Monday, March 10, 2014

Asymmetry Boot Camp

by Staci L. Smith

Even a 9 year old can do it?
Perhaps. Maybe they are better at it then us, because they are uninhibited.  (Or maybe my 9 year old just has my kind of brain, drawn to things a little off kilter, just enough to be interesting. ) I don't know, but it was neat to observe the making of this yesterday.

by Julia Smith- art bead focal by Jenny Davis-Reazor

Julia finally got the jewelry making bug, and her and I sat down so I could show her some basic ways to assemble her bead collection into jewelry. 

I showed her how to wire wrap, and she put together this piece.  I laid out the focal for her, and she selected the beads to go around it.  To my surprise, she made it asymmetrical.  Not even a worry that both sides didn't match.  Then she added the matching droplets on each side.  I liked that touch, that she added something similar on each side to create a little more balance.

(it still needs a clasp- almost done)
I am a proud mama!

Really, I wanted to post today about bead making and buying as it pertains to asymmetry.  I see people post all the time on facebook, asking how many beads they should make in a set.  Do people want even numbers, or odd numbers?  There is never a definitive answer, because some of us work symmetrically, and others asymmetrically. 

So, if you want to push yourself to try asymmetry, I suggest embracing those odd lots of beads, the orphans, the similar color sets that none of the shapes may help you to try it out.

I make my bead sets that way, all different, usually with odd numbers of beads in them.  I do it, because that is what I would buy, and its what I use in my jewelry.  As a matter of fact, I made some beads sets so big, that I thought, if I just added a few beads here and there, it would be an asymmetrical necklace.

So to test the theory, I made this (also because I couldn't make these sets to sell without using one myself)

focal and organic polymer by me, ceramic spiral pods by marsha neal studio, rustic lampwork focal by Genea Beads, raku ammonite by Suburban Girl Studio and black ceramic rounds by Starry road studio

One strand of my organic mis-matched beads.  A few other art beads, and gemstones, and some fancy arranging.  Voila- asymmetrical necklace.  

So, here are some links to non-matchy or odd numbered sets to get you inspired!!!

Another thing you can do is find a fun shop where you can mix and match beads to create fun asymmetrical designs.  My Elements is one of those shops.  Yvonne has a great selection of fun bits and bobs- and she creates many shapes and sizes in similar colors, so it makes it easier to create asymmetrical pieces that are unified by color.  

Here is a pair of earrings she has in her jewelry shop, Drool Worthy.  
They have great balance in shape and color, but are definitely not symmetrical.

I hope this has inspired you to try out some asymmetrical jewlery!  Remember to enter your pieces in our flickr group, with a description of what you made - and some reference to Boot Camp in the description or title too.

Most importantly- have fun!!!!


Lynn said...

yea.. bringing up a future artist! Love all those beads of yours.. and the necklace you made.. to die for!

Erika said...

I love Julia's necklace. She probably goes with assymetrical because that's what she's seen in her momma's jewelry :)
I love your necklace too, Staci. Those beads look so great together, all funky and rustic and earthy. Kinda looks like an artifact.
When I buy beads, I usually don't care if they come in an odd or even set, because each bead is probably going to end up in a different project.

Anonymous said...

Your daughter did such a great job on her necklace! Maybe she has been paying attention to your work for longer than you know. I didn't even notice it was asymmetrical until you pointed it out. It seems very well balanced to me and so cute!

Gigi @ Old World Patina

RaggedRobyn said...

WOOHOO! Asymmetric jewellery rocks! I am all about the asymmetrical bling although I understand that when buying beads not everybody wants that. I try to keep a variety of bead sets in my Etsy shop to accommodate for all.
MEGA thanks for the double 'shout out'.

Meleenia said...

Pinned this for future inspiration - love you!!

PyxeeStyx said...

Totally off topic, but can anyone tell me if the Art Bead Love Tour chain is still in motion. I've lost track of it, and when I google it the most recent post that pops up was almost a year ago. Thanks

Sharyl said...

What a helpful, inspiring article, Staci! Such great ideas! It was fun looking at your beads, and others', to get more ideas in how to do this well!

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