice Christiane, and Leimeister, Jan Marco. Why Shared Understanding Matters — Engineering a Collaboration Process for Shared Understanding to Improve Collaboration Effectiveness in Heterogeneous Teams. Year: 2013, Volume: 1, Pages: 106–114, DOI Bookmark:10.1109/HICSS.2013.608.

Canel, Melissa. The Role of Perceptions in Conflict. April 9, 2016. As referenced:

https://prezi.com/auvtd6yylkkf/the-role-of-perceptions-in-conflict/

Cheung, Chung Fai. A Connected Critic: Can Michael Walzer Connect High-Mondernity with Tradition? Understanding, 2006. As referenced:
 http://www.emonastery.org/files/art/critic/2understanding.html

Clark, Garth. Shards. Ceramic Arts Foundation and Distributed Art Publications, 2003.

Cooper, J. David, Robinson, M, Slansky, J.A., and Kiger, N. Literacy: Helping Students Construct, 9th Edition, Cengage Learning, 2015.

Dunlop, Cole. You Are Not Worried Enough About Perceptions and Assumptions. May 7, 2014. As referenced:
 https://www.authoritylabs.com/worried-enough-perceptions-assumptions/

Feld, Warren. Backward Design Is Forward Thinking. 2020. As referenced:
 https://medium.com/@warren_29626/backward-design-is-forwards-thinking-design-in-practice-series-6f9a9f4f8cd9

Feld, Warren. Jewelry Design: A Managed Process. Klimt02, 2/2/2018. As referenced:
 https://klimt02.net/forum/articles/jewelry-design-managed-process-warren-feld

Hector, Valerie. The Art of Beadwork. NY: Watson-Guptill Publications, 2005.

Kroeger, Andrew. Prevent Conflict By Knowing Your talent’s Needs, Expectations, and Assumptions. n.d. As referenced: https://leadthroughstrengths.com/prevent-conflict-knowing-talents-needs-expectations-assumptions/

Mausolf, Judy Kay. How To Avoid 4 Communication Pitfalls:
 Assumptions, Perceptions, Comparison Expectations and Commitments. Spring, 2014. As referenced:
 https://www.practicesolutionsinc.net/assets/docs/communication_pitfalls.pdf
 Progressive Dentist Magazine
 
 Mazumdar, Pravu. All Art is a Critique of Reality. About Critique. Interview with Pravu Mazumdar. Klimt 02, 6/25/18. As referenced:
 https://klimt02.net/forum/interviews/all-art-is-critique-reality-about-critique-interview-pravu-mazumdar-carolin-denter?utm_source=phplist908&utm_medium=email&utm_content=HTML&utm_campaign=Criticism+is+not+the+application+of+a+norm+to+judge+a+work%2C+but+a+mode+of+cooperation+with+the+art.+All+Art+is+a+Critique+of+Reality%2C+the+new+klimt02+interview+about+critics%2C+with+Pravu+Mazumdar…+and+much+more.+Klimt02+Newsletter+423

Murray, Kevin. US VERSUS THEM IN THE CONTEMPORARY JEWELRY WORLD, 06/18/2018. As Referenced:
 https://artjewelryforum.org/us-versus-them-in-the-contemporary-jewelry-world

Norbeck, Edward. Rite of Passage. As referenced:
 https://www.britannica.com/topic/rite-of-passage

Ravick, Joseph. The Role Of Assumptions, Perceptions And Expectations In Conflict, n.d. As referenced: https://adm.viu.ca/workplace-conflict/assumptions-perceptions-expectations

Saylor Academy. Understanding Culture, Chapter 2. 2012. As referenced:
 https://saylordotorg.github.io/text_leading-with-cultural-intelligence/s04-understanding-culture.html

Skinner, Damian. ALL THE WORLD OVER: THE GLOBAL AMBITIONS OF CONTEMPORARY JEWELRY. 6/15/12.

Schultz, Quentin. Servant Leadership Communication is Shared Understanding — Not Transmission, Influence, or Agreement. 9/25/17. As referenced:
 https://quentinschultze.com/communication-is-shared-understanding

Spool, Jared M. Attaining a Collaborative Shared Understanding. 7/3/18. As referenced:
 https://medium.com/@jmspool/attaining-a-collaborative-shared-understanding-dc70cf03f98f

ThoughtWorks Studios. “How do you develop a Shared Understanding on an Agile project? 2013. As referenced:
 http://info.thoughtworks.com/rs/thoughtworks2/images/twebook-developing-a-shared-understanding.pdf

Unumeri, Godwin Ogheneochuko. PERCEPTION AND CONFLICT. Lagos, Nigeria: National Open University of Nigeria, 2009. As referenced:
 https://nou.edu.ng/sites/default/files/2017-03/PCR%20276%20PERCEPTION%20%26%20CONFLICT_0.pdf

Verwijs, Christiaan. “Create shared understanding with ‘What, So What, Now What’ 8/4/2018. As referenced:
 https://medium.com/the-liberators/create-shared-understanding-with-what-so-what-now-what-6dda51d5bcf9

Vilajosana, Lluis Comin. Connotations and Contributions of the Maker: The Value of Jewels. 6/26/18.

Wiggins, Grant and Jay McTighe. Understanding by Design, 2nd Edition, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2005.

Yusuf, Bulama. Understanding Shared Understanding: 5 Ways to Improve Shared Understanding in Software Teams. 12/8/2019. As referenced:
 https://dev.to/bulsyusuf/5-ways-to-improve-shared-understanding-in-software-teams-1f62

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

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.

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

Posted in Stitch 'n Bitch | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »