In this post I’d like to share with you my process for designing jewelry. Other than the Simple Elegance collection, each piece that I make is one of a kind, meaning that I only make one of each design. I may make similar pieces in the future, but they will never be entirely the same. When I design pieces I try to design an entire collection at once. Since I design my collections for seasonal releases, I have to make sure that the whole collection is ready to go when I need it.
My designs are usually inspired by the stones or beads that I’m using in them. I look at the stones and play with different weaves to see which looks best with the stone’s coloring, shape, and size. Each weave has its own personality and brings to mind certain words. The feeling of the weave needs to match the feeling of the stone for the piece to be cohesive and beautiful.
Once I have a general idea of what stone and weave I want to use, including what gauge wire to use for the weave, I start drawing out different ideas. There are many ways to join beads and chainmaille weaves, and the way they go together depends on how I want the piece to feel. If a stone is dark and contrasts nicely with the sterling silver jump rings, I may have the weave frame it. If the stone isn’t quite as bold it may look better left open. This is where having segments of chainmaille completed is very helpful because I can try different configurations and see what works best.
Drawing it Out
Once I know how I want the piece to look I draw it out. This is where I figure out how many beads I want to use, how many inches of chainmaille I’ll need, and what the dimensions of the piece will be. I also translate the design into a set. Usually I start out by designing a necklace. I then translate this into a bracelet and one or two pairs of earrings. Sets should be cohesive, but the designs aren’t always exactly the same. I always use the same weave and stone in a set, but the connections are often slightly different in each piece.
Putting it Together
Once the piece has been drawn out I count out the needed materials and this gets added to my “to do” line. I usually have three or four sets waiting to be made at any given time. Then all I have to do is find the time to sit down and weave some chainmaille.
I hope you’ve found this post interesting. Each artist has a unique process and there is no “right way” to design something. Feel free to leave a comment on your design process. I’d love to hear from you!