Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Jewelry Design: What Comes First?

You've all heard that age-old, unanswerable question, 'What comes first, the chicken or the egg?'  In relation to jewelry designers, what comes first; the materials, findings & focal pendant/bead or the concept/idea of what you want to create?

After conversing with several other jewelry designers I've come to a conclusion; the creative process is as individual as the people conceiving them.  Personally, I'm inspired most often by the work of others, seen online or in magazines.  I begin by modelling a feature in their design that appeals to me and incorporate it into my piece, adding my own special touches & unique flair.  The end result rarely looks like the original inspiration but it 'is' what gets the creative process flowing for me.

The difficulty that I experience in bringing some of my concepts to fruition is finding the bits & pieces that I am envisioning in my head or have seen online.  It's frustrating and sad that a lot of those design ideas die on the drawing board for that reason.  Unfortunately, for the most part, buying beads & findings internationally is rarely cost effective and one of my main aims is to keep my pieces affordable.  Also, since I am very tactile by nature, I need to touch & feel the components I want to use before I buy them.

Other designers can find a special focal bead or pendant and build a whole collection around it!  They get inspiration from the symbolism & meaning of gemstone beads and create their pieces from there.  That is where the creative process generally begins for them and I admit that it does happen for me sometimes.  Prayer beads especially lend themselves to design by symbolism.  For example, my Tree of Life prayer beads use colour & the tree pendant to represent/symbolize the four seasons and the cycle of life.

So, after pondering & examining this question for several days, I still don't know what comes first, the chicken or the egg.  Maybe it doesn't really matter.  There is no 'right' or 'wrong' way to design jewelery.  It's an expression of the individuality of the creator and that, in & of itself, makes each piece special.  *smile*

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