The title of this article seems grammatically incorrect. However, there is no mistake. There is the science and discipline of jewellery making, even jewellery designing. Then there is the art of it. And to top it off, there is certainly the art of creative jewellery designing. Empirical method and precise routine is important in any business, even if it is jewellery making, because it helps ensure repeatability, accountability, and viability, if combined with many other factors. However, there is the art of designing. It is essentially random creativity. There are talented writers who work nine hours solidly every day, 6 days a week. Then there are those whose genius shows through throwing together thoughts and ideas that, independently, make no sense but, together, seem inseparable. I want to talk about that kind of creativity in jewellery designing.
There are some jewellery designers who work at designs over and over again, virtually splitting hairs. Sometimes it is beautiful, but often the rigidity with which they had made the piece shows through. The jewellery components seem to go together, but they don’t gel and become something greater than the combination of themselves. It is almost like the Pointilism art movement of pictures created by the tiniest of dots. There is something desirable about the obvious painstaking work involved, but it lacks flow, drama or gusto. Designers who mull over jewellery components and rework them for too long are usually obsessed with symmetry. I go through phases of designing and am sometimes guilty of doing the same. This is usually following a bad season, but not bad enough for me to become infuriated and rejecting of all convention and advice. When I am in this phase, I am hesitant and think that if I worked hard enough at something, then the work will come through and people will want to buy the jewellery. Inevitably, I become somewhat correct. I avoid a disastrous selling season, but I don’t have boundary shattering masterpieces and phenomenal sales.
I find I am most creative, and where the collection provides the best sales results, when I am in a true bind with time. When that happens, I don’t have enough time to over-think my jewellery components. I simply throw them together, sometimes quite literally, and usually they land in some unconventional position or manner. Some of my best collections were all designed within less than 14 hours. The handwork and additional colour combinations of those designs might take a little longer, but no more than another rush of creativity when I’m rushed. Who says gold, silver and rhodium chains cannot be fashioned together with pearls of opposing colours? Or that fine filigree will be outweighed by heavy chunks of stone? Or oxidized chains combined with high shine sterling silver? I’ve taken a number of our textured findings and oxidized them, and put them together with gold vermeil and roman coins . It created an old world charm with the rich sheen of gold. I could have gone further to throw in red jade and some matte lava rock. Unique.
I didn’t do very well in fine arts. Although I had what I will admit as talent in portraiture, I lacked confidence and fluidity in all other areas of studio art. The same can be said about me personally. But when you don’t have time to worry about perfection, you become less rigid. The very fact that you don’t have time, or you don’t have all of the normal ingredients you’d like, gives you an excuse to liberate yourself from one’s shackles of limitation most people put on themselves; especially when it comes to jewellery design. Then, it becomes okay to throw jewellery components together. And it’s perfectly acceptable that things aren’t perfect because….
The art of creative jewellery designing is then the removal of the effort, science and logic of piecing jewellery components together. Let the components fall where they may (but edit a little).