Wednesday, October 2, 2013

My Design Approach ~Valorie

Hi, all!  During my time as a Maven I'm delighting in getting to know my fellow designers!  I love learning about artists and their design processes and inspirations.  I've learned that designers differ in their approach:  Some plan everything out and have a routine, methodical way they go about things.  Others are spontaneous and don't plan anything- they go with the flow.  Still others are somewhere in between, a mix of the two.  I thought you might want to see how I approach design and what inspires me.

I like to think of myself as a "breezy" designer, an easy, breezy, go-with-the-flow artist.  I don't really plan anything and I have to wait for the inspiration to come to me.  I don't have a routine, I don't calculate or plan, and I only sketch a design if I get an idea while working or when I'm busy and don't have time to run to the beads and try my idea.  I'm more apt to sketch a design after I've made a piece in preparation for tutorial writing so that I can remember what I did.  

When I'm designing I go with the flow.  I may start with an idea of a general shape that I want but the beads are the boss and I do what they tell me to do.  Most often I will bead, ripping it out if it doesn't look good, re-bead, rip out, re-bead... until I like what I made.  After I have a prototype figured, I sit down and try to remember how I made it.  I do rough sketches and sometimes I'll do another prototype based on those sketches.  When I have it down correctly, that's when I begin my illustrations and tutorial writing.  Below is an example of my scribbles of my Romanov design prior to writing the tutorial:

My scribbles and chicken scratch!  :)

What inspires me?  I don't usually design for something specific.  I'm more inspired by a feeling, a color, a season, an idea, a time period, something broad and nonspecific.  I also design around a shape; for instance, a bead shape.

Sometimes I design around a color.  I'll pile my beads on my desk and play with them and pick a color!  I then go "shopping" in my inventory and pick out beads to accompany the one I chose.  I'll pull contrasting colors, complimentary colors and monochromatic versions based on the color of the bead.  I'll then sit down and cull the color schemes.  I toss the beads together and then decide if I want a high contrast piece or a monochromatic piece.  Once I choose my beads and color scheme I decide on my shape and design.  

Other times, I'll design based on a feeling or a season.  Do I want something crisp, clean, wintry and sparkly to evoke Winter?  Do I want something light, carefree, casual and easygoing for Summer?  Do I want something bright, clean and fresh for Spring?  Do I want something warm, comforting, earth-toned or spicy for Autumn?

This was created with Winter in mind- it was purchased to be a Winter Wonderland parade costume accessory!

This was created with Spring gardens in mind.

This was created with hot, Summer sunsets in mind.

This was created with Autumn in mind.

I have been known to design around the shape of a bead (in fact, it's what I do best!)  I'm passionate about Super Duo beads and most of my designs incorporate them.  I'm also in love with Czech rounds and I love them so much more than crystals!  For me, there's something soothing about simple, no-frills beads and rounds fit the bill for me.  Recently I was asked to design something that incorporates Brick beads and this is what I came up with:

My Pathways bracelet, soon to be a tutorial.

Oftentimes I'm inspired by antiquity.  I love to watch old movies and gaze at the jewelry.  I'm a huge fan of ancient jewelry and when I do metalwork I like to try to capture the feel of something very old.  When I was designing my Czarina bracelet, I wanted to bring a little bit of an older feel to it while using modern beads.  I wanted something with a hint of lace but still something that wouldn't look odd to wear today.  

So, there's a peak at my approach.  There is no right or wrong way to design!  I've met phenomenal designers and they all have different design styles.  What's your style?  


  1. It is very true that every designer has their own unique approach to the design process and I have enjoyed reading about yours Val! Thank you for sharing with us! I also enjoyed seeing some examples of your work! :)

  2. I love crystals but I rarely use them because everyone else does and because there are plenty of people like my mother who think crystals are not day-wear. Plus I really love matte finishes.

    When I am designing I start with an idea of the overall shape. I am most inspired by architecture.

    1. Thank you! I couldn't agree with you more about crystals! They are definitely beautiful but they aren't required for every design. I am fond of Rivolis though. :)

  3. I love how we each approach design differently ... and yet there are similarities in the process. Your results, Valorie, are consistently wonderful. ;)

    1. Carol, thank you so much! That is high praise indeed coming from you! I've always loved your work. Thanks again! :)