Monday, April 9, 2012

Get a Plan!

by Linda Kline
Director of Education

From a teacher’s perspective, I sometimes wonder if the user-friendliness of metal clay may also be one of its draw backs. When I demonstrate different techniques to new students, I see them light up in anticipation of the really cool “stuff” they can make. The creative juices are pumping and they can’t wait to get started.
I am constantly reminding them (okay, harping may be more precise), they are jewelry designers, not makers of stuff. They need a plan for the execution of their work. Having a plan means they know what they are making and how they are going to make it.
Imagine a contractor building a house without a set of plans. The house might be sort of funky without some forethought to the infrastructure, plumbing, and electrical considerations. The same thing applies to jewelry. Designing means you have given thought to the creation of a design. You’ve considered all the structural and functional components before you ever opened that yummy, inviting, fresh package of PMC.
Even if you aren’t a budding Picasso you can still make a fundamental sketch. Some of my students have had me nagging them for so many years they are getting really good at designing their work. They draw beautiful, elaborate designs featuring magnificent stones and embellishments. Sometimes, though, they forget some of the basics. How will the stone be set, for instance? Is the piece designed to be a brooch or a pendant? If the piece is going to hang, where is the bail going? Does the bail match the symmetry of the design? Does the piece have movement? If it’s a brooch, will a pin back need to be embedded or soldered in place? Do you know how to solder? Do your skills match the ambition of your creation?
Creative Blessings,

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