I am often asked “how do you put the ornaments together?”, “how do you know where to start?” among the myriad of other questions, but let’s focus on these two questions.
I buy beads from all over the world at least a year in advance of designing a new ornament collection. I am typically drawn to the shape, color, texture and size of a bead. The more unusual the bead, the better, but only if it makes sense as an ornament component. I once used porcupine quills in an ornament. Not too sure this was a smart idea regarding safety issues, but it sold quite well. I keep a notebook handy or a piece of paper will do when I want to jot down an idea or a draw a design for a new ornament. I don’t know about you, but I can't always remember the details of a thought or idea an hour later, so if I don't jot it down when it pops into my head, it's gone.
Anyway, back to how I start building an ornament. I walk down a flight of stairs, through the basement and utility room to arrive at my work shop (garage). I grab a tray and start perusing all the beads until something catches my eye and I choose that bead as the “focal” component. I align it on my tray in the shape of a cross: top, bottom, left and right. I then begin experimenting with other beads to complete the cross or to serve as the interior cross. Once the main beads are finished, I add the finishing beads like bead caps and spacers and pair it with a center medallion until I am happy with the design.
To completely upend the process I just described, sometimes I must start with the centerpiece. If the centerpiece is ornate, contains specific colors or is unique its best to place this on the tray and build around this item to achieve harmony. If I make this sound too simple, it really isn’t. I have been doing this for twenty years to make it look easy when I do it and sound easy when I describe the process. Trust me, I have days when I am not feeling very creative and I walk-away to try again another day. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen too often but when it does, it only lasts a day.
With the jewelry pendants completed, now begins the 2018 Christmas Ornament design phase. I am truly excited to start, because I have some great ideas I hope that I can pull off. So, stay tuned as I chronicle the journey.