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The Ugly Necklace Contest – Submission Deadline Approaching

Posted by learntobead on April 28, 2014

 

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

uglynecklace1

 

 

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

Past Contests — View  the Galleries of Entries

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

What Is Ugly?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

deeb-jewelrydesign

 

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

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BEZELWORKS PENDANT Workshop by Warren Feld, 4/12-13/2014

Posted by learntobead on February 7, 2014

Center for Beadwork &  Jewelry Arts:  Workshops

CBJA

WORKSHOPS

Warren Feld

BEZELWORKS PENDANT

2-Day
Workshop

Sat/Sun, 4/12-13/2014,

10am-5pm, Sat

10am-4pm, Sun

(with a break for lunch)

Held at

Be Dazzled Beads

718 Thompson Lane, Ste 123

Nashville, TN 37204

FEES: $90.00 plus supplies[Optional Kit available for purchase from instructor.Olive Fire Agate, $135.00]

Registration
Deposit: $90.00

The instructional
fee does not cover the cost of supplies
.

You may register
in person at Be Dazzled Beads, or by phone with a credit card (615-292-0610),
or by mail with a check to 718 Thompson Lane, Ste 123, Nashville,
TN 37204

limited to 12 registrants

registration
by

March 24th, 2014

beadschool@
landofodds.com

615-292-0610

 

 

CENTER for BEADWORK & JEWELRY
ARTS
718 Thompson Lane, Ste 123
Nashville, Tennessee
37204
PHONE:  615-292-0610
FAX:
615-292-0610
www.landofodds.com
/beadschool/

beadschool@landofodds.com

Location,
Lodging,

Access by Car, Plane

Center For Beadwork & Jewelry Arts - beadworking and jewelry-making classes
Be Dazzled Beads and
The Center for Beadwork & Jewelry Artsin Nashvile, Tennessee

welcomes

Warren Feld

April 12-13, 2014

10am-5pm Sat (with break for lunch)

10am-4pm Sun (with break for lunch)

BezelWorks Pendant


Intermediate/Advanced Level

2 Days

Saturday – Sunday, April 12-13, 2014, 10am-5pm
(Sat), 10am-4pm (Sun)

(with a break for lunch)

FEES: $90.00 plus supplies

[Optional Kit available for puchase from instructor.

Olive
Fire Agate, $135.00
]

Registration
Deposit: $90.00

Registration by March
24th, 2014

BezelWorks Pendant


Guest Instructor:  Warren Feld

Intermediate/Advanced Level

Wear that mystical, bead-bezeled stone close to your heart!  Use tubular
peyote, circular peyote, and spirtal tube Ndebele stitches while
exploring design ideas about fringe, edge, bail, surface embellishment and strap.

 


The BezelWorks Pendant has a Center Piece, around which we create a
bezel or frame, then do some edge and surface embellishment. Attached
to this Center Piece is a bead woven butterfly bail. This piece
hangs from a bead woven strap. For the bead artist working from
an Art perspective, the frame, embellishment, bail, and strap should
be seen as supplemental to the center piece. But if working from
a Design Perspective, all these components should be seen more wholistically.

So, not only will we be creating a beautiful piece in this workshop.
We will also be discussing the implications for the choices we make
about each element or component for creating a successful and satisfying
piece. This includes our choices about managing the transition from
one element to the next.

The techniques we will be applying in this piece include:

– tubular peyote, open back bezel
– circular peyote
– fringe
– tubular spiral ndebele

Art or Design?

If jewelry is “art”, is the entire piece the art, or only
the center piece, or central focal part the art? Classical art theory
holds that the fringe, strap, edging, bail, and other similar parts
should supplement or support the center piece or focal center. This
theory holds that these jewelry structures are not art. They should
function like a frame to a painting, or a pedestal to a sculpture.

It is, however, often difficult to separate the jewelry’s anatomy like this, with
one part important and the other parts supplemental. This BezelWorks
Pendant project is, in part, designed to foster ideas, discussion
and debate about the roles of fringe, edge, strap, bail and surface
embellishment. Each of these is critical to the finished piece.

For each of these anatomical parts or extensions to our piece of jewelry, we
need to understand it in terms of:

– What it is, its purpose, its role

– What value it has to the piece

– How it makes the piece more or less satisfying

– What principles should regulate it

– Whether it is part of the art or not



Center Piece

The central project: A BezelWorks Pendant, with open-back peyote bezel. How
do we go about designing an aesthetically pleasing, well-functioning,
center piece? What functions does the center piece serve? How do
we make choices about size, design, proportions, placement?

Edge, Frame, Boundary, Line 

The Center Piece has a bezel, creating an interior edge encircling our stone. In
addition, the we weave a frame around the entire Center Piece, creating
an additional key edging component.

Edging is used to give a finished look to the piece. It might be used to hide threads.
It might be used to hide any irregularities in how beads line up
or are juxtaposed. An edging strategy is especially critical, however,
for creating, preserving, blurring, or otherwise affecting the boundary
line, line curvature, and/or silhouette of the center piece or the
piece of jewelry as a whole.

What role does the “border” of a piece play? Does it mark a beginning/ending?
How does it help the viewer appreciate the emotional content of the piece?

What kinds of positioning issues are associated with the placement on an edge,
boundary, border or line?


Fringe and Surface Embellishment

We weave Fringe Embellishment off our Frame. So what exactly is fringe, and what
can fringe be? How does the fringe make the piece more or less satisfying?
There are numerous possibilities.

 In good jewelry design, the Fringe and/or other Surface Embellishment would play
either a supporting, or a co-equal role, with the center piece.
It would not overwhelm or be overdone. It would seem as if the fringe
were organic part of the piece. It would not seem like an afterthought.
If it’s primary purpose is to hide flaws, no one should notice.
Too often, designers overdo the fringe.

Straps

The Center Piece hangs from a thin, twisted Ndebele tube Strap. What are the visual
and functional purposes of the strap? What should the strap look
like? How should the strap be connected to the piece? Where should
the strap be connected to the piece? To what extent is or should
the strap be as an integral part of the piece of jewelry as art?
How does the strap define a silhouette? How does the strap make
the piece more or less satisfying?

Bails

In our piece, a Bail is connected directly to the Center Piece, and the strap
moves through it. A bail changes the visual and artistic relationship
between the strap and the center piece. How might this be helpful,
and how not? The bail poses similar design challenges as the strap
— size, proportion, placement and attachment. However, it has to
succeed at one additional task — it has to control the visual,
aethestic and functional transitioning between the center piece
and the strap.

The Canvas

We have two things which serve as “Canvas”. The most obvious is the
stringing material. In this project, we use beading thread for some
parts, and a cable thread for others. The other part which serves
as “Canvas” are the woven beads which for the basis of
our Frame, and off of which we add Fringe.

The “canvas” in a piece of jewelry may be the stringing material, and how it
is worked off of. It might be another piece of beadwork, such as
a beaded base, off of which some center piece is developed. It might
be a core line of beads. It might be a piece of fabric or other
material. How does the canvas influence the interpretation of jewelry
as art? How should the canvas interact with the main piece and its
components? To what extent should it become part of the artwork
itself; and to what extent, not? Classic Art theory suggests that
the canvas should NOT be a part of the artwork at all.

What Techniques Students Need To Know Before The Workshop

The skill level required: Intermediate/Advanced. The student must be
comfortable with tubular peyote and the ndebele stitch.

Additional workshop information found here.

About Warren Feld

www.warrenfeldjewelry.com

Artist’s Statement: 

WARREN FELD
Jewelry Designer

Director, Center for Beadwork & Jewelry Arts and www.LearnToBead.net

For Warren Feld, Jewelry Designer, beading and jewelry making endeavors have been wonderful
adventures. These adventures, over the past 25 years, have taken Warren from the basics of bead stringing and bead weaving, to wire working and silver smithing, and onward to more complex jewelry
designs which build on the strengths of a full range of technical skills and experiences.

He, along with his partner Jayden Alfre Jones, opened a small bead shop in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, about 20 years ago, and called it Land of Odds. Over time, Land of Odds evolved from a bricks and mortar store into a successful internet business —www.landofodds.com
. In the late 1990s, James and Warren opened up another bricks and
mortar bead store — Be Dazzled Beads — in a trendy neighborhood of Nashville called
Berry Hill. Together both businesses supply beaders and jewelry artists with all the supplies and parts they need to make beautiful pieces of wearable art.

In 2000, Warren founded The Center For Beadwork & Jewelry Arts (CBJA) — www.landofodds.com/beadschool. CBJA is an educational program, associated with Be Dazzled Beads in Nashville, for beaders and jewelry makers. The program approaches education from a Design Perspective. There is a strong focus here on skills development. There are requirements for sequencing the
student’s classes; that is, taking classes in a developmental order. There is a major emphasis on teaching how to make better choices when selecting beads, other parts and stringing materials, and how
to bring these altogether into a beautiful, yet functional piece of jewelry.

Location,
Lodging,

 

 

//
//

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THE CHALLENGES OF CUSTOM WORK

Posted by learntobead on October 27, 2013

THE CHALLENGES OF CUSTOM WORK

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

soundtrackcolor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not to mention the sometimes questionable taste.

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

I require a 50% deposit up front.

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

 

 

 

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HOW HAS TECHNOLOGY IMPACTED YOU AS A JEWELRY DESIGNER?

Posted by learntobead on August 26, 2013

 

HOW HAS TECHNOLOGY IMPACTED YOU AS A JEWELRY DESIGNER?

tech-3-d-print

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

How has technology affected what we do as designers?

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

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

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

What has happened to your local bead stores?

What has happened to bead magazines?

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

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

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

 

tech-3-d-print2

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

tech-crystal-clay

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

It has made it easier to stay current and learn.

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

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

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

 

tech-internet

 

 

Some quick observations from my own professional life:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you think?

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MAKING THE ORDINARY NOTEWORTHY

Posted by learntobead on July 26, 2013

MAKING THE ORDINARY NOTEWORTHY

makeordinarynoteworthy1

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

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

Better designed and more satisfying jewelry has more Interest.

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

makeordinarynoteworthy

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

makeordinarynoteworthy3

THE QUESTIONS FOR YOU….

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

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

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

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

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

makeordinarynoteworthy4

One example of the successful application of this principle…

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

makeordinarynoteworthy5

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

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

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

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

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

makeordinarynoteworthy6

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

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

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HOW DO YOU STAY FOCUSED?

Posted by learntobead on July 13, 2013

 

HOW DO YOU STAY FOCUSED?

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

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

 

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

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

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And yet, there are so many easily accessible distractions.

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

How do you stay focused?

 

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

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

 

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HOW DO YOU MAKE “ASYMMETRY” WORK FOR YOU?

Posted by learntobead on July 7, 2013

HOW DO YOU MAKE “ASYMMETRY” WORK FOR YOU?

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

— Warren

 

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

 

 

PLANAR RELATIONSHIPS

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

– a strategic use of lines and planes
— shapes

— boundaries

– -silhouettes

— contours
– symmetry

– or, more difficult to achieve, a satisfying asymmetry

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

– how sections of the piece interlock

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

 

 

 

Example:

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

 

 

Example:

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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WHEN IS ENOUGH ENOUGH?

Posted by learntobead on June 30, 2013

 

 

WHEN IS ENOUGH ENOUGH?

Beading and jewelry making can be so much fun, and you have so many choices of so many beautiful pieces to play with, that sometimes, from a design sense, it’s easy to go overboard.

Too many strands. Too many different kinds of beads. Too many colors. Too much embellishment. Too much fringe. Too much repetition of themes and design elements.

There is a tendency too often to over-do.

How do you answer this question for yourself – when is enough enough?

Do you tend to over-do (or under-do) your pieces?

How do you edit? Do you make a piece, and get the judgment of others? Is this based on some kind of intuition?

How do you work with students or friends who have difficulty answering this question?

Let me know what you think.

Warren

Could this be better or worse? or more satisfying or less satisfying? With more strands? If longer? More colors? More involved patterning?

Could this be better or worse? or more satisfying or less satisfying?
With more strands?
If longer?
More colors?
More involved patterning?

From an article I’ve posted online…

I had discussed in an article – 10 Principles of Jewelry Design Composition (http://www.landofodds.com/store/goodjewelrydesign.htm) – what is in effect a type of grammar and vocabulary for good jewelry design. The last principle was called Parsimony. And this one is really difficult to achieve. The jewelry artist who is good at Parsimony has a great deal of control over the design process.

Parsimony means that there should be no nonessential elements.

The designer should achieve the maximal effect with the least effort or excess.

Many jewelry designers, when they like a particular bead, or a particular design, often over-do their pieces. The thinking here is that, if they have a beautiful part, adding many of these parts will make the whole even more beautiful. Often, it results in the finished product that is boring or uninteresting. The finished product loses a type of tension, power and energy.

The artist has made a good point with their choices, but then beats a dead horse to death by trying to make the point over and over again, too many times.

Good Parsimony shows that the designer has a good sense of the relationship of the parts to the whole.

There should be no nonessential elements.

The designer should achieve the maximal effect with the least effort or excess.

There is a tendency of beaders and jewelry makers to over-do:
– over-embellish the surface
– add too much fringe
– repeat themes and design elements too often
– use too many colors

More often than not, people over-do, rather than under-do.

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ANATOMY OF A NECKLACE: THE YOKE

Posted by learntobead on June 16, 2013

 

Anatomy of a Necklace: The Yoke

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A necklace, or any type of jewelry, has a structure and anatomy.   Each part has its own set of purposes, functions and aesthetics.   Understanding each type of structure or physical part is important to the designer.

 

 

Let’s focus on one part today – The Yoke.    The Yoke is one section of the Strap which is the part around the back of the neck, including the Clasp Assembly.

 

To what extent, during your design process, do you divide your necklace into its anatomical parts, in order to have more strategic control over its design?

 

In an average necklace, how long should the Yoke be?    What proportional length relative to the rest of the strap should this be?

 

How do you determine the design and placement of beads or connectors along the Yoke, given that most of it would either not be particularly visible, or not often-visible when worn?

 

The Yoke continues into the section of the Strap called the Frame.    There are always transitional issues here?   Do you have any strategies for managing these transitions?   When your piece moves from Yoke to Frame, do you find yourself doing anything special at this point?

Maldives Necklace at www.stelladot.com

Maldives Necklace
at
http://www.stelladot.com

 

Do you prefer your Yoke to be visually distinct from the Frame?  Or more organically connected, perhaps not distinguished at all?

 

Do you use any special visual cues to signal to the viewer that the piece is moving from Yoke to Frame – placement of special connector?  Or change in bead size?  Or change in Color?  Or Pattern?   How do you know where to place these visual cues?

 

To what extent should the Yoke be integral to the design of the whole piece, or, on the other hand, be supplemental to the whole piece?

 

Too often, when the designer does not recognize the Yoke as distinct from the Frame – even if the transition is to be very subtle – less-than-satisfying things happen.   Proportions may be off.   The piece may not lay or sit as envisioned.    The strap may have too much embellishment going to high up the strap.    Sometimes the balance between Yoke and Frame is off – too much Yoke and not enough Frame.

 

So, what do you think?  What do you do?    What things can be done?

 

 

 

 

To summarize the anatomy of a necklace:

 

We can envision the Anatomy of the Necklace to include these parts:

 

Yoke:  Part around the neck.   Typically 6-7”, including the clasp assembly

 

Clasp Assembly:  Part of the Yoke.   This includes all the pieces it takes, including a clasp, in order to attach your beadwork to your clasp.

 

Break:  Transition from Yoke to Frame, usually at the collar bone on either side of the neck.

 

Frame:  The “line” seen on the front of the wearer, demarcating a “silhouette,” and connecting to the Yoke on each side, at the Break.   On a 16” necklace, this would typically be around 9-10” long.

 

Bi-Furcated Frame:   A Frame visually split in half, usually at the center and in two equal parts, with a centerpiece focal bead or pendant drop in the center.

 

Focal Point:  While not every necklace has a focal point, most do.  The Focal Point gives the viewer’s eye a place to rest or focus.   Sometimes this is done with a centerpiece pendant.   Can also be created by graduating the sizes of beads or playing with color or playing with fringe.

 

Centerpiece:   A part that extends beyond the line of the Frame, usually below it.    Forces transitional concerns between it and the Frame.

 

Centerpiece with Bail:    A part that drops the Centerpiece below the Frame, forcing additional transitional concerns among Centerpiece, Bail and Frame.

 

Strap:  A word summarizing the full connectivity of the Clasp Assembly, Yoke and Frame.

 

Canvas:  Typically refers to the stringing materials.  However, in a layered piece, may refer to any created “background” off of which or around which the main composition is built.

 

Embellishment:    Things like fringe, edging, surface decoration.

 

 

 

Each part of the body of a necklace poses its own special design challenges for the jewelry artist.   These involved strategies for resolving such issues as:

 

– making connections
– determining angularity, curvature, and roundedness
– transitioning color, pattern and texture
– placing objects
– extending lengths
– adding extensions
– creating balance and coherency
– keeping things organic, so nothing looks like an afterthought, or an outlier, or something designed by a committee
– determining which parts or critical to understanding the piece of jewelry as art, and which parts are merely supplemental to the piece.

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BAILS POSE MANAGEMENT ISSUES

Posted by learntobead on June 4, 2013

BAILS POSE MANAGEMENT ISSUES

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In our Jewelry Design Camp (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com/jewelrydesigncamp/), one of the topics we cover is the Bail. From a Design standpoint, it is not necessarily a simple jewelry finding to incorporate into our pieces.

There are many types of bails, some off-the-shelf and some hand-made, and there are different ways of attaching them.

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A bail changes the visual and artistic relationship between the strap and the center piece. How might this be helpful, and how not? The bail poses similar design challenges as the strap — size, proportion, placement and attachment. However, it has to succeed at one additional task — it has to control the visual, aesthetic and functional transitioning between the center piece and the strap. It is the management of this transitioning which poses the most difficult design design dilemmas for the jewelry artist.

Too often, I see people use a bail because it adds another pretty component to the piece. But it doesn’t necessarily fit. Sometimes it competes with the center piece or strap. Sometimes it creates a series of functioning or wearing or movement issues.

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So the questions for this discussion include:
(1) Do you use bails, and if so, do you have any favorite — either machine-made or hand-made?
(2) Do you have good or bad design-experiences with bails that you would like to share with the group?

Warren

 

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Suzanne Belperron — Influential Jeweler, 1930’s thru 1970’s

Posted by learntobead on February 10, 2013

Suzanne Belperron — Influential Jeweler, 1930’s thru 1970’s

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Suzanne Belperron was a successful jeweler, widely influential.   She was one of the few female jewelry designers of her time.   Her daring creations remain today of extraordinary modernity and aesthetics.  She began her career in 1919 at age 19.  She died in 1983. Her life and career spanned the modern movement in the arts, feminism and the emergence of fashion as a big business.   Her style reflected the movement in the jewelry design field away from very ornamental pieces, to those which emphasize bold forms.

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Her creations appeared in the most influential fashion magazines of the time, including Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.  Her clients included royalty, celebrities and aristocrats.

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She never signed her pieces.     She claimed, “My style is my signature.”

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She introduced unprecedented combinations of stones and minerals in her designs.

 

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Mary Lee Hu – Wire Artist

Posted by learntobead on September 26, 2012

Mary Lee Hu — Wire Artist

Have you ever wondered how far you could push your wire so that it sings?    Mary Lee Hu shows you just how far.

She frames, knits, braids, weaves, shapes wire into wonderful jewelry compositions.

Her textile approach to wire working is captivating.    We can learn alot about how to use wire by studing techniques in fiber, textiles, tablet weaving and basketry.

 

There is also a beautiful book  Knitted, Knotted, Twisted, and Twined: The Jewelry of Mary Lee Hu which celebrates 100 of her designs over the years.

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Guzel Bakeeva Design – One Artist Take On Bead Embroidered Cabochons

Posted by learntobead on September 13, 2012

Guzel Bakeeva Design – One Artist Take On Bead Embroidered Cabochons

I love to explore beautiful jewelry as art.   Guzel Bakeeva uses bead embroidery techniques, and very smart and beautiful stones and found objects in her jewelry.   She often couples this with unexpected arrangements of components.    She seems determined to create pieces which have a combined sexiness and sophistication.

Take a look.

The challenges with bead embroidery are many:
– wearability (often the use of large forms, clustered together, which much take the shape of the body)
– artistic integrity (pieces of art when made, must maintain artistic integrity as worn)
– art vs. craft (avoidance of the reduction of art to craft, because of the materials — particularly the bead as a medium)

 

 

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Doris Betz – All About The Line

Posted by learntobead on September 13, 2012

Doris Betz – All About The Line

 

DORIS:  “My work is above all about the line: how it spreads and the possibilities of its arrangement. The line or the wire describes, through its movement, a space. There are overlaps, knots and different layers. At the same time arise apparently accidental, bizarre, three dimensional images. Plastic stands equally judged beside gold and silver. The pieces live through their lightness and transparency. Glamour and oppositions seek a beauty of their own.”

The “line” can be a frightening thing for a designer.   Once the designer commits to a certain line and its linear or curvalinear passageway, the line has to be managed towards some wearable aesthetic.    Not easy to do.

The line creates a boundary.   It separates one direction from another.   It forces, or at least implores, value judgements.  That is, which side of the line is better, more satisfying, more pleasing, more correct.

The line can also frame.   This sets up an inclusive vs exclusive quality, and recessive vs. forwarding seeking motion, a dimensionality, an encouragement vs. a restriction for movement and direction.

Doris Betz is not afraid of the line.

 

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Hanging Around – Jewelry From Recent Exhibit At MAD in NY

Posted by learntobead on September 13, 2012

Hanging Around – Jewelry From Recent Exhibit At MAD in NY

“The unique works on display in Hanging Around are from the Museum of Arts and Design’s jewelry collection. Dating from the 1960s to the present, these artistic creations encompass conceptual approaches ranging from the decorative to the provocatively political. Some of the necklaces on view feature precious metals and rare gemstones, but others derive their impact from materials as unconventional as pig intestines, gun triggers, mustard seeds, LED lighting, black coral, butterfly wings, phone directories, mirrors and lenses. The fabrication techniques employed by the artists are as different as traditional goldsmithing and cutting-edge digital prototyping.”

What do you think?

Liv Blåvarp, Untitled, 2002

 

 

Nancy Worden, The Seven Deadly Sins, 1994

 

Verena Sieber-Fuchs, Apart-heid, 1988

 

Marjorie Schick

 

Tory Hughes, Armillary,1992
polymer, steel, glass, brass, silver, mustard seeds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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