By: Julie L. Cleveland
When designing, I normally let it go where it goes and use the colors of an imaginary palette to determine the outcome. Generally, my designs are fairly straight forward, and they are dictated by the beads that I have already crafted. Since I work primarily in polymer, I create beads that have designs that are derived from millefiori canes that I have already created. I sell my beads for the most part, but there is this part of me that loves to create and string beads into pretty jewelry, so I indulge that creative side from time to time.
Because I design based on what I have on hand, I usually don’t give the design process a lot of thought. I grab some of my beads and select components to create a fun or interesting piece that I think will appeal to someone. This is not always the case, and when I design outside of my usual processes, I have to spend more time on thinking about my designs. I am a member of The Artisan Group (TAG), which is a group of artists and designers that deliver handcrafted items to celebrities and studio stylists for television and movies. We also provide gift bags to celebrities through gifting lounges during events like The Primetime Emmys, MTV Awards, New York Fashion Week and other high profile events. There are never any guarantees of exposure, but the whole process is fun.
Recently, I was working on a piece for CWs Hart of Dixie. I started by watching the show and getting to know some of the characters. Because I don’t go to my bead stash and decide what stone I am going to use to create a piece, I need to think further than that and determine what stone I am going to “create” to build my piece around. In the case of Hart of Dixie, I knew that the stylist was looking for pastel pieces for her southern belles, and she wanted dark, glittery pieces for her main character. As soon as I saw the character Lemon, I knew she was the one I was going to design for. I knew there was a chance that the character would never see the piece, but I felt that I could do a simple and refreshing design that may just capture the attention of the stylist.
The Lemon Drop necklace was born.
I was looking for a fresh idea, and I was also using a new clay color from Fimo. This is a yellow clay that has a slight shimmer and an almost translucent look to it. I decided that if I left the beads unglazed, the shimmer and translucence would give me the powered, sugared look that the Lemon Drop candies have to them. I could have gone further and dusted the beads with a clear glitter to get the sugared look, but it may rub off on costumes or hair, so I did not finish them like that. These beads are simply strung on a chain, and I made enough to sell and enough for stylists should they decide to use them.
I also created a smaller set of four beads that are also strung on a chain.
In addition to designing for television show stylists, I try to think about who would like a piece like this, and because it is summery and fun, it appeals to all ages.
Some days, designing is a lot of fun, and it takes on a life of its own.
Julie and Blu