In the next few weeks I will post some blogs about free form design, i.e. designing a necklace or bracelet when you have not drawn out a sketch in advance. As in the pic below.
This is a carved bone pendant, strung abstractly with 6 of my handmade glass beads (lampwork) and various bone beads. I dropped the beads on the bead board and let them fall where they may, then strung them.
Most of the time I am very symmetrical in my designs, making each side of the necklace match, left and right of the focal piece in the center, whether it be a bead, a carved bone pendant or a fused glass pendant I created, but occasionally I get a little wild and just drop the beads and string them. (My husband likes it when I do. The necklace in the pic is one of his favorite pieces.)
Maybe you purchased some semi-precious gemstone beads or just some glass beads, and you have been looking at these beads in your bead box for quite some time trying to figure, what am I going to make with them. How do you take them from just being a pile of beads, just sitting around the art studio, to finished jewelry? I will do some layout on my bead board and shoot some pics and post them to give you a concept of how I get creative, whether symmetrical or abstract, how does one come up with a design.
How do I get ideas for my designs, you ask? I look at the seasonal color charts that are published and I look at clothing magazines and jewelry design magazines. I get ideas from various places, nature, leaves, flowers. I never copy anyone’s work. All my pieces are my originals, but I can look at someone work and get a basic idea and then create my own unique piece from there.
If you have any questions, please post them. I will try my best to answer them.
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Once the beads are annealed in the kiln (see my previous posts) they are ready to incorporate into jewelry. Thus begins the process of design. I am constantly seeing design all around me. I take pictures with my cell phone, or on my camera. I grab a pen and paper and sketch out a design. Sometimes a design comes from something I see someone else wear. Maybe on a TV show or walking down the street. Sometimes I find a picture in a magazine I clip out. Sometimes designs just pop into my head, from trees or nature. I have even dreamed designs.
I take all the sketches, photos and magazine pics that I collect, and scan them into my computer. I save them in pdf format. I place all ideas in a folder I call ‘sketch pad ideas.’ Then I break them down into two categories. The first is ‘Others Ideas’ the second is ‘My Ideas’. I sign and date all my original sketches and write notes on the sketch. Others ideas I do not sign, but still date them and write notes on them. That way when I start looking for ideas I will remember when and where I saw the idea. I never steal someone’s design, but I use others ideas as a launching pad to stimulate my mind. The collection of sketch pad ideas are just that, ideas. A place to start. I look at someone’s piece of jewelry and think, how can I change that and make it my own unique piece of jewelry.
The drawing above was an idea I had for a necklace for a birthday present for my Daughter, Becky in December 2005. It was drawn on my computer in Paint program. Since then I have a computer program called Bamboo. (My Son’s family gave me Bamboo for Christmas in 2008.) It is a drawing tablet that looks like a mouse pad, and the mouse looks like a fat ink pen. You draw with the mouse/pen on the tablet just like on a sketch pad, which draws right on the computer screen. I love the Bamboo sketch pad.
This necklace was designed around the small Topaz gems. I purchased them then had to design a necklace that would fit the small Topaz without overpowering them. Thus the making of the very small clear glass beads.
Below is the finished necklace which has 6 of my handmade beads. They are small, clear, wrapped in dichrioc glass and it has 5 Mystic Topaz gems, with a Sterling Silver clasp. Topaz is the Nov birthstone, my daughter’s birthstone.
The closeup shows the small hand made beads. They are about 5 millimeters, and the Mystic Topaz are about 8 millimeters. I hope this blog post gets your design juices to start flowing or at least gives you some insight into my mind and how I come up with a design for a piece of jewelry. Christina