How to get design ideas

on Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Figure 1

Figure 2

We all suffer from mental blocks every now and then, when our muse seems to have deserted us. Most of my design ideas come from the simplest things, the dark bark of a tree in spring highlighted by the bright green of new leaves, or perhaps a building that has design features that attract me. Sometimes it can be beads on my worktable that have mingled with beads from other project, and then inspiration strikes.

Ask yourself, what do I like about <fill in the blank>. Does a food recipe appeal to you? Why? Is it the color, the texture, the shape of what is in the dish? You like it for various reasons, and if you can find a way to manipulate that attraction into a design, why not?

For instance, around Valentine’s Day, I wanted to make something with red in it (of course), but I also wanted to design something that spoke to a jealous heart. When we are in love, jealousy can infect a relationship so easily! I rarely do red and green together except for winter holidays, but I followed the idea to create this pendant (Figure 1).

This is called The Jealous Heart and the gold wires represent what jealousy can do to a relationship. This pendant is done with gold to signify the preciousness of love in our heart, and the green heart bead is the jealousy. That one green heart bead, and the idea of jealousy led to this design.

There is a building in downtown Hartford, CT that used to be Colt, and it has a blue dome with gold stars in it, if I remember correctly. That was the inspiration for my latest pieces in which I used cobalt blue and gold seed beads. I titled that one Midnight Blue, and it is done using Kumihimo techniques. The bracelet and earrings (Figure 2) make this set one that will always remind me of Hartford, CT. I grew in CT, and had many memorable times in the big city.

The next time you see something you really like, remember the colors, the shapes, and how the sizes of things go together. There is inspiration all around you, but you have to really look.

Dr. Gail H. Devoid, Ph.D. is president of Need for Beads, Inc. and teaches beading techniques through programs at the Bead Society of New Hampshire. She also co-hosted a live, free, Internet radio show called The Jewelry Connection.

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