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PART 1: THE JEWELRY DESIGNER’S ORIENTATION TO OTHER JEWELRY FINDINGS: PART 1: PREPARERS

Posted by learntobead on March 14, 2021

Continue Part 2: Controllers and Adapters

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.

Choosing and Using Other Jewelry Findings: 
Preparers

You have to approach the Jewelry Findings with a large measure of respect. “Jewelry Findings” are all the pieces that you use, including clasps, other than stringing materials and beads. They are called “jewelry findings”, because up until about 15 years ago, many of these pieces didn’t exist. People went to sewing notion stores, antique stores, flea markets, hardware stores, cannibalized old jewelry, wherever, and found things and made them work. Because many of these pieces are new, there is not a consensus on what some of these things should be called, so you have a lot of similarly looking pieces that go by different names. I’m sure over time, the name-game will shake out, and there will be more consistency.

Respect these jewelry findings. They are the pieces that get pulled and strained, torn at and squeezed, maligned and misused. These are the pieces that will make or break your piece of jewelry. Understand and respect them.

Many designers fail to make the full range of these pieces available to them. They either don’t know about them, or are afraid of them or think they might use them incorrectly. They too often limit their own design possibilities by relying on the same limited set of findings for everything they make. But the world of possibilities that these jewelry findings open up for us is endless.

Below is a list of other major jewelry findings used in bead stringing. I’ve tried to group them into three categories to make it a little easier to relate to.

PREPARERS:
 Things Which Prepare the Ends of Cords and Stringing Materials:

These kinds of jewelry findings are mostly used with thicker cords, like leather and waxed cotton, but also with cable wires. These enable you to create a “loop end” on each side of the cord or cable.

From the two loop ends you have created on each end of your cord, you then continue to create the rest of your clasp assembly. If the loop is big enough (to give you jointedness), or looks substantial enough (like it won’t break from movement), you can attach the clasp directly to the loop. If not, you will want to attach your clasp/ring to jump or split rings, and these, in turn, to your loop ends.

You usually try to match the size of the interior opening on the jewelry finding to the thickness of your cord or cable. For some of these pieces, this match is more important than others.

You always put some glue on your cord or cable before you stick them into the piece. You use glue because all these cords are oily, and some will sweat, as well. They will slip out of the findings — even with tight crimping or clamping — because they are slippery. That’s why you use glue.

I recommend using a glue like E6000 or Beacon 527. Don’t use super glue. Super glue (or the jeweler’s version called G-S Hypo Cement) dries like glass, so the bond will shatter like glass, because all jewelry moves. Also, after it shatters, the bond looks like a broken coke bottle. E6000 and Beacon 527 dry like rubber, so they act as a shock absorber, when the jewelry moves.

CRIMP ENDS

These come very fancy or plain. They come with a small opening to use with cable wires, and wider and wider openings to use with leather or waxed cotton, or even braided leather.

These pieces have a loop at the end of a tube. The tube has 3 bands. The first and third are decorative. The center band is meant to be crushed and crimped. You put some glue on the cord or cable — any glue except super glue — stick it into the tube, and take a pliers and crush the center band as flat as you can get it.

When you crush the middle band, visually, it looks like it is part of a pattern of beads. It doesn’t look like an ugly crushed piece of metal.

Some crimp ends come with a hook, so that you attach a loop on one end and the hook on the other, to create a hook and eye clasp.

These and clamps (see below) work best for preparing the ends of cable wires and thicker cords. Crimp ends tend to be on the pricier side; clamps are very inexpensive. Both hold well, relying on both the glue and the crimp.

CHAIN/CORD ENDS

These pieces have a loop at the end of a split tube. For chain, these are soldered on. For cords or cable, you put some glue on (again never super glue), stick it into the split tube, and take a pliers and crush snug, NOT flat. What’s holding these on is the glue. If you crush flat, you lose the bond. Should tightly match cord thickness to interior diameter.

We need to crush snug because we want the glue to adhere to all the interior surfaces. If there are any gaps where the glue has not adhered, the bond will break.

These are terrible pieces, because it is difficult to achieve that perfect bonding with the glue.

END CAPS

These pieces come in just a few sizes, but many designs. Those pictured are very industrial looking, but they come very decorative, as well. Some pieces have a hole at the end instead of a loop and are labeled “end caps,” but technically, these should be called either a cone or a bead cap. Usually, the interior opening size of the end cap will be listed, such as ID=6mm or ID=8mm or ID=12mm. You coordinate this with the width of whatever you are trying to slip into the end cap. But because of the shape of the end cap, there still may be fit issues.

These pieces have a loop at the end of a hard metal tube. The loop is either an eyelet or a fixed loop. You put some glue (not super glue) on cord or cable and stick in. The glue is all that holds. Should tightly match cord thickness to interior diameter.

Because it is important, for the bond to hold, to get the glue to adhere to all the interior surfaces, and you cannot crush the ends snug, you need to put a lot of excess glue on the cord when you stick it in. And you need to be prepared to wipe away the excess glue that bleeds back out.

You never attach your clasp directly to these pieces. You need an additional intervening ring — jump ring or split ring or soldered ring — between the end cap and your clasp component.

CLAMPS
 Ribbon or Bar Clamps:

These clamps are folded metal with a loop in the center edge, come in different lengths, and have teeth. These are for ribbons or fabric. You don’t use glue, because the glue will bleed into the ribbon or fabric.

You fold over the end of the ribbon or fabric, making the end pretty, and stick into the clamp, and use a pliers to crush firm. If your material is wider than the clamp you have, you would make several folds in the end, like you would when gift-wrapping a package.

Foldover or Wing Clamps:

These come in a few different sizes, some with square loops, some with round loops. Some have plain backs; some have patterned backs.

These typically are a loop on top of flat metal with two wings that fold over. You put some glue (not super glue) on the cord or cable, sit in the saddle between the two wings, and use a large pliers, and crush the two wings over each other and over the cord. Crush as flat as you can get it. This is not done in one movement because the wings are stiff and strong. You usually take your pliers and move then to one side, then the other, then back, until you get the two wing position over each other, and you can crush them flat.

One mistake people make with this piece is that they crush snug, not flat. Where the wings overlap each other, this leaves an air passage. Again, we want our glue to adhere to all the interior surfaces. If you crush snug, this air passage will weaken the bond, and your cord will pull out. You have to crush as flat as you can get it, to force the glue up into that air passage.

You can use one clamp for multiple strands, if you wish. You can seat multiple strands of cable wire or leather or whatever into the saddle of one clamp.

These and the crimp ends work the best for preparing the ends of cable wires and thicker cords. Crimp ends are pricier; clamps are cheap. Crimp ends have a design impact; clamps are very utilitarian.

COIL ENDS

Coil ends have an open ended loop at the top of a tightly wound coil. I don’t like the way these look after they are crushed onto the cord, and they don’t hold up well. One advantage is that the coil functions as a spring, and absorbs a lot of the excess force place on the piece, that comes from movement.

With coil ends, you put some glue, (but not super glue), on the cord, shove it into the coil. You take a chain-nose pliers and crush the first two rings of the coil onto the cord. If you crush too hard, you’ll slice the cord. If you don’t crush hard enough, the cord will pull out.

The way the loop was designed to work, was that you take a pliers, move the open ring to the side, slip on your clasp or ring, and, using the pliers, move the open ring to a closed position again. DON’T DO IT THIS WAY. When you move the loop back and forth, it breaks off easily. These loops are rather brittle. SO, the way you would use this, is that you would take a jump ring or split ring, and attach this to the loop and your clasp piece. As long as you don’t move this loop wire, it stays strong.

Coil ends come in two sizes in terms of the width of the interior diameter. If your cord is thicker than the smaller size, see if you can make it work with this smaller size, anyway. The larger size is more awkward to use. Say you had leather cord. You can take a single-edge razor blade and cut the end at an angle, put some glue on the cord, and shove it into the smaller piece.

BEAD CAPS

This is a decorative cup-like or bowl-like piece, with a hole in the center. This piece is originally used as a decorative element, to cover one or both sides of a bead, as you string your beads on. However, you can adapt this piece to be an end. You might have multi-strands, where you tie them all off together, and use the bead cap to hide the mess. You might have a bead crocheted rope, and again, use the bead cap to give your piece a decorative end. You glue the bead cap on. Then you take an independent wire or thread, attaching it to your piece about 2–3” from the end, and running it through your piece, through the cap, then finishing off the rest of your clasp assembly.

What’s nice here are that there are hundreds of styles, whereas the more typical jewelry findings look very utilitarian.

BELL CAPS

A bell cap is a bead cap with a loop on it. This is a decorative cup-like or bowl-like piece, with a loop sticking above the center. This piece is originally used to adapt something, like gluing it to the top of a crystal pendant or bead, to be a drop. But it can be adapted to use as a fancy end-cap. Use glue here. Attach the clasp assembly to an additional jump ring or split ring. Again, there are many, many decorative styles in bell caps, so you won’t have to rely on the typical and very plain specialized jewelry findings.

The arms on the bell cap are somewhat independent, and can be pushed into the shape of whatever piece they are attached to. So, for example, you can take a rough stone, position the bell cap at the top, push on the arms to shape them to the stone, then put glue on each arm and attach the bell cap to the piece.

BEAD TIPS (aka, KNOT-COVERS)

These pieces are used to hide knots. One style has a cup with a tongue attached. Another style ends with a loop, not a tongue. The most widely used style — Clam Shell Bead Tip (or double-cup) — has two half cups that close over the knot, and a tongue extending from one end. While some people use these pieces with cable wire, they are primarily designed for use with needle and thread.

These take some practice in learning how to use them. On the first side of your piece, you string on the bead tip, say the clam shell. You tie a bunch of knots in the tail, so your knot is bigger than the hole in the bead tip, and won’t slip out. Cut off the tail. Put a drop of glue on the knot. Here you would use something like superglue. Superglue will make the knot stiff, so it won’t pull through the hole. E6000 will make the knot rubbery, and it will be able to contort and work its way through the hole. Trim the tail. Press the two halves of the clamp together over the knot, so it looks like a bead. Take the tongue, fold it over and through the ring on your clasp, and back to itself, so it forms a loop.

On the other side of your piece, here’s the tricky part. You need to keep your tension on the thread, so the thread doesn’t show when you’re finished. You need to tie a bunch of knots, and complete the rest of the process. This is a 3-hand operation, but you only have 2 hands.

Here you slide the bead tip onto your thread. Use one hand to hold everything tight. Take an awl or a round nose pliers — something where the width graduates into a point, and put the tip where you want your finished knot to end up. Tie an overhand knot over the awl or pliers up high on the wider part of the jaws. Tighten the loop of this knot. Tighten the tension on your thread. Move the loop down the awl or pliers a bit, moving towards the narrow pointed end. Tighten this loop. Check your overall thread tension. Move the loop down a little bit more. Tighten this loop. Check your overall thread tension. When you loop gets to the tip of your awl or pliers, you need to pull your knot tightly, and push the awl or pliers out of the way, AND, you want to maintain the thread tension in your piece. Tie a bunch more knots. Put glue on the knot. Trim the tail. Close the clamp. Loop the tongue into the other part of your clasp. This takes about 5 tries before your body gets that muscle memory to do the task easily and correctly.

When I started in jewelry making, almost every piece used bead tips. I’m not a big fan of this type of piece today. The tongue when bent over to hook and secure the clasp is not jointed enough. It doesn’t leave a big enough loop, so there is tension and these tongues break off. Today, you can tie your piece to the clasp using knots, then slip a crimp cover over the knot, so it looks finished as if there were a bead there. This is both more secure and easier to do.

Some alternatives to tying a globular knot: (1) with needle and thread work, you can tie off an end to an 11/0 seed bead, and have your clam-shell enclose the seed bead, and (2) with cable wire, you can crimp on a crimp bead on the end of your wire, and have your clam-shell enclose the crushed crimp bead.

CONES

Cones come in many shapes and designs, but basically look like a megaphone. These are used to finish off the ends of jewelry, often to hide a lot of messy knots or unfinished ends inside the cone.

One style of cone is called a 3-to-1 cone (also, 2-to-1 up to 11-to-1). This is a flattened cone, with one hole on one side, and 3 holes on the other. This is supposed to help you finish off a 3-strand piece in a decorative way. You pull each of 3 strands through the 3 holes on one side, and out together through the one hole on the other side. For two of the strands, you tie a large knot or double-knot, cut off the excess tail, and let the knot fall back into the box of the cone. I’ve only known one person in my life who could accomplish this, and maintain sufficient string tension so that none of the cable wire showed on the other side of the cone and as part of the bracelet. For the 3rd string, you would continue creating your clasp assembly. This is a good piece in theory, but not practice. Most people end up tying the three strands into this big, globular knot, and then trying to finish off the clasp assembly, only to have the clasp assembly take up 25–30% of their finished bracelet.

Regular cones are used like lampshades to hide some ugliness. With the typical cone style — that megaphone looking piece, the way you are supposed to use this piece is as follows: You take a soldered ring, something small enough so that it will fit far enough back into the cone, that the cone will hide any of the finishing knots or ends. If we start with a 3-strand necklace, you would tie off each strand to one side of the soldered ring. Then you would take a separate, independent cable wire, hard wire or thread, whatever you are stringing with, and tie it off in a knot to the other side of the soldered ring, pull the whole works into the cone, with the stringing material coming out the narrow end. Then you would finish off your clasp assembly.

The soldered ring, in this case, acts as a “support system”, creating jointedness. Otherwise, without this ring or support system, the cone could not support the resulting stress and strain. Since all the pieces are metal — cable wire, cone, clasp, crimp — , and these would be too stiff and would not move easily, and, as you now know very well, when you bend metal back and forth, it breaks.

EYEGLASS HOLDER ENDS

A major category of jewelry are eyeglass leashes. You make an eyeglass leash by attaching an eyeglass holder end to the eyeglasses, making a string of beads, attaching the string of beads to a split ring, and attaching the split ring to the eyeglass holder end. You never attach the beadwork directly to the holder ends. Eyeglass leashes take a huge beating, as they are worn, and you need to create as much jointedness as possible, so you don’t ruin someone’s eyeglasses, have the lenses shift position within the frames, or have the leash break. In fact, we want to use a split ring — about 10mm or 12mm in diameter — that is a little larger visually than you might feel comfortable with.

Eyeglass leash holder ends are made from round rubber thong (usually black or clear), flat vinyl (usually black or clear), or elastic cord (comes in many colors). The round rubber thong is the most durable. Elastic cord is not durable at all. There are various style options. Most come with what is called a “coil center”. When the eyeglass leashes are worn, the rubber, vinyl or elastic cord sweats, both from the humidity found in the air, as well as the wearer’s own body sweat. Coil centers tend to slip, so these don’t work well with narrow arms on eyeglasses. Other eyeglass leashes come with a bead center, usually a 6mm glass roller bead. The beads don’t slip.

The ones with bead centers are a little more expensive than the ones with coil centers. One company bought the ones with the coil centers, slipped these off what is basically a rubber band, and slipped on a 6mm glass roller bead. They took a $0.45 cent piece and sold them for $4.00 a piece. People thought they were magic because the beads didn’t slip, so were willing to pay the premium. You can do the same thing. There are about 300 colors of roller beads, so you can personalize your line.

WATCH BAND COMPONENTS

These pieces are used to adapt watch faces so you can make beaded watch bands off them. They consist of a tube designed to slip over the spring bar on each end of a watch face, and some kind of loop or series of holes that come off the tube. Beaded watch bands have become so popular, that now you can purchase watch faces designed specifically to attach these to them.

CRIMP BEADS, CRIMP COVERS, and HORSESHOE WIRE PROTECTORS

Crimp beads come in many styles, sizes and finishes. These are used to secure cable wires to clasps. The crimping process involves crushing the crimp onto the cable wire, first separating the tail wire from the main wire, then creating a lock, and finally re-shaping it so it looks like a bead again.

Crimp Covers

These are U-shaped beads that slip over the crushed crimp. They are used like a lampshade to hide something that is ugly.

You attach the crimp cover in two steps. First, using the tips of your crimping pliers, you push the two sides of the U together, so you have a pretty bead. These are made of a soft metal, so you don’t want to push too hard, or you will crush them. After you get the two sides to meet, you’ll find that the lip on either side doesn’t meet up perfectly.

So, Second, at this point, you return the crimp cover to your crimping pliers, this time resting it between the top notches (thus, furthest from your hand) in each jaw. This will help preserve the roundness of the crimp cover as you manipulate it. Gently push the jaws to force the lips to meet more perfectly. You can slide crimp covers over your crushed crimps. You can also use these to slide over any knots, to hide the knots.

Horseshoe wire protectors

These serve several purposes. (1) It forces you to leave the correct size loop in the cable wire, so that you have the appropriate support system or jointedness. Without the loop, you would be pushing the crimp all the way to the clasp. This is a No-No. You never push the crimp all the way to the clasp — this creates stiffness with metal parts, and general movement would cause these to break.

(2) The horseshoe also makes the loop more finished looking — better than a bare-wire loop. Most people hate a bare, exposed loop. The horseshoe fools the eye/brain here, making it think that the loop is finished and more organically a part of the whole composition.

(3) The horseshoe prevents the cable wire from folding into a V over a period of time and wear. If the wire were to change from an arched loop to a V-loop, the wire then would more easily bend back and forth and break.

There are many choices to make when selecting crimp beads:

Crimp Beads

tube vs. round 
 no difference in “holdability”, but most people prefer the tubes

THE SILVER COLOR ISSUE: sterling silver vs. silver plated vs. silver plated crimp with sterling silver crimp cover vs. argentium silver crimps
 Silver-plated crimps are usually plated over brass. Brass has a very high degree of integrity as a jewelry making metal. The plating wears off relatively quickly, and your crimps will look black — basically tarnished brass. More recently, these plated crimps have been plated over aluminum, which can break from the force of the crimping pliers.

Sterling softens at body temperature. If your crimp is resting on the wrist or the neck, there is some risk of it softening and weakening. This risk is minimal, however. If you’ve crimped correctly, you shouldn’t lose sleep over this. I prefer to use the sterling silver crimps; they are often made better than the other crimps.

You can also use a silver-plated crimp to crimp, and slide a sterling silver crimp cover over it.

Argentium has the same silver content as sterling but does not soften as easily at body temperature. These are a lot more expensive than sterling.

crushing the crimp and re-rounding it vs. crushing, then using crimp cover

Some people don’ t like the look of the re-rounded crimp, or feel uncomfortable trying to re-round them. The crimp covers add about $0.50 — $1.00 more to each piece.

plain tube vs. twisted tube
 The twisted tubes (sometimes called Tornado or Cyclone crimps) are a little more expensive than the plain ones. When you crush the twisted tubes, they look decorative enough that you don’t have to re-round them. You definitely need to re-round the plain ones.

Regular or long tube vs. short or half tube
 Short tubes or half tubes are primarily used in pieces like illusion necklaces, where you have a cluster of beads, and the cord shows, another cluster of beads, the cord shows, etc. Half tubes are used on either side of the clusters to keep the beads in place. When you crush the half tube, the volume of space it takes up is not noticeable. When you crush the regular sized tube, its volume of space is too noticeable and detracts from the general look of the piece. One mistake people make with the short or half tubes, is that, when they use them to finish off the ends of jewelry, their mind tells them to use 2 or 3 of them so that they will “hold better.” A crimp is a crimp, and if you crimped correctly, there is no difference in holdability between the short and longer tubes. Each crushed crimp you add becomes like a little razor blade. All jewelry moves, so you’re increasing the chances, by using more than one crimp on each end, that one of these crimps will cut through the cable wire. One crimp on either end is enough.

variations on quality/grade of crimp beads
 Basically, you get what you pay for!

Here’s how crimp beads are made: You start with a sheet of metal. You roll the metal into a tube. You buff along the seam where the two sides meet, so that it looks like it’s been soldered together. However, there’s really a seam there.

So often, people come into our shop and tell sad tales of failed crimps and broken bracelets and necklaces. They blame themselves. They blame the pliers. But they never blame the crimp beads. In most cases, the crimp is at fault.

Cheap crimps, usually bought in small packages, usually at craft stores, are not made well. When you crush these, they tend to split along the seam. Sometimes you can see the split. Othertimes, you can’t quite see that the two sides of the tube have started to separate. Your cable wires pull out. Or your crimp edges have cut into the cable wire.

An A-grade crimp, usually costing about 3 times what the cheap crimps cost, can hold up to your initial crushing, as well as another 8 or so clamping down on it during the re-rounding process.

There are heavy-duty or A+ grade crimps. These run about 6–8 times what the cheap crimps do. You don’t have to worry about any splitting, no matter how much you work the crimp bead with your pliers.

using 1 crimp on each end vs. using more than 1 crimp on each end
 Using 1 crimp on each end of your piece is sufficient. Using more than 1 crimp on each end is too risky. Sometimes you mind, or your best friend, thinks that is 1 is good, 2 or more would be better. No! When you crush your crimp onto the wire, it becomes like a little razor blade. All jewelry moves, so your crimp is constantly trying to saw through the cable. Using more than one crimp on each end increases the chances that one will saw through. All you are doing is adding razor blades.

size of crimp

Manufacturers are inconsistent in how they label the sizes of crimp beads. In general:

2mm is the average size For .014, .015, .018, .019 cable wires

1.5mm is small For .010 and .012 cable wires

2.5mm is slightly more than averg For .019 and .024 cable wires

3.0mm is large For .024 cable wires, or thicker cords, or bringing

more than 1 strand thru at a time

4.0mm and larger For thicker cords, or bringing 2+ strands thru

Continue Part 2: Controllers and Adapters

______________________________________________

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 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

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Thank you. I hope you found this article useful.

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

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

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

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

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PART 2: THE JEWELRY DESIGNER’S ORIENTATION TO OTHER JEWELRY FINDINGS: PART 2: CONTROLLERS AND…

Posted by learntobead on March 14, 2021

Continue Part 1: Preparers

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.

Choosing and Using Other Jewelry Findings: Controllers and Adapters

You have to approach the Jewelry Findings with a large measure of respect. “Jewelry Findings” are all the pieces that you use, including clasps, other than stringing materials and beads. They are called “jewelry findings”, because up until about 15 years ago, many of these pieces didn’t exist. People went to sewing notion stores, antique stores, flea markets, hardware stores, cannibalized old jewelry, wherever, and found things and made them work. Because many of these pieces are new, there is not a consensus on what some of these things should be called, so you have a lot of similarly looking pieces that go by different names. I’m sure over time, the name-game will shake out, and there will be more consistency.

Respect these jewelry findings. They are the pieces that get pulled and strained, torn at and squeezed, maligned and misused. These are the pieces that will make or break your piece of jewelry. Understand and respect them.

Many designers fail to make the full range of these pieces available to them. They either don’t know about them, or are afraid of them or think they might use them incorrectly. They too often limit their own design possibilities by relying on the same limited set of findings for everything they make. But the world of possibilities that these jewelry findings open up for us is endless.

CONTROLLERS:
 Things Which Control the Positioning of Pieces or Sections within Your Piece:

SEPARATOR or SPACER BARS

These are multi-hole pieces that are used to keep multi-strand pieces neat and organized. In a bracelet you might use 3–5, spaced evenly along the length of the piece. In a necklace, you might use 5–7, spaced evenly along the length of the piece.. Some of these pieces are very narrow and meant to be “hidden”. Others have a decorative edge that will be seen as part of the overall design. Separators with a broad surface are referred to as Separator Boxes.

END BARS (can also be used for making earring dangles)

These pieces are basically a bar, with one centered loop off one side, and multiple loops off the other. For a 3-loop end bar (which has 4 loops — 1 centered on one side, and 3 on the other) you would finish off a 3-strand piece on the one side, and then use the single loop on the other side to begin your clasp assembly. The bar can be plain, or very decorative. The bar can be straight, curved, or zig-zagged.

On an earring, with the bar positioned horizontally, you can dangle these one from the other, and create a neat cascading effect with dangles.

These come plain, as well as very decorative.

CONNECTORS and LINKABLES

There is a sub-family of jewelry findings originally called “Connectors”, and more recently referred to as “Linkables”. [The word “connectors” didn’t seem to resonate with customers, so they are trying “linkables”, which also doesn’t particularly resonate, because people are unfamiliar with most of these types of parts. That’s unfortunate, because connectors and linkables open up myriad design possibilities.]

Connectors or linkables are pieces that either have a lot of holes in them, or have multiple loops that come off them. They enable the designer to create segments or sections of beads, which are then connected to each other. They enable the designer to re-direct the flow or pathway of the piece, or to start new pathways/directions off the original piece. They allow you to create support systems within your pieces which are very attractive, appealing, and create a higher level of interest on the part of both viewers and wearers.

The most basic connectors or linkables are rings of various sorts.

Jump rings have a gap or split in them. 
 Split rings are like little key rings, in which the wire of the ring goes around twice. 
 Soldered rings or stamped solid rings have no gaps whatsoever.

In making a choice among these, you would first try to use a soldered or stamped solid ring. If this won’t work, because you have to make some kind of jump, your second choice is a split ring. If this won’t work, either functionally or sometimes from a visual-appeal standpoint they are not appealing, you would use a jump ring.

To open and close a jump ring, you move the wire ends, on either side of the gap, sideways just a bit, so that you have an opening wide enough to slip over whatever you need to slip them over on. You never pull the wires out and in, just back and forth. After you have connected your pieces to your ring, you close the ring by moving the two ends side to side until the two ends meet. If you have difficulty doing this with your fingers, or the aid of a chain nose pliers, you can purchase a jump ring pliers. With the jump ring pliers, you close the jump ring as best as you can with your fingers. Then you put the jump ring between the jaws of these pliers, and squeeze to close perfectly.

Bead Attach Rings

These are two rings soldered together, one small and one larger. These are primarily used in beaded charm bracelets. If you strung your charms on with your beads, they would get locked between the beads, and not flow freely. Instead, you string on your beads, and string on (through the smaller hole) a bead attach ring, everywhere you want to place a charm. Then you attach the charms, usually using a jump ring or split ring, to the larger hole.

Rosary and Y-Necklace Components, and other multi-hole or multi-loop pieces (see above) let you segment your pieces, or take the strings in different directions.

Beads

There are some beads that are considered a part of the Connector or Linkable family.

Double beads are either tubes that are soldered together so that the directions of the tubes are different, or you have a tube with one or more rings soldered along its length.

Say you have two tubes soldered together, and one is curved to the left and the other to the right. You take two strings, one through one, and the other through the other tube, add some beads to both, add another 2-tube-double-bead, to twist the strings in the opposite direction, add more beads to each string, another double bead, and so forth. You end up with a bracelet or necklace that looks somewhat like a DNA-strand (double helix).

Say you have a twist tube with two loops soldered to it, one near the top, and the other near the bottom. You can take two of these, and make a long necklace, with one tube+loops positioned on the left side, and a second one positioned on the right side. The wire of this necklace is strung through the tubes. Next, you take another stringing wire from the top loop on the left side and the top loop of the other tube+loops bead on the right side, and make a strand of beads across the chest. Do this again, attaching the lower loops from left to right. You end up with a necklace that also has two strands going across the chest.

Twister beads are round beads that are soldered together, so that the holes go in different directions. Usually these come as two soldered beads or three soldered beads. You place these in 2-strand or 3-strand necklace or bracelet, at each point you want the strands to cross over each other.

The traditional way to make a twist necklace or bracelet is to take two end bars, and attach the strands in the following way:

Twister beads come in handy because problems arise when these multiple strand pieces are done the traditional way and are worn. First, if you flip one of the end bars over to its other side, you lose the twist as you envision it. Second, when people wear these pieces, they often don’t twist at the points you envisioned, either.

By using two twister beads — in this case, a twister bead comprised of 2 beads soldered together — in the example, the piece will always twist in the way the artist envisions.

Tubes with loops.

These are basically a tube with a loop soldered off the middle. You string these on everyone wherever you to add a drop or pendant to your piece.

ADAPTERS: Things Which Help Adapt Something So It May Be Used Within Your Piece:

BAILS

These are basically pieces that enable you to put a loop somewhere along your strung piece of jewelry. You string these pieces on everywhere you want to add a drop or a pendant. Regular bails look similar to tubes or beads with a soldered loop off the end.

Some loops are set horizontally, and some vertically, and this positioning of the loop may affect how useful it is for your piece. PAY ATTENTION to the positioning of the bail’s loop relative to the positioning of the hole on your pendant piece.

Other types of bails: 
 Pinch bail — basically a fancy V-shaped piece. The legs have pointed pinchers at their ends. You push these pinchers into a horizontally drilled drop. Austrian crystal drops, for example, are horizontally drilled. And you end up with a loop to string through.

Pinch bails come in many sizes, and a few different configurations, today. You need to match the pinch bail and its design to the pendant drop you want to combine it with. When you open and close the pinch bail too many times, it breaks. You are basically taking metal and bending it back and forth. When you try to fit the bail onto the drops, often you break the tops of the drops, particularly if your drops are some type of crystal material. A hazard of using these. So, when planning your projects (and also when pricing these), always assume you will need some extra bails and some extra pendant drops.

While not my favorite thing to do, some people put a drop of super glue where each point or beg of the bail enters the drilled hole.

Snap on bail — basically a fancy lanyard clasp. This is used to make your pendant removable. You can snap on the bail over the stringing wire, and then take it off the stringing wire.

Wire bails — basically a triangular shaped jump ring, where the gap is off to the side, rather than at the bottom. The drop or pendant won’t have a gap to pull through, because the gap is on the side. What I like about these is that people often bring things into the shop to have us convert into some kind of pendant drop, and if I can’t find a regular piece to work, I usually can always make a wire bail work.

Donut bail

The donut bail is used to convert a glass or gemstone donut into a drop. You slip one side of the bail through the donut hole, then push the two loops on the end of the bail together. Then you string through the two loops.

Beaver Tail or Beaver Tail Bail

Beaver tails are flat surfaces with a loop or bail loop attached to one end. You glue the flat surface to your piece, say a piece of fused glass, letting the loop or bail loop to stick out over the top of the piece. If a plain loop, you would add a jump ring or similar piece, to finish off the piece.

Leaf or Foldover Bail

This is a long piece of metal with flat, decorative ends on each side, usually a leaf stamping. You carefully fold this over, creating a loop in the middle. Then you glue either flat surface to the surface of your pendant drop, like a piece of fused glass.

To glue the leaf, foldover, beaver tail or beaver tail bail to a piece, first try either E6000 or Beacon 527. If these don’t work, try a 5-minute epoxy that comes in a dual-syringe. If your piece is smooth glass, you might use some sandpaper or a file to rough up the surface a bit before gluing. If you have still having difficulty with a glass piece, try using glass cement.

SCREW EYES

These pieces are a screw-threaded post, with a loop soldered to the top. You put some glue (any glue except super glue) on the post, push it into a bead — they do not screw into anything — , attach a jump ring to the loop and string the bead on to your piece as a drop.

EXTENDER CHAINS

This is a short length of chain, usually with a spring ring clasp on one side, and a bead-drop on the other. You can buy these pre-made, or make your own. These are used to lengthen necklaces. The spring ring clasps onto the existing ring of the necklace; the hook-clasp can clasp into any link on the chain. The bead drop is primarily decorative.

SAFETY CHAINS

These 2 ½” to 3” lengths of chain, have two tiny jump rings, one on each end. These are used to attach to bracelets, to prevent you from losing your bracelet, should the clasp come undone. You can buy these pre-made, or make your own.

HEAD PINS

Head pins are pieces of wire with a flattened or decorative end or head. You put beads on the head pin, and the head stops them from falling off. You make a loop on the other end, and string these on a necklace, or dangle them from an ear-wire or other loop. You need ½” of exposed wire to make a loop. You can make a single loop, a double loop or a triple loop. Each provides a different level of security, a different visual appearance, and a different impact on the resulting silhouette.

Head pins come in different thicknesses (gauges). 
 Regular thickness: 20 gauge
 Extra Thin: 22 gauge or 21 gauge
 Ultra Thin: 24 gauge or 26 gauge

Too many people try to use the longest head-pins they can get. They end up with bent dangles and drops on funny looking necklaces, bracelets and earrings. If you want something “long”, consider making a series of links using eye pins, instead.

When you make your loops on the head pin, make them large enough so that they have sufficient jointedness and support, and will easily slip over the stringing material or finding. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen women with earring dangles stuck in a 90 degree angle, because the loops were too small.

EYE PINS

Eye pins are pieces of wire with a loop on one end. These are used to make bead-chains, such as in a rosary. You put one or more beads on the eye pin, then make a loop on the other end. You need ½” of exposed wire to make a loop. These come in different thicknesses (gauges).
 Regular thickness: 20 gauge
 Extra Thin: 22 gauge or 21 gauge
 Ultra Thin: 24 gauge or 26 gauge

You can buy head pins and eye pins pre-made. Or you can easily make your own, using simple wire working techniques.

Continue Part 1: Preparers

_______________________________________

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 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.

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

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

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

Add your name to my email list.

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

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YOU INHERITED SOME JEWELRY … NOW WHAT?

Posted by learntobead on December 23, 2020

Bags and Bags of Jewelry

She came to me overwhelmed. She had bags and bags of jewelry, some in perfect condition, some not so much, some broken. Her aunt had died, and left her a lot of jewelry. That was years ago. Her mother had died more recently, and left her a lot of jewelry, and a lot of half-finished pieces and components and parts. Her mother had dabbled in jewelry making. And regrettably, three more family members, including a grandmother she was very close to, had recently succumbed to the corona virus. And each had left her more bags of jewelry.

She tried sorting these herself, but frustration got the best of her. She knew there were pieces she would wear herself. Other pieces she wanted to keep for sentimental reasons. Parts of pieces she thought she could do something with, re-purposing them. And lots and lots of fine and costume jewelry she wanted to sell.

She felt she needed some more help in sorting and evaluating what she had. She needed to know, What she should do, How she should do it, and Where she should go to do it.

Our consultation covered these considerations:

1) Etiquette

2) Organize and Sort

3) Clean, Identify Areas of Wear, Refurbish

4) Establish Value

5) Keep and Wear, or Keep and Store

6) Re-Purpose

7) Recycle

8) Sell

9) Donate

10) Throw Away

1) Etiquette

Her name was Danali. She was named after her grandmother and a great aunt. Danali felt very guilty and a few other awkward feelings as she thought about giving away or selling all this jewelry. She repeatedly asked herself, “Should I keep all of it?”

Did she have to keep it all? It was important to have this conversation up front. I told her she did not necessarily have to keep everything. The various people who gave her their jewelry would want her to be happy. She needed to do the things which made her happy, whether this meant keeping things, reworking things or selling things.

Was it her decision what to do with the jewelry, or should she involve other members of her family? Her brother asked her for some of it so that he could give it to his wife and daughter. Her step-father wanted to give several pieces to his second wife. I advised her to consider herself first. Some families have a tradition of passing down jewelry. What was her family’s tradition? Was giving some of it to her brother something she wanted to do? Since she wasn’t related to her step-father’s second wife, I told her that I found his desire to be a little unusual, maybe even creepy. Bottom line: the jewelry was passed down to her to make her happy. That had to be the guiding principle here.

She wanted to remake or sell some of the jewelry. Would she be violating someone’s legacy here? Again, I pointed out that she should do what makes her happy. That’s the legacy. Her deceased relatives wanted her to be happy and get pleasure from the jewelry which they had worn or created. Getting pleasure meant both financially and/or aesthetically. They left their jewelry to her because they trusted the decisions she would make. But that did not mean that every piece had to be preserved exactly or stored in some warehouse or safety deposit box or not be sold or shared with others.

Danali needed to talk about giving herself permission to make those particular choices which would make her happy. She needed to acknowledge to herself what she wanted to wear, what she wanted to repurpose, what she wanted to give away, and what she wanted to sell. This was important.

2) Organize and Sort

The next thing she and I worked on was to organize and sort all the pieces. There were a lot of pieces, and this took many hours spread out over several weeks, typically a 2-hour session at a time.

We went one bag or one box at a time. Within each bag or box, we went piece by piece by piece at a time.

For each piece, we created a simple written record:
 a) Description of piece to best of her and my ability
 b) What she preferred to do with the piece:

– keep and wear,

– keep and store,

– repurpose,

– cannabalize the parts,

– recycle,

– share with someone else,

– donate,

– sell,

– throw away

These became the sort categories for her jewelry.

c) What I thought the full retail price would be for the piece, if sold in a store. [More about establishing value later.]

In our descriptions, we examined each closely and paid particular attention to these factors:

1. The condition, both top-side and back-side, and whether both top and bottom sides of the piece were finished and detailed, or just one side

2. The type and quality of materials used, such as differentiating fine from costume jewelry, gemstone from glass from plastic, type of metal and if there was an accompanying stamp (like .925 or 14KT or GF), and the like

3. The craftsmanship, especially for hand-made pieces

4. For pieces with better quality gems, then their cuts, their visual qualities, and whether the gems alone were more useful and valuable than the piece as a whole

5. The quality and condition of the clasp and other connector features

6. Looked for evidence of the designer or brand, such as a signature or stamp

7. If there was any paperwork associated with the piece, from designer sketches to valuations to certificates of authenticity to insurance policies to sales receipts

8. For some pieces, we listed a style or decade or era it might be associated with, and wrote down the evidence we used to draw these conclusions

The GOOGLE LENS app will let you take picture of anything, and then search its image database. This was helpful in locating similar pieces, and seeing how they were described and valued. Sometimes we took a picture of the clasp or a particular cut of the stone to see what similar things and information we could find through Google.

With each piece, I had Danali ask herself these questions:

· Did you like it?

· Like it enough to want to keep it?

· Did she have space for it?

· Were other things very similar and duplicative?

· Would a photo of the item be a sufficient keepsake rather than the item itself?

· Could she create or recreate or repurpose something of pleasure and value from any of the parts?

3) Clean, Identify Areas of Wear, Refurbish

A lot of inherited jewelry needs some cleaning, and perhaps some refurbishing and repair. It is important to consider whether you think any particular piece will benefit from this extra effort. This is true whether you want to keep the piece or sell it.

Some jewelry will benefit from a soap and rinse with warm water and mild dish detergent. Other jewelry might need some polishing up, especially if it is made from sterling silver. Of note, plated materials will not polish up and be a shiny color again. Sterling silver will.

Typically, some stones are missing and need to be replaced. A clasp might be missing or might not work well any more. The stringing material may have deteriorated. Some parts of the piece may have chipped or broken off. It may be missing a part, such as the clutch for an earring post. Old rings may need new shanks. Chains may need to be soldered.

Costume jewelry will be particularly difficult to restore. The parts are usually made of materials that cannot be re-soldered. The materials used — beads, stones, findings — may no longer be available, or available in the particular colors available when the jewelry was first made. If the piece was plated, this plating has probably worn away. Re-plating may be difficult or too expensive, given the material value of the piece.

4) Establish Value

It is important to establish value for each piece. It is equally important to use a measure of value that can be standardized for all pieces, and that is understandable.

The value of any one piece of jewelry is not one particular number. It depends on the context. The value could be the price someone would pay for it in a store. It might be the price someone who sells jewelry is willing to pay for it, so that a profit could be made. It might be the value of the materials themselves, irrespective of the design. It might be the value people are willing to pay for pieces made by a particular designer. It might be a value at auction. It might have value only for the person who owns it.

There are several standards for establishing value. Four prominent ones include the following:

1) REPLACEMENT PRICE

2) ESTATE VALUE AT RETAIL

3) ESTATE VALUE AT WHOLESALE

4) INTRINSIC VALUE

Replacement Value. If you bought the same piece new today, what would its price be? This gives you the highest valuation. It is not the value of the piece itself. This value is the least accurate standard. However, it is a number that people can easily relate to. I like to start with the replacement value, because it is so meaningful to the client. And I give the client what are called multipliers — that is, a number to multiply the replacement value by in order to estimate what value they might really be able to get for their pieces, given where they are trying to sell them.

Estate Retail Value. This is the price a piece of jewelry would be sold at to an individual who is looking to purchase the used jewelry for themselves. This value links directly to the jewelry item. These individuals expect to save money compared with buying a similar item new.

There are many sources of estate jewelry. These include people who sell used, older or vintage jewelry through Craigslist, Ebay, various auction houses, garage sales, flea markets, or other online sites. There will be quite a variety here in pricing and pricing strategies. For price comparison purposes, I like to use prices I find on Ebay. I tell my clients to use a multiplier between .40 (representing a 60% reduction in value) and .70 (representing a 30% reduction in value), with .60 or 60% as a reasonable average estimate. So, they would multiply the Replacement Value by .40 to get at the Estate Retail Value.

If the Replacement Value was $100.00, then a reasonable estimate of the Estate Retail Value would be $100.00 times .60, or $60.00. This would be $40.00 less than the Replacement Value. Stated another way: if a similar new piece was selling for $100.00, then someone would expect to pay $60.00 for the used jewelry when purchasing that jewelry for personal use.

Estate Wholesale Value. This is the price a business which sells used jewelry is willing to pay. Businesses have to take into account many more costs — overhead, rent, maintenance, staffing — than individuals buying used jewelry. So these businesses will only be willing to purchase used jewelry at a considerably lower price than the Estate Retail Value. The jewelry these businesses need to purchase have to be resalable at a cost customers are willing to spend, and which also covers their operational costs plus a profit.

Businesses like antique stores, estate jewelers, pawn shops, even some boutiques, may purchase inherited jewelry for resale. You can anticipate that they will want to at least double, and probably triple, their cost to set their own price for their customers.

The Estate Wholesale Value is probably the best value for resalable jewelry which has been inherited. This assumes that most of the inherited jewelry will be sold to a business where that business intends to resell it.

The multipliers I suggest here are between .30 (70% reduction) and .50 (50% reduction), with .35 (65% reduction) as a reasonable estimate.

If the Replacement Value was $100.00, then a reasonable estimate of the Estate Wholesale Value would be $100.00 times .35, or $35.00. This would be $65.00 less than the Replacement Value.

Intrinsic Value. The value here is set by the value of the raw materials, usually less a small processing fee. This value yields the lowest price. This price may be lower than the actual price you might be able to sell your item, so think carefully. Typically the Intrinsic Value is the value of the raw metals and the gems. Style, condition, brand, market demand, among other factors, are not taken into account.

Refineries, Cash-for-Gold businesses, some fine jewelry stores will pay intrinsic value for inherited pieces. Be certain up front, with pieces made up of both precious metals and stones, whether the purchasing business will pay for both, or just one or the other. You may have to remove any stones before taking your pieces into these businesses.

There will be different payment rates for different metals, all based on weight. An average scrap rate for gold or sterling silver will be around 85% of the current market value less a processing fee, say $50.00. They will take the total weight of the metal, calculate the current value, multiply this by .85, and subtract a processing fee. This becomes the Intrinsic Value.

The intrinsic value for any gemstone is based on the wholesale price of the gem less any cost for re-cutting, re-polishing or otherwise refurbishing the stone.

Intrinsic metal prices are well publicized online. Intrinsic stone prices are not, and there will be a wide variation on this, so it is wise to shop around.

Other Value Considerations

There are other factors which may come into play:

– Whether the piece is currently in style or not

– Whether something makes it rare or coveted, such as by a particular designer or brand (look for stamped mark or engraved signature), or is an unusual design or uses particular stones

– Metal and gemstone prices fluctuate quite a bit, and you may be hitting the market at a low (or at a high) point

– The condition of the piece

And just because the piece is costume, not fine jewelry, is not a reason for dismissal. Many costume jewelry pieces are coveted and highly valued today.

OnLine Services

There are many online services which will value your pieces for you. Their fees and reputations will vary widely. Check their online reviews.

There are several national associations for appraisers. These require their members to adhere to a high standard of conduct. You should make sure your appraiser either is a member, or, if not, you know that person to be highly knowledgeable and reputable. This is because anyone can present themselves as an appraiser. There are no federal and state licensures.

An appraisal will

· Clearly state the value and the type of value

· Describe the item in detail

· List the procedures used to determine the value

· Specify the appraiser’s qualifications

· Have the appraiser’s signature

You will also find scrap metal calculators online which will be useful.

5) Keep and Store, or Keep and Wear?

Keep and store. For some pieces, you may want to keep them, even though you do not plan to wear them. They may have some sentimental value. They may have a personal story to tell. You might see yourself wearing them at some time, just not now, and are not ready to part with them.

I suggest keeping at least one piece from each loved one from whom you inherited the jewelry. Pick a piece they may have worn a lot, or worn on a special occasion, or represented their personal style.

You can also display pieces you love, but are not interested in wearing, say in a shadow box you hang on the wall.

Keep and wear. There are most likely many pieces you can see yourself wearing. It’s great to mix old and new pieces together with any outfit. Everything is a matter of styling and your personal taste.

6) Re-Purpose

A brooch becomes a pendant. A pendant becomes an earring. A necklace is remade into two bracelets. A very long necklace or a multiple strand necklace made into two or more necklaces. A shoe-clip becomes a clasp. There are many ways to re-purpose jewelry from one type to another.

You might also repurpose a pin into a curtain pull. Some earring drops into push pins or refrigerator magnets. Use in a mosaic. Embellish a cross stitch canvas. Create a bookmark. Decorate some sandals or sneakers. Use as drawer pulls. Decorate your cell phone. Add some pizazz to a purse or strap.

Lots of ideas. You can also do a search engine search, like on Google or Bing, using the keyword phrase “old jewelry into new” or “grandma’s old jewelry”.

7) Recycle

Sell your scrap. There are places, like refineries, cash-for-gold stores, jewelry stores, and the like, which will buy scrap for its intrinsic value. For metal scrap, they will weigh your pieces and you will get paid, depending on the weight, metal value, less a fee. For stones, places will evaluate their wholesale values, less costs for reconditioning or refurbishing, and less a fee.

Cannabalize the parts. You can break up the pieces of jewelry and reuse the components, beads, clasps and other parts in other jewelry making projects. The parts may have more value as parts than as part of the piece as a whole.

8) Sell

There are many places, both where you live, as well as online, where you can sell your pieces.

Locally, you might contact antique stores, boutiques, jewelry stores, salons or pawn shops. Most likely they will take your items on consignment (that is, you will be paid when the pieces sell). You might try a local flea market or marketplace. You might hold a garage sale.

Online, you might check out Ebay, Craigslist, Rubylane, Etsy, The Real Real (focuses on high-end jewelry), Worthy.com (diamond rings), Tophatter and other jewelry-specific auction sites. Take high resolution photos, at least 500 x 500 pixels in size. Provide good and thorough descriptions. You need to establish, through how you present your items, a high level of trust and credibility.

Ebay especially is a useful source for researching the prices your items might sell at. If you have several items which might only sell for a few dollars each, you can group them together into a “lot,” and sell them as a “lot”.

Be sure to list…

· Description, including anything of particular interest, using words your potential customers will connect with

· Condition, any flaws, any functionality issues

· Color

· Brand

· Size and dimensions

· Estimated value and the basis for that valuation

· List price, as well as minimum acceptable price

· Photos, at least 3 (front, back and side), and use a white background

· Shipping requirements, limitations, instructions

These online sites will take a 10–15% of your sales price as a fee. There may be some other small fees involved. You should anticipate these fees, when setting your prices.

9) Donate

Let’s say you have a lot of jewelry you like, but doubt you would ever wear it. You don’t want to deal with selling the pieces. So you might think about donating them.

First, think about any friends or relatives who might appreciate these pieces. You could even hold a party and let people pick out the things they like for themselves.

Second, think about donating pieces to charity or nonprofit thrift shops like Good Will or Salvation Army. Other sites, I Have Wings Breast Cancer Foundation; Dress For Success; Support Our Troops; Suited For Change; New Eyes.

Make sure you get a donation receipt.

10) Throw Away

Of course, your last option is to throw the jewelry away.

You do this only after you have exhausted all other options.

_______________________________

USEFUL AND INFORMATIVE LINKS

https://tracymatthews.com/what-to-do-with-inherited-jewelry

https://recyclenation.com/2014/07/recycle-jewelry/

https://www.leohamel.com/blog/index.php/2018/02/what-to-do-with-inherited-jewelry/

https://www.callagold.com/antique-or-inherited-jewelry/what-to-do-with-your-inherited-jewelry/

https://ask.metafilter.com/29181/What-is-the-proper-etiquette-for-dealing-with-my-deceased-Moms-jewelry

https://sixtyandme.com/give-yourself-a-legacy-gift-by-repurposing-meaningful-jewelry/

https://www.worthy.com/blog/loss/inheritance/selling-inherited-jewelry/

https://whatsyourgrief.com/sorting-through-belongings/

https://www.foxfinejewelry.com/blog-post/what-do-i-do-with-inherited-jewelry

https://www.samuelsonsdiamonds.com/insights/how-to-determine-estate-jewelry-value/#:~:text=The%20only%20way%20to%20truly,consider%20during%20the%20appraisal%20process.

https://www.mygemologist.com/learn/selling-jewelry/how-to-value-inherited-jewelry/

https://truval.com/blog/steps-determine-value-vintage-jewelry/

https://www.worthy.com/blog/knowledge-center/jewelry/how-much-is-my-jewelry-worth/

https://tdcjewelry.com/what-to-do-with-old-inherited-jewelry/

https://quickjewelryrepairs.com/articles/inherited-jewelry-value-and-refurbishing/

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/100115/how-value-jewelry-inherited-loved-one.asp

https://susanjane.com/inherited-jewelry/

https://sabrinasorganizing.com/places-to-donate-jewelry/

https://askinglot.com/what-can-i-do-with-unwanted-costume-jewelry

https://premeditatedleftovers.com/naturally-frugal-living/7-ways-to-turn-unwanted-jewelry-into-cash/

____________________________________________

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Oy Ve! The Challenges of Custom Work

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

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

Don’t Just Wear Your Jewelry…Inhabit It!

Two Insightful Psych Phenomena Every Jewelry Designer Needs To Know

A Dog’s Life by Lily

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

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

Jewelry Design: An Occupation In Search Of A Profession

Teaching Discplinary Literacy: Strategic Thinking In Jewelry Design

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

Beads and Race

Were The Ways of Women or of Men Better At Fostering How To Make Jewelry

The Bridesmaid Bracelets

How To Design An Ugly Necklace: The Ultimate Designer Challenge

Cleaning Sterling Silver Jewelry: What Works!

What Glue Should I Use When Making Jewelry?

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.
 
 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 »

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).

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

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).

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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 »

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

Posted by learntobead on September 25, 2020

 


VISIT MY ONLINE SCHOOL

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

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

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

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

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

Enroll now.

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

 


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

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

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

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


 

16 Important Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows!

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

Learn How To…

…Find, Evaluate and Select Craft Shows Right For You

…Determine a Set Realistic Goals Right For You

…Compute a Simple Break-Even Analysis

…Best Ways to Develop Your Applications and Apply

…Understand How Much Inventory To Bring

…Best Promote and Operate Your Craft Show Business

 

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

 

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


 

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

 

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

 

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

(1) Why Jewelry Sells

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

And I offer some final words of advice.

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

 


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

PART 1:THE FIRST ESSENTIAL QUESTION EVERY DESIGNER   SHOULD BE ABLE TO ANSWER:   Is What I Am…

Posted by learntobead on August 16, 2020

PRACTICE-BY-DESIGN SERIES

Image by Feld, 2020

In order to make better artistic and design choices, the Fluent and Empowered Designer should have answers to 5 essential questions. In this article, I present the first essential question: Is What I Am Doing Craft, Art, or Design?

Jane landed her first real client. She had designed websites and social marketing campaigns for some friends and family. But this was the first real contract. She was excited, as you would expect, and could not wait to begin.

The client was a furniture manufacturing company. They wanted to promote themselves by holding a contest online. It was to take the form of a sweepstakes and furniture give-away. This company had been online for several years, but this was the first contest they had ever done. They wanted this effort to have a huge marketing impact.

The first task was to design a Landing Page for this contest. The page was to coordinate with general look and feel of the company’s website. It should generate excitement about the contest, and persuade people to register their email addresses for future company marketing. It needed to be completed within 6 weeks.

Jane began outlining and sketching some things to share with the client.

· She felt the colors in the client’s logo did not completely work as a harmonious color scheme. So, for the Landing Page, she tweaked them a bit.

· She had posted her draft page on her own website, using her own domain name. She understood that this would be temporary.

· She researched a set of 25 key words relevant to furniture sales. She used these key words to develop three descriptive paragraphs.

· She located the email text-box on the left side of the web-page, and the submit button on the right side, parallel on the page with the text box. The submit button text was SUBMIT.

· She was unfamiliar with responsive web page design, so she did not consider any implications for various browsers and screen sizes.

At the 3-week mark, she met with the client, and presented her work to them. They were not happy. The tweaking of the logo colors did not go over well. They were confused about the domain name. The key words, and subsequent descriptions, did not resonate with them. The look of the Landing Page on a cell phone was very disjointed, and the submit button ended up about 4” below the email text box — not visible without scrolling down.

Jane was at a loss. She did not know what she should do next.

Designers, like Jane, need to learn to think like designers. They need to become fluent in the disciplinary way of defining problems, developing solutions, anticipating the client’s understandings, and introducing these solutions publicly. They need strategies to adapt to changing or unfamiliar circumstances.

However, what all this specifically means, and how all this plays out, gets a bit muddled. There is a lot of advice to sift through. Designers learn what they do from several sources, including teachers to books to online videos. It turns out that what perspective the advisor, teacher, how-to author is coming from affects what they suggest you do. Because of this, and especially because of this, every designer must get straight in their heads that to think like a craftsperson or to think like an artist is not the same as thinking like a designer.

There are three competing perspectives (or what are called paradigms) for how designers should be taught and practice — (1) The Craft Approach, (2) The Art Tradition, and (3) The Art and Design Perspective. Each provides a different set of advice for telling the designer what to do. Each uses different criteria for judging success.

Had Jane been able to answer the question: Craft, Art or Design?, she may have managed the design process much better. She probably would not have hit this wall with the client. She could have come up with ideas to fix and overcome the problems.

Fluency and Empowerment

The fluent designer is able to think like a designer. The designer is more than a craftsperson and more than an artist. The designer must learn a specialized language, and specialized way of balancing the needs for appeal with the needs for functionality. The designer must intimately recognize and understand the roles design plays for individuals as well as the society as a whole. The designer must learn how art, architecture, physical mechanics, engineering, sociology, psychology, context, even party planning, all must come together and get expressed at the point where the design meets the boundary of the individual.

And to gain that fluency, the designer must commit to learning a lot of vocabulary, ideas and terms, and how these imply content and meaning through expression. The designer will need to be very aware of personal thoughts and thinking as these get reflected in all the choices made in design. The designer will have to be good at anticipating the understandings and judgements of many different audiences, including the user and all the user’s own clients.

With fluency comes empowerment. The empowered designer has a confidence that whatever needs to be done, or whatever must come next, the designer can get through it. Empowerment is about making and managing choices. These choices could be as simple as whether to finish a piece or project or not. Or whether to begin a second piece or project. The designer will make choices about how to draw someone’s attention to the work, or present the work to a larger audience. She or he may decide to submit the work to a magazine or contest. She or he may want to sell the work and market it. The designer will make choices about how the work might be used, or who use it, or when it might be used, in what context.
 
 
And for all these choices, the designer might need to overcome a sense of fear, doubt, boredom, or resistance. The designer might need to overcome anxiety, a sense of giving up, having designer’s block, feeling unchallenged, and even laziness.

This makes it critical for any designer, in order to flourish and succeed, to be able to answer these 5 essential questions, beginning with question 1.

Question 1: Should Design work be considered ART or CRAFT or DESIGN?

All designers, whether making jewelry, building buildings, creating interiors, putting together websites and digital marketing plans, confront a world which is unsure whether design is “craft” or “art” or its own special thing I’ll call “design”. This can get very confusing and unsettling. Each approach has its own separate ideas about how the designer should work, and how he or she should be judged.

CRAFT: When defined as “craft,” design is seen as something that anyone can do — no special powers are needed to be a designer. Design is seen as a step-by-step process, almost like paint-by-number. Designers color within the lines. The craft piece or project has functional value but limited aesthetic value.

If following the Craft Approach, the designer would learn a lot of techniques and applications in a step-by-step fashion. The designer, based on their professional socialization into Craft, would assume that:

a) The outlines and the goals of any piece or project can be specified in a clear, defined way.
 b) Anyone can do these techniques.
 c) There is no specialized knowledge that a designer needs to know beyond how to do these step-by-step techniques and applications.
 d) If a particular designer has a strong sense of design, this is something innate and cannot be learned or taught.
 e) There is little need to vary or adapt these techniques and applications.
 f) The primary goal is functionality.
 g) There are no consequences if you have followed the steps correctly.

As “craft”, we still recognize the interplay of the artist’s hand with the piece and the storytelling underlying it. We honor the technical prowess. People love to bring art into their personal worlds, and the craftsperson offers them functional objects which have some artistic sensibilities.

ART: When defined as “art”, design is seen as something which transcends itself and its design. It is not something that anyone can do without special insights and training. The goal of any project would be harmony with a little variety, and some satisfaction and approval.
 
 “Design as art”
evokes an emotional response. Functionality should play no role at all, or, if an object has some functional purpose, then its functional reason-for-being should merely be supplemental to the art. For example, the strap on a necklace is comparable to the frame around a painting, or the pedestal for a sculpture. They supplement the art. The borders, and perhaps the footer and side navigation bars, on a website home page would also be understood as supplemental to the design. As supplemental components, these would not be included with nor judged as part of the design work. In an extreme example, from the art perspective, the beauty, balance and harmony of a website’s appearance should be unencumbered by any considerations of user experience and navigatability.

If following the Art Tradition, the designer would learn a lot of art theories and rules about the manipulation of design elements, such as color, movement, perspective, within the piece or project. Then, the designer would keep rehearsing these until their application becomes very intuitive. The designer, based on their professional socialization into Art, would assume that:

a) Whether the piece or project outlines are clear from the beginning, or emergent or process-like, what is most important is that art theories and rules be applied at each little increment along the way.
 b) The designer as artist must learn some specialized knowledge — art theories and rules — in order to be successful.
 c) The outcomes — either pieces or projects — would be judged on visual and art criteria alone, as if they were paintings and sculptures on display.
 d) While everyone has within them the creative abilities to design as an artist, for most people, this must be learned.
 e) The primary goals are beauty and appeal. Beauty and appeal are typically judged in terms of harmony and variety.
 f) If you have not applied the theories and rules optimally, the piece or project would be judged as incomplete and unsuccessful.

What is nice about the Art Tradition, is that the goal is Beauty. Beauty is achieved through smart choices and decisions. The designer as artist 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 or elements she or he uses — only their beauty. The designer does not have to compromise Beauty for Functionality.

DESIGN: When defined as “design”, you begin to focus more on construction and functionality issues. You often find yourself making tradeoffs between appeal and functionality. You incorporate situational relevance into your designs. You anticipate what the client (and the various audiences of the client) understands as something which is finished and successful. You see “choice” as more multidimensional and contingent. You define success only in reference to the design as it is worn, placed, constructed or used.

If following the Art and Design Perspective, the designer would have to learn a lot of things. These would include things in art, architecture, engineering, social science, psychology, behavioral science, and anthropology. The designer would develop those professional skills and insights, what we might call disciplinary literacy, so that she or he could bring a lot of disparate ideas and applications to the fore, depending on what the situation warranted.

The designer, based on their professional socialization into Art and Design, would assume that:

a) Whether the piece or project outlines are clear or emergent, what is most important is the ability to bring a wide range of design principles and applications to the situation.

b) The designer must learn a lot of specialized knowledge, some related to art, and some related to several other disciplines, such as architecture and social science.

c) The outcomes — either pieces or projects — must find the best fit between considerations about appeal with concerns about functionality. Functionality is not an add-on. It is an equal, competing partner with beauty and appeal.

d) The designer does not design in a vacuum. She or he must anticipate the shared understandings among self, client and the various audiences of the client about what might be seen as finished and successful. These anticipations must be incorporated into the design process and how it is managed.

e) Anyone can learn to be a designer, but fluency and literacy in the profession involves development of skills and insights over a period of time.

f) The primary goal is to find the best fit between appeal and functionality.

g) The consequences for not finding that best fit is some level of client dissatisfaction.

The Art and Design Perspective is very relevant for the education and training of designers. Here, the designer is seen as a multi-functional professional. The designer must bring a lot of very different kinds of skills and abilities to bear, when constructing a piece or developing a project. The professional has to be able to manage artistic design, functionality, and the interaction of the piece or project with the client as well as that client’s environment. This approach also believes that “Design” should be appreciated as its own discipline — not a subset of sculpture or painting. And that a piece or project as designed can only be understood as these are placed in use.

How you define your work as ART or CRAFT or DESIGN (or some mix) will determine what skills you learn, how you apply them, and how you introduce your pieces to a wider audience. The Craft Approach ignores the need to learn a specialized knowledge and approach. The Art Tradition focuses solely on the artistic merits of the project, and assumes the client will have more passive relationship to it, as if the client were standing in front of the project in a museum. The Art and Design Perspective focuses on how to anticipate shared understandings and incorporate these into how best to make tradeoffs between appeal and functionality.

So, returning to the situation with Jane, she had not yet become fluent in design thinking. She tried to apply art theory to balance the colors in the logo, and that’s not what the client wanted. She had applied the techniques she knew, but did not arrive at an acceptable place. She became stumped about the next steps she needed to take after the client expressed reservations. She was unable to delineate a learning plan for herself so that she could make the web-page responsive. She researched key words without putting them to some kind of reality test with the client.

Many people begin to explore design as a hobby, avocation, business or career. This requires, not only strong creativity skills, but also persistence and perseverance. A lot of the success in this pursuit comes down to an ability to make and follow through on many artistic and design decisions within a particular context or situation. Developing this ability — a fluency, flexibility and originality in design — means that the designer has to become empowered to answer these 5 essential questions: (1) whether creating something is a craft, an art or design, (2) how they think creatively, (3) how they leverage the strengths of various materials and techniques, and minimize weaknesses, (4) how the choices they make in any one design evoke emotions and resonate, and (5) how they know their piece is finished and successful.

Design is more than the application of a set of techniques. It is a mind-set. This fluency and empowerment enable the designer to think and speak like a designer. With fluency comes empowerment, confidence and success.

Continue reading about the Second Essential Question every designer should be able to answer: What Should I Create?

The 5 Essential Questions:
 1. Is What I Am Doing Craft, Art or Design?
2. What Should I Create?
 3. What Materials (And Techniques) Work The Best?
 4. How Do I Evoke A Resonant Response To My Work?
5. How Do I Know My Piece Is Finished?

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?

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

Part 2: SHARED UNDERSTANDINGS: THE CONVERSATION CENTERED WITHIN A DESIGN What Does The Designer Need To Know?

Part 3: SHARED UNDERSTANDINGS: THE CONVERSATION CENTERED WITHIN A DESIGN How Assumptions, Perceptions, Expectations and Values Come Into Play?

Part 4: SHARED UNDERSTANDINGS: THE CONVERSATION CENTERED WITHIN A DESIGN How Does The Designer Establish Shared Understandings?

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.

Add your name to my email list.

______________________________

FOOTNOTES

Feld, Warren. Jewelry Design: A Managed Process. (2020)

Feld, Warren. Teaching Disciplinary Literacy. (2020)

Feld, Warren. Backward-Design Is Forward Thinking. (2020

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PART 5: THE FIFTH ESSENTIAL QUESTION EVERY DESIGNER   SHOULD BE ABLE TO ANSWER:   How Do I Know…

Posted by learntobead on August 16, 2020

PRACTICE-BY-DESIGN SERIES

Image by Feld, 2020

In order to make better artistic and design choices, the Fluent and Empowered Designer should have answers to 5 essential questions. In this article, I present the fifth and last essential question: How Do I Know When My Design Is Finished?

I taught a bead weaving workshop where my students followed a basic pattern to make an amulet bag. When they finished the bag itself, they were then given free rein on making a strap and adding fringe.

And they went to town. They added some fringe. Then some more fringe. Then some longer fringe. And fringe with more beads on it. And bigger beads. And some tiny charms. And some more fringe.

Yes, it’s fun to create fringes. But the star of the piece should have been the design of the amulet bag itself. Not the fringe. The fringe detracted. It competed. It made the piece feel very overdone. Not particularly artistic, or designed well.

My students needed to think about editing. As they continued to build each component of the amulet bag and its fringe, they should have repeatedly asked themselves would the addition of one more thing make the project more or less satisfying. Designers should be able to answer these 5 essential questions, especially question 5: How Do I Know When My Design Is Finished?

QUESTION #5: When is enough enough? How does the designer know when the piece is done? Overdone? Or underdone? How do you edit?

It is the challenge for the designer not to make the piece or project under-done or over-done. Each and every material and component part should be integral to the work as a whole. Things should not get too busy, or not busy enough. Things should not be too repetitive. The work should feel, not merely coordinated and balanced, but coherent, as well. The work should not convey a sense that you are not quite there yet.

For every design, there will be that point of parsimony when enough is enough. We want to find that point where experiencing the “whole” is more satisfying than experiencing any of the parts. That point of parsimony is where, if we added (or subtracted) one more thing, we would detract from the whole of our design. The design would be less satisfying. Less resonant.

Finding that point of parsimony is also related to anticipating how and when others will judge the piece as finished and successful. And what to do about it when judged unfinished or unsuccessful.

Parsimony vs. Unity/Variety

In art, the traditional measure of completion and success is a feeling or sense of “Unity.” Unity signifies how everything feels all right. All the Design Elements used, and how they were coordinated and placed, are very coordinated, matching, clear, balanced, harmonious and satisfying. I think the idea of unity begins to get at the place we want to end up. But this concept is not concrete enough for me as a designer.

What bothers me the most is that you can have unity, but the piece still be seen as boring when there is no variety. Criteria provided from the art perspective recognize this. But somehow tempering unity with variety starts to add some ambiguity to our measurements of finish and success. Our work too easily can be judged as lacking coherence. This ambiguity is unacceptable as a principled outcome of construction and design.

Another concern I have, is that you can have unity with variety, but, from the art perspective, these assessments rely too much on universal, objective expectations about design elements and their attributes (for example, the use of color schemes).

A lot of client reactions to our work and a lot of our own design decisions can be very subjective. They can be very culture- and context-related. And sometimes, we intentionally want to violate these universal, objective expectations. We want to give a little edge to our work, or a splash of color, or a shout-out. We may find we have limited material resources, or all the colors / patterns / textures which ideally should be used are unavailable to us. We may want to personalize things so people recognize who the designer is behind the design.

Resonance is not about picking the correct color scheme (or any other design element). It is more about how that color scheme (or design element) is used, manipulated, leveraged or violated within the piece. We must not leave the artist, the user, and the situation out of the equation. We must not minimize the artist’s hand — the artist’s intent, thinking, strategizing, arranging, pushing the boundaries, even violating the universal, objective rules.

Design and the act of creation usually demand a series of judgment calls and tradeoffs. Tradeoffs between aesthetics and functionality. Tradeoffs between artist goals and audience understandings and expectations. Tradeoffs between a full palette of colors-shapes-textures and a very limited one.

Any measure of completeness and success needs to result from the forced choice decisions of the artist. It needs to account for the significance of the results, not just the organization of them. It needs to explain the Why, not just the What.

For me, the Art criteria are insufficient when applied to design. The more appropriate concept here is Parsimony. Parsimony is when you know enough is enough. When the finished and successful piece is parsimonious, the relationship of all the Design Elements and their expressed attributes, as understood by designer and client alike, will be so strong, that to add or remove any one thing would diminish, not just the design, but rather the significance of the design.
 
 Parsimony is sometimes referred to in art and design as Economy, but the idea of economy in art is reserved for the visual effects. Design not only pays homage to the visual, but to the functional, socio-cultural-psychological and situational, as well. The designer needs to be able to decide when enough is enough with all these multi-dimensional cues.

The Traps of Over-Doneness and Under-Doneness

Among designers, you will find a lot of over-doers and under-doers.

· There is a tendency of designers to over-do:
 — over-embellish the surface
 — add too much fringe
 — repeat themes and design elements too often
 — use too many colors

· Or a fear or self-doubt causing designers to under-do:

– not sure if someone will like it

– hesitant to push forward too far, for fear of a negative reaction

– uncertain if they can learn a new technique

– feeling choosing alternative colors, materials or techniques by be too risky

With over-doneness comes a naivete. The designer shuts him- or herself off from what should be that inner designer voice warning about parsimony. It stunts your development as a designer. You begin to allow yourself to overlook important factors about materials and techniques to the detriment of your final products. You close yourself off to doubt and self-doubt, which is unfortunate. Doubt and self-doubt are tools for asking questions and questioning things. These help you grow and develop as an artist and designer. These influence your ability to make good, professional choices.

On the other extreme is under-doneness. Often this results from a lack of confidence in our design abilities, including the ability to introduce our work publicly. We question our lack of ability and technical prowess for accomplishing the necessary tasks at hand. We fear we cannot work things out when confronted with unfamiliar or problematic situations. Here, doubt and self-doubt become excuses for less than satisfying results, rather than tools for improvement. Doubt and self-doubt become self-imposed, but unnecessary, barriers we impose to prevent us from thinking like a designer, and experiencing the full excitement of design.

Designers need to build within themselves that key sense of parsimony. Keep things simple and parsimonious. Edit your ideas. You do not want to over-do or under-do your pieces. You do not have to include everything in one piece or project. You can do several pieces or projects. Showing restraint allows for better communication with your audiences. Each work you make should not look like you are frantically trying to prove yourself. These should look like you have given a lot of thought about how others should emotionally engage with your piece.

Many people begin to explore design as a hobby, avocation, business or career. This requires, not only strong creativity skills, but also persistence and perseverance. A lot of the success in this pursuit comes down to an ability to make and follow through on many artistic and design decisions within a particular context or situation. Developing this ability — a fluency, flexibility and originality in design — means that the designer has to become empowered to answer these 5 essential questions: (1) whether creating something is a craft, an art or design, (2) how they think creatively, (3) how they leverage the strengths of various materials and techniques, and minimize weaknesses, (4) how the choices they make in any one design evoke emotions and resonate, and (5) how they know their piece is finished and successful.

Design is more than the application of a set of techniques. It is a mind-set. This fluency and empowerment enable the designer to think and speak like a designer. With fluency comes empowerment, confidence and success.

The 5 Essential Questions:
1. Is What I Am Doing Craft, Art or Design?
2. What Should I Create?
3. What Materials (And Techniques) Work The Best?
4. How Do I Evoke A Resonant Response To My Work?
5. How Do I Know My Piece Is Finished?

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?

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

Part 2: SHARED UNDERSTANDINGS: THE CONVERSATION CENTERED WITHIN A DESIGN What Does The Designer Need To Know?

Part 3: SHARED UNDERSTANDINGS: THE CONVERSATION CENTERED WITHIN A DESIGN How Assumptions, Perceptions, Expectations and Values Come Into Play?

Part 4: SHARED UNDERSTANDINGS: THE CONVERSATION CENTERED WITHIN A DESIGN How Does The Designer Establish Shared Understandings?

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. Check our my video tutorials on DOING CRAFT SHOWS and on PRICING AND SELLING YOUR JEWELRY.

Add your name to my email list.

_______________________________

FOOTNOTES

Feld, Warren. The Goal Oriented Designer: The Path To Resonance. Art Jewelry 
 Forum, 2018.

Feld, Warren. “Jewelry Design: A Managed Process,” Klimt02, 2/2/18. https://klimt02.net/forum/articles/jewelry-design-managed-process-warren-feld

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PART 4:THE FOURTH ESSENTIAL QUESTION EVERY DESIGNER   SHOULD BE ABLE TO ANSWER:   How Do I Evoke A…

Posted by learntobead on August 16, 2020

PRACTICE-BY-DESIGN SERIES

Image by Feld, 2020

In order to make better artistic and design choices, the Fluent and Empowered Designer should have answers to 5 essential questions. In this article, I present the fourth essential question: How Do I Evoke A Resonant Response To My Work?

Jason seemed to never be able to get past “That’s nice.” His clients always said, “That’s nice,” and that was about it.

His colors were balanced and harmonious. They fit rules about color schemes and color proportions. His placement of shapes and sizes were always pleasing to the eye. The little bit of math he had to do always checked out. His clients liked him.

They had approved the initial sketches. Their comments were positive. They never complained about his approach. But they were never satisfied enough for Jason to make that final sale.

Even though the feedback always seemed positive, he rarely had repeat business.

He was perplexed, and felt a little defeated.

What was it about his work that somehow fell short?

Jason was stuck with the impression that if someone said they liked something, that this would translate into them doing something more, like buying it. All designers need a firm and comprehensive understanding about the differences among like, need, want, demand, and parting with some money for it. Another way to put this is that designers need to recognize the differences between an emotional response and a resonant one. Designers should be able to answer these 5 essential questions, especially question 4: How Do I Evoke A Resonant Response To My Work?

Question 4: Beyond applying basic techniques and selecting quality materials, how do I evoke a resonant response to my work?

An artistic and well-designed piece or project should evoke, at the least, an emotional response. In fact, preferably, it should go beyond this a bit, and have what we call “resonance”. The difference between an emotional response and resonance is reflected in the difference between someone saying, “That’s beautiful,” from saying “I need to wear that piece,” or, “I need to buy that piece,” or, “I need to implement that project.” 
 
 Quite simply: If no resonant response is evoked, then the piece or project has some remaining issues including the possibility that it is poorly designed. Evoking a resonant response takes the successful selection and arrangement of materials or objects, the successful application of techniques as well as the successful management of skills, insights, and anticipating the client’s needs and understandings.
 
 
Every designer should have but one guiding star — Resonance. If our piece or project does not have some degree of resonance, we keep working on it. If the process of creative exploration and design does not lead us in the direction of resonance, we change it. If the results we achieve — numbers of pieces made and numbers of pieces sold — is not synced tightly with resonance, we cannot call ourselves designers.

The Proficient Designer specifies those goals about performance which will lead to one primary outcome: To Evoke Resonance. Everything else is secondary.

Materials, techniques and technologies are selected with resonance in mind. Design elements are selected and applied with that idea of Resonance in mind. Principles of Composition, Construction and Manipulation are applied with that idea of Resonance in mind, with extra special attention paid to the Principle of Parsimony — knowing when enough is enough.

People may approach the performance tasks in varied ways. For some this means getting very detailed on pathways, activities, and objectives. For others, they let the process of design emerge and see where it takes them. Whatever approach they take in their creative process, for all designers, a focus on one outcome — Resonance — frees them up to think through design without encumbrance. It allows them to express meaning. It allows them to convey expressions in meaningful ways to others.

This singular focus on resonance becomes a framework within which to question everything and try to make sense of everything. Make sense of what the materials and techniques can allow them to do, and what they cannot. Make sense of what understandings other people — clients, sellers, buyers, students, colleagues, teachers — will bring to the situation, when exploring and evaluating their work. Make sense of why some things inspire you, and other things do not. Make sense of why you are a designer. Make sense of the fluency of your artistic expression, what works, how it works, why it works.

We achieve Resonance by gaining a comfort and ease in communicating about design. This comfort and ease, or what we can call disciplinary fluency, has to do with how we translate our inspirations and aspirations into all our compositional, constructive and manipulative choices. It is empowering. Our pieces resonate. We achieve success.

Resonance, communication, success, fluency — these are all words that stand in place for an intimacy between the designer and the materials, the designer and the techniques, the designer and inspiration. They reflect the designer’s aspirations. They reflect the shared understandings of everyone the designer’s piece or project is expected to touch. They reflect the designer’s managerial prowess in bringing all these things together.

Evoking An Emotional Response vs. A Resonant One

What is the evidence we need to know for determining when a piece or project is finished and successful? What clear and appropriate criteria hone in at what we should look at? What clues has the designer provided to let the various audiences become aware of the authenticity of the performance?

There are different opinions in craft, art and design about what are the most revealing and important aspects of the work, and which every authentic jewelry design performance must meet.

The traditional criteria used in the art world are that the designer should achieve unity with some variety and evoke emotions. These, I feel, may work well when applied to paintings or sculpture, but they are insufficient measures of success when applied to design. Design involves the creation of objects or projects where both artistic appeal as well as practical considerations of use are essential. Unity and variety can feel harmonious and balanced, but yet boring, monotonous and unexciting. Art, in contrast to Design, can be judged apart from its use and functionality. The response to Art can show some positive emotion without the client having to show any strong commitment. Design doesn’t share that luxury.

Finished and successful designed objects or projects not only must evoke emotions, but, must resonate with the user (and user’s various audiences), as well.

Achieving Resonance is the guiding star for designers, at each step of the way.

Resonance is some level of felt energy which extends a little beyond an emotional response. The difference between emotion and resonance can, for example, be like the differences between saying that piece or project is “Beautiful” vs. saying that piece or project “Makes me want to wear it”. Or that “I want to touch it.” Or “My friends need to see this.” Or “I need to implement this at once.”

Resonance is something more than emotion. It is some kind of additional energy we see, feel and otherwise experience. Emotion is very reactive. Resonance is intuitive, involving, identifying. Emotion is very sympathetic. Resonance is more of an empathetic response where artist and audience realize a shared (or contradictory) understanding without losing sight of whose views and feelings belong to whom.

Resonance results from how the artist controls light, shadow, and their characteristics of warmth and cold, receding and approaching, bright and dull, light and dark. Resonance results from how the artist leverages the strengths of materials, objects and techniques and minimizes their weaknesses. Resonance results from social, cultural and situational cues. Resonance results from how the artist takes us to the edge of universal, objective understandings, and pushes us ever so slightly, but not too, too far, beyond that edge.

Many people begin to explore design as a hobby, avocation, business or career. This requires, not only strong creativity skills, but also persistence and perseverance. A lot of the success in this pursuit comes down to an ability to make and follow through on many artistic and design decisions within a particular context or situation. Developing this ability — a fluency, flexibility and originality in design — means that the designer has to become empowered to answer these 5 essential questions: (1) whether creating something is a craft, an art or design, (2) how they think creatively, (3) how they leverage the strengths of various materials and techniques, and minimize weaknesses, (4) how the choices they make in any one design evoke emotions and resonate, and (5) how they know their piece is finished and successful.

Design is more than the application of a set of techniques. It is a mind-set. This fluency and empowerment enable the designer to think and speak like a designer. With fluency comes empowerment, confidence and success.

Continue reading about the Fifth Essential Question every designer should be able to answer: How Do I Know My Piece Is Finished?

The 5 Essential Questions:
1. Is What I Am Doing Craft, Art or Design?
2. What Should I Create?
3. What Materials (And Techniques) Work The Best?
4. How Do I Evoke A Resonant Response To My Work?
5. How Do I Know My Piece Is Finished?

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?

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

Part 2: SHARED UNDERSTANDINGS: THE CONVERSATION CENTERED WITHIN A DESIGN What Does The Designer Need To Know?

Part 3: SHARED UNDERSTANDINGS: THE CONVERSATION CENTERED WITHIN A DESIGN How Assumptions, Perceptions, Expectations and Values Come Into Play?

Part 4: SHARED UNDERSTANDINGS: THE CONVERSATION CENTERED WITHIN A DESIGN How Does The Designer Establish Shared Understandings?

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. Check our my video tutorials on DOING CRAFT SHOWS and on PRICING AND SELLING YOUR JEWELRY.

Add your name to my email list.

____________________________________

FOOTNOTES

Feld, Warren. The Goal Oriented Designer: The Path To Resonance. Art Jewelry Forum, 2018.

Feld, Warren. “Jewelry Design: A Managed Process,” Klimt02, 2/2/18.

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PART 3: THE THIRD ESSENTIAL QUESTION EVERY DESIGNER   SHOULD BE ABLE TO ANSWER: What Materials…

Posted by learntobead on August 16, 2020

PRACTICE-BY-DESIGN SERIES

Image by Feld, 2020

In order to make better artistic and design choices, the Fluent and Empowered Designer should have answers to 5 essential questions. In this article, I present the third essential question: What Materials (and/or Techniques) Work The Best?

Ferity was determined to make a Kumihimo bracelet. Kumihimo is a braiding technique. You make a braid and attach a clasp. Ferity thought it would be cool to incorporate some beads in her braid. So she strung up a lot of beads on various cords, and braided them. She glued on end caps on either side, and attached a clasp.

But she wasn’t liking her piece. She couldn’t figure out why. All the different colors, widths and materials of the cords she used were very upscale and attractive. She used a mix of crystal, gemstone and hand-made beads in the project — all very expensive and all very attractive.

But braided all together was somewhat unsatisfying. She didn’t think she would wear it very often. She didn’t think she could sell it. And she couldn’t figure out why.

A successful design has character and some kind of evocative essence. The choice of materials often sets the tone. And a choice of techniques cements that tone in place. Techniques link the designer’s intent with the client’s expectations. The successful designer has a depth of knowledge about materials, their attributes, their strengths, their weaknesses, and is able to leverage the good and minimize the bad within any design. The same can be said of techniques.

For some designs, the incorporation of mixed media or mixed techniques can have a synergistic effect — increasing (or decreasing) the appeal and/or functionality of the piece or project better than any one media or technique alone. It can feel more playful and experimental and fun to mix media or techniques. But there may be adverse effects, as well. Each media or technique will have its own structural and support requirements. Each will enable the control of light and shadow, space and mass, dimension and movement in different ways. Each will react differently to various physical forces impacting the piece when worn or the project when used. So it becomes difficult for the designer to successfully utilize any one medium or technique, as well as much more difficult to coordinate and integrate more than one media or technique.

Ferity had little understanding about the materials and their combined use within a Kumihimo technique. All designers need a firm and comprehensive understanding about selecting materials and techniques, and should be able to answer these 5 essential questions, now with question 3: What Materials (and/or Techniques) Work The Best?

QUESTION 3: What kinds of MATERIALS work well together, and which ones do not? This applies to TECHNIQUES as well. What kinds of TECHNIQUES (or combinations of techniques) work well when, and which ones do not?

The choice of materials and the choice of techniques set the tone and chances of success for your piece. Materials and techniques establish the character and personality of your designs. They contribute to understandings whether the piece is finished and successful.

However, there are no perfect materials (or techniques) for every project. Selecting materials (or techniques) is about making smart, strategic choices. This means relating your choices to your design and marketing goals. It also frequently means having to make tradeoffs and judgment calls between aesthetics and functionality. Last, materials may have different relationships with the designer, wearer or viewer depending on how they are intended to be used, and the situational or cultural contexts.

There are many implications of choice. There are light/shadow issues, pattern, texture, rhythm, dimensionality, proportions, placement and color issues. There are mechanics, shapes, forms, durability, drape, flow and movement issues. There are positive and negative space issues. There are user experience issues.

It is important to know what happens to all these materials (or applications of techniques) over time. It is important to know how each material (or technique) enhances or impedes architectural requirements, such as allowing an object to move and drape, or assisting the object in maintaining a shape or allowing a project to adapt to its audience and environment, or utilizing an object to direct navigation or viewing.

Each material or technique has strengths and weaknesses, pros and cons, and contingencies affecting their utilization. The designer needs to be able to leverage the strengths and minimize the weaknesses.

All of these choices:
 
… affect the look
 … affect the movement
 … affect the feel
 … affect the durability
 … affect both the designer’s and user’s responses
 … relate to the context

Many people begin to explore design as a hobby, avocation, business or career. This requires, not only strong creativity skills, but also persistence and perseverance. A lot of the success in this pursuit comes down to an ability to make and follow through on many artistic and design decisions within a particular context or situation. Developing this ability — a fluency, flexibility and originality in design — means that the designer has to become empowered to answer these 5 essential questions: (1) whether creating something is a craft, an art or design, (2) how they think creatively, (3) how they leverage the strengths of various materials and techniques, and minimize weaknesses, (4) how the choices they make in any one design evoke emotions and resonate, and (5) how they know their piece is finished and successful.

Design is more than the application of a set of techniques. It is a mind-set. This fluency and empowerment enable the designer to think and speak like a designer. With fluency comes empowerment, confidence and success.

Continue reading about the Fourth Essential Question every designer should be able to answer: How Do I Evoke A Resonant Response To My Work?

The 5 Essential Questions:
1. Is What I Am Doing Craft, Art or Design?
2. What Should I Create?
3. What Materials (And Techniques) Work The Best?
4. How Do I Evoke A Resonant Response To My Work?
5. How Do I Know My Piece Is Finished?

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?

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

Part 2: SHARED UNDERSTANDINGS: THE CONVERSATION CENTERED WITHIN A DESIGN What Does The Designer Need To Know?

Part 3: SHARED UNDERSTANDINGS: THE CONVERSATION CENTERED WITHIN A DESIGN How Assumptions, Perceptions, Expectations and Values Come Into Play?

Part 4: SHARED UNDERSTANDINGS: THE CONVERSATION CENTERED WITHIN A DESIGN How Does The Designer Establish Shared Understandings?

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. Check our my video tutorials on DOING CRAFT SHOWS and on PRICING AND SELLING YOUR JEWELRY.

Add your name to my email list.

______________________________

FOOTNOTES

Feld, Warren. Materials: Knowing What To Know. Art Jewelry Forum, 2020.

Feld, Warren. Techniques and Technology: Knowing What To Do. Art 
 Jewelry Forum, 2020.

WASTIELS, Lisa and WOUTERS, Ina. Material Considerations in Architectural 
 Design: A Study of the Aspects Identified by Architects for Selecting Materials. July, 2008. As referenced in:
 http://shura.shu.ac.uk/511/1/fulltext.pdf

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

PART 2: THE SECOND ESSENTIAL QUESTION EVERY DESIGNER  SHOULD BE ABLE TO ANSWER:  What Should I…

Posted by learntobead on August 16, 2020

PRACTICE-BY-DESIGN SERIES

Image by Feld, 2020

In order to make better artistic and design choices, the Fluent and Empowered Designer should have answers to 5 essential questions. In this article, I present the second essential question: What Should I Create?

Selma got by very well in life by asking her teachers, and in subsequent years, her bosses, what she should do. She followed their instructions to the letter, and was particularly good at coloring within all the lines. Everyone was always pleased with her work. So pleased, in fact, that her current boss promoted her into a designer position.

In her new position, she was to work with construction, architectural and interior design firms. She was to assist them and guide them into choosing textiles with which to incorporate into their interior and exterior building plans.

When she met with various clients, she started byasking them to tell her what they wanted. But no one could really articulate much more than general ideas about colors. For Selma, this was disconcerting. She thought she could do a great job, but needed more information and direction. These were never forthcoming.

At the core of Creativity is the ability to generate options, and then narrown them down. Creativity is not innate; it is developed. Creativity is a muscle requiring attention and practice. This is something Selma never really worked on.

This was critical for Selmer, as well as any other designer, in order to flourish and succeed, to be able to answer these 5 essential questions, now with question 2.

QUESTION 2: How do you decide what you want to create? What kinds of things do you do to translate your passions and inspirations into design?

Applying yourself creatively can be fun at times, but scary at other times. It is work. You are creating something out of nothing. There is an element of risk. You might not like what you end up doing. Your friends might not like it. Nor your family. You might not finish it. Or you might do it wrong. It may seem easier to go with someone else’s project.

Applying creativity means developing abilities to generate options and alternatives, and narrowing these down to specific choices. It means developing an ease and comfort generating fix-it strategies when approaching unknown situations or problematic ones. It means figuring out how to translate inspiration into design in a way that inspires others and taps into their desires. It means differentiating yourself from other designers as a measure of your originality.
 

Creative people…

Set no boundaries and set no rules. They go with the flow. Don’t conform to expectations.
 
 Play.
They pretend they are kids again.
 
 Experiment.
They take the time to do a lot of What Ifs and Variations On A Theme and Trial and Error.
 
 Keep good records.
They make good notes and sketches of what seems to work, and what seems to not work.
 
 Evaluate.
They learn from their successes and mistakes.

As designers gain more and more creative experiences, they begin to assemble what I call a Designer’s Tool Box. In this virtual tool box are a set of thinking routines, strategies and fix-it strategies whichhave worked well in the past, are very workable in and of themselves, and are highly adaptive when used in unfamiliar situations. Every designer should develop their own Tool Box. This vastly contributes to adaptability and success in creative thinking and application.

Creativity

Creativity isn’t found, it is developed. Creativity is a phenomenon where both something new and, at the same time, somehow valuable is created. While some people come to creativity naturally, in fact, everyone can develop their creative ability.

Thinking creatively involves the integration and leveraging of three different kinds of ideas — insight and inspiration, establishing value, and implementing something.

We work through creative thinking through divergence (that is, generating many possibilities), and convergence (that is, reducing the number of these possibilities).

Kierkegaard — and I apologize for getting a little show-off-y with my reference — once described Creativity as “a passionate sense of the potential.” And I love this definition. Passion is very important. Passion and creativity can be summed up as some kind of intuitive sense made operational by bringing all your capabilities and wonderings and technical know-how to the fore. All your mechanical and imaginative abilities grow over time, as do your abilities for creative thinking and applications. Creativity isn’t inherently natural. It is something that is developed over time as you get more and more experience in design.

You sit down, and you ask, What should I create?

For most people, especially those getting started, the answer to this question is very basic. They look for patterns and instructions in magazines or how-to books or websites online. They let someone else make all the creative choices for them. The singular creative choice here is picking what you want to make. And, when you’re starting, this is OK.

As you grow as a designer, and feel more comfortable with materials and techniques, you can begin to make additional choices. You can choose your own colors. You can make simple adaptations, such as tweaking colors or placements or dimensions or proportions.

Eventually in your designer career, however, you will want to confront the Creativity issue head on. You will want to decide that pursuing your innermost designer, no matter what pathway this takes you along, is the next thing, and right thing, to do. That means you want your projects or objects to reflect your artistic hand. You want to develop a personal style. You want to come up with your own designs.

Sometimes creativity seems insurmountable, after finishing one project, to decide what to do next. Exercising your creative abilities can sometimes be a bear. But it’s important to keep pushing on. Challenging yourself. Developing yourself. Turning yourself into a designer. And pursuing opportunities to exercise your creative talents even more, as you enter the world of design.

Types of Creativity

Creativity has two primary components: (1) originality, and (2) functionality or value.

The idea of originality can be off-putting. It doesn’t have to be. The projects or objects, so creatively designed, do not have to be totally and completely new and original. The included design elements and arrangements do not have to be solely unique and never been done before.

Originality can be seen in making something stimulating, interesting or unusual. It can represent an incremental change which makes something better or more personal or a fresh perspective. It can be something that is a clever or unexpected rearrangement, or a great idea, insight, meaningful interpretation or emotion which shines through. It can include the design of new patterns and textures. It can accomplish connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and generate solutions. It can be a variation on a technique or how material gets used. It can be something which enhances the functionality or value of the piece.

Creativity in design marries that which is original to that which is functional, valued, useful, worthwhile, desired. These things are co-dependent, if any creative project is to be seen as successful.

For designers, creativity is not the sketch or computer aided drawing. It is not the inspiration. It is not the piece which never sees the light of day. Creativity requires implementation. And for designers, implementation is a very public enterprise.

How Do We Create?

It’s not what we create, but how we create!

The creative process involves managing the interplay of two types of thinking — Convergence and Divergence. Both are necessary for thinking creatively.

Divergent thinking is defined as the ability to generate or expand upon options and alternatives, no matter the goal, situation or context.

Convergent thinking is the opposite. This is defined as the ability to narrow down all these options and alternatives.

The fluent designer is able to comfortably weave back and forth between divergence and convergence, and know when piece or project is finished, and when the final choices will be judged as successful.

Brainstorming is a great example of how creative thinking is used. We ask ourselves What If…? How about…? Could we try this or that idea…? The primary exercise here is to think of all the possibilities, then whittle these down to a small set of solutions.

Many people begin to explore design as a hobby, avocation, business or career. This requires, not only strong creativity skills, but also persistence and perseverance. A lot of the success in this pursuit comes down to an ability to make and follow through on many artistic and design decisions within a particular context or situation. Developing this ability — a fluency, flexibility and originality in design — means that the designer has to become empowered to answer these 5 essential questions: (1) whether creating something is a craft, an art or design, (2) how they think creatively, (3) how they leverage the strengths of various materials and techniques, and minimize weaknesses, (4) how the choices they make in any one design evoke emotions and resonate, and (5) how they know their piece is finished and successful.

Design is more than the application of a set of techniques. It is a mind-set. This fluency and empowerment enable the designer to think and speak like a designer. With fluency comes empowerment, confidence and success.

Continue reading about the Third Essential Question every designer should be able to answer: What Materials (And Techniques) Work The Best?

The 5 Essential Questions:
1. Is What I Am Doing Craft, Art or Design?
2. What Should I Create?
3. What Materials (And Techniques) Work The Best?
4. How Do I Evoke A Resonant Response To My Work?
5. How Do I Know My Piece Is Finished?

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?

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

Part 2: SHARED UNDERSTANDINGS: THE CONVERSATION CENTERED WITHIN A DESIGN What Does The Designer Need To Know?

Part 3: SHARED UNDERSTANDINGS: THE CONVERSATION CENTERED WITHIN A DESIGN How Assumptions, Perceptions, Expectations and Values Come Into Play?

Part 4: SHARED UNDERSTANDINGS: THE CONVERSATION CENTERED WITHIN A DESIGN How Does The Designer Establish Shared Understandings?

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. Check our my video tutorials on DOING CRAFT SHOWS and on PRICING AND SELLING YOUR JEWELRY.

Add your name to my email list.

______________________________

FOOTNOTES

Besemer, S.P. and D.J. Treffinger. Analysis of Creative Products: Review and 
 Synthesis. Wiley Online Library, (1981).

Black, Robert Alan. Blog: http://www.cre8ng.com/blog/

Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention. Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (August 6, 2013)

Feld, Warren. Creativity: How Do You Get It? How Do You Enhance It? (2020)

Guilford, J.P. Creativity. American Psychologist, 5, 444–454, 1950.

Koestler, Arthur. The Act of Creation. Last Century Media (April 1, 2014).

Lucy Lamp. “Inspiration in Visual Art Where Do Artists Get Their Ideas. As 
 reference in: 
 https://www.sophia.org/tutorials/inspiration-in-visual-art-where-do-artists-get-the

Maital, Shlomo. “How IBM’s Executive School Fostered Creativity,” Global Crisis Blog, April 7, 2014. Summarizes Louis R. Mobley’s writings on creativity, 1956.

March, Anna Craft. Creativity in Education. Report prepared for the 
 Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, March, 2001.

Seltzer, Kimberly and Tom Bentley. The Creative Age: Knowledge and Skills for the New Economy. Demos, 1999.

Torrance, E. P. The Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking-Norms-Technical Manual Research Edition-Verbal Tests, Forms A and B-Figural Tests, Forms A and B. Princeton, NJ: Personnel Press, 1966.

Torrance, E. P. The Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking-Norms-Technical Manual Research Edition- Verbal Tests, Forms A and B- Figural Tests, Forms A and B. Princeton, NJ: Personnel Press, 1974.

Turak, August. “Can Creativity Be Taught,” Forbes, May 22, 2011.

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So You Want To Be A Jewelry Designer… Getting Started / Cultivating Your Practice

Posted by learntobead on April 20, 2020

“Crystal Excitement”, FELD, 2004

GETTING STARTED:
 CULTIVATING YOUR PRACTICE
 
Abstract:
What you do as an artist and designer may involve several different kinds of tasks. Your Practice, and how you define and live it depends on gaining some clarity in terms of (1) Having a definition of what success as a designer means to you, (2) Developing a production (and marketing) routine, (3) Creating a consistent and coherent body of work, (4) Being very organized, (5) If selling or exhibiting, taking a multi-venue approach, (6) Developing a Criticality where you are reflecting, evaluating, validating, legitimizing, being very metacognitive, (7) Self-Care and finding balance in your life

GETTING STARTED:
 CULTIVATING YOUR PRACTICE
 
Building that relevance into your work

What Is Your Practice?

What do you (or will you) say to people who ask you what you do for a living? When you say, “Jewelry Designer”, you probably get a “That’s nice” or “Oh, you make jewelry,” and perhaps a far-away look. Most people can’t imagine exactly what you do. Their images and experiences with jewelry and what it can look like, the materials available to use, the techniques applied are somewhat limited. Not everyone knows you can craft jewelry by hand, not just by machine.

It can be difficult to define jewelry design. What you do as an artist and designer may involve several different kinds of tasks. Your process may be conventional or unconventional. And it’s not just the “What do you do” aspect of the question, but the concurrently implied “Can you make a living at this” aspect of the question, as well. It’s almost as if they are about to say, “What do you really do?”

The response you want to come up with is your personal understanding and recognition about your passion for design, and all the things that drive this passion. Your excitement in telling your story will become infectious, and, while they still might not comprehend everything you do or the how and why you do it, they will certainly see that you are a jewelry designer, one who is intent on achieving some level of success within the profession.

Your Practice, and how you define and live and succeed in it depends on gaining some clarity in terms of1…,

(1) Having a definition of what success as a designer means to you

(2) Developing a production (and marketing) routine

(3) Creating a consistent and coherent body of work

(4) Being very organized

(5) If selling or exhibiting, taking a multi-venue approach

(6) Developing a Criticality where you are reflecting, evaluating, validating, legitimizing, being very metacognitive

(7) Self-Care and finding balance in your life

(1) Defining Success

Not every designer is going to define success in the same way. In fact, there will be dramatic differences. Some people may want to focus on applying their creative skills. They search for artistic excellence. Others may want to make money. They want monetary gain and, perhaps, financial stability. Still others may want to be a part of a social network of other creative types. They might want a support network, seek collaboration, or find recognition.

Some people want to do this full time, and others part time. Some want to earn enough money to pay for their habit; others want to make money to supplement their income; still others want to make enough money to be self-supporting.

Success is all about you. What do you want? How much effort and organization will it take to match your ambition and goals? How much time and money do you want to invest in your education and development? Are you aiming to be a crafter, an artist, or a designer?

Success depends on many factors. But key to all, and foremost, is that you brainstorm with yourself, be brutally honest, and list the goals you prefer and want to achieve. Prioritize these. More successful designers find some balance among creativity, business, and recognition. But your ambitions may be different, and just as legitimate in finding success.

Know that achieving any level or definition of success will take time and effort, often sacrifices. The jewelry designer should set expectations and work strategies accordingly.

(2) The Day-To-Day Routine

While everyone has their own process and their own flow, more successful designers establish some kind of work routine. They allocate a specific work space within which to create. They keep their inventory of parts and finished pieces very organized. And, key here, they set up a schedule for (a) researching ideas and inspirations, (b) working in a production mode, © presenting or marketing their work to others, (d) reflecting on their practice.

Periodically, evaluate your process. Are there things you can do to improve your efficiency or effectiveness? Can you better manage your productivity? Do you work better at a certain time of day, or day of the week? Have you programmed in breaks? Is there a comfortable balance between work time and break time? Would it be helpful to take the last 15 minutes of your day to set up for tomorrow?

Plot out your weekly schedule on a calendar or spreadsheet. Set some objectives about how many pieces you want to finish per week or per month. If interruptions, say from friends or family, get too annoying, make them aware of your schedule and ask them to help you protect your creative time and space.

It is important to note here that there is a fundamental tension between productivity and creativity. The former tries to put you in a box. The latter tries to keep you from getting stuck in a box. This can be frustrating.

Yet artists and designers, overall, who are able to provide some structure to their creative time tend to be more successful in their practice. These artists and designers set a routine and schedule for both making jewelry time as well as thinking about designing time. They also structure in time for introducing their ideas publicly as well as reflecting on the efficiency and effectiveness of everything they do — tangible and otherwise.

(3) Creating A Consistent and Coherent Body Of Work

Jewelry designers are free to create whatever they want. And usually, novices would be wise to try out a lot of different techniques, and use a lot of different materials, and create a lot of different designs. Think of this as play and experimentation. It’s how you learn to be a designer.

But as you develop more as a designer, it makes more sense to set some limits and begin to define a personal style, coherency and brand identity.

Your style reflects what you are passionate about. It may focus on a particular technique, material or design. Or it may focus on integrating and combining several things. But with all the things you do, there is some coherence to it. It becomes more associated and identified with you and you become more recognized with it. The consistency ties you to your work.

This doesn’t limit variation and creativity in your work. It primarily means that wearers and buyers and collectors of your jewelry can sense the artist’s hand, that is you, reflected by the pieces you create.

Coherency has several dimensions to it. The designer achieves a level of coherency in how the majority of these dimensions, not necessarily all dimensions, are reflected in any one piece. Thus, the designer still has a lot of room for variation in their work and style.

These dimensions of coherency about which designers are selective include,

– The choice of materials

– The choice of techniques

– How pieces are presented, displayed, organized, situated with other pieces

– How pieces and collections are named

– Packaging

– Color palettes

– The use of forms and themes

– Personalization, differentiation and originality

– The use of negative vs. positive space

– The use of point, line, plane and shape

– Arrangements, placements, distributions of design elements within the piece

– Control over light, shadow, bright, dull

– The marriage and resulting tradeoffs between aesthetics and functionality

– Silhouettes

– Quality in materials, quality in craftsmanship, quality in finish, quality in presentation

(4) Organization

Good organization involves

(a) Inventory (how you organize, track and replenish it)

(b) Work space (how you create productive areas for work, business and creative reflection)

© Bookkeeping and accounting (how you manage your finances)

(d) Business logistics, such as researching venues, getting to venues, tracking your pieces, shipping, marketing, web-presence and social media management (how you manage the other business aspects of what you do)

Good organization will help you avoid a lot of frustration and disarray. Learn to use spreadsheets and apps. These will save you a lot of time and minimize a lot of grief and worry. You’ll have more time to create, and need less time to keep things organized and up-to-date.

Think of and treat your inventory of materials, and all that it takes to achieve a satisfactory level of quality in your pieces, as investments, rather than costs. It gets more productive to reflect on What Is Your Return On Investment (ROI)?, rather than on What Does This Cost? This will go a long way in clarifying for you what is important, and what is less so, and how to prioritize things in the face of limits on time and other resources.

Your workspace might be a part of a room, it might be an entire room in your home, or even a complete studio space outside your home.

Divide your “work space” into three distinct areas: where you create, where you handle all the business things, and where you relax, think and reflect.

As you develop your work and related spaces, you should try to anticipate what it will take to scale each of these up, as you get more established as a jewelry designer. Are your spreadsheets and computer apps robust enough to grow with your developing career and business, as well?

(5) A Multi-Venue Approach
 Towards The Creative Marketplace

Successful jewelry designers are able to get the visibility and legitimacy they want and deserve. They know what to expect when exposing their work publicly within the creative marketplace.

They are good at communicating their ideas and their value, when approaching art and craft show vendors, stores and boutiques, galleries, and buyers and collectors, or applying for art grants or doing demonstrations. They are able to get articles written about them in blogs, newspapers, magazines and jewelry editorials. And, very importantly, they use a multi-venue approach (diversification) when introducing their jewelry into the marketplace. At a minimum, this multi-venue approach will include both an on-line strategy and a bricks-and-mortar strategy.

Legitimacy as an artist requires massive exposure, most often in diverse locations and venues. It is unusual for a single venue or location, whether you are looking for exhibitions or for sales, to be sufficient for a designer to become successful. You will need to have your jewelry pieces in many venues.

There are many online directories and other resources to help you find the wide variety of venues useful to the further development of your jewelry design career.

What To Expect When Exposing Your Work Publicly

No jewelry designer works in a vacuum, and no piece of jewelry is complete until it has been shared with an audience.

No wearer or purchaser of jewelry is going to see the piece as merely an object of adornment. They will interact with the piece in a much more intimate way, and very much so influenced by the jewelry creator and all the choices made in design.

Part of the jewelry designer’s development as a professional involves an ability to anticipate and understand how various audiences express desire and how various audiences judge a piece of jewelry to be finished and successful. Jewelry is here to amaze and intrigue. It is here to entice someone to wear it, purchase it, show it around. It is here to share the inspiration and prowess of the designer with those who see, feel, touch and inhabit it.

The more successful designer takes the time to explore how an audience is engaged with the piece. The designer learns insights in how any piece of jewelry evokes emotions and resonates with others. The designer is very sensitive to the experience people have at the point of purchase or gifting. Finish and presentation are very important. Acquiring jewelry is special and unique a process. Jewelry is not something we must have to meet some innate need; rather, it is something we desire because it stirs something in us.

Approaching Stores and Galleries

Although some jewelry designers may feel uneasy mixing art with business, for most it is a necessity. You do not have to sacrifice wonder for reality. Most designers sell their pieces, so recognizing the things about coordinating art with business become very important.

Typically small stores and boutiques, websites and online sales platforms, and galleries will sell your jewelry, either outright, or on consignment. Their goal is to turn a profit, and they are at greater risk than the artist. It is the venue that displays, promotes, prices, trains employees to talk about your jewelry to customers, and keeps the pieces clean. Available selling-space is always limited. When your jewelry takes up space in these venues, it is an opportunity cost to the business — they lose the opportunity to carry someone else’s work which might be more appropriate to the setting, or might sell better.

There are different types of stores, websites and galleries. Each satisfies a different market niche for jewelry. Each has a different level of understanding about what jewelry really is, and all the choices the jewelry designer has made to design and create each piece.

When approaching stores or galleries to display and sell your pieces, it is critical that the artist understand how these venues function, who their audiences are, and what the attendant risks to them are, should they decide to exhibit and/or sell your pieces.

The first step is to be your authentic, passionate self. Your jewelry will not speak for itself. So, in spite of any feelings of vulnerability you might have when approaching stores and galleries, you will need to talk about yourself and your jewelry. You do not want to feel “salesy” when speaking with business or gallery owners and representatives. You do not want to feel pushy. Or desperate. But you want them to get to Yes.

You speak to them on their terms. They want to know the real you. What excites you. The history behind the design choices you make. Your understanding of yourself as an artist, and your understanding of your virtual client, her desires, wants and motivations. How do you connect to your audience through your jewelry?

o Who are your best customers likely to be?
 o How would you describe them: demographics, shopping behaviors, wants and desires?
 o Why are they attracted to your work?
 o How and where do they find out about you and your work?
 o What is your Getting Started story?
 o How would you go about persuading someone to buy a piece of jewelry you made — what’s in it for them? How does it connect with them emotionally? How would it make their lives better?

Do some research ahead of time. The internet has a wealth of information you can pull up. Before you meet with them, get an understanding of the types of jewelry artists and their materials they carry in their venues. These venues are always on the lookout for new talent. They are most likely to say Yes to a jewelry designer whose style and materials fit in, but do not duplicate, what they already are showing.

Also research who their customer base is. They are most likely to say Yes to a jewelry designer whose audience either mirrors their existing customer base, or incrementally adds to and expands it at the margin. They most likely will not want to spend resources (and add risk) by going after a completely new and different customer base.

One more thing. You can either push your way in, or use pull to get in. For most of us, particularly when we are getting started, have only push at our disposal. We might cold call, or set up a formal interview, or initiate a conversation with someone at a gallery opening or art show.

But pull always works better. Here we leverage something or someone to get to the right place or person at the right time. An established designer or academic might set up an appointment for you with one of their contacts, for example.

Influencers

In today’s world, there is a manic competition for attention. Then, also, a frenetic effort to retain and manipulate that attention. Attention creates value. Often, it is difficult for the individual jewelry artist to get a leg up in this world without some significant help. Again, as mentioned above, if you can use pull, you’ll go farther, faster than if you have to rely on push.

Influencers are one of the backbones of internet culture and one way to use pull. Their business model centers on ways to shape everything we do in our lives from how we shop to how we learn to how we dress. Influencers are part micro-celebrity and part entrepreneur. They are opinion leaders and have been able to garner a large audience. They have proven themselves to be able to exploit how people distribute their time and attention.

Influencers typically work on a quid-pro-quo basis. In exchange for some products you give them, they promote them. Sometimes a fee may be involved. They take photos, they interact with audiences, they get your message out on different platforms, they sponsor content.

The Value of Collaboration

It can be so easy for any jewelry designer to get so wrapped up in creating things that they isolate themselves. But this is not the ideal situation.

At a minimum, it is very helpful, and very healthy, to have a support group. People you can talk to and talk things out with. People who can give you good feedback.

It is also very invigorating to collaborate on a project with someone else — A2A, that is, artist to artist. You can get an infusion of new ideas, sensibilities and strategies. You can get challenged. You become more self-aware of your own styles and preferences. You come up with new ideas about coordinating your own authentic, creative self with that of someone else.

Maintaining A Client Base

Much of any jewelry designer’s success comes down to maintaining a high level of visibility. Regularly keeping in touch with your client base is extremely important here.

Keep good documentation about who bought your pieces, when, why, for how much, and their address, email, phone numbers.

Maintain a web presence, either as a unique website, and/or a presence on social media platforms.

Create a mailing/emailing list, and use it frequently.

Have business cards handy at all times.

Do promotions to expand your mailing/emailing lists. Call to actions are very effective, such as offering a ‘discount coupon good for the next 7 days’. Or directing them to see your new pieces online by clicking a link.

Keep them up-to-date about where your pieces may be found, and what you are working on now.

(6) Criticality

Criticality is something you want to build into your Practice. It is not something to avoid or minimize.

Criticality is about making choices. It is about separating and confronting and going beyond your piece in order to build in that relevance jewelry needs as it gets exposed to the public.

Criticality helps you close the distance between the jewelry you create and the person it has been created for.

Criticality aids you in revealing the implications and consequences of all your choices. About materials. About techniques. About colors and patterns and textures and forms. Each form of jewelry requires endless and constant adjustments, and you should be very critically aware of what, why and how.

Criticality is necessary for you to continue to grow and develop as a professional jewelry designer.

Criticality is not a put-down of the artist. Rather it is a way of reflecting, evaluating and being very metacognitive of all the choices made in design and construction, and a lot of what-if envisioning and analysis of possible alternative choices. It is an exploratory thing. It adds understanding and comprehension.

Criticality assists in creating a dialog between artist and all the various audiences with whom the artist interacts. Towards that end, it is helpful to actively bring others into that criticality discussion, where we now have the prospects of many voices merging into a form. It can be difficult to be objective about your own work. And you may not be aware of how the quality of your work stacks up with others, and where it needs to be.

Legitimacy

Your legitimacy as a jewelry designer, your reputation, your visibility, your opportunities, to some degree, flow from this process of criticality. Legitimacy comes from both local and more general validation. Validation results from these processes of critical observation and analysis of your work and of how you conduct yourself within your practice.

Your various audiences that view your work critically, in turn, bring your work in contact with the external world. They look for a high level of coherence within the design and its execution. They describe it critically as to its qualifications for matching desire, establishing appeal, having personal or general value and meaning. For successful jewelry designers, this contagion continues, diffuses, and grows.

Legitimacy engenders a deeper level of confidence among artist, wearer and viewer. The relationships are stimulated, enriched, given more and more value. Jewelry is more than a simple object; it is a catalyst for interaction, for relationships, for engagement, for emotion. Legitimacy results in trust and validation.

With globalization and rapid technological changes, the jewelry designer is confronted with additional burdens, making the effort to achieve legitimacy ever more difficult. That is because these larger forces bring about more and more standardization of jewelry. They rapidly bring fashions and styles to the fore, only to scrap them, in the seemingly blink of an eye, for the next hot thing. They channel images of jewelry pieces around and around the world taking on a sameness, and lowering people’s expectations to what jewelry could be about.

If the products around the world are essentially the same, then the only thing the customer will care about is price. They won’t care who made it. They won’t care about quality.

Innovation begins to disappear. With its disappearance, the role of the jewelry designer diminishes. The jewelry designer becomes more a technician with no professional identity or concerns. The jewelry simply becomes the sum of its parts — the market value of the beads, metals and other components. There are few, if any, pathways to legitimacy.

That’s not what we want. And that makes it ever more important that jewelry designers see themselves as professionals, and develop their disciplinary literacy — fluency, flexibility and originality in design. Aspects of design which cannot be globalized. Or standardized. Or accomplished without the work, knowledge, skills, understandings and insights of a professional jewelry designer.

(7) Finding Balance — Self Care

Making jewelry and living a creative life can wear and tear on both your physical, as well as mental, health. It’s important that you have a plan of self-care and balance that you have thought about and structured ahead of time.

Take breaks. Play. Experiment. Take walks. Don’t isolate yourself. Develop a support system.

Exercise. Take good care of your hands, finger nails, wrists, arms, neck, back and eyes. If you need to read with glasses, then you need to make jewelry with glasses. There are lots of different tools specific to different situations — use them all. Elastic wrist bands, thumb-support gloves, elbow bands do great to preserve your fingers, wrists and elbows. There are lots of ergonomic tools and chairs and lighting. With a lot of metalsmithing and lampworking, you’ll need goggles, perhaps special lenses to filter out the glare of torch flames. Make these your friends.

There will be creative aspects to what you do, and administrative aspects to what you do. Find some balance between your right brain and your left brain.

Spend a lot of time feeding your creative well with ideas, inspirations, motivations and a deep appreciation for what artists do well.

Take some time to explore new materials, techniques and technologies.

There will be slow times and seasonal ups and downs. Plan ahead of time how you will occupy yourself during slow periods.

There will be times you will have designer’s block. You will be stuck, usually difficulty getting started, or if your piece is getting developed over a long period of time, some difficulty staying motivated. Develop strategies you can refer to on how to stay motivated, and on how to stop yourself from sabotaging your progress. It is important to know what you can and cannot control.

Train yourself with a mindset for rejection. Not everyone will like what you do. Not everyone will want to wear or buy the pieces you’ve invested your heart and soul in. That’s not your problem. It’s their problem. Don’t make it yours.

Get involved with your profession.

Finding A Job Which Utilizes Your Jewelry Making Experience

There are actually many career pathways for people who have backgrounds in jewelry making and bead working. Besides the obvious pathways of making jewelry to sell, or teaching jewelry making, there are still many job and career opportunities for you.

You may have to do a little more leg work, and a little more tree-shaking. Don’t assume, however, when the linear pathway is blocked, that all pathways are blocked. They are not.

Some types of jobs/careers which might use your talents….

There are a lot of private companies, nonprofit agencies, government agencies, and foundations and philanthropic agencies that work with disadvantaged groups, and need people to provide technical assistance to these groups. These groups might be inner city. They might be rural. They might be overseas.

Very often, projects these businesses and organizations work on have a craft-angle to them. They may need people to teach crafts, to teach people to transfer their craft skills into marketable skills, or to assist people in applying for loans to start up businesses, usually small loans and usually things associated with selling crafts.

Banks have found it profitable to make “micro-loans”. These loans are very small amounts, and usually given to women in developing countries, to help them leverage their skills — often craft skills — to make a business out of them. Banks need personnel to
 — develop loan forms, documentation and procedures
 — find opportunities for making these loans
 — working with people to teach them how to apply for these loans
 — working with people to teach them how to be more accountable with loan moneys
 — working with people to teach them how to translate their craft skills into marketable skills (called transfer of technology). Often this means helping them find resources to get materials, make choices about materials and what would be most cost-effective, and how to market their products
 — working with people to find markets for, and otherwise promote, their products
 — helping people form cooperatives so that they can buy materials more cheaply, and sell and market their products cooperatively

Government and International Agencies need people to….
 — determine where — what communities, what demographics — they can most likely leverage local talents to better people’s lives. Crafts, particularly beading, provide very useful talents around which to leverage
 — evaluate local technologies — and these include all craft technologies — in terms of readiness and/or capability for cost-effective technology transfer
 — do some community organizing to make local people aware of governmental assistance (or other assistance), and to help them complete applications for this assistance
 — evaluate these kinds of programs to determine success, and make recommendations about how to increase these successes
 — document craft technologies, particularly among native, tribal, or isolated groups that are in danger of becoming extinct
 — similarly, to create ways to preserve craft technologies which are in danger of becoming extinct, or which became extinct a long time ago, and which be restored. A good example is how South Korea restored the art of celadon pottery making, or China’s work at preserving Yixing Tea Pot making.

Military Agencies do similar things as governmental ones, except from a slightly different perspective. They want to know, in an anthropological sense, how people value different local technologies — including craft technologies –, and which ones can military and related civilian advisors assist the locals with, to improve their economy and security.

Philanthropic Foundations have many missions. One mission is to improve and secure the health, welfare, and social economy of particular areas or population groups. Crafts are one way of accomplishing this, particularly if working with disadvantaged populations or areas.

Crafts are things people do all the time, that are attractive as products (and services if you are teaching), improve the quality of life, and form the roots of good businesses — especially start-ups.

Another mission of Philanthropic organizations is to pre-test different strategies for social and economic development. Again crafts, and beads especially, can form the basis of many strategies for business development, empowerment of minorities and women, assistance for the elderly, technology transfer, and the like.

Philanthropic organizations need people who can…
 — develop grants, rules and applications
 — find community organizations to apply for these grants
 — evaluate the success of grants
 — work with academics and consultant experts to generate experimental ideas to be tested through grants
 — work with local, state and national government agencies to find cost-sharing ways of testing out these “ideas”
 — in similar way, find and negotiate public-private partnerships towards this end

Information technology and website development companies, with Google a prime example, are in the business of translating reality into tables of data that can easily be accessed and assessed. These types of companies need people who can
 — translate craft terms and activities into categories for which data can be consistently collected, organized, stored and analyzed
 — work with museums and galleries which buy, own, exhibit, store or display crafts, to develop ways to collect and categorize routine data on these collections and their importance to different types of people and groups
 — sell the use of these craft-specific databases to companies or individuals that will use them
 — work with craft magazines, museums, schools, galleries and the like to help standardize some of the terminologies and valuations associated with various crafts, to make it easier to collect and sort data about them
 — assist craft artists in development of websites
 — assist craft artists in marketing their websites, especially through social media sites
 — develop blogs
 — develop advertising and marketing materials
 — develop packaging and branding materials
 — digitize images of craft items

Museums, Galleries and Libraries employ craft artists to…
 — catalog and digitize collections
 — document quality of items
 — restore aged or otherwise damaged pieces
 — write brochures and promotional materials
 — organize exhibits
 — raise funds for exhibits
 — advocate for funds among government agencies and philanthropic groups
 — organize a “crafts” section where none has existed before
 — promote fine crafts
 — organize a craft show to raise money and/or awareness

Many museums, galleries and libraries have tons of things in storage that have only loosely been documented, and need much more documentation and organization.

Non-Profit Groups employ all kinds of people with all kinds of backgrounds. They always need help with many fund-raising or program-targeting things. Your craft knowledge can play a very useful role here.

For example, take your local breast cancer society. Think of all the kinds of craft-type things you can make, and for which they can sell, to raise money. You could organize a craft brain trust among your friends, and turn out item after item with breast cancer awareness themes and colors. Or you could scour the internet for breast cancer awareness craft items, and make them work for you. And you could repeat this success for many other local nonprofit groups.

One of my friends went to the Atlanta Gift Show, and identified vendors that had products that could easily be adapted for breast cancer awareness. She worked out with each one what the minimum orders would be, how much lead time would be needed between placing an order and receiving the merchandise, and price. Then she went to local breast cancer groups and presented them with the options. She added 15% to the prices as her commission. These organizations fund raise all the time, and are in major need of new things to sell and promote. My friend had to lay out very little money — basically the cost of a trip to Atlanta, some phone calls and paperwork — and generated a very lucrative business for herself.

I remember spending some time in Sloan Kettering Memorial Hospital in New York City. This hospital specializes in cancer treatment. I was observing patient activities. One of these activities involved volunteers pushing a cart around with various craft activities for patients to do.

Most of the patients in the rooms in the Ward I was on could barely move their bodies, arms and hands. They were very medicated, and had many needles and IV’s stuck into them during their stay. All the craft projects on these carts required considerable manual dexterity — knitting, beading with seed beads, crocheting. The volunteers would cheerily come into the room, announce themselves, and ask if the patient wanted any of these fun crafts to do. The patients would shake their heads No, and grunt. The patients could barely move. And the volunteers left the room, unconcerned.

I took a trip to FAO Schwartz — the toy store — and came back with sets of interlocking building blocks. The blocks were made from different colors of plastic. They were different shapes. A patient could easily hold one or two pieces in their hands without requiring much manual dexterity. The pieces fit together easily by interlocking two pieces, where a slot had been cut out in each. These were a big hit on the Ward. They allowed creativity, without much manual dexterity. The pieces were large enough, that the patient could manipulate them with their hands, and not worry about losing any, if they dropped to the floor.

In hospitals and health care settings, I’ve helped create programs to assist occupational therapists with improving manual dexterity with the elderly, therapists with improving attention spans with children, conducting memory agility tests with patients, and many more programs, utilizing crafts materials and technics.

There are plenty of social and community problems to solve, many different kinds of businesses and organizations responsible for solving these problems, and many solutions which require crafts — materials or technologies which are workable, do-able, saleable, and implementable. There most likely won’t be advertised positions for these kinds of things. But you would be surprised how easy it can be to create your own job opportunities and ones which utilize your craft experiences and knowledge.

When Approaching These Potential Employers and Consultants, Be Sure To…

1. Be able to clearly define how your craft knowledge/experience can help your prospective employer solve some of her/his (NOT YOUR) problematic situations.

2. Research prospective employers, their websites and marketing materials. Identify the key words and buzz words in their materials. Be sure to include these in your written and oral presentations to them.

3. Approach the prospective employer by phone or in person first. Then follow-up with a resume and cover letter. Don’t assume that, because you can make the intellectual link between job and solution, that the employer will see this link when reading a resume. You’ll probably have to educate the employer a bit. This really doesn’t take much effort.

4. Cite examples of what kinds of things you can do. If you can identify other programs or individuals with success stories, do so.

5. If you make your “job search” also a “mission to educate people about crafts”, you’ll be surprised how much energy and excitement you bring to the job interview situation.

_______________________________________

FOOTNOTES

(1) Horejs, Jason. “5 Strategies Successful Artists Follow to Thrive in Their Careers,” RedDotBlog, 2/21/19.

As referenced,
 https://reddotblog.com/5-strategies-successful-artists-follow-to-thrive-in-their-careers/

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

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.

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