Thursday, July 23, 2009

What's your design style?

I was supposed to have a picture of a finished necklace to post today, but considering that I found myself re-doing most of it at 9 PM last night, I didn’t have time to photograph it and then run it through Photoshop and get it posted when I finally finished it. I suppose that means something to look forward to for tomorrow’s blog entry.

But that, and another project which is stalled mid-way, got me to thinking about something so I thought I’d pose a question here. What’s your design process? Are you a planner (i.e. making sketches and meticulously arranging your designs until they are just perfect before assembling them)? Or are you, like me, more of a “seat of the pants” kind of designer? Or maybe somewhere in between?

Do those of us who are “pants-types” end up doing more re-working than the planners? I would think so, but I’ve also wondered if lots of designs look good in the “sketch” phase but don’t translate as well into reality?

Depending on which type you are, “planner”, “pantser”, or “’twixt the two”, do you ever try one of the other types and what are the results? For example, I’ve tried doing some sketches or really laying out my design on the board and fiddling with it extensively to get it “just right” (at times even letting it sit overnight to see if I still liked it the next day) and the results have been not so great.

With sketching, not only am I just unbelievably BAD at drawing (which leads to me spending more time picking on myself for not having a good sketch rather than getting to the beading), but I also seem to have a limited amount of “interest” in any one project or set of materials. By the time I’ve handled them enough to sketch or plan a design, I’m often “over” the whole thing. It’s like that particular set of materials only has so much “design magic” in them and I used it all up in the planning process.

With over-planning on the board, well, you heard about what happened with my LAST attempt at that where my son sent the board flying along with all of its beads and my oh-so-perfect design was lost forever.

I can say that the one successful exception to really planning on the board was this necklace:

But I put that down to the fact that I was on vacation at the time and had plenty of time and the space to spread out and the kid was occupied.

I prefer to just dive in and see where the beads take me. MOST of the time it works out. Last night was one of my (thankfully) rare re-do’s and I winced every time I had to cut another headpin off and waste it. In fact, I ended up with just exactly enough to finish the piece after all the corrections were made. I used the very last copper headpin to make the dangle on the extender chain in the back of the necklace.

Whew! Pics of that tomorrow, I HOPE!

Now if I can just figure out how to rescue this copper bracelet that I started only to discover that the copper heart charms I wanted to put on it have loops going the wrong way for what I wanted to do. I’d have to use two jump rings per charm to get them to lay correctly and then they’d be too dangly (not to mention I’m a little concerned about the durability of having two jump rings instead of one). Another option is to take my pliers and see if I can GENTLY twist the loops until they are going the way I need them to, but I run a huge risk of breaking them and ruining the charms – and since they were expensive copper pieces from Nikki Passeniere:
I don’t really want to take that chance. The chain I'm using is that heavy link version on the left side of the pic. The heart charm is in the middle of that big ring just to the left of center in the picture.
Last option is to give up on the charms and use some different beads, but dang it! Those charms would’ve been PERFECT for the bracelet. GRRR!
Or, maybe I was just too tired last night to come up with a better solution and there's probably something obvious staring me right in the face at this very moment LOL!

So, what are you? A planner, a pants-er, or a ‘twixter? And how do you deal with the setbacks or challenges that your style proposes? What’s been your experience when you try a different method?

Okay, discuss!



TesoriTrovati said...

Oh my goodness you are so funny! And I was just thinking about the same thing! I have to write my next post for Watch Me Create and I was going to focus on a similar idea.....
I like your monikers...planner or pants-er....I would say I am more of a pants-er but sometimes I do plan. Sometimes that works. Others not so much. I have a sketch I did of the pop art Marilyn Monroe Andy Warhol inspired piece I did and it turned out surprising close to that. Success! But other times it can be frustrating when I have an idea that cannot come to fruition.

I do like to let the beads speak to me. But then again, I just plotted out about a half dozen sketches, not comple pieces, just one part, like the clasp or the pendant...I am working on one right now that is themed and I want to be sure to get all the parts right from my brain that is completely overworked and overtired!
Thanks for the inspiration today, KJ!
You rock!
Enjoy the day! Erin

Carlene said...

Total pants-er! Can't draw even if my life depended on it :) I buy beads that I like, without use in mind. Then, amazingly find stash beads that go with them perfectly, and wha-la, a design. Now of course, there are those days when I want to use a certain bead or set, that nothing comes together, so I put them back for another day. I reworked one bracelet 4 times before I was happy with it. And a few weeks ago I made one I loved to pieces the first try. Good thing this isn't my livelyhood-I might starve :) I guess I'm just a bead addict!!! There I said it, am I cured now??? :)

Marie Cramp said...

I am like you a pants-er. I find that planing hinders my style and my pieces never come out quite the way I pictured. I pick up some beads and let them inspire me. If they don't I just grab different ones. That is about it.


Silver Parrot said...

Erin - glad I could give you a laugh! Sorry about the dual idea thing, but all I can say is "great beadists think alike." :-) I hear you about the overtired thing - I have learned the hard way that it is no use trying to force myself to work on something when I'm tired because that is a road straight to a project that will require a major re-do. Either I end up not liking the design or else I make technical errors that have to be corrected. A tired brain is NOT a creative brain (at least for me)

Silver Parrot said...

Carlene - I'm with ya, sister! I'm always amazed when people ask me "so what are you going to do with those beads?" Ummm...I have no idea. Then they want to know why I bought them and it's like "what do you mean WHY? THEY ARE PRETTY!" Anyone who asks those two questions cannot possibly be a true bead addict IMO!

Billy James said...

I do like the the Bead jewelry and looking on your design It is really great and traditional one..

SueBeads said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who buys beads with no actual plan in mind for them. "Shiny" comes to mind! Thanks for showing that gorgeous necklace again - reminded me I need to make more of those beads!

Mellisa - Chinook Jewelry said...

I'm feeling quite reassured after reading your post and all the "pantser" comments! I never draw things out, sometimes lay it out if it's a design that's symmetrical and needs to be a certain length, but usually just start going.

I rarely have plans for beads I purchase, I totally have your attitude- they're pretty so they need to come home with me!

Meghann LittleStudio said...

First, for your charm, I'd take some 18gauge copper wire and make a figure-8 loop, hammer GENTLY and then carefully twist the top half to make it face the way you want. With your round nosed pliers, you can make the loops small enough that the charm won't dangle too much :)
As for the planning of pieces, I'm an in-between. Some pieces I plan meticulously, some I 'wing', some I see in a magazine and 'alter' in my head before I make it, taking out the materials and laying them the way they need to go to look 'just so'. That being said, no method is fool-proof and sometimes things just don't work out no matter how you try it.
But then there are those times...those magical times....that everything works out perfectly, and you have a masterpiece....that sits on your shelf waiting for the perfect person to buy it :)