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SO YOU WANT TO BE A JEWELRY DESIGNER:
Merging Your Voice With Form
A Book About How To
Develop A Fluency In Jewelry Design,
Taking You Beyond Craft,
And How To Create Jewelry Which
Draws People’s Attention
That is my hope
Taking Jewelry Design Beyond Craft
Jewelry making has aspects of craft to it, but it is so much more. It is art. It is architecture. It is communicative and interactive. It moves with the person wearing it. It is reflective of the jewelry designer’s hand. And it defines and reaffirms the narrative stories of everyone who wears it, views it, buys it, exhibits it, collects it, talks about it.
To go beyond craft, the jewelry designer needs to become literate in this discipline called Jewelry Design. Literacy means understanding how to answer the question: Why do some pieces of jewelry draw your attention, and others do not? How to develop the authentic, creative self, someone who is fluent, flexible and original. How to gain the necessary design skills and be able to apply them, whether the situation is familiar or not.
Craft and art techniques and theories are of little help. These do not show how to make trade-offs between beauty and functionality. Nor how to introduce pieces publicly. These provide weak rules for determining when a piece of jewelry is finished and successful. Often, the desires and motivations of wearers, viewers and buyers are minimized or ignored.
So You Want To Be A Jewelry Designer reinterprets craft techniques, modifies art theories, and introduces architectural, socio-cultural and perceptual-cognitive considerations so that jewelry makers are better prepared to approach design.
By the end of So You Want To Be A Jewelry Designer, established jewelry artisan Warren Feld teaches you how to
• Select materials, techniques and technologies
• Choose, compose, construct and manipulate jewelry design elements
• Anticipate expectations, perceptions, values and desires of client audiences
• Develop those soft skills of creativity, inspiration, aspiration and passion
Warren Feld examines with you all those things which lead to your success as a jewelry designer, and your associated design practice or business.
At The Beginning
You make jewelry. That is what you do.
But when you think jewelry and speak jewelry and work jewelry, this is what you become.
Yes, jewelry making has aspects of craft to it. But it is so much more. It is art. It is architecture. It is communicative and interactive. It is reflective of the jewelry designer’s hand. And it defines or reaffirms the self- and social-identities of everyone who wears it, views it, buys it, exhibits it, collects it, talks about it.
To go beyond craft as a jewelry designer, you need to become literate in this discipline called jewelry design. As a person literate in jewelry design, you become your authentic, creative self, someone who is fluent, flexible and original. You gain the skills necessary to design jewelry whether the situation is familiar or not. You are a jewelry designer.
The literate jewelry designer grasps the differences between jewelry as object and jewelry as intent. That is, you recognize how a piece of jewelry needs to be orchestrated from many angles. How jewelry making involves more than following a set of steps. How jewelry, without design, is just sculpture. How jewelry is a very communicative, public and interactive work of art and design. How jewelry focuses attention. How true design enhances the dignity of the person wearing it. And how the success of a jewelry designer, and associated practice or business, comes down to what’s happening at the boundary between the jewelry and the body – that is, jewelry is art only as it is worn.
I am a Jewelry Designer.
I have been designing jewelry and teaching classes for over 35+ years now.
What excites me is finding answers to such questions as:
• What does it mean to be fluent and literate in design?
• What are the implications for defining jewelry as an "object" versus as an "intent"?
• Why does some jewelry draw your attention, and others do not?
• How does jewelry design take you beyond art or craft?
• How do you judge a piece as finished and successful?
• Why is disciplinary literacy in design important for introducing your works publicly, as well as selling your works in the creative marketplace?
My ideas have developed and evolved over time. These are ideas about jewelry, its design, and the necessary tradeoffs between appeal and functionality. These are ideas which express the why and the how jewelry design differs from art or craft. These are ideas which are embedded in and emerge from the special disciplinary and literacy requirements all jewelry designers need to learn so that they can think and speak and work like designers. These are ideas about how to introduce jewelry into the creative marketplace. These ideas center on fluency, flexibility and originality. And that’s what you want to be as a jewelry designer: fluent, flexible and original.
I teach classes in jewelry design and applications.
I want my students to learn the mechanics of various techniques. This is obvious. But I want them to go beyond the basic mechanics. I want them to be able to have a great degree of management control over the interplay of aesthetic elements. I also want them to have a great degree of insight, strategy and “smartness” in how things get constructed architecturally. Last, I want them, and this is important, to understand and recognize and incorporate into their designs how and why people desire things – why they want to wear things and why they want to buy things and why they want to tell all their friends about the things they are wearing and buying.
Literacy involves all these things: craft, art, design, context. Teaching a disciplinary literacy specific to jewelry design is a lot like teaching literacy in reading and writing. We want our students to comprehend. We want them to be able to be self-directed in organizing and implementing their basic tasks. We want them to be able to function in unfamiliar situations and respond when problems arise. We want them to develop an originality in their work – originality in the sense that they can differentiate themselves from other jewelry designers. We want them to anticipate the shared understandings their various audiences have about whether a piece is inhabitable – that is, finished and successful for them. We want them to think like designers. And, we want a high level of automaticity in all this. The basic jewelry design curriculum does not accomplish this. There is an absence of strategy and strategic thinking. Hence this book and guide for anyone who wants to become a successful jewelry designer.
This book is for someone who wants to develop that strategic kind of thinking and speaking and doing which underly their discipline we call Jewelry Design.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Why I wrote this book and acknowledgements
1. JEWELRY BEYOND CRAFT: GAINING A DISCIPLINARY LITERACY AND FLUENCY IN DESIGN
2. GETTING STARTED
2a. BECOMING THE BEAD ARTIST AND JEWELRY DESIGNER:
The Ongoing Tensions Between Inspiration and Form
2b. BECOMING THE BEAD ARTIST AND JEWELRY DESIGNER:
5 Essential Questions Every Jewelry Designer Should Have An Answer For
2c. GETTING STARTED: CHANNELING YOUR EXCITEMENT
2d. GETTING STARTED: DEVELOPING YOUR PASSION
2e. GETTING STARTED: CULTIVATING YOUR PRACTICE
3. WHAT IS JEWELRY, Really?
4. MATERIALS, TECHNIQUES AND TECHNOLOGIES
4a. MATERIALS: Knowing What To Know
4b. TECHNIQUES AND TECHNOLOGIES: Knowing What To Do
4c. MIXED MEDIA / MIXED TECHNIQUES
5. RULES OF COMPOSITION, CONSTRUCTION, AND MANIPULATION
5a. JEWELRY DESIGN COMPOSITION:
PLAYING WITH BUILDING BLOCKS CALLED DESIGN ELEMENTS
5b. THE JEWELRY DESIGNER’S APPROACH TO COLOR
5c. POINT, LINE, PLANE, SHAPE, FORM, THEME:
Creating Something Out Of Nothing
5d. JEWELRY DESIGN PRINCIPLES: COMPOSING, CONSTRUCTING, MANIPULATING
5e. HOW TO DESIGN AN UGLY NECKLACE:
The Ultimate Designer’s Challenge / You Be The Judge
5f. ARCHITECTURAL BASICS OF JEWELRY DESIGN:
Building In The Necessary Support and Structure
5g. ARCHITECTURAL BASICS OF JEWELRY DESIGN:
Anatomy of a Necklace
5h. ARCHITECTURAL BASICS OF JEWELRY DESIGN:
6. DESIGN MANAGEMENT
6a. THE PROFICIENT DESIGNER: The Path To Resonance
6b. JEWELRY DESIGN: A Managed Process
6c. COMPONENT BASED DESIGN SYSTEMS:
Building Both Efficiency As Well As Effectiveness Into Your Jewelry Designs
7. INTRODUCING YOUR DESIGNS PUBLICLY
7a. SHARED UNDERSTANDINGS AND DESIRES:
THE CONVERSATION CENTERED WITHIN A DESIGN
7b. “BACKWARD-DESIGN” IS FORWARDS THINKING
8. DEVELOPING THOSE INTUITIVE SKILLS WITHIN
8a. CREATIVITY ISN’T FOUND, IT’S DEVELOPED
8b. INSPIRATION AND ASPIRATION
8c. YOUR PASSION FOR DESIGN:
Finding It, Developing It, and Embedding It In Your Designs
9. JEWELRY IN CONTEXT
9a. CONTEMPORARY JEWELRY IS NOT A “LOOK” --
IT’S A WAY OF “THINKING”
9b. CONTEMPORIZING TRADITIONAL JEWELRY:
Transitioning From Conformity To Individuality
Coordinating Aesthetics With Pleasure
9d. Designing With The Brain In Mind:
Perception, Cognition, Sexuality
9e. SELF CARE
10. TEACHING DISCIPLINARY LITERACY:
Strategic Learning in Jewelry Design
SOME FINAL WORDS BY WARREN FELD
ABOUT WARREN FELD
OTHER ARTICLES AND TUTORIALS BY WARREN FELD