I was flipping through my workbook last night when I came across this. Although I didn't date this entry, as you can tell by the heading (if you can read my handwriting - my mother claims it hasn't improved since I was about seven), these were my preliminary sketches for entries in the first Bead Star contest held last year. I thought this was a pretty clear illustration of my design method, so I thought I'd share it with you. Now, sometimes, I just get out the bead board and start playing with shapes and colors of beads, without doing any preliminary sketching, but I often find this the most efficient way to design my pieces.
At the time I drew this, I owned a strand of center-drilled keishi pearls and a variety of loose freshwater pearls and that's about it. I had never made a medallion shaped-dragon heart pendant or related clasp at that point but thought it would be interesting to try. (This is kind of embarrassing, but I had also never wire-wrapped a horizontally drilled teardrop-shaped bead, either - I had been creating jewelry for less than a year at that point - but that's a different issue. I often find that my designs are more ambitious than my limited technical skills, but I feel that it keeps me on my toes. And you never know what you can do until you try, right?)
As you can see by my notes, I felt that a drop-shaped bead would work well dangling at the bottom of the focal, but I didn't have an idea at that time what kind of bead I might be able to use. With this draft in mind, I went shopping during a local bead show and found some nice faceted onyx drops. (And I opened my copy of Stringing to the basic skills section, and learned how to wire-wrap them. Ahem.) I also found a larger faceted round onyx bead to string immediately above the dragon heart pendant. In the end, the piece turned out like this:
As you can see, the over-sized drops I found didn't need any further embellishment (and I only needed three of them), and I changed the clasp from a toggle to a button (and fiddled with the scale of the pendant). However, overall, the design came out pretty similar to the initial concept, right? In this case, using a preliminary sketch helped me focus the design more quickly and streamlined the whole process.
Of course, it doesn't always turn out this smoothly - you can probably also see a partial sketch of one of my double koi pendants on that page. That necklace design didn't quite work out for me, and I never completed it. Still, putting the concept down on paper first helped me determine that I didn't want to take the process further with that particular piece.
Oh, and how did I do with my entry? Well, I did make the finals last year, but I didn't end up placing. This piece ultimately appeared in the Winter 2009 issue of Stringing, instead. However, if you are not already aware - Bead Star 2009 is underway! Go here for more details.
I am an intellectual property lawyer by training and have a background in English Renaissance literature. I love science fiction. I primarily watch Sesame Street these days and find myself humming "Pop Goes the Weasel" at odd moments (guess why). I can happily eat ice cream in the middle of winter when the wind chill is 20 below 0. I have been making beads and designing jewelry since 2007.
2010 - Winner, First Place, British Bead Awards, Other Finished Bead Jewellery 2010 - Winner, Second Place, British Bead Awards, Metal Clay Jewellery 2010 - Winner, Second Place, Bead Dreams, Metal Clay
2010 - Grand Prize, Gold Medal Winner, Fire Mountain Gems and Beads, Metal Clay, Metal Beads, Wirework and Chain Jewelry-Making Contest
2010 - Finalist, Bead Star, Stones, Plastics and Designs with Heart Categories
2009 - Winner, First Place, British Bead Awards, Metal Clay
2009 - Winner, Second Place, British Bead Awards, Beyond Glass, Handmade Beads and Components
2009 - Winner, Second Place, Bead Arts Awards, Necklace
2009 - Finalist, Bead Dreams, Metal Clay
2008 - Finalist Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Beading Contest, Metal Clay
2008 - Finalist, Bead Star, Pearls
A word about copyright
As indicated in the copyright notice, the contents of this blog are copyright by me. To the extent that instructions to make jewelry, beads, knit items or other instructions are included in this blog, they are free for you to use to make the projects for personal use. They should not be used for commercial purposes, ie, to make items for resale.