Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Using Your Camera as a Design Tool

When I am working on laying out a new piece, particular if it is large, involved, or a new design, I find that it is a process of simmering, tasting and adjusting. I start out with a general idea, and begin to layout the components for the design. I will get to a certain point and feel like it has to sit with me for awhile. I don't feel certain enough about where I am going to move ahead without some time and space. Time for things to simmer. Some things end up sitting for months! Never getting to a point where I feel like I have a clear direction to resolve whatever it is that feels unresolved for me.

Sometimes I will ask the opinions of my husband or kids, but that rarely helps me work out those ones that just feel "off". I think it may be they don't always have a vocabulary to express why they like or don't like something. It is usually a yes or no, or they respond to an area that I feel more certainty about already.

Recently, I have begun to use my camera to evaluate a piece. I have found that I see things in a photo that are not as apparent to me when I am working with a piece on the table.

While these two photos show essentially the same necklace, there is a difference in how the pods are aligned on each one. The piece on the far left was my first attempt. I wasn't really satisfied with it, but I couldn't tell you why. But after I took a picture, I found I was not happy with how the beads that are on the inner part of each pod seemed to create a line, that to my eye, detracted from the pod forms. When I have arranged them this way, and they were all the same color, it has worked better, but here, I was not satisfied with the outcome. After playing around with the piece, and realigning the pod components, I found it was closer to my inspiration, ....the ocean. It had more of the feel and energy of waves and tumbling least to my eyes! Design is subjective. What appeals to me, may be less appealing to someone else. But in this case, I knew I was less satisfied with the first arrangement than with the second. But it wasn't until I took a picture that I could clearly see what it was that was bothering me with the first attempt.
Similarly, I was planning on creating a collar style necklace with the shibori beads. I began to select colors and beads, and lay them out on my table. The top picture is the first iteration.

I took a picture, and then rearranged the beads so that the ones that were towards the back came to the front, and the ones in the center front went back. After looking at the pictures, I decided I didn't like either one. In the second arrangement, I found that the beads in the center were too drab and flat, especially for the position. But the two areas of light yellow beads about collarbone level in the first arrangement bothered me as well. The created a sense of discontinuity for me. My eye would be drawn there, and get stuck.
Plan B...or perhaps C? I got rid of the drab beads, and added more of the lighter colored beads. Both lines of beads were going from light to dark now, but the end point has less contrast in value and color. I abandoned the idea of a collar style necklace, and decided to create a kinetic shibori bead necklaces, that would be more wearable.

It is now a long strand, about 36" total length, but joined together so that the wearer can decide which color will lay where. Perhaps the lighter colors towards the front in the warmer months, and darker in the cooler months. Or in between for those hard to decide days! The beads have a small blue lace agate bead as a spacer.


Susan T said...

I love your blog!!! That last picture is just fabulous...each bead stands out and says "look at me"! Beautiful!!

Judy said...

Thanks Susan!