Buy the Book! »

Category Archives: Inspiration & Design

Designing

Computer design has been a big part of what’s happening around here lately. Logo design, pattern design, font and brand exploration – it’s all giving me the tingly-fingers.

I thought I’d show you some of what I’ve been up to instead of finishing ANY JEWELLERY EVER. Eep. Ahem. It’s still productive if it’s tangentially related, right?!

First of all.

2015-10-24_1136

Did you know that Illustrator can AUTOMATICALLY create UPDATING patterns for you?! WHAT. THE. HELL. I think my whole weekend might be shot while I move one element and watch it update across the whole pattern. Look at this. Only the top left corner has any artwork in it at all but it shows the whole pattern! eeeeee!

2015-10-24_1138

2015-10-24_1137_001

I might die of excitement. ANYTHING CAN BE A PATTERN DID YOU KNOW

For instance, I took a cellphone photo of this meeting doodle that I keep on my monitor at work.

20151023_105545sm

When I got home, I turned it into a vector pattern with very little work. And my mind was blown.

2015-10-24_1259

I’ve also been exposed to Design Cuts, which…. I may need to be cut off from. Yipes, there are some beautiful elements in here, and friggin’ cheap, too. You may have noticed watercolour elements being slowly snuck in to my website – they’re mostly from design cuts, although I did follow a couple of designers on to Creative Market and buy individual pieces from there, too. Playing with those led to making things like this for my fans and friends and customers:

titles-01

So many amazing pieces to play with. Let me show you some!!

Watercolour textures and illustrations:

watercolor

Brushes and banners and illustrations:

brushes

2015-10-24_1149

2015-10-24_1155

(all of which can be adjusted using the watercolor textures)

And fonts. Oh, the delicious fonts. This Allegretto with the many swashes and alternates might be my favourite:

allegretto

Only SOME of the amazing work from Nicky Laatz:

nickylaatz

and some more of my random favourites:

fonts

I might drown in the amazingness on my hard drive. Don’t send help. I like it here.

The other big thing I’ve been working on, of course, is my new brand. You may have noticed? It’s not finished yet, not by a long shot, but the logo is and that’s a start.

gbsquare

It makes me sort of deliriously happy. I went through MANY ideas and iterations before arriving here. Including the most adorable little squid (I’m still kind of sad he was completely irrelevant)!

I did eventually decide on the feather as the most representative of my new artist’s statement, which came about from a LOT of soul-searching and brainstorming. The main ideas are Colour, Change, Community, and I feel that the feather (aside from the obvious pun) supplies enough metaphor for all of those. The community part has to do with writing tutorials and sharing ideas, for which the feather is a quill; change is when feathers molt to allow new ones to grow; and colour is, well, pretty obvious :)

Even after deciding that, there were like a floppity jillion major and minor adjustments and nudges and delicious font choices before I was pleased. I KNOW THEY ALL LOOK THE SAME TO YOU but it had to be EXACTLY RIGHT. Shush.

Endless Variations
Endless Variations (final logo top left)

In addition to the logo, as mentioned, I started a bit of watercolor-ing my brand, including a couple of sub-brands for my various lines. I’m not sure they’re done yet but take a look so far!

organicBotanics-01

for these kinds of items, which are made from real grasses and flowers in my neighbourhood:

and this header, made from another doodle of mine:

tangledImpressions-01

for these kinds of items, which are made from zentangle-inspired stamps, many of which I’ve carved myself:

il_75x75.841873434_35pu

OK. I don’t know about you, but I’m sort of exhausted by now! I’m gonna go actually do some more of these things instead of showing you about it. Hope you enjoy your weekend! :)

Steampunk Inspiration

I’ve always felt a little squeamish putting the label “steampunk” on my work. Like putting watch bits in there doesn’t REALLY make it steampunk, you know? But someone else started calling it that when I made these:

Locks & Gears

 

And I looked it up and I thought… OK… cool! In fact I think at one point one of my retailers was calling these Steampunkersiseries or some such silliness. And since I’m the worst at naming things, “steampunk” is sort of what they remained. Which is fine maybe for something like this: 

Gears of Time

Steampunk

When I started doing these enormous pieces on belts, it felt better:
Hood Ornaments - Wait, I mean Statement Necklaces

Hood Ornaments - Wait, I mean Statement Necklaces

But it still never felt quite right. I will wrap just about anything old and vintage-y, including driftwood, calipers, watch bits, and metal flowers; and I CALL it steampunk; but it’s still never felt… authentic.

That’s the word I’m missing. Authentic.

What makes it authentic?

Last week I started digging around looking for what the real steampunkers do – someone who does steampunk cosplay wears WHAT kind of jewellery now? – and it turns out the answer is, not very much.

Quick Google Images search for "Steampunk Cosplay"
Quick Google Images search for “Steampunk Cosplay”

But I really want to do something that these AMAZING PEOPLE would like to buy – even just to wear with their regular clothes! I wanted to dig deeper. And that’s when it hit me: What does Victorian jewellery look like, anyway?

Pinterest to the rescue! I started digging up Pinterest images on victorian and even art nouveau jewellery and I was amazed, delighted, and surprised by what I found.

What surprised me the most was how CREEPY it was! It’s all snakes and bees and spiders! Nobody I have ever met at a craft show would go anywhere NEAR a spider necklace (no matter how cool they are).
Various photos, original posters available at my pinterest board (link above)
Various photos, original posters available at my pinterest board (link above)

So what does this mean? I’m not sure, but it’s powerfully intriguing. I am drawn to the insects and reptiles in a way I wouldn’t have expected. The intricate filigree delights me, as well.

I feel something new brewing, just under the surface. I’m not sure what it’s going to look like but I am sure it’s going to be fun trying to get there! And I won’t stop until it feels right. Until it feels authentic.

Art Date!

I’m super excited to play with my friend Whitney tomorrow… as a visual/doodle artist, she’s just started with polymer clay by carving her own stamps.

a0814b28-2463-4144-91f4-fe8fba87182a
Polymer Clay pendants from original stamps by Whitney Fawn

Meanwhile, I’d love to create my own stamps for my clay – I’m currently using another lady’s zentangle stamps, which I love but they’re not MINE, you know? – but getting MY doodles professionally made is prohibitively expensive!

Some of my zentangles - here's hoping I can figure out how to carve some of this!
Some of my zentangles – here’s hoping I can figure out how to carve some of this!

So Whitney’s gonna show me how to carve…

Speedball stamp carving sheets and cutters
Speedball stamp carving sheets and cutters

…and I’m going to let her play with my clay tools and toys – including a brand new set of patinas…

Swellegant metal patinas and dyes – including metal coatings to turn clay INTO metal!

…and it shall be glorious!

Think & Design #3: The Cluster

Yep, I skipped #2 but that’s only because my sketches for those are upstairs – they were made while I was still doing the exercises physically, on paper with pen.

But then I bought this tablet, mostly because touching it in the store gave me a completely visceral reaction, and I started doing my sketching there. It’s nearly as good as paper, sensually, and ten times better because I always have it with me (but carrying around my notepad and a bunch of pens was getting tedious). I’ve been using it to capture all kinds of ideas – including a super secret project that I hope to be able to reveal soon! And then it’s easy to export sketches to a file for sharing.

So here are a few of my sketches from the third lesson. I’ll get back to #2 soon :)

First, a few sketches from the middle of the lesson and the beginnings of some designs:

Sketch6684847

 

 

 

 

And then a concept for a necklace that occurred to me – to sew leather to a wire frame, and sew button clusters to the leather, and then cluster the frames: Sketch7019467

 

Good times, right? I’ve been having a ton of new ideas lately. Now if only I could get the time to do them! Oh hey wait – I’m on vacation – so here goes nothin’!

PS this Cluster lesson is available for sale.

Think and Design: #1 – The Flower

As promised, I’ve begun the drawing exercises on my journey towards a new style. Above is the first exercise in the Think and Design Jewelry Series, which is to, essentially, draw a flower. I drew a bunch because it was so much fun to remember that hey, I used to know how to draw!

DSCF7713

Part of the exercise is to come up with a bunch of loose concepts for types of designs based on the flower. I was somewhat distracted while working on the first batch but my second pass yielded a few ideas I think I might even put into production – including, perhaps, clay button starfish rings!

So far, I’m excited to see where this journey takes me.

 

Concepts & Clay

I purchased a small fistful of these tiny watch parts one time because I couldn’t help but think they’d make perfect bird heads. Today the muse hit to give it a go!

I had a pretty good idea of where I wanted it to go, but first, I traced the watch part – doesn’t it look just like a head with a beak and an eye?! – and tried a couple of sizes and angles of body before I found one I was satisfied with. Next, I textured some clay and started cutting it out!

birds and eyes

After placing the heads and wings, adding a few more genuine watch parts, and doing a bit more texturing, I came up with two separate colourways and did half the birds in each using pearlex powders and a teeny weeny brush. One set is sorta peacock-ish and one is rather rustic and cosy:

birds and eyes

Loving it so far! I wasn’t sure what to do next, though – I had only thought through as far as the bird shape itself! Now what? Well, I knew I wanted some matching beads in there so I found a few that worked and, using some heavy gauge wire I built these bail-type things:

birds and eyes

But there’s an inherent flaw here! Can you see it? Well, basically, the big hole at the top is facing out but a chain would have to go side to side. D’oh! what to do, what to do…. I could turn the big loop but I liked the hammered look – plus, a single loop isn’t very stable for a bail. I dug around the studio to see what I could find and came up with a couple of ideas:

birds and eyes

Nope. Not working. That black cord with the lark’s head knot is almost right but the cord itself is too slippery and won’t stay. Doing the same thing with a chain just looks messy. Finally I realized I can CUT the chain and use jump rings to attach – then we get a Y-shape with a fun drop pendant, and everything lies nice and flat! After that I was able to quickly finish up my workday and get back to Deep Space Nine :D

birds and eyes

Another weekend, another project. And aren’t those colours to die for?!

Beach Glass

I had a beautiful time on the beach with my love on Saturday. We only got a smidge burned, we had a ridiculous amount of fun, and I found my first, one and only, true piece of RED BEACH GLASS! Holy smokes! They say for every 5000 pieces of glass, only one is red. And there it was! Jewellery-sized and staring me in the face!

I also found three marbles including a black one and a yellow on e, two real live yellow pieces (also extremely rare) (one may or may not be pottery or plastic), a piece of lavendar/pink which is really old, and a whole pile of blue and aqua. Squee!

Check it out:

beach glass find

The tiny raspberry-looking piece was in my bag from our aborted trip to Kennington Cove. It’s not genuine beach glass as I found it on the road – so it could be called dirt glass, I suppose. It’s still rounded and pretty.

Also, I now have enough colours to do one of these!

beach glass colour wheel

AND I just got some jewellery glue and used it to attach the itty bitty teeeeeeeny weeny blue pieces that I’ve been finding to larger white pieces, and they’re turning out quite well (no photos until the finished pieces are ready).

I’m also on a continual hunt for the perfect lighting conditions for photos. For this I was using Laird’s stupid ultra cool camera. I didn’t put it in the light box because I was just playing around, and I figured it was bright enough from the window. I laid everything out first on a new gray fabric I just got for trying this sort of thing, and then on a super-bright white piece of bristol board. Surprisingly (sort of), the gray is much better.

The white throws off the camera’s white balance or levels or something. Quite annoying! I’ll have to re-line the inside of my photo box. Or something. The quest continues!