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Do you want to design for yourself?

A New Design Series

Learning the basics of beading and jewelry making by following how-to instructions is a good way to develop a repertoire of techniques. But sooner or later, the day comes when you find yourself wondering if it would be ok to modify that pattern just a bit. As you tweak a bit here and a bit more there, you eventually end up abandoning other people’s patterns altogether. You’ve become a designer, an explorer of uncharted territory…and you are loving it!Whether you like to work intuitively or from a carefully structured plan, there is always a magical spark at some point that starts off your creative process. Maybe you simply feel the need for a green necklace to go with a specific dress. Or maybe you have picked up an incredibly cool ammonite fossil and you must figure out a way to wear it. Perhaps there is a new stitching technique that you’ve been wanting to try, or a song lyric is stuck in your head and needs to come out in another form.

There are many different ways to enter into designing. A basic understanding of the elements and principles of design will do any artist a world of good when it comes to creating a pleasing piece, whatever the media, and over the years I have found that certain combinations of these elements and principles are of particular importance to me when I’m working on a new design. This is not an entirely logical process when I’m in the middle of actually doing it, but I’ve still been able to tease out some preferences that influence my work. Probably nobody other than you will be able to look at your piece afterwards and pick out exactly what your motivation was for designing your treasure. But they probably will be aware of the impact of your finished piece as all the elements work together to create a piece that is much more evocative than the sum of its parts.

I want to share with you the entry points that I most often use in designing my pieces. I hope that some of these concepts will be helpful to you. I really want to avoid turning a discussion on creativity into a “paint-by-numbers” kit, but am hoping instead that you will find it liberating to consider your own preferences and play with the process. Please add your own thoughts in the comments section…I’d love to know if any of my ideas ring true for you too.

Next time, we'll start with focal point!

Copyright 2008 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.