Should I? Shoudn’t I? Decisions of Jewellery Design
Decisions ,decisions, decisions! When I am designing a new piece of jewellery I prefer to let the process evolve naturally. I will start with a simple idea in my head and then just get started.
I understand that this may horrify some of you – surely you need to make drawings, plans, measurements! And you would be right, some jewellers work wonderfully with computer programs such as CAD to precisely plan their designs down to the last millimeter before starting the construction.
There is no right or wrong way of doing it, only the best way for you.
So I would like to tell you the story of one of my latest necklaces, to allow you to follow what turned out to be a rather meandering journey.
I think my thought were influenced by a pair of earrings I had recently finished and were hanging around on my desk. How could I take this idea further? Was it time to make a larger piece? As always, the concept is an organic one based on what I like to call ‘Pebbles’.
I wanted to link the pebble forms into a cluster and create what in my mind would be a rock pool – hence the (first) name ‘Rock Pool …….’
So, first things first, I created some of the miss shaped silver pebble hoops. I have no way of knowing how they will come out so as I said before planning ahead is futile. Once made I can place them in different formations, taking a photo each time until one leaps out at me as being correct. The photos help re remember my great creation once it is inevitable moved around on the way to the soldering block etc.
It looked good but it didn’t look great. It needed something more. Hight? Contrast? Texture? Got it – clusters of smaller pebbles in the crevasses.
Ok, I like it but can I go one step further? Of course, after all more is more so let’s add some pools of water or in this case resin.
I have to think about this now because it will influence the attachments and findings. If I am going to solder on a pin it has to be done now, before I go any further and add the wool and beads. This part of the decision-making process involves me wondering around the house holding up against my neck, lapel, etc. It is a brooch!!!! Right, time to design and attach a pin mechanism. As you have probably already worked out, I changed my mind. After adding a stainless steel pin I stared at it for a few hours before taking it all off again. Yup, it is going to be a necklace after all.
After a few days I get back to it, I am convinced that any neck chain will be sewn into the bead work to I could go ahead and get beading. The colour theme was pretty obvious so out came the blue wool and I started rolling and inserting it into the hoops. There is no going back now so all work on the silver has to be complete at this point.
Next I need beads. Lots of yummy beads.
Recently a new material had come to my attention and during a break I decided to have a play. By drawing a Koi fish on shrink plastic. The result was great, I really like it so of course my mind started racing about how I could use it. Can I combine it into the ‘Rock pool necklace’? How would I attach it?
This process took over for quite a few days and I even went to social media to get some other opinions. Not all were positive but I couldn’t let the idea go. I even though about mounting it in a frame as a piece of wall art rather than a necklace. Then the doubts set in and just like the brooch pin the Koi was removed and beading continued.
Once the beading was completed I had a lovely object but how to hang it. At this point I did reach for my pen and paper to map out a chain idea. This couldn’t just be hung on a chain, it needed more.
I still had the fish in my mind though. Would the addition of something as literal as a fish help to elevate the necklace. Ages ago I had cut out some small silver fish that had been hanging around, maybe this was the time to use them so I added one to the chain. This resulted in a day of very fiddly soldering and I was pleased with the results but not happy.
I carried on, adding some more small bubble clusters to finish the chain. A few days passed and I kept going back and forth to take a look. At this point I new I wasn’t happy at all because if I had been then I would have just got on and finished it.
No. It had to go! But what else to do? Again, more time passed I my mind was a blank but then it struck me – the chain needed movement and volume to continue the water theme and colours. By this point I had also decided to change the name as the beading was conjuring up more thoughts of bubbles then rock pools, Hence the now names ‘Bubbles Necklace’
I cannot really explain how the final design and use of materials came about – it just did. I thought back to past processes and materials used, ribbons, threads, Swarovski Pearls and put my head down to complete it.
So as you can see (if you have made it this far), jewellery design for me is an ever-evolving process that does not always run smoothly but the satisfaction of getting to the end and loving what you have created is brilliant and what keeps me striding forward and leaping into my next jewellery design.
I hope you have enjoyed jouneying through the madness that is my thought process and take this information with you when you next look at some handmade work. What was going through the makers mind and how did they finally end up at theat destination.
Thanks for your time, Dani x
@Dani Crompton Designs