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Thread: Design Principles

  1. #1
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    Default Design Principles

    I'm from a very scientific background and really struggle with the design aspect of jewellery making. Most of the time I overthink things to the point of not starting!

    I have been on quite a few short courses on fabrication and stone setting, which do give me inspiration as I learn what is possible. I was wondering if there are any books or other resources on the principles of design, particularly jewellery. Is there an equivalent to the rules of composition for photography? The kind of rules you can use as a framework to get started and can learn when to break once you become more proficient?

    Thanks in advance,

    T

  2. #2
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    Design is what they teach on degree courses Tess, but that's never going to happen for me.

    So I carry a pencil and note book and jot down a rough sketch of something that appeals to me. This can be in galleries, museums, on line, or seen on public transport.
    If you know the recipient, you can also be guided by their interests. Animals are a good subject and illustrations can be found on line. Dennis
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Dog Whistle Necklace.jpg   Dog Detail.jpg  

  3. #3
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    As Dennis said design was a big part of what we did, one day a week was spent on design, I even know how to do end elevations, side elevations etc. It’s purpose was of course to help you understand how things work and to provide images of the whole piece for a customer.
    I have hardly put anything on paper since and don’t do commissions. I get a picture in my head of what I’d like to make and maybe put a line or two on paper. Everything then just evolves at the bench until I’ve created something I think works

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by TDA20 View Post
    I'm from a very scientific background and really struggle with the design aspect of jewellery making. Most of the time I overthink things to the point of not starting!

    I have been on quite a few short courses on fabrication and stone setting, which do give me inspiration as I learn what is possible. I was wondering if there are any books or other resources on the principles of design, particularly jewellery. Is there an equivalent to the rules of composition for photography? The kind of rules you can use as a framework to get started and can learn when to break once you become more proficient?

    Thanks in advance,

    T
    Umm... copy!

  5. #5
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    Design for me is something that makes me feel a particular way when I look at it - I mean I do know that there are mathematical principles involved but they are also entangled with what appeals to ones eye.
    Proportion is the key I guess.
    I recently bought a book about jewellery design that although written for beaders was recommended in one of the FB groups I'm in as being useful for all aspects of jewellery making as it talks about proportion, colour balance, shape etc. The Beaders Guide to Jewellery Design. It's okay but then I think when I look at things I really love I find it more useful to try and pick apart what it is that I love about it - the way that a fern frond uncurls, and how the tiny ferns that grow on the wall outside my kitchen are shaped, how the irregularity of dew drops on a spiders web are so appealing. I don't think I've managed to capture those elements in my jewellery making yet, but I'm trying.

  6. #6
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    One aspect of an art college course was you were made to draw and examine everything. Moving parts in museums, natural form, buildings. It does make you very aware of your surroundings and looking at the things about you in parts rather than as a whole. Even though I no longer draw I do take a lot of photographs now and shapes and form are very much part of my designs

  7. #7
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    As I am by trade a Cabinet maker I learnt technical drawing and design at trade school, with jewellery I usually just work from my head, as you asked about books there are hundreds and hundreds
    of books on jewellery design

  8. #8
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    Thanks Dennis, I think I am in a similar boat regarding not being in a position to do an entire degree course. Have taken your advice and started trying to draw on my iPad whenever I think of something as it's usually in my handbag. Will get a sketch book for home but think I get put off by my terrible drawing ability :/...
    Your tip of focusing on the recipient is really helpful as most of my pieces are gifts too.

    Caroline, thank you for the advice. I like your idea of taking photographs of the things I see around me. I need to practice looking at things from an aesthetic point of view, breaking down images and objects to work out what it is that appeals and develop those aspects in a jewellery piece.

    Nick - I am trying very hard not to!

    Deb, I like your suggestion of starting with proportion and visual balance. Will stick to making things I like the look of and hopefully a design theme will emerge over the years! I love the originality of your work. Have tracked down The Beader's Guide to Jewelry Design and also found The Art of Jewellery Design by Elizabeth Olver so will see how I get on with those as well.

    Bob, I have met several cabinet makers turned jeweller, guess there's a lot of crossover skill. Didn't know where to start with books but Deb's pointers have given me a direction to begin with. I guess once you have an eye for things, it starts becoming easier to design without having to think about principles.

    Really appreciate the responses to my post, they've been really helpful and have started me thinking and looking at things more visually. Will see where it leads...! Thanks again x

  9. #9
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    In relation to proportion and balance you’ll discover that almost everything in nature is balanced and proportionate and if you can narrow down aspects and shapes then you’re in the right road

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