In honour of this March's Meet the Maker, here's a short post on my Wearable art jewellery design process. I hope that it inspires you to bring your own ideas to life!
Curiosity drives me.
I like exploring the world around me. I find that very enriching. I've been extremely interested in the earth and its surface ever since I was exposed to geography as a teenager. That subject opened up a whole world to explore: the variety of landscapes and processes of their formation, topography, and the vast array of textures and colours that come with them. My visual language can't help but be informed by this.
Straddling the worlds of being an artist and designer presents a challenge. I need to focus on expressing ideas and bringing them to life, while ensuring that my jewellery is both beautiful and practical. Here's some insight into that process:
I usually start with an idea of the type of form that I want. How much texture should it have and what kind of clay should I use? To me this is an important step because the behaviour of the glazes depend on the surface texture and the type of clay. More grooves in the surface allow for more pooling and flowing. That allows colours to react a bit more and create a more complex surface (which I love!). I also consider the thickness of the piece. Would the texture make it top heavy if it's a stud. It wouldn't sit well in the wearer's ear if that's the case. Is it going to be too heavy if it's a hanging earring?
My work is laced with colour. To achieve a beautiful mix I like to layer coloured glazes. Throughout the years I've experimented with different brands of glazes to see how they react together. I would recommend experimentation no matter what medium you are using. It gives you more control of your surface design and takes the guess work out of achieving a particular effect.
Editing and Testing
When my work is fired I lay them out to see the results. Some are disappointments, while others bring me joy. It's essential to edit your work. After all, we're not perfect and not all ideas work out. Out of 40 pieces I may only like and present 15 to the world. That's just how the cookie crumbles. I keep the others and examine why they didn't work, so that things improve the next time.
I then put together the ones I like and test them out by wearing. It helps me to market my work honestly. In my description I mention how it feels in the ear... is it light or medium weigh? What's the best occasion to wear it on... stuff like that. As an artist I always dread this part because it's more boring than making. But there's no one better to describe your work than you, so.....
What does this mean? I put my heart into my work. That means that I try to be genuine in my approach. There are so many trends out there that it's easy to feel compelled to follow them. At the end of the day I may get more likes and followers but I would feel like an impostor, to be honest. I feel strongly about carving my own niche, even if it's not that popular. My buyers benefit as well because they are getting truly one of a kind work that they can call their own.
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