Storytelling with Shape in Jewelry Design

All the elements of design tend to have certain connotations to makers and viewers. Shape is no different. Rectilinear geometric shapes, for example, often create a feeling of something artificial, man-made, architectural, or structural. Some people may consider these shapes more masculine, intellectual, planned, thoughtful, or contrived. They may seem aloof, rigid, distant, stable, dependable. Such shapes may feel conservative—even the slang term “square” means out of step with the times. Continue reading

Use Line to Create Meaning in Jewelry Design

Depending on the type of line you use in a jewelry design, its thickness, and direction, you can invest the piece with meaning. It can affect the impact your piece has on viewers and whether they continue to look at your work or walk away. Continue reading

Lines and Gesture in Jewelry Design

Do you draw conclusions about your friends, family members, doctors, or first grade teachers from their handwriting: neat, repressed, artistic, bold and so on? In the same way, the line gesture in your work tells its own story. Continue reading

Surface Lines in Jewelry Design

While lines in jewelry design are often used to create movement or to guide a viewer’s eye around a piece, lines can do more. Artists can use lines to enhance or emphasis a surface. Continue reading

Guiding Lines in Jewelry Design

One of the most common uses of line in design is to gently (or not so gently) tug the viewer’s eye in a guided tour of the work. They can do this because lines usually have direction. They lean forward or back. They curl around, widen and thin. Artists can use this directional tendency to tell the viewer: “See this? Now, see this? Now look over here.” Continue reading

What Makes “Line” in Jewelry Design?

Floating Free by Betty Helen Longhi

Ridge peaks and places where two dissimilar materials meet are seen as lines. Floating Free, by Betty Helen Longhi. Courtesy of the artist.

Line is the most individual of marks. It is the first mark we make as children. Lines are the result of movement—stick in the sand, pen on paper. Because we each move with a different type and level of intention, a different force–whether we’re talking with our hands or doing daily chores–each of us draws or writes with a different line quality. In fact, the lines we make are so intimately tied to our unique ways of moving, that each of us has a unique signature, used for centuries for identification. Although how long that will last in a digital age is anyone’s guess. Continue reading