Monday, March 3, 2014

Asymmetric vs. Symmetric

                                                                                                                              by Kelli Pope

Asymmetry.   HUH?     Definition, please. 

symmetry:  a balanced, pleasing, or suitable arrangement of parts.
(synonyms - balance, coherence, consonance, proportion, unity)

asymmetrical  : having two sides or halves that are not the same: not symmetrical  (synonyms - discordance, disproportion, disunity, imbalance, incoherence, confusion)                                                                                                      
When I started creating jewelry, I wanted to make it artsy and interesting.  Never once did I think to myself, "is this asymmetrical or symmetrical?  I think I want it to be discordant, disproportionate, incoherent and confused."   I would think....  Does it flow? Is it interesting?  Is it balanced?    Is it pleasing to the eye?   If the answer was yes, I was happy.    More often than not, my friend Julie would say, "it's not even".  While making a piece once, my brother in law told me, "it doesn't match".  
Asymmetrical earrings leave my sister saying, "that would make me crazy".     What I discovered, and what makes our own Mary Ann cringe, and get white-knuckled, is that some people need things to be even. Orderly.  Symmetrical.  Straight.  Aligned. (Julie of course, has a little OCD, but don't tell her I said so ;o).   My brother in law is an engineer, need I say more?)   We're all just wired a little differently.  And what is pleasing to some is NOT pleasing to others.  So, does that mean all asymmetric designs are "imbalanced", "confused", "incoherent", "kooky" (maybe) or not pleasing?  No. Does it mean that a uniform strand of beads is always pleasing?  No.  Just depends on who's looking at them. 
No right or wrong, just different points of view.
A special order I once received was for a strand of  large, handmade, orange ceramic beads. Nothing else. All the same shape, size and color. When it was finished, I wasn't happy. To me, it was crying out for something. Anything!  But I toughed it out, (white-knuckled it, Mary Ann, yes I did) and I left it alone.  She loved it! 

Beauty truly IS in the eye of the Beholder!

This is the beauty of art. This is why artists get to do what they do. Don't copy others, create your own art, your own vision. Create your own beauty, symmetric or asymmetric.  There is a beholder out there who is going to LOVE IT!!   

 Do you prefer symmetry or asymmetry?   


Nicole DeMore said...

I understand the difference between asymmetry and symmetric things but it makes no difference to me. Freeform things are usually asymmetric(and I love freeform), but jewelry that has a pattern to it is really nice to create as well. There have been times for me when an asymmetric piece has been too abstract, but usually it makes no difference to me one way or another.

Artisan Beads Plus said...

LOL! Yes, creating with asymmetry is painful for me, but I love the look. I cannot go as far as the "mismatched" earrings though. I've tried to create them and/or wear them and it is not me. Maybe I love symmetry so much because it brings some sort of balance in my life and it is something I have control over! I kind of tried the "pick it out of a bag idea" and it sorta worked. I cheated a little though!

stacilouise said...

Well....we know where my brain falls. Even my clothes have asymmetrical hems

Gigi Harlan said...

I love the balance and form in your necklace. Beautiful!

Gigi @ Old World Patina

freshbakeddesigns said...

Great discussion on this topic! I once read that our brains/eyes are always naturally looking to "pair' things up. When we see symmetrical designs we do this quickly and easily. However, when what we are looking at is asymmetric, our eyes travel around and look more at the details trying to 'find' the symmetry. Some might find this exercise disturbing and unsettling…others would say this is deeper looking is what attracts us to the art/jewelry/vista, etc..

Kelli said...

Ha!!! Mary Ann, I've got your number.... :o) love ya!!!!!!!! I SO have control issues, too, but for some strange reason, I'm free from them when I make jewelry...maybe thats why I love it so much. It's freeing!!! Now painting? drawing? Control Kelli takes over.

Kelli said...

Thanks Gigi!

Bijuterii Ibijuterii said...

Beautiful necklace! I prefer symmetry!

Anna Novi said...

particular and nice!!!

Sarajo Wentling said...

My brain more naturally leans toward symmetrical designs... there's a big part of me that just craves order! But I love the finished look of asymmetrical when I push myself to do that. Earrings are a harder sell... if I do asymmetrical there it has to be very subtle!

Alicia said...

Hey, I'm an Engineer too and for the longest time I could not stand symmetric designs (being them in jewelry or anywhere else) :) The problem is the definition - if we look at asymmetry as 'imbalance', we're in trouble... asymmetrical design must have a special kind of balance, coherence, proportion, unity: and your designs sure achieve that perfectly. Yes, not 'matching', but beautifully balanced.

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