Studio Saturday – Design Basics

Welcome to Studio Saturday! Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you’ll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner.

This weeks winner is Valerie C., congratulations!

You have won a ceramic clasp from Gaea, compliments of Lorelei Eurto.  Please email Lorelei with your mailing address and she’ll send that right out to you.

Welcome to the Humblebeads Studio this week.

You know how when the universe wants to tell you something you’ll keep hearing it over and over again from all sorts of different places? Well, the universe has been saying to me – good design is good design and returning to the basics will give your work strength, vitality and new life.

Margie Deeb gave an insightful talk on the Bead Cruise about Finding Inspiration Everywhere and using the basic elements of color to improve your jewelry design. That really got my attention. So much of my design process is based on instinct, what I like and want to work with at the moment, that I don’t give much thought to using those basic principles of design anymore. And this is something I’ve been working on this week, having a thoughtfulness to my process.
I’ve been keeping a little checklist in my head:

Unity – an overall cohesiveness to the design, each element relates to another part.

Balance – usually asymmetrical, but there is a sense of each part balances another whether in shape, color or texture, etc.

Repetition – it may not be overt, but there is repetition and some form of pattern.

Texture – a play of textures adds excitement to a piece.

Contrast – there has be some part of the design that stands out, the contrast can be in any of the other design principles. A lack of contrast is a sure-fire recipe for a boring design.

Color – color can be second nature, but taking a little time to think out a palette based on color theory principles can add a new sophistication to a design.

So what creative lesson has the universe been whispering or shouting to you lately? 

Leave a comment and we’ll draw one random winner next week to receive one of my Poppy beads.

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36 Comment

  1. Carol B
    February 6, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    That is a beautiful necklace. Thanks for the reminder about the elements of design. I tend to get in a rut and that will help me.

    The universe has been shouting at me "nature" and "color variety" for a while. I made way too many brown things over the winter.

  2. Doreen
    February 6, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Well, a little bird dropped an acorn cap right where I sit in my backyard. I've been contemplating stuffing it with polymer clay 🙂

  3. EmandaJ
    February 6, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    VARIETY! Yup, it's been yelling at me. I'm used to creating designes that are quietly elegant with subtle matching of beads and components. But latley the things that have gotten noticed in my shop and on my blog are the things that were a real stretch for me, using wildly different colors or textures. Even this blog post has been kind of yelling at me to get out of my quiet rut (lovely though it is) and do something really different with lots of variety. The "virtual bead soup swap" has helped in that way.


  4. Kym Hunter Designs
    February 6, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    I saw a little flower bud on my quince bush yesterday and thought "spring is almost here, need to order some pretty beads for spring and summer jewelry!"

  5. The Joy of Nesting
    February 6, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    I've been working on what I lovingly call "creative improvising" 🙂 There are many things I don't have access to,therefore I need to improvise. No collage medium, no 24ga copper wire,no crackle medium, no silk sari strips, no chain, if I want to create something that I don't have all the supplies for I can either not make it or figure out substitutions. I think it has made me a better artist, but for sure it has made me more adventuresome and forces me to work outside of my comfort zone!!

    Pattie 😉
    Mazatlan Mx.

  6. Elizabeth
    February 6, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    I think balance is my nemesis and to some degree color. I have pattern and repetition under control, but balance is where I struggle (in design and IN LIFE, LOL).

  7. cjvierow
    February 6, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    What a necklace! It's beautiful. Mostly the beads have been yelling–"quit admiring me, get busy and use me"–maybe today.

  8. Meekiyu
    February 6, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    wonderful necklace and I love how I can see all the things in the list applied to it… =D suppose the universe has been saying get more sleep.. oh and make more stamps XD

  9. Jennevieve
    February 6, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    I love the balance in that necklace, it is a very striking piece!

  10. Gail W.
    February 6, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    I tend to get in ruts often and not be aware I'm doing it until someone points it out to me.Thanks for reminding us of the many things we need to keep in mind.

  11. Lucid Moon Studio
    February 6, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    I love the colors used in and design of your necklace! The message I have been getting is to create what I want to create and what makes me happy instead of making what I think other people would like or would buy. I have so much more fun making jewelry when I do this!
    Thanks for the giveaway!!


  12. sasha and max
    February 6, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    Stunning necklace – your red poppy beads are always an attention grabber!
    The universe says to me to keep it simple – one or 2 strong elements are best, and these are usually delivered via a unity in form plus a punchy dominant colour. Vicki

  13. Lisa Martin
    February 6, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    I have felt impressed to make polymer beads and pendants relating to the sky. Esp, the sun setting sky. Last few weeks/couple months, it has been just beautiful. Anyway, I did make 5 beads all different soft colors you can find in the sky and just today I made a bracelet with it!! I like it, I'll have to get a pic of it and share it somewhere. so much beauty in nature!!

  14. Sabine
    February 6, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    Variety of color has been shouting at me. Usually I work in monochromatics, but I need to branch out with a split complementary combinations.


  15. abeadlady
    February 7, 2010 at 12:02 am

    Color changes have been paramount for me since last month. I do so many things in the same old color choices that I want to break that mold.

  16. Sue
    February 7, 2010 at 3:54 am

    Color makes the world more interesting and jewelry as well.

  17. Lois Moon
    February 7, 2010 at 4:01 am

    Make moulds/molds…everywhere I walk with my dogs I find tiny slivers of larger things that I need to capture in an impression or mould. Also I want to try variations on a theme. I am so busy trying this and trying that, but I don't take enough time to play through all the possibilities of a medium or a color assortment.


  18. Alice
    February 7, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    The universe has been whispering to me to step outside the box. be brave and try something new.

    Beautiful jewelry!

  19. Susan Z
    February 7, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Very striking necklace–I love all the different textures and materials. I love your beads-especially the sea related ones.

  20. Azure Islands Designs
    February 7, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    Beautiful necklace…it would be easy to wear because of the color combination!

    The universe hasn't been speaking much to me lately…so I your elements of design are helpful as a reminder!


  21. Jean Hutter
    February 7, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Beautiful necklace I just love it. I guess the rules of good design apply to any atristic project – this is pretty much my checklist for my paintings.

  22. Shaterra Clay
    February 7, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Speaking of color in design, there is a challenge going on right now on the beads-of-clay.blogspot.com web site. Each month a different color scheme to be used in a piece, such as: monotone, analogous, etc. The winner gets a free ceramic piece. Check it out. Great exercise for trying out new color schemes.

  23. TesoriTrovati
    February 7, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Finding Inspiration Everywhere??!?? Could there be a better title for a class? Makes me think…Why wasn't I on that cruise!?

    I think that you are right. I need to stop and reexamine why I do what I do. I have been called to sketch more. I bought a sketchbook, but haven't been using it much. I need to do that. And maybe start adding color and pattern to it, as an inspiration jump off in the journal.

    But I have found recently that I need to scale back. The more over the top designs that I seem to gravitate to are not what is of interest. Using the art beads that I have horded these past two years is a priority. Simple. That is what I am trying to do now. I call them my "pretty little things." I have even experimented with bracelets (a strange challenge for me) and was asked to do rings again.

    But the biggest problem is the time.

    Thank you for sharing this great inspiration. Enjoy the day!

  24. Kirsten
    February 7, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    Hi Heather! What a pretty necklace…. The universe is telling me that all things have beauty, and when combined, can become even more beautiful…….

  25. Valerie C. of clinejewels.etsy.com
    February 7, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    Style. I need to find my own voice–style–name. I want you to see my designs and say " Wow, that's a Cline Jewels original.I have to learn to make that" or "I think I will buy that." That is a style you recognize And I want it to be me.

  26. Summer
    February 8, 2010 at 3:18 am

    Great article:) I think I've been hearing whispers to the effect of "stop being so symmetrical!" I love symmetry. I really need to try to see the beauty of asymmetry:)

  27. mairedodd
    February 8, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    my lesson is a bit more left brain, but meant to enhance the right brain experience… the more components i make, the more time and planning the design requires… about 6 months ago i began a journal… to sketch ideas i got late at night so i wouldn't forget them…. my lesson is to start making a bunch of findings ahead of time so my working can flow a bit more… the journaling forced me into addressing the principles of design – which is a great thing… thanks for sharing that – great topic to cover…

  28. Rochelle
    February 8, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    I love the beauty of your beads, your designs carry all of the concepts you shared with us. Thank you.

  29. Linda Gencarelli
    February 9, 2010 at 6:49 am

    Beautiful necklace, your inspiration inspires me !!!

  30. Michelle
    February 9, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Thanks for the post Heather…I think that this checklist can be applied to more than just art!
    Bead Happy!

  31. sandi m
    February 9, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Thanks for the design lesson/reminder.

    Right now the universe is telling me to put my creative thoughts into action. Yup, I have a sketchbook – need to start using it in a more formal way.

    Your necklace is a beauty – your poppies are one of my favorites.

  32. Lin S.
    February 10, 2010 at 12:05 am

    So much to think about! My beads talk to me. When I listen it's much better. Sometimes I audition my beads. When we experiment with new positions and combinations, creativity takes on a new role. Heather's beads could win an Oscar.

  33. Kirsten
    February 10, 2010 at 7:24 am

    The universe has been shouting to me to clear out the old and make space for the new.

    I like your use of the color red in this piece, how it repeats in different forms and textures.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

  34. Janet
    February 11, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Well the Creative lesson thats been hollering at me is to fully open up all of my senses and just soak everything in! Expand, look at books, childrens books, open my eyes more to the outside world. Inspiration is truly eyerywhere! But I think the Universe is really telling me to learn more bc the more I know…the more I can be creative to do!

  35. Shaiha
    February 12, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    To start taking pictures of anything that catches my eye. It might turn into a piece of jewelry

  36. Mel Mel
    February 13, 2010 at 12:19 am

    Cynthia Thornton's Enchanted Adornments has encouraged me to carry a sketch book and colored pencils, EVERYWHERE. This is awesome, when I have an idea I sketch it out, Otherwise I would sometimes forget. The book is also a good place for wish lists or new techniques I want to try. I can also tape colorful or inspiring photos in it. And what's on that wish list???? A Humblebead or two of course.
    The verification word here is "Expen" – That's what I call all my pens that get swiped from my desk. Lol Silver Parrot loves verification word meanings.

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