What makes a particular design resonate with people? I'm always excited whenever a new Beadwork issue hits the streets, because I love the feedback our readers give us about which projects they're trying. In the October/November issue, the project that has captured a lot of attention is Carole Horn's Renaissance Medallion Necklace. In Beadwork's What Our Readers Did (W.O.R.D.) email inbox, I've received quite a few photos from readers showing their renditions of Renaissance Medallions. I've also seen photos of readers' versions posted on Facebook. One creative gal connected the medallion components as netting around a Christmas ornament bulb.
I asked Carole Horn to share some of her thoughts about the inspiration behind her popular project:
BW: How did you come up with the design? Was it an ah-ha moment, or did the idea evolve gradually?
CH: The design evolved gradually. I have always admired the intricate gold chains worn by obviously wealthy men in historical portraits of the renaissance era. The portraits show lavish, intricate gold chains not just worn around the neck, but draped around the shoulders. Such chains not only display wealth, but perhaps they also denote a badge of office and certainly status. Images of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I show examples of these types of adornment.
The next element is designing in units that can be multiplied. I have designed many pieces along these lines. This technique has been used by jewelry designers throughout the centuries, and the chains are a prime example.
BW: In the article, you say, "These medallions can be assembled in many different ways. Let your imagination be your guide"—and the article shows three ways you used the medallion. Do you have more creations that use the medallion?
CH: I haven't actually made any other designs using these elements, but there are always seeds of ideas hanging around in the back of one's brain waiting for the right time to grow. I would suggest that anyone making this necklace make up a number of pieces, lay them out in various designs and move them around to see what pleases. Several of the students who have taken this class with me have come up with constructions that had me saying to myself, "Why didn't I think of that?"
I always encourage students to experiment, to listen to that "I wonder what would happen if" voice in their heads. It could be something wonderful.
Have you used a repeating design element in your jewelry creations? Perhaps you're among the many people trying out Carole's Renaissance Medallion project from the October/November issue of Beadwork. Tell us all about it in the comments section below.
~Linda Harty, associate editor, Beadwork