Design is a funny business. As I’ve written about before, finished designs come about through all manner of routes. Some designs take form through the determination to achieve a particular result or overcome a problem, some just happen because that is where the metal takes you, some pieces end up the way they do because something either went wrong, or didn’t work as expected and you’re making the best of the change in direction.
Sometimes I simply dream the making of the design (I have one such piece in progress and will blog about it when finished) or I wake up with it fully formed after my subconscious has toiled away on a thorny problem, from the previous day, whilst I slept.
Please click on any of the photographs to see a larger view.
But one phenomena that does happen for me on a regular basis is the branching out of ideas from one initial thought. You start off working a piece – either on paper, or actually with materials – and as you’re working, either another idea occurs to you from the shapes before you, or you change direction from your original idea. I have the mental picture that ideas reside in the shape of a tree – some branches become dead ends and never bear fruit, others keep growing and changing direction – growing to overlap other ideas and sometimes merging.
I often find that I therefore work in very particular periods of closely associated themes and I very much doubt that I am alone in this. This can arise where the mind gets locked into an idea and others just flow from it, or from a more practical perspective, once you get set up for a particular technique, it’s easier to make more of the same, or similar, at the same time. I also often find that it takes a few copies of a component before I get the measurements and technique just right and once I have and am on a roll, it’s worth making a few of the same thing once the creative rhythm is established.
This is just how it was this week. I received a commission for a necklace and earring set based on a design I’d not made for some time – and in a period before I made such meticulous notes on techniques, tools used and measurements, to make returning to past-worked designs that bit easier.
So I had to set about working out how I’d previously made the figure of 8 links at the core of the design – and having done so and got into a rhythm and consequently consistent in my workmanship – I made more than needed and worked these into some brand new pieces – and I’m nowhere near done yet, I still have more ideas in mind to work on – just from one innocuous little hammered figure of 8 link.
I even found myself working it together with the spiral links I’d got locked into last week – the two were of a weight and texture that co-ordinated well, so some pieces show two themes merged into something new.