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[Article] Some Design Exercises for Jewellers


#1

Some Design Exercises for Jewellers
Copyright Lewton-Brain 1995/99

These are examples of design exercises I have given in the past in a
jewellery design class. You might be interested in trying them out.
Best is to form a small group of jewelers and to do one exercise a
week, meeting on an evening to review the drawings and trade ideas
about design. The review should be positive all around, no one should
be ashamed of their drawing skills. This kind of exercise can be fun,
stimulating, and lead you to new design ideas in your work.

1 Choose 4 objects from magazines (Gold und Silber, European
Jeweller, Metalsmith, Professional Jeweler, JCK, Schmuck etc.) that
are interesting to you. Make two-three photocopies of each image.

By collage or using drawing media alter or change one of the
photocopies of each work to be more like something one might want to
make.

Discuss your results with one or more other jewelers

2 Create two different jewellery or object sketch ideas on 8x10 paper,
use pens or markers, litho crayons, pen and ink, thick dark graphite
or cont. Draw loosely with the object about 6-7 inches (15+cm) high.
30-45 minutes. You may wish to mount the sketch onto mat board to
make it easier to put together and use. Do not think about metal
working technique or how you would make the object-this would limit
your thinking, instead just go for the design. You might want to work
out some ideas in very loose sketches before making and choosing the
two drawings. Almost never draw over an existing drawing, start
another one, the first one might be the right solution at the end and
if its gone it is gone. If you wanted to make a design we could find
a way to make anything that would be close to your design vision.

Feel some freedom in designing, if geometries interest you deal with
geometries or the machine, if nature inspires then draw from nature,
if ideas then deal with ways of communicating them to audience
through object making, with personal or cultural systems of metaphor,
context and reference.

Place 6 layers of tracing paper over the sketch, tape or fix in
place making a series of attached overlay pages of tracing paper on
top of your drawing.

On the first layer quickly vary the design, then repeat by dropping
the next layer of tracing paper and drawing again to vary the design
again from the second version on the tracing paper over the original,
repeating until all layers of tracing paper are used. Use quick
drying media like those mentioned above.

Work fairly quickly and smoothly, concentrating on what you are
doing, observing where your previous decisions and repeated decisions
take you. Work for quality and conscious decsion making with every
step of your drawing. Be aware. Make written notes on your
observations about your decisions. Documentation as a habit is a good
one for prospering as an artist or craftsperson.

Discuss your results with one or more other jewelers. Have one
positive observation of your own results, something you noticed you
improved or understood in the course of the project to report to the
group.

two original drawings six layers of tracing paper on top drawings on
each layer varying the designs

3 Choose a picture of a piece of jewellery or an object that you like
and admire, photocopy it to about 8x10�.

List on paper ten attributes the image has that attract you. (ie
formal design using rectilinear elements, references to girder or
scaffold, contrast to body is exciting and so on). Then list ten
things the maker must have thought about while they were designing or
making the piece. Try and see out of their eyes. What were the choices
they were faced with What were the decisions they made

By using traced layers or collage re-composition make 6 designs
derived from the original. Make the last design you do into a piece
that you think the original maker might have made, see if you can get
into their head to design like them, a piece �in the manner of�: what
kinds of decisions are you making as you do this

Mount the last design carefully on Matt board or equivalent. Attach
your lists, name and date to the back of the matt board. Have the
starting image and all work you did ready for display.

Discuss your results with one or more other jewelers one original 6
designs derived from it last design is mounted and a piece the
originator could have designed.

4 Choose 4 images of people from magazines or books, photocopy them
to an approximate 8x10� size.

By collage and re-photocopying as well as using drawing media create
jewellery or wearable objects on top of the people. This is about
playing with scale so if possible play with scale juxtapositions and
alterations to create the works on the people, try enlarging
something very small to make a large work linked with the body. Try
and have the finished work or wearable piece on the body seem
intentional and in harmony, not obviously something stuck onto a
picture of a person. Juxtaposition often involves elements of humour
and surprise. Remember colour.

Mount the finished drawings cleanly on matt board or equivalent,
name, date on the back.

Discuss your results with one or more other jewelers

	4 pictures of people	
	Create wearable art over them by photocopy work, collage and drawing.
	Work with scale, work to make a seamless composition.
	Mount on board.

5 This one is about using repeated elements and limitations.

Create three designs for jewellery or objects using coloured paper,
glue, scissors, matt knife etc. Make one with primarily straight
cuts, one with primarily curving cuts, one any mixture you like.
Remember the option of making many cuts and pulling out to create
volumetric surfaces, or that of folding and cutting. Think about
repeated units, registers, rhythms. Restrict your colour choices to
one or two.

Deriving from your research design and draw a jewellery piece or
object in your strongest drawing style. Mount it on board and use a
protective cover.

Discuss your results with one or more other jewelers.
three designs in paper collage
1 drawing/design
design/drawing is mounted and protected

6 The project consists of two parts, research and application. Plan
your time to accommodate both activities.

Record seven shadows that interest you by drawing, tracing onto paper
or instant photography. Choose shapes that intrigue you. Constructed
shadows are acceptable but choose at least some naturally occuring
ones. Be aware of positive and negative space, implied line, form and
mass, symmetry and assymetry.

List on paper five or more attributes the chosen shadows possess that
attracted you.

In any manner you like design and then draw a piece of jewellery or
an object deriving from your shadow research. Use a strong drawing
style for you. Mount the completed design on matt board with a
protective cover. Approximately 8x10 is good. Do a whiz-bang job.

Discuss your results with one or more other jewelers
	seven shadow records		
	1 design/drawing derived from research		
	design/drawing is mounted and protected

7 Collect natural materials, plants, etc and create a maquette (a
model) of a piece using them (hot glue, quick assembly, fiber etc can
be used for joining).

Deriving from your natural materials research design and draw a

jewellery piece or an object you might make in your strongest drawing
style. Mount it on board and use a protective cover.

Discuss your results with one or more other jewelers
	one maquette using natural materials		
	1 design/drawing derived from it	
	design/drawing is mounted and protected

8 Design a jewellery piece or an object. Draw it out well, include
orthographic sketches, list and describe your surface finish
decisions, texture decisions, material choices.

Make a model of it as realistically as you can using rapid
techniques, hot glue, auto or plastic model paint, anything but come
up with a model that one might confuse with the real thing (at least
from a small distance).

Discuss your results with one or more other jewelers 		
one  design/drawing of jewellery or object		
1 realistic model		 

9 Choose a story, myth or legend that is meaningful for you, write
down the main points so you can describe the gist of it in the group
critique. Narrative, mystery, implied story are all important.

Design a piece of jewellery or an object that is narrative in
nature, an illustration, a derivation, referential, an image
concerning the story. Be prepared to show and explain 4 or more
sketch ideas for the final idea that you choose. Each on a separate
piece of paper, each at least 10x10 cm in size.

Draw the final object or jewellery in a drawing style that you are
strong in.

Mount on matt board with protective cover.

Discuss your results with one or more other jewelers
written main points on story chosen 
a design or drawing mounted on matt board
mount on matt board with cover

10 Choose a category from the following to work in: Political,
Confrontational, Gender Issues.

Write down in point form the specific ideas you want to work with
(2-5) and the specific message you want to communicate.

Do 4 or more idea drawings, each on a separate page, each over about
10x10 in size.

Draw the final object or jewellery in a drawing style that you are
strong in.

Mount on matt board with sheet protector.

Discuss your results with one or more other jewelers.
choose category, write point form ideas and message you want to 
communicate
4+ idea drawings		
final drawing mounted and protected

11 Consider; think about; define for oneself the following terms:
armor, protection, shell, defense, warrior, self definition. Use a
maximum of 1/2 hour for this. Time it if necessary. This is just
thinking time.

Personal armor. What is yours Give four attributes of your personal
armor: list the four attributes…

Design an object or a piece of jewellery that addresses issues of
personal armor.

Draw the final object or jewellery in a drawing style that you are
strong in.

Mount on matt board in sheet protector.

Discuss your results with one or more other jewelers
consider the terms given	         
list four attributes of your personal armor
Design a piece reflective of these attributes          	
draw and mount the piece.

12 Choose an event to commemorate. This event can be anything,
tragic, happy, public, private, enlightening, something of meaning to
you. To whom might this piece be directed Design a piece with your
target audience in mind. What is the intent of the work (write it
down).

Draw and design at least three different ideas for the work. 

Draw one out very well in a drawing style you are strong in. 

	Write a 50 word or more artist�s statement about the intent,
	 resolution and personal position on the issues raised by the work.
	Discuss your results with one or more other jewelers. 

	consider the event chosen	   
	Write stuff down, do three idea
	drawaings 		
	draw and mount the piece.         	
	Write a solid statement  on the work. 

13 Choose four limitations: aesthetic, contextual, formal, whatever
is of most interest to you. List the four limitations in point form.
Here is an example of formal limitations: use triangles only,
soldered construction, a pin, make it look off-balance. Design a
piece dealing with your chosen limitations.

Draw and design at least four different ideas for the work. 

Draw one design out very well in a drawing style you are strong in. 

Discuss your results with one or more other jewelers. 

consider the terms chosen	 list four limitations for the work, draw
 four ideas out 		
Design a piece reflective of these limitations       
draw and mount the piece. 

14 This project deals with text and incorporating text into the
fabric of your work. Choose a text passage to use. Consider the
lettering, how type can be worked, text as visual texture, as form.

Draw and design at least four different ideas for the work. 

Draw one out very well in a drawing style you are strong in. 

Discuss your results with one or more other jewelers. 

	consider the text chosen		
	Design a piece reflective of your choice    
	draw and mount the piece.

Charles Lewton-Brain/Brain Press
Box 1624, Ste M, Calgary, Alberta, T2P 2L7, Canada
Tel: 403-263-3955 Fax: 403-283-9053 Email: @Charles_Lewton-Brain

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#2

Hello All,

I, for one, am grateful that Charles has posted his exercises in
design to Orchid. Since I am an amateur, know very few jewellers and do
not want to impinge on their time I am slotted in that first of 4
quadrants of knowledge; I don’t even know what I don’t know when it
comes to design. And no matter what I read, it doesn’t connect.

I have a proposal. It is that I am wondering if, say, some members
cannot “conference” re using these exercises outside Orchid. The
prompt is that I have a scanner and suspect others also have one.
Meaning that we can trade images remotely. Does this make sense? If
not what does?

In any case the exercises done alone might be the next best thing to
a beginner’s design class in distance education. If it ain’t please let
me know what you think is.

Thank you Charles for your generosity.

David


#3

Hi David; Just a suggestion. Why not organize a quild in your area?
Society of North American Goldsmiths has a member listing, and it’s
not much to join SNAG. You’d be a lot better off, I think, if you
could hold weekly meetings, or better yet, meet at each others
studios on a rotation basis and have workshops and critiques. Look
into the local area art councils, drop in on the other jewelers
(you’d be surprised at how many “pros” are interested in
participating in things like this). Where are you located? Perhaps
I can find you a couple contacts. Don’t forget to see if there are
any local community collegs with metals or jewelry programs. You
might not be looking to take a class, but you never know, it could be
inexpensive access to facilities you don’t now have, and then there
are the contacts. Good Luck

David L. Huffman


#4

Hi, to Orchid People ! Something about my personal experience, started
in 1977 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Saltzburg (Austria)

In that time I wanted to translate some drawings and etchings of mine
in to 3D objects which people could wear. The teacher, Master Sepp
Scmolzer, compelled me to imagine directly people wearing the objects
on the neck, or on the fingers. on arms and so on and have a
simultaneous feeling about the effects which the objects might do.
Doing so I could decide if to draw a ring, or a bangle, better than
a necklace, accomplishing the lines of the object with the lines of
the human body. This method allowed me to create free, completely out
from any " packaged" idea, as I could have seen on photos, magazines
or projects of the others. I know , it’s a strange manner to work.
It’s like to build a house, beginning from how it looks like in the
landscape, from its roof, and then decide how to make it, solid and
real. But this way permits a completely freedom in creating the
object and compels to invent new technical solutions on how to
construct it and make it wearable. If you like , you may have a look
on : http://www.laboratoriogus.com/drawings.html to have an idea. Hope
it helps. Cheers, GUS


#5

I can’t find the design exercises on Ganoksin. Can someone give me
the URL? Dian DV

** Hanuman’s Resopnse **

Here is the URL:

https://www.ganoksin.com/orchid/archive/200105/msg00475.htm