As some of you know I teach jewellery making to beginners at a school in Sydney.
Often I get comments from students that imply someone, as experienced as myself, design items really easily. They get a surprise when I tell them it takes me hours to make one earring, sometimes more, especially when experimenting.
So I decided I would share a design process with you.
Here we have two earrings I have been working with and this is their story.
The one on the right
I had a vision in my mind of an oval earring with diamantes at each end and twin beads down the sides so yesterday morning I set out to make it. This experiment took me 5 hours to make as there is a lot of doing and undoing when figuring out how to get your vision and how to make it.
Along the way I got distracted by the large drop sitting beside my bead mat - I had purchased the day before - and thought it would be nice to incorporate that in the earring.
So happily I sat making and figuring it all out and adding the drop. I was pretty thrilled with how it looked and was very keen to finish.
When I finish a piece I put it in my view and I regularly look at it.
Viewing my work this way lets me see what I do/don't like about the design, what irritates me,
what doesn't work, what catches the eye, what looks unbalanced etc etc.
Very shortly I disliked the earring.
I wanted to remove the montees, I felt it was too large (weighing 8 grams and 64mm long), too 'busy' in the earring attachment and too bulky in the drop attachment. I did like the 'ovalness' of this design which was my vision. I resolved to have another go making the changes.
The one on the left
Here we have this morning's experiment.
Because I knew what I wanted and how it was done this took me only two hours to make.
I took out what I didn't like, no montees, moved the drop up into the centrepiece making the attachment more simple, designed a better and prettier earring attachment.
I feel this earring is more pleasing to the eye, less 'busy' and weighs in at 7 grams and is 53mm long.
Am I happy with the second experiment you may ask?
No I am not!!
The centrepiece is a rectangular Swarovski bead and in this second design the 'squareness' is more accentuated, not something I thought a problem as I was making it.
As I sit and view it - I don't like it!
Now I remember my vision was an oval bead and what I liked in the first one was its ovalness.
So I will attempt to make another and remove the squareness to get a more oval shape.
In summary, experimenting and coming up with new ideas is not simple to an experienced designer. There are many hours of working out how to make it, what works and looks good and what doesn't work.
Just take these two earrings - a total of 7 hours of work - and really there is nothing to show for it other than the learning.
I am back to making another and hopefully I will get it right this time - and guess what ? if I do like earring number three I have to make another one to match.
So all in all making the third and then the fourth you are looking at about 11 hours of work to come up with a pair of earrings and fulfil an idea.
Sheeesh!!! designing is really easy for an experienced beader they say... NOT!
There actually is a lot of work however the work is one of love and passion. I create because I love to create, I cannot get enough of it sometimes, it rules my life, it has taken over my home, my thought patterns, my social life has dwindled etc etc....and I have never been happier.
Maybe you will say I am 'picky' - sure, I may be, but then that is my design ethic.
I want it how I want it and I want it to be stunning !!