Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What Can't You Do?

I’ve connected with quite a few jewelry artisans recently whose work I greatly admire, including Lorelei Eurto, Cindy Gimbrone, Lori Anderson, and many others.  These gifted artists have influenced my own designs in a way that’s really growing on me.

Up until recently, designing asymmetrical jewelry was a huge struggle for me.  My logical, orderly brain craves symmetry and patterns, and it takes me probably three times as long to design an asymmetrical necklace as it does a symmetrical piece.  The artists whose work I admire appear to have a natural gift for creating beauty out of a seemingly random handful of beads.  Naturally, since I’m kindof an ornery person at heart, I’m determined to conquer my asymmetrical fears.  I started with a positive attitude, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…”

You should have seen my workspace when I was designing this necklace!  I had beads and findings strewn from one end of the table to another (and even some under the table).  Of course, I had to adjust and readjust the balance until I got it right, but you wouldn’t want it to hang catawampus, now would you?

This necklace pushed me out of my comfort zone in another way:  I used much larger scale components than I'm accustomed to designing with.  The faceted black onyx rondelles were contributed to the Beading Daily bead swap by my good friend, Sherri Solawetz.  They measure 15x10mm – about twice as large as I usually work with.  In fact, I was so taken with these rondelles, that I made another asymmetrical piece, this time a bracelet:

You know what’s got me chuckling?  Sherri told me that she contributed these gorgeous onyx beads because she struggles to work with large components.  Up until recently, I would have said the same thing about myself.  But I'm finding it's lots more fun when I erase that preconception from my mind.  A whole new world opens up!

My muse sure seems to be in “chunky” and “asymmetrical” mode lately:

So what has my recent jewelry design journey taught me thus far?  To keep things simple, to incorporate plenty of movement, than chunky doesn’t have to equal heavy-weight, and to not limit my component choices to 4 – 6mm scale.

So I’m throwing away the “can’ts” and welcoming the “can’s”.  What habits are limiting your design potential these days?  And how are you going about conquering them?

Just keep telling yourself, "I know I can, I know I can, I know I can..."


  1. That is such a great necklace. I like that it is asymmetrical... it leads the eye, has balance and movement and is such a great color combination. Imagine if you were to make that perfectly symmetrical how much more pedestrian it would have been! Brava to conquering fears and being stubborn enough to see it through!
    Enjoy the day!

  2. I love them! That necklace is great. Asymmetry (sp?) is a wonderful thing, but yes, it does take doing and re-doing! :) Did you make the Dream charm?

  3. Erin and Courtney, thank you so much! As much extra work as is involved in pushing your creative limits, I do love it. There's something so satisfying about completing a project that's difficult -- much more satisfying than a piece that comes together easily.

    Erin, gotta tell ya, stubborn is my middle name! Not that I'd admit that to anyone in my family, mind you... ;^D

    Courtney, I did actually make the Dream link. Started with a sheet of 22GA sterling silver and cut a rounded rectangle. Then stamped the letters using an inexpensive set I bought at Harbor Freight. To texturize the outer edge, I used several different dapping punches and a hammer. Took that approach instead of just using a ball peen hammer so that I could better control where the texture went. Then I added holes and oxidized the link with liver of sulfur. That's my idea of a fun evening!!!

  4. Those are AMAZING! What do you mean, you don't do asymmetric well? Get out of town!

    I'm so honored that you count me as an inspiration. Wow. I look at what you've done and think of YOU as inspiration to me!

  5. THANK YOU, Lori! You're so sweet! Isn't that the really cool thing about our community -- the way we can feed each other's creativity? Whenever I need a hit of inspiration, all I have to do is stop by your blog or website for some amazing eye candy!


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