I was just paging through my friend Danielle Fox’s new book Simply Modern Jewelry and realized what a great designer she’s become. I don’t mean to embarrass Danielle (though it is fun—she’s a great blusher), but I remember that when we first met, working on the staff of Beadwork magazine, she made the rest of us look a little . . . well . . . like alley cats. She was so clean-cut! And from Wisconsin, no less, where everyone is a little more relaxed. Danielle knew a lot about fashion but hadn’t beaded much. She didn’t hesitate to jump onto the beady bandwagon with sparkling gusto, and she ended up taking the craft by storm. You know, that’s what’s great about beading: You may have never designed jewelry before or even ever done anything creative, but with a few techniques and a good sense of good style, you can create sensational designs.
Danielle’s got lots of years of beading under her belt now, especially as editor of Stringing magazine, and her book really shows it. What I like most about it—other than the gorgeous strung projects—are the really fresh step-by-step photos describing every technique in the book. Combined with her wonderful project intros, it’s like you’re sitting with Danielle in her studio for a private lesson (cold Wisconsin microbrews nearby, of course). Buy Simply Modern Jewelry.
Asymmetrical Design = Modern
I was goofily proud of Danielle after reading her book, but I was also struck by how many of her very fashion-forward pieces throw symmetry to the wind. I think that’s why her pieces look so modern. Her book inspired me to go to my jewelry box and lay out the pieces I’ve made that I wear all the time, and I found that most of them are asymmetrical!
There are a lot of beaders who just don’t go to asymmetry first when they’re designing, even though they might want to try. Their natural tendency is to always mirror the two sides in a piece, and they feel they can’t break out of the rut. For those of you who fall into that category, I’ve put together a few beginner asymmetry exercises—baby steps to do when you’re designing to get your creative eye seeing in a different way. Let’s call them “asymmetrics.”
Asymmetrics: Tips for Beginners
1. String the same sequence on both sides of a piece, but make one change from left to right, such as using the same bead colors but different sizes or shapes.
Example: Mermaid Necklace by Jean Campbell
2. Make a rule for a simple bracelet—no two beads can be alike.
Example: Good Impressions by Lisa Niven Kelly
3. Link different types of chain for a chain necklace or bracelet.
Example: Twiggy by Danielle Fox (Simply Modern Jewelry)
Do you have other “asymmetrics” to share? Post them on the website!
Jean Campbell writes about beading and life every Wednesday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Jean, please post them on the website. Thanks!