Sketch: A rough design, plan, or draft, a simple or hastily executed drawing.
I am often asked where my ideas come from when creating art pieces. Sometimes there is something tangible I can point to and say this is what inspired me and sometimes it is more of an intuitive inkling to want to try and create something that I have to work out on paper by sketching. Both of these apply to the creative process of my latest art pieces that I gave as gifts for Christmas.
While sorting through some of my mothers jewelry I thought it was such a shame that it was not being worn and enjoyed. Truthfully I, nor my daughter or daughter-in-law, share the same style or taste as my mother but there were some really nice elements to some of the pieces. I came across a broken necklace sealed in an envelope that sparked an idea of how to create a new keepsake that could be worn and enjoyed by my daughter and daughter-in-law.
I began by sketching out ideas incorporating new elements, Etsy finds, and parts and pieces of some of my mothers jewelry to make unique necklaces that were tailored to each ones taste and personal style. I rarely sketch directly in my sketch book, a bulky book seems to get in my way, I prefer to grab whatever paper is handy and my favorite sketching tool, a cheap black BIC ink pen, and scribble away making detailed notations. Then I will glue the sketch into my sketchbook for safe keeping and reference.
It is extremely rare that the outcome of the project will mirror the original sketch. Often allowances have to be made in the design leaving room for adding to, taking away, or minor tweaks to the original. For these two jewelry pieces I had the concept but they both seemed to need an extra drape and in one case I made several different sketches moving the main elements around until I found the one that was most pleasing to the eye. I also knew that I wanted each piece to incorporate some sort of photography, which sparked the idea of using watch cases to encapsulate the photos.
I found a supplier on Etsy that had some new watch cases in stock that were delicate in design with diamond chips for embellishment and thought they would be perfect for one and for the other I ordered a wonderful old pocket watch case from and Etsy seller in Europe. I also ordered some pastel pearl glass beads in shades of the ocean and some Chez glass bronze transparent luster beads on Etsy. I purchased some quality chain for both pieces. All the rest of the beads and elements came from various pieces of my mothers jewelry.
The next step in this particular design process was pure play, moving beads around, pairing different combinations and color families until everything looks right. I snap a few photos to reference for placement. Then I began the stringing/wiring process. Trying on, adjusting, messing up, starting over, tweaking, and finally finishing each piece.
My daughters style is feminine, delicate, and always with a fun funky quirky edge to it. She adores some elements of Steampunk jewelry design so I decided that hers should be along that vein. I used one of her bridal portrait photos, enhanced it with paint, and added on an extra layer by using real dandelion seeds from my grandmothers field pressed under the glass. The glass orb on the end of the necklace also holds dandelion seeds. Her necklace is generational, seeds from her great-grandmothers garden, beads from her grandmothers jewelry, beads from a no longer worn bracelet of mine, and her own bridal portrait with one glass bead left over from a project she did as a teen.
This design perfectly marries the hard and soft and captures the right amount of quirky by using rich chocolate velvet ribbon, metal, wood, stone, glass, delicately designed hammered copper chain, with the soft sweetness of the photo. I am not a jewelry designer/maker but this statement style pendant necklace turned out better than I dreamed it would.
My daughter-in-law loves fashion and jewelry is her favorite accessory. Her style is always trendy and fresh with a twist of classic elegance. I thought designing something with a twist on the classic pearl necklace or locket would be perfect for her. I encapsulated mini beach photos of my daughter-in-law and my son in one watch case and their son and daughter in the other as "lockets". Glass pearls in ocean hues mixed with clear glass beads and cultured pearls as well as other elements from my mothers jewelry round out the design. This design depicts a special family memory of introducing her children to the beach for the very first time.
The gilded shell from one of my mothers necklaces perfectly reenforces the beachy feel of this statement style pendant necklace. I am kind of excited to design one for myself now.
While I had to deconstruct some of my mothers jewelry in order to use the beading or other elements, in the end it was worth it to have something that is a new keepsake that will be worn and enjoyed rather than it being put away in a drawer.
I hope that you have enjoyed a small part of my rough sketch to execution design process.