Making, Metalsmithing

HOTM Design Sessions

Some time ago I wrote a blog post about my experiences in The Heart of the Maker (HOTM) class with Lesley McKeown and Francesca Watson of The Makery. The premise of the class is to help jewelers find their own creative voice. The first time I took it, I learned so much about the basics of construction, and it really elevated my work. But, as a result of focusing so much on construction, I didn’t get as deep into the design aspects as I would have liked. So, when the class was being offered virtually this Summer, I decided to take it again.

While I have really enjoyed producing my most recent body of work, I also want to get away from pieces that are largely informed by the stones I have on hand. This time in Heart of the Maker, I am especially focused on the design piece, and I want to share a bit about what I’ve been up to.

For my day job, I lead a couple of User Experience (UX) teams, and we sometimes use Mood Boards as a way to get a client excited about the look and feel of what we’re building for them. The boards typically include fonts, colors, imagery – and those key elements then guide our design work. I decided to do something similar for the HOTM design exercise.

In this first board, I wanted something that was in keeping with the vibe of my brand, which is organic, inspired by fairies, by leaves and flowers, by the flowing lines of Art Nouveau. In this board, I’m drawing inspiration from organic forms:

Here are some of my own rough sketches based on that inspiration:

In looking through my Pinterest boards I also realized I’m very drawn to symmetrical pieces, so I pulled together a board with some of my favorite pieces that are balanced and geometric:

And here are some of the drawings that emerged as a result of that mood board:

After I shared these with the class, Lesley’s recommendation was that I move away from collecting the work of other artists on Pinterest. The risk is that my work will be too influenced by theirs. And, although all my drawings were created without looking at Pinterest, it’s clear in looking at my sketches (especially the symmetrical ones) that my browsing on Pinterest heavily influenced my thinking.

Lesley recommended that look at nature directly, or at shapes that could inform my own designs – as opposed to starting with the design work of others as inspiration. She shared one of her own Pinterest boards called The Beauty of Grief, which I absolutely loved:

Her feedback was super helpful for me. However, rather than creating a whole bunch of new Pinterest boards, I’m going back to revisit boards I’ve already created – especially my Beautiful Flora board – and using that as a starting point for my design ideas.

It’s still early days, but I’m looking forward to sharing some of my new work with you here soon!

4 thoughts on “HOTM Design Sessions”

  1. I have so enjoyed watching your growth through this process – you’ve done such good work, and you’ve managed to be invested in each piece without being emotionally attached, so you are able to analyze your results and apply the lessons learned to new growth and accomplishment. That’s such a big deal! I can’t wait to see what you’re doing six months from now!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Francesca. It has been a wonderful learning journey, and I hope to have an opportunity to learn from both you and Lesley again at some point.

  2. Your thoughtfulness in discovering your path is admirable. It takes so much to settle down and do the work. I look forward to seeing the work you create both with silver and words. Thank you for sharing your experience.

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