How do you come up with your ideas?

How do you come up with your ideas?

I am often asked how I come up with my designs. It’s a complicated question to answer because at this point, I have already done years of experimenting, evolving and redesigning. At this stage in my career, I have figured out my materials and my aesthetic, and that was 1/2 the battle. It takes years for a unique artistic voice to solidify, and thankfully I’ve reached beyond that point: in school I learned how to make things, and then there were years of working for other artists, all the while making my own work on the side. I knew pretty early on that I wanted to make and sell my work for a living, so once I learned about shows, I dove right in.

A little background: my original body of work was actually not jewelry, but tableware and objects. After about 10 years of making and selling my line of ‘funkyflaware’, I began to transition back to jewelry. My goal was  to keep the same materials and aesthetic as my other body of work, and there in lies my challenge.

Anyway, I begin my design process with a concept. I am constantly drawing, and have several sketchbooks going at any given time. I first decide some key element and then how those key elements will function. For instance, one line’s concept was the integration of hollow formed silver with several layers of acrylic colored sheets. Luckily, I’ve perfected my riveting method (the method I use to connect all the components together with the setting of the gemstones) by now, so that part is already figured out. Often times I will add a new element, but I tend to design within tight self-imposed parameters to keep my line cohesive.

My work evolves quickly. I design my work in groupings or lines — I have more ideas than I have time to make them. I tend to make a bunch of one grouping and then move on to something else. In my most recent body of work, I evolved away from simple geometric forms — my concept was to make organic-ish shapes with my inorganic material. The line was conceived in the summer and took shape in the fall, and I was really inspired by the fall leaves, flowers and butterflies, and inspired me to mix in larger gemstones than I had previously been using.

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In my newest body of work which I began just a few weeks ago, I am currently obsessed with working at a smaller scale and working in ‘clusters’. I am always up for a design challenge, and this newest body came as a result of the American Craft Council’s Charm Program. (If you are not familiar with it, follow the link to learn more about it).

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I am really feeling quite motivated to evolve this newest line, and can’t wait until I can get back to my studio to really explore it some more!