One of my favorite things is designing new jewelry. I have different jewelry design processes for different types of work. Sometimes I just work freely, arranging separate components on a background. Other times, I need to plan the design as a single piece. In that case, I work from sketches in a series.
I thought I’d share my latest sketch process to illustrate how it works. I’m taking a workshop next week where I need a design that will accommodate pierced areas as well as detailed carving. Not knowing exactly what the constraints of the work will be, I’ve just gone with my gut. I’ve tried to draw up a plan that reflects many of my design motifs, but allows for these new explorations.
I started with a Google search for a bird photo that I could work with. I chose this simple sparrow.
I quickly freehand sketched the sparrow in ink in my journal – about 4″ in size, and then scanned it into my computer and reduced the size to about 2″. After printing it out, I started to experiment with additions to the bird, my usual branch with leaves and maybe a flower.
At each step, I traced the original sketch and simplified as I went. The repeated tracing gives me a feel for the main elements of the design, and it gets crisper, more essential, with fewer difficult to realize details.
Eventually, I started to consider the overall edge of the piece and how I could incorporate the design into that edge. First I tried a simple square border, but that felt awkward. I also realized that I needed to remove excess leaves.
Then I had the idea to use my common ogee shape. I started to draw it in on top of the square frame above, but then I pulled out some paper and cut several size templates to audition. Because the design seemed wider than tall, I ran the ogee horizontally. Then I filled in the breadth of the frame.
As of now, this is the final design. I will sleep on it overnight and inspect again tomorrow, as I often notice details later that escape me at the beginning. For example, the leaf that has no support from the frame seems like a problem waiting, so it will probably get redesigned. But for now, I feel like my work has been successful – I have something to take to class, where I’m sure modifications will ensue. I derived my design from a photo, which might have originally been copyrighted by the photographer, but by the time I’d done the rest of the design, it clearly only an inspiration. As it should be.
If you are interested in a custom design to celebrate a special moment, pleas contact me to discuss the process.