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?