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MIXING MEDIA / MIXING TECHNIQUES IN JEWELRY DESIGN: Some Do’s And Don’ts

Posted by learntobead on May 3, 2023

From my book: SO YOU WANT TO BE A JEWELRY DESIGNER
Merging Your Voice With Form,
 Ebook , Kindle or Print formats

Abstract:

For some jewelry designs, the incorporation of mixed media or mixed techniques can have a synergistic effect — increasing the appeal and/or functionality of the piece 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 — that is, its own special characteristics and its own philosophy of technique. Each will react differently to various physical forces impacting the piece when worn. So it becomes more difficult for the designer to successfully coordinate and integrate more than one media or technique.

MIXED MEDIA / MIXED TECHNIQUES

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

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

Each media and technique has its own set of structural rules and requirements — that is, its own special characteristics and its own philosophy of technique. Each interacts with light and shadow very differently; that is, the materials and techniques associated with a particular media reflect, absorb and refract light differently. Each has different problems with and responses to physical mechanical forces impacting the piece internally and externally with different stresses and strains. Each requires different strategies for managing tradeoffs between aesthetics and functionality. Each triggers differing responses by wearers and viewers as to sensory, sensual and/or symbolic impressions.

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

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

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

It is difficult to mix materials within the same project. For example, it is difficult to mix glass and acrylic beads, or glass and gemstone beads…. Unless, you let one material become predominant over the other, or one technique become predominant over the other.

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

Types of Mixed Media / Mixed Technique Jewelry Projects

There are four distinct types of mixed media / mixed techniques projects.

Collage: Different materials or techniques are combined in an additive fashion. Often we create a foundation or base out of one material or technique, and embellish on top of it with another material or technique. It is very 2-dimensional.

Assemblage: This is a variant of the collage, where different materials or techniques are used to enhance the dimensionality or movement within a piece. The result is very 3-dimensional, sculptural and is very multiplicative.

Found Object: Various objects which are found and used by jewelry designers within their pieces because of their perceived artistic value.

Altered: An existing piece of jewelry will be reused and altered or modified physically, resulting in a different piece with a different sensibility. The original piece might be added to, cut up and re-arranged, materials changed, different techniques applied to reconstruct the piece.

How Can Two Things Come Together For Artistic Success?

For some jewelry designs, the incorporation of mixed media or mixed techniques can have a synergistic effect — increasing the appeal and/or functionality of the piece 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 react differently to various physical forces impacting the piece when worn. So it becomes more difficult for the designer to successfully coordinate and integrate more than one media or technique.

Ask yourself,

How will you match tasks and/or materials?

How will you switch between them?

How will you adapt should one restrict or impede the flow of action?

How will you adapt should one alter or otherwise impede a shape or shapes within your piece?

What if it is easier to finish off the piece with one but not the other?

Typically, what works best overall is if you allow one media or technique to predominate. There its conformance to various art and design requirements will shine through without any sense of competition, incompleteness or discordance.

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I hope you found this article useful. Please consider sharing.

I’d welcome any suggestions for topics (warren@warrenfeldjewelry.com)

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

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

Follow my articles on Medium.com.

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

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

Check out my Jewelry Making and Beadwork Kits.

Add your name to my email list.

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Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

What You Need To Know When Preparing A Portfolio

Smart Advice When Preparing Your Artist Statement

Design Debt: How Much Do You Have?

An Advertising Primer For Jewelry Designers

Selling Your Jewelry In Galleries: Some Strategic Pointers

Building Your Brand: What Every Jewelry Designer Needs To Know

Social Media Marketing For The Jewelry Designer

Often Unexpected, Always Exciting: Your First Jewelry Sale

Coming Out As A Jewelry Artist

Is Your Jewelry Fashion, Style, Taste, Art or Design?

Saying Goodbye To Your Jewelry: A Rite Of Passage

So You Want To Do Craft Shows: Lesson 7: Setting Up For Success

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Metals, Metal Beads, Oxidizing

The Jewelry Designer’s Approach To Color

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Stringing Materials

Shared Understandings: The Conversation Embedded Within Design

How Does Being Passionate Make You A Better Designer?

Doubt / Self-Doubt: 8 Major Pitfalls For Jewelry Designers

Essential Questions For Jewelry Designers: 1 — Is What I Do Craft, Art or Design?

The Bridesmaids’ Bracelets

The Jewelry Designer’s Orientation To Choosing And Using Clasps

Beads and Race

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

Point, Line, Plane, Shape, Form and Theme

Jewelry, Sex and Sexuality

5 Tell-Tale Signs Your Pearls Need Re-Stringing

MiniLesson: How To Crimp

MiniLesson: Making Stretchy Bracelets

Architectural Basics Of Jewelry Design

Cleaning Sterling Silver Jewelry: What Works

What Glue Should I Use When Making Jewelry?

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CONQUERING THE CREATIVE MARKETPLACE: Between the Fickleness of Business and the Pursuit of Design

How dreams are made
between the fickleness of business
and the pursuit of jewelry design

This guidebook is a must-have for anyone serious about making money selling jewelry. I focus on straightforward, workable strategies for integrating business practices with the creative design process. These strategies make balancing your creative self with your productive self easier and more fluid.

Based both on the creation and development of my own jewelry design business, as well as teaching countless students over the past 35+ years about business and craft, I address what should be some of your key concerns and uncertainties. I help you plan your road map.

Whether you are a hobbyist or a self-supporting business, success as a jewelry designer involves many things to think about, know and do. I share with you the kinds of things it takes to start your own jewelry business, run it, anticipate risks and rewards, and lead it to a level of success you feel is right for you, including

· Getting Started: Naming business, identifying resources, protecting intellectual property

· Financial Management: basic accounting, break even analysis, understanding risk-reward-return on investment, inventory management

· Product Development: identifying target market, specifying product attributes, developing jewelry line, production, distribution, pricing, launching

· Marketing, Promoting, Branding: competitor analysis, developing message, establishing emotional connections to your products, social media marketing

· Selling: linking product to buyer among many venues, such as store, department store, online, trunk show, home show, trade show, sales reps and showrooms, catalogs, TV shopping, galleries, advertising, cold calling, making the pitch

· Resiliency: building business, professional and psychological resiliency

· Professional Responsibilities: preparing artist statement, portfolio, look book, resume, biographical sketch, profile, FAQ, self-care

548pp.

KindlePrintEpub

SO YOU WANT TO BE A JEWELRY DESIGNER
Merging Your Voice With Form

So You Want To Be A Jewelry Designer reinterprets how to apply techniques and modify art theories from the Jewelry Designer’s perspective. To go beyond craft, the jewelry designer needs to become literate in this discipline called Jewelry Design. Literacy means understanding how to answer the question: Why do some pieces of jewelry draw your attention, and others do not? How to develop the authentic, creative self, someone who is fluent, flexible and original. How to gain the necessary design skills and be able to apply them, whether the situation is familiar or not.

588pp, many images and diagrams Ebook , Kindle or Print formats

The Jewelry Journey Podcast
“Building Jewelry That Works: Why Jewelry Design Is Like Architecture”
Podcast, Part 1
Podcast, Part 2

PEARL KNOTTING…Warren’s Way
Easy. Simple. No tools. Anyone Can Do!

I developed a nontraditional technique which does not use tools because I found tools get in the way of tying good and well-positioned knots. I decided to bring two cords through the bead to minimize any negative effects resulting from the pearl rotating around the cord. I only have you glue one knot in the piece. I use a simple overhand knot which is easily centered. I developed a rule for choosing the thickness of your bead cord. I lay out different steps for starting and ending a piece, based on how you want to attach the piece to your clasp assembly.

184pp, many images and diagrams EbookKindle or Print

SO YOU WANT TO DO CRAFT SHOWS: 16 Lessons I Learned Doing Craft Shows

In this book, I discuss 16 lessons I learned, Including How To (1) Find, Evaluate and Select Craft Shows Right for You, (2) Determine a Set of Realistic Goals, (3) Compute a Simple Break-Even Analysis, (4) Develop Your Applications and Apply in the Smartest Ways, (5) Understand How Much Inventory to Bring, (6) Set Up and Present Both Yourself and Your Wares, (7) Best Promote and Operate Your Craft Show Business before, during and after the show.

198pp, many images and diagrams, EbookKindle or Print

BASICS OF BEAD STRINGING AND ATTACHING CLASPS

Learning Bead Stringing Is More Than
Putting Beads On A String And Tying On A Clasp

There is an art and skill to stringing beads. First, of course, is the selection of beads for a design, and the selection of the appropriate stringing material. Then is the selection of a clasp or closure, appropriate to the design and use of the piece.

You want your pieces to be appealing. You want them to wear well. You want someone to wear them or buy them. This means understanding the basic techniques, not only in terms of craft and art, but also with considerations about architecture, mechanics, and some sociology, anthropology and psychology.

In this book, I go into depth about: (1) Choosing stringing materials, and the pros and cons of each type, (2) Choosing clasps, and the pros and cons of different clasps, (3) All about the different jewelry findings and how you use them, (4) Architectural considerations and how to build these into your pieces, (5) How better designers use cable wires and crimp, as well as, use needle and thread to string beads, (6) How best to make stretchy bracelets, (7) How to make adjustable slip knots, coiled wire loops, and silk wraps, (8) How to finish off the ends of thicker cords or ropes, so that you can attach a clasp, (9) How to construct such projects as eyeglass leashes, mask chains, lariats, multi-strand pieces, twist multi-strand pieces, and memory wire bracelets, (10) How different teaching paradigms — craft vs. art vs. design — might influence the types of choices you make.

452 pp, many images, illustrations, diagrams, EbookKindle or Print

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