Learn To Bead

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

Posts Tagged ‘jewelry design’

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?

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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?

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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?

 

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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)

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

It has made it easier to stay current and learn.

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

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

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

 

tech-internet

 

 

Some quick observations from my own professional life:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you think?

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

MAKING THE ORDINARY NOTEWORTHY

Posted by learntobead on July 26, 2013

MAKING THE ORDINARY NOTEWORTHY

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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.

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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

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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?

 

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

HOW DO YOU MAKE “ASYMMETRY” WORK FOR YOU?

Posted by learntobead on July 7, 2013

HOW DO YOU MAKE “ASYMMETRY” WORK FOR YOU?

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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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Contemporary Pieces Using Gemstones From Margaret De Patta Collection

Posted by learntobead on September 13, 2012

Contemporary Pieces Using Gemstones From Margaret De Patta Collection

The Velvet Davinci Gallery in San Francisco held an exhibit of contemporary jewelry artists creating new jewelry with old stones.

“The De Patta Project was born when Velvet da Vinci purchased many of these unset stones from the estate of Margaret De Patta. There are some beautiful cut stones by Francis J. Sperisen, cabochon stones and beach pebbles found by De Patta. De Patta’s nontradtional use of gemstones and non-precious pebbles are key to the understanding the importance of her influence on the field of contemporary jewelry. ”

Jewelers represented in this exhibit:

Deborah Boskin

Petra Class

Sandra Enterline

Geoffrey Giles

 

Joanna Gollberg

April Higashi

Tom Hill

Mike Homes

Dave Jones

Terri Logan

Deb Lozier

Maja

Dawn Nakanishi

Brigid O’hanrahan

Julia Turner

Andrea Williams

 

It is difficult, when creating jewelry for an exhibit celebrating the work of an historical figure, to decide the best balance among:

– referent and reference to the past, both in terms of De Patta’s jewelry style, as well as the overall modernist aesthetic.
– showcasing your own personal style
– demonstrating a sense of what contemporary style means today
– showcasing the gemstones used

It’s useful to explore these artists’ other work you can see images online, to get a better sense of the artist, as well as a better sense of De Patta.

 

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Margaret De Patta

Posted by learntobead on September 13, 2012

Margaret De Patta Jewelry
(1903 – 1964)


From about 1939, Margaret De Patta was a major designer in American Contemporary Jewelry history, perhaps one of the major influential forces during her time. She was a founding member of the San Francisco Metal Arts Guild.  She is often credited as starting the modern jewelry studio movement.

Her pieces epitomize her use of simple lines and structure. There is a strong architectural sense.   You can see clear connections to the cubist and modern art and bauhaus and modernist architecturer prominent at the time.

She characterized her pieces as miniature wearable sculptures, and in reaction to the prevailing view of  jewelry merely as body ornament.   Her use of line demarcates boundaries, creates a sense of dimensional space, frames elements within her pieces.

 

De Patta envisioned a piece of jewelry as a dynamic object capable of changing perceptions of space and movement by creating reflections, optical illusions, and unexpected alterations of light.

 

It is interesting to look at her jewelry designs, and think about contemporary design today, the similarities and differences.

 

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