Handcrafted jewelry is a passion and a way of life.
The goal is to create unique and personal works of art that uplift the spirit of the person who is wearing the jewelry.
What separates art jewelry from the rest is each creator's understanding and interpretation of the natural world through design.
Design is an enigmatic word, but what defines it? All objects (art or not) share common qualities such as line, texture, shape, and color; these "Elements of Design" are details that structure the piece and separate it from others.
Art happens when the "Principles of Design" is applied to the elements.
Some examples of these abstract but reliable concepts are: rhythm, contrast, dominance, harmony, and unity.
These "Principles" reflect the artist's ability to convey a message.
For example, Vassily Kandinsky uses only simple shapes and solid, primary colors, yet he arranges these elements cleverly to capture an emotion such as surprise and chaos.
These design concepts apply to art jewelry because its purpose is expression.
Jewelry aims to complement a piece of clothing, enhance a bodily feature, or express a mood.
The end result is to make the wearer of your jewelry feel like a work of art.
As we all know, each piece of jewelry does not match our every mood, outfit, or feature, so the mark of a well-designed piece is versatility.
This means that your client will design an outfit around your jewelry.
Versatility is the mark of a designer who uniquely uses technique and composition to create a work of art.
Mastery of these two is a lifelong process, and their many lessons will lead to moments of self-discovery that make jewelry-making a personal and valuable experience.
Technique is the ability to manipulate a material.
Each element of jewelry requires its own special treatment and different skills are involved for each method.
Composition applies the Principles of Design with an artist's observations to create an expression.
As the elements and principles come together in your work, it gains in composition and balance.
When you begin to design a piece, the decision that you make in regards to color and texture can be a powerful tool to help you communicate mood and emotion.
Color is probably the most expressive of the design elements and is the one that people respond to first when they see a piece.
Becoming familiar with the color wheel will allow you to define the right color for a message.
Consider the communication the color combinations send, this allows you the freedom to express your thinking and ideas in a clear and concise, yet powerful way.
Not every piece of jewelry integrates all the elements and principle of design.
There are times when the repetition of one of the elements achieves balance.
There are other times when a focal point placed strategically off center brings balance and draws the human eye to appreciate the proportion and composition of the art piece.
One of the many techniques that I use when I design relates to the "The Golden Rule" or "The Golden Ratio," used extensively by Leonardo Da Vinci.
I keep this drawing of the diagram in my studio design area and I lay my ideas on top of the figure to ensure that the focal point is proportional and strategically placed to pull the human eye towards the area I want to highlight.
In the diagram you notice that there is higher level of interest in the lower right hand quadrant.
This reminds me to not always center my work and has helped me rethink the way I design my pieces in order to increase interest and balance.
Every jewelry artist designs their own pieces based on their understanding and interpretation of the elements and principles of design.
Utilizing the design emphasis as a specific strategy allows the jewelry artist to communicate the message they want the viewer to receive.
As the experience of the jewelry artist grows, their techniques can become simpler, and the message can become more sophisticated.
Design is a visual language and it is up to the jewelry artist to utilize this language to create meaningful messages.
As the you practice and integrate the principles and elements of design into your work, they become second nature and a integrated methodology in which the you expresses yourself.
This will increase your sells and the recognition as a jewelry artist and designer.