Thursday, April 14, 2011

Storms A Comin'

I thought I'd write a little about my creative process.  Sometimes I begin a design with nothing more than a basic color scheme.  I will pick a color I haven't made anything with for a while and just start there.  I organize my beads by color families mainly and I can just look through the beads in that family and find a bead that catches my eye and start there. 
Sometimes I have a particular unusual stone and when I look at it, I know that is the one that is speaking to me on that day and I will start there.  Some of my stones are so outstanding I can hardly wait to design a necklace featuring them.  Just looking at them and feeling them seems to spark the creativity in my mind.

Today I'm going to tell you about starting a different way though.  There are times when I am inspired by something around me.  The other night a storm was heading our way.  The air was heavy and I felt energy in the atmosphere.  My animals were all super hyper and I know the coming storm was affecting all of us.  I kept thinking, storms a' comin', and it hit me that I had to create something with that name, and try to use the natural energy around me to channel into this new creation.  I began thinking of what beads and stones I had that would convey my storm story.  I wanted this new design to be dark and mysterious, a bit smoky or cloudy feeling, with sparks of energy throughout.  So, I dug out any beads I thought may convey this and began.  I found the perfect focal point, a dark black agate round with a tiny streak of white running through it like a bolt of lightning.  I decided to make this hang down from some shining silver chain and began to pull together other beads to complement it.  This is what my bead design board looked like as I began...
I decided this necklace would be asymmetrical, unpredictable and a little wild like thunderstorms can be.  So I continued to play around with different designs until I had something I liked the looks of.  Using smoky quartz and dark sable pearls like storm clouds full of rain, flashes of sterling silver like lightning, and black onyx, jet and blackstone I assembled my perfect storm.  After I had a basic design laid out, I started to string it on my wire to see how the stones lay and to make sure it all worked together as a whole.  Here is the beginning of my stringing  it all together:
As I string the beads on, I have to pay attention to how they fit together.  For instance, the sterling silver tubes I used are very tiny and you can't use them right next to beads with large holes or they can fall inside of the larger beads and ruin the design.  Little details like this are very important to the overall outcome of the finished jewelry design.  I have to make sure the weight of various beads is distributed just right throughout so it will hang correctly.  Lots of things to keep in mind, not just the creative process but the technical side of things too.  Once I have the main body of my necklace completed I have to decide how long it will be, what size and style of clasp to use and how to end the whole design.   I was very happy with the outcome of my necklace.  I think it conveys the story I was trying to tell, like an artist's painting or an author's book.  I really feel like each piece of jewelry I create is a work of art.  I hope other people see it that way too and enjoy wearing it as much as I enjoyed making it.
Here is my finished Storms A Comin' necklace...
The funny thing is, it is now storming again as I write this.  A perfect evening to write about a coming storm!

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