What is it all about?

The idea is to encourage my learners to build a sketchbook full of visual information to help them start to develop individual and unique design ideas for their work.

I set it up as a 7 week programme giving them information each week over the summer holidays but it could also be easily completed over 7 days spending a couple of hours a day.

All you’ll need need is:

  1. A4 blank page sketchbook that is bound
  2. Old magazines
  3. Access to a printer (not essential)
  4. Scissors
  5. Glue (pritt-stick stick)
  6. Tracing paper
  7. Pencils

Week 1 – Collect visual inspiration from magazines, pictures, google images etc and collate them to fill 7 pages in an A4 sketchbook. Whatever catches your eye from the colour to the shape or the pattern and everything in between. You could choose a page of all circular images, a page of all one colour, a page of all different kind of leaves etc

Below are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Nature including flora, birds and fish
  2. Architecture
  3. Microscopic images
  4. Prints – textiles, wallpaper etc
  5. Sculpture
  6. Vehicles (Old and New)
  7. Artwork /2D design /Posters

Week 2 – Use those images to start to develop jewellery designs by using tracing paper to extract interesting elements from the visual research.
Complete 7 pages full of tracings. Below are some ideas to get you started.

  1. Draw a page of circles/ovals/squares on your tracing paper and then lay these over your visual research images. Draw some of the details onto the circle to create designs for pendants or earring hoops
  2. Mindfulness colouring books have lots of lovely shapes, patterns and forms. Lay tracing paper over your favourite page and extract shapes and forms for pendant designs and more.
  3. Choose a stone size and shape draw lots of them on a tracing paper page. Lay this over your visual research and choose details to add to make different jewellery designs – ring, brooch, pendant or earrings etc
  4. Create a page of ring tracings
  5. Create a page of pendant tracings
  6. Create a page of brooch tracings
  7. Create a page of earring / cuff link tracings

Week 3 – Use or make a stencil with different shapes to place over elements of collected images or photocopies of interesting forms, patterns or shapes etc and draw the shape then cut them out. Place these into different arrangements to form 7 pages full of design ideas for:

  1. Earrings
  2. Cufflinks
  3. Bracelets
  4. Brooches
  5. Pendants
  6. Rings
  7. Necklaces

Week 4 – Create design ideas using found objects to make jewellery. Choose 7 different things – This could be:

  1. Seaweed
  2. Nuts and bolts
  3. Grasses
  4. Pebbles
  5. Electronic parts
  6. leaves
  7. Found objects

Take pictures and print them out for your sketchbook.

Week 5 – Research jewellers and really really look at their work from the bails to chains they choose and settings to thicknesses of materials. Research the stones they use to the textures and finishes on their work. You can usually find lots of information on their websites or instagram page. If they took part in #marchmeetthemaker on Instagram this is a fabulous way to find out more about their work and inspiration etc.

Choose 7 makers and print out images of their work / inspiration etc.

Below is a list of websites to start you off:

  1. Dazzle exhibitions –
  2. Crafts Council –
  3. Klimt02 –
  4. Goldsmiths fair and Goldsmiths directory –
  5. Pinterest – a fantastic resource where you can search for any kind of jewellery using colour, technique, shape etc.
  6. Instagram – A great app to research jewellers and if they take part in #marchmeetthemaker this will give you an excellent insight into their work, materials they use and their inspiration.

Spotlight on: Claire Hillerby

She uses lots of found objects in her work including buttons, old tape measures, old handwritten letters, stamps and maps.

She cuts very interesting shapes out of rulers to use as components for earrings, brooches, pendants and necklaces.

She uses many different silver components together sometimes attached by a rivet or interesting chain links and occasionally adds stones.

Week 6 – Design development using some of my simple handout techniques. Choose just a few or do them all (all will be up on my website really soon)

  1. One shape challenge (choose a shape and scale it to three different sizes and make the shapes in wire and arrange them in as many different patterns as you can – push yourself – and take images of each)
  2. Repeat pattern challenge (Choose a shape and draw it out in as many different arrangements as you can to create chain designs)
  3. Design a piece for a customer (Choose a type of piece, a colour scheme, the age of the recipient, a scale, their interests etc – this could be based on someone you know)
  4. Stone design challenge (design a piece of jewellery around a statement stone by printing out lots of images of the same stone and drawing around it to create designs)
  5. Components placement challenge (Choose three or more components from your silver scrap box or make up some shapes and a stone then arrange them in as many different ways as possible
  6. Colour grid challenge – Russell Hughes Art (choose a colour or shape and then find 9 things of that colour or shape in your home or out on a walk. Display them in a grid – you can use the app ‘over’ which is free and easy to use)
  7. Design grid challenge (choose an image of something you love from your visual research and print it off or trace it into the top left corner of a sketchbook page. Draw a grid with at least 12 boxes and then start to draw a jewellery item inspired by the image in the first box. Go to the next box and change elements of it or add to it from the image. Keep doing this until you’ve filled the whole grid)

Week 7
Draw, draw, draw, draw, draw, draw and draw a bit more
Use everything you have collected and researched to develop 7 pages of ideas and designs in your sketchbook. Write notes next to your drawings about the following:

  1. Materials
  2. Textures
  3. Finishes
  4. Fittings and findings
  5. Stones / Colour
  6. Scale
  7. Don’t forget the back of the piece!

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