SHAPES — HOW DO YOU PLAY WITH SHAPES?
How has “shape” entered into your design thinking, your design work, and your design frameworks?
Over the past few months, I’ve been intrigued with all the new shapes of seed beads coming out on the market. I’ve been trying, really struggling, with ideas for using them in compositions — pieces that have a lot of dimensionality to them, great interest, some levels of complexity. And I’ve been trying to mix the shapes within the same composition, things like long magatamas, superduos, mini fringe drops, peanuts, tila beads. … And of course, it’s always fun to think about ways to bead-weave beads into larger shapes.
The shape of the bead and the orientation of its hole or holes is critical to the success of a piece. These are the “building blocks”. Connecting the blocks affects what the piece looks like, how light and shadow impact the aesthetic, how it moves, how it drapes and feels, and how it holds up in its entirety as a composition.
Around 2010, the various bead companies in Japan and The Czech Republic began introducing many new shapes of seed beads. I began experimenting with how to push these new shapes to their limits.
Then there are the shapes created by assembling beads into ever greater shapes.
Shape differs from the use of “line” or the use of “point”. Shapes serve to provide positioning, direction and orientation to the pieces, often better than lines and points.
Shapes are often the basis of many strategies for adding more dimensionality to your pieces. And you can embellish these shapes with other beads, or overlap shapes, to achieve even greater dimensional effects. You can combine different kinds of shapes.
The Designer must ask these kinds of questions, when using shapes:
How do we position each bead?
How do we link them?
How do we stack them or layer them?
When visual impact does each have, given which side or “face” is seen?
How do we use shape to create appealing textures and patterns?
How do we create “forms” and “themes” with them.
Playing with shapes can be both an encumbrance, as well as an opportunity for the designer.
How has the playing with shapes affected your work?