Thinking about Design

A book I heartily recommend is Hinges and Hinge-Based Catches for Jewelers and Goldsmiths. It covers more than hinges and catches. You’ll find information on soldering and construction, some tool making ideas, and tips on solving technical and design problems. Even if you are not a Metalsmith, I recommend you read the book for examples of author Charles Lewton-Brain’s approach to creative thinking and problem solving:

Thinking is the most important thing you can do as a goldsmith and a jeweler. Solving problems is what being an artist or craftsperson is about. Utilizing contrast and comparison helps in analyzing a problem. Look for patterns: if something looks like something else, there is probably a relationship, a link. . . .[from which]one can gain a deeper understanding of the principles behind them. This is the same approach used by scientists and art historians; one understands systems and problems by using contrast and comparison.”

In the same vein, I recommend you go to the Polymer Art Archive and read  Rachel Carren’s explanation of why one of Victoria Hughes’s necklace designs works so well. Sure, we all read about design and take classes where teachers use abstract terms and diagrams. Maybe you could take a test on the class and get an “A,” but most of us are not going for the grades at this point. We want to improve our designs. Carren, provides a concrete analysis of how a master approached a design. How cool is that?   The Polymer Art Archive contains some more examples of  Carren’s  insightful commentaries on design.  Well worth a read. 

Finally, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is hosting a not-to-be-missed exhibit of Alexander Calder’s jewelry. The exhibit runs through November 2, 2008 at the newly-opened Perlman Building. This is the first exhibition devoted solely to Calder’s jewelry. What’s especially nice about it is the large number of pieces are displayed in glass cases so you can see the front and back.

Calder used cold connections and basic fabrication techniques to make his jewelry, but this didn’t limit him. All of his designs were well thought out and seem fresh 60 years later. If you can’t make it to the Museum, you can always order the exhibition catalog on line. Or you can do both like I did.

More Pictures from Synergy

The only problem with claiming that you took more than 300 pictures is that not all of them turn out.   But never mind.  There are some more pictures of old friends and new acquaintances all having a good time at Synergy.   And I still have more to come. But someone is going to have to tell me who that is sitting with Melanie West.  It’s a great picture of Melanie and I forgot who the other gal is!

Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild

I have been a member of the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild for over ten years.  Joining the Guild is one of the best deals around.

Aside from offering an extensive library of books and videos, clay days, field trips to Polymer Clay Express, and loads of good people ready to enable your clay adiction, the Guild has a twice-yearly newsletter, The Clay News, a Blog, a Flickr site, and our  yearly retreat held in May, Polydelphia.

During the time I have been a member, I have taken guild-sponsored classes with Gwen Gibson, Maggie Maggio, Lindly Haunani, Elise Winters, S.L. Savarick, Donna Kato, Grant Diffendaffer and Dan Cormier and Tracy Holmes.

And don’t forget the Guest Artist Program,  the only one if its kind.    Nationally known artists give classes  on a Saturday to Guild members who  pay tuition.   The  the artist attends the regularly scheduled Sunday Guild meeting and teaches and demonstrates for the entire Guild.  Or maybe the teacher comes to the meeting only, as a guest teacher.  The artist fees come out of member dues and Guild fundraisers.  How cool is that?  To learn more about this great program, click here, and read the story in the September 2007 issue of The Clay News on page 4.

If you want to join us, check out our web site.  Dues are only $30.00 a year.  At that price, how can you afford not to join?