Articles, Publications, and Instruction Kits: HOW TO BEAD A ROGUE ELEPHANT
Warren Feld, Jewelry Designer
 
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How To Bead A Rogue Elephant


Warren is working on a book about how to become a bead artist and jewelry designer. Here is an excerpt from the Introduction. ...


HOW TO BEAD A ROGUE ELEPHANT
…A Guide For The Aspiring Bead Artist

by Warren Feld


I don’t mean to drag a poor Elephant by its tail, kicking and screaming, into our bead world against its wishes. Nor do I perceive the elephant to be a threat, like you might see an Elephant in the boudoir, or the fine china store. And I don’t want you to shut your eyes and pretend not to notice that this Elephant is here, standing shoulder to shoulder with every beader and jewelry maker around.

The Elephant is not a joke. And the fact that it is “Rogue” makes it more important than ever to figure out why it’s here, among size #10 English beading needles, and Czech size 11/0 seed beads, and Austrian crystal beads. It seems so worldly, yet other-worldly, our Elephant. It’s not our muse. It’s not our Cassandra. It has no secret plan or strategy. It does not depend on its size to make its point. It does not hesitate to stomp and chomp and clomp because the beads before it are raku or glass or gemstone or crystal or metal or plastic. But a Rogue Elephant in the middle of our craft room forces upon us a completely different logic, so that we can make sense of it all.

Only the beader or jewelry artist who is willing to submerge her- or him-self completely in this wonderfully off-centered picture – Rogue Elephant, beads, stringing materials, clasps and all – will really get the fullness of this humor, this wisdom, and the splendor of beading and jewelry making as a form of art that is worn.


How do you stop an elephant from passing through the eye of a needle?

Tie a knot in its tail.


The issues and inspirations that drive the artist

How to Bead a Rogue Elephant is a collection of personal perspectives and experiences on the issues and inspirations that drive the bead and jewelry-making artist in their designs. “Design” is the operative word here. A Rogue Elephant does not present an obstacle, nor create any opportunities, for the artist, unless that artist understands, follows through and is committed to Jewelry as an Art Form, and realizes that jewelry is art only as it is worn. Jewelry as art isn’t a happenstance. It is made up of a lot of different kinds of parts. These must be strategically and thoughtfully brought together. They are brought together as a kind of construction project. The results of this project must be beautiful and appealing. They must be functional and wearable. And this all comes about through design. Jewelry must be designed. And designed it is.

Rogue Elephants are big, and jewelry design is a big task. Rogue Elephants move in unpredictable, yet forceful ways. And jewelry must be designed with movement in mind. Rogue Elephants come with a surface scape, texture and environment, against which the jewelry must look good. And again, good jewelry emerges primarily from the design perspective and control of the bead and/or jewelry artist.

Most beaders and jewelry makers don’t get to the point where they can fully answer Why do some pieces of their jewelry get good attention, and others do not.? They have fun making things. They match outfits. They give gifts. They sell a few pieces. They use pretty beads and other components. And sometimes they get compliments. Othertimes they do not.

Thus, they don’t necessarily know what to do with the pieces they are playing with. They don’t control these pieces, or the process of combining them. They follow patterns and instructions. And do these again. And again and again. Their artistic goals are to complete the steps and end up with something. They might stick to one or a few techniques they feel comfortable with. There is an unfamiliarity with the “bead” – what is it? where did it come from? what makes it special as a medium of art and light and shadow? how does it relate to other beads or clasps or stringing materials or jewelry findings? What happens to the bead over time? When they look at the bead, what do they see?

But luckily, beading for many artists is an evolving obsession. This obsession leads them to contemplate the bead and its use. The bead and its use in art. The bead and its use in jewelry. The bead and its relationship to the artist’s studio. Beads are addictive. Their addictiveness leads the beader or jewelry maker to seek out that Rogue Elephant that haunts them along the distant horizon. They know they want to bead it. They’re not sure how. But they steer themselves along the pathway to find out. This pathway isn’t particularly straight, level or passable. But it’s a pathway nonetheless. And the ensuing possibilities for learning and growing as an artist and designer along the way reap many worthwhile and satisfying rewards. I call this CONTEMPLATION.

The first step in this pathway is to figure out how to get started with beads and jewelry making. You need supplies. You need work spaces and storage strategies and understanding how to get everything organized. You need to anticipate bead spills and many unfinished projects. You need to learn to plan your pieces. You need to get a handle on the beads (and all the other pieces), and how to use them. I call this PLAY.

Whatever the reason, most beaders and jewelry makers don’t get past PLAY. They are content following patterns and making lots of pieces, according to the step-by-step instructions in these patterns. They might fear testing themselves against broader rules of artistic expression. They might not want to expend the mental and physical energy it takes to get into design. They just want to have fun. And if they never notice that Rogue Elephant hugging the horizon, that’s fine with them.

But for those beaders and jewelry makers for whom the Rogue Elephant is very disturbing, no matter how far away he may be, there are these wonderfully exciting, sensually terrific, incredibly fulfilling things that you find as you try to bead your Rogue Elephant, ear, trunk, feet, bodice and all. You learn to play with and dabble with and control the interplay of light and shadow, texture and pattern, dimensionality and perspective, strategy and technique, form and function, structure and purpose. You begin sharing your designs with friends and strangers, perhaps even teaching classes about how to make your favorite project, or do your preferred technique. You might also create a small business for yourself and sell your pieces. Your sense of artistry, your business acumen, your developing design perspective -- you need all this, if you are to have any chance of catching up with your Rogue Elephant, let alone beading him. As you begin to evolve beyond the simple craft perspective to one of artistry and then design, you enter the stage I call DABBLING.

As your jewelry pieces become more the result of your design intuition and acuity, you begin to wonder how other artists capture, be-jewel, and release their own Rogue Elephants. How did they get started? What was their inspiration? What motivated them to delve into beading, stick with it, and take it to the next level? You begin to recognize how some pieces of beadwork and jewelry are merely “craft”, and others are “art”. You get frustrated with beautiful pieces that are unwearable and fashionable pieces that lack durability and pieces that sell that are poorly constructed. You see many good ideas, some well-executed, but many not. I call this SAFARI.

Part of this SAFARI is historical. And the more recent socio-cultural-artistic history of beading in America is a fantastic tale of curiosity, grit, creative expression, ambition and technological advances in materials. Beading exploded across America in the late 1980s and 1990s and owes much to its many fore-mothers and a few fore-fathers that began their beadwork careers at this time, as well as those who founded the many beadwork magazines so prominent today. The other part of the SAFARI is learning life’s lessons, and incorporating these into beadwork and jewelry making approaches and designs.

As you begin to articulate what works and does not work in various pieces in terms of form, structure, art theory, relationships to the body, relationships to psychological and cultural and sociological constructs, you complete your evolution as a jewelry designer. You add a body of design theory and practice to your already honed skills in art, color, bead-stringing, bead-weaving and wire working. You find and bead your Rogue Elephant. I call this GALLERY HOPPING.

GALLERY HOPPING is partly a personal adventure as you self-experience your intellectual growth as an artist. And it is partly an adventure of evaluating how well others artists have succeeded in this same quest, as well. One very revealing pathway is following how artists contemporize traditional designs. Another is to look at multimedia beadwork, and how artists seek to maintain the integrity of each medium within the same piece. Yet another pathway is through collaboration. And still another is how to dress and present yourself for success, including strategies for self-promotion.

Your adventure along this pathway towards design – your success at beading your Rogue Elephant – is very fulfilling. Whether you walk, run, skip or crawl or some mix of the above, it’s a pathway worth following. You’ve learned to transcend the physicality and limitations of your workpace, tools and supplies. You’ve learned to multi-task and organize and construct your project as if you were engineering a bridge. You’re a designer. You’ve evolved as a beader and jewelry-designer and are feeling a true SATISFACTION.

 

--- Warren Feld


HOW TO BEAD A ROGUE ELEPHANT


INTRO & TABLE OF CONTENTS
Only the beader or jewelry artist who is willing to submerge her- or him-self completely in this wonderfully off-centered picture – Rogue Elephant, beads, stringing materials, clasps and all – will really get the fullness of this humor, this wisdom, and the splendor of beading and jewelry making as a form of art that is worn.

No Download. Permission to make a personal copy for yourself from the internet link above.


CONTEMPLATION
Beading for many artists is an evolving obsession. This obsession leads them to contemplate the bead and its use. The bead and its use in art. The bead and its use in jewelry. The bead and its relationship to the artist’s studio. Beads are addictive. Their addictiveness leads the beader or jewelry maker to seek out that Rogue Elephant that haunts them along the distant horizon. They know they want to bead it. They’re not sure how. But they steer themselves along the pathway to find out. This pathway isn’t particularly straight, level or passable. But it’s a pathway nonetheless. And the ensuing possibilities for learning and growing as an artist and designer along the way reap many worthwhile and satisfying rewards.
AMONG TOPICS COVERED:
The "Bead" and Its Use
When You Look At A Bead, What Do You See?
An Evolving Obsession
Beading Calisthenics
Why People Like To Bead and Make Jewelry
The Bead Lover In You

Download CONTEMPLATION .pdf file - $3.00



PLAY
The first step in this pathway is to figure out how to get started with beads and jewelry making. You need supplies. You need work spaces and storage strategies and understanding how to get everything organized. You need to anticipate bead spills and many unfinished projects. You need to learn to plan your pieces. You need to get a handle on the beads (and all the other pieces), and how to use them. You need to understand what happens to each of your jewelry parts over time. You need an Orientation to Beads, Jewelry Findings, Stringing Materials and Tools.
AMONG TOPICS COVERED:
A History of Beads and How They Were Used
Beading in the US Today
Not All Beads Are Alike
So Many Beads, How Do I Choose?
Making Beads
Druks and Fire Polish Beads
Crystal Beads
Seed Beads and Delicas
Jewelry Findings and Metals
Stringing Materials
Tools
What Glue Do I Use?
Organizing Your Stuff
Different types of beading and jewelry making
-- Bead stringing
-- Bead weaving
-- Wire working
-- Silver Smithing
-- Fiber Arts
-- Lampwork and Fused Glass
-- Metal Clay and Polymer Clay
-- Buying and Selling Jewelry
Finding Inspiration
Planning Your Necklace
Managing Your Emotions
-- Unfinished Projects
-- Bead Spills
-- Your Unused Bead Stash
-- Patience Boosters

Download PLAY .pdf file - $5.00




DABBLING - ARTIST
But for those beaders and jewelry makers for whom the Rogue Elephant is very disturbing, no matter how far away he may be, there are these wonderfully exciting, sensually terrific, incredibly fulfilling things that you find as you try to bead your Rogue Elephant, ear, trunk, feet, bodice and all. You learn to play with and dabble with and control the interplay of light and shadow, texture and pattern, dimensionality and perspective, strategy and technique, form and function, structure and purpose. You begin sharing your designs with friends and strangers, perhaps even teaching classes about how to make your favorite project, or do your preferred technique. You might also create a small business for yourself and sell your pieces. Your sense of artistry, your business acumen, your developing design perspective -- you need all this, if you are to have any chance of catching up with your Rogue Elephant, let alone beading him. You begin to evolve beyond a simple craft perspective into one of artistry.
AMONG TOPICS COVERED:

A Search for a Muse
Teaching Jewelry Design -- 3 Different Approaches
Bead Weaving - Stitch of the Month
Advancing Bead Thinking
Adventures in Attaching Clasps
-- Choosing Clasps
-- The Cognitive Processes of the Viewer
-- Types of Clasps
-- Other Jewerly Findings - What These Are/How To Use Them
-- How Best To Crimp
-- About Threads and Needles and Waxing Thread
-- How to Use Needle and Thread to String a Bracelet
Wire Work Jewelry
Wire Work vs. Wire Wrap
Making Plain Loops and Coil-Wrapped Loops
Copyrighting My Pieces
The "Good" Jewelry Artist

Download DABBLING-ARTIST .pdf file - $5.00



DABBLING - BUSINESS OF CRAFT
While there are many business challenges for jewelry designers, you can most assuredly answer the question – Can You Really Make Money Selling Jewelry? – with a resounding YES. It takes some planning. Some Moxie. Some start-up money. Some marketing. And some luck. But it can be done.For people who sell their jewelry, their art is both a business as well as a source of creativity and self-expression. To be successful, they need to bring an understanding of business fundamentals to the business, and they need to find enthusiasm for “business” in similar ways to how they found their passion for “jewelry.” There will be ups and downs, as the economy changes or fashions and styles change. They will wear multiple hats – designer, distributor, manufacturer, retailer -- not always sure which hat to wear when. They will need to understand marketing, pricing and selling.
AMONG TOPICS COVERED:
Business Challenges
Getting Started In Business
-- Federal, State, Local Licenses, Registrations, Requirements
-- Setting up a Simple General Ledger of Revenues and Expenses
-- Other Record Keeping
-- How To Define Your Business Model
-- Understand Costs
-- Basic Marketing
-- Retail/Wholesale/Consignment
Successes and Failures at Business
Pricing and Selling Your Jewelry
-- A Pricing Formula To Calculate Retail and Wholesale Prices
-- Basic Business Strategies Related to Pricing
Repairing Jewelry and Making Money At It
Home Shows Can Be Very Effective
So You Want To Do Craft Shows
Internet Marketing That Works For Very Small Businesses
Why Some Jewelers and Beaders Grow Rich, and Others Do Not

Download DABBLING BUSINESS OF CRAFT .pdf file - $5.00




SAFARI
As your jewelry pieces become more the result of your design intuition and acuity, you begin to wonder how other artists capture, be-jewel, and release their own Rogue Elephants. How did they get started? What was their inspiration? What motivated them to delve into beading, stick with it, and take it to the next level? You begin to recognize how some pieces of beadwork and jewelry are merely “craft”, and others are “art”. You get frustrated with beautiful pieces that are unwearable and fashionable pieces that lack durability and pieces that sell that are poorly constructed. You see many good ideas, some well-executed, but many not.
AMONG TOPICS COVERED:
The "Bead Artist" - A Profile Composite
How I Began My Journey
The Customer As Arbiter of Taste
A Society of Bead Artists
Does Fashion Matter?
Bead Magazines
Color and Beads -- Theory and Practice
How I Come Up With Jewelry Designs
The Business of Beading - The Shady Side
How To Bead In A Car
You Know You've Had A Bad Bead Day When...
Buying Gemstone Beads

Download SAFARI .pdf file - $5.00




GALLERY HOPPING
As you begin to articulate what works and does not work in various pieces in terms of form, structure, art theory, relationships to the body, relationships to psychological and cultural and sociological constructs, you complete your evolution as a jewelry designer. You add a body of design theory and practice to your already honed skills in art, color, bead-stringing, bead-weaving and wire working. You find and bead your Rogue Elephant.
AMONG TOPICS COVERED:
Jewelry Design I
Principles of Artistic Expression
Principles of Composition (Rules of Manipulation)
Design Elements (Things You Manipulate)
Form and Function
-- Physical Function
-- Psycho-Social Function

-- Forms (and Themes)
-- Techniques and Materials
-- Components
-- Jewelry Support Systems
Is It Art Yet? Who Decides?
The Ugly Necklace Contest
Contemporizing Traditional Jewelry
Multi-Media Beading
All Dolled Up: Beaded Art Doll Competition

Integrating Bead Weaving and Bead Stringing
Niche Marketing
Competitive Beading
Bead Dreaming

Download GALLERY HOPPING .pdf file - $5.00





SATISFACTION
Your adventure along this pathway towards design – your success at beading your Rogue Elephant – is very fulfilling. Whether you walk, run, skip or crawl or some mix of the above, it’s a pathway worth following. You’ve learned to transcend the physicality and limitations of your workpace, tools and supplies. You’ve learned to multi-task and organize and construct your project as if you were engineering a bridge. You’re a designer. You’ve evolved as a beader and jewelry-designer.
AMONG TOPICS COVERED:
Crafters Coast To Coast
Beading Aphorisms
Confronting Your Rogue Elephant
Collaboration
The Tuscany Jewelry Design Workshop
Fine Art Merges with Fine Craft
Developing a Personal Sty le
Dressing for Success
Entering Contests
Getting Published
Mentoring

Download SATISFACTION .pdf file - $3.00

 

 


Also of interest:
Visit
www.LearnToBead.net


 


All jewelry, artworks, images, designs, copy, Copyright 2008 Warren Feld.
All rights reserved. Warren Feld Studio

Beads and Jewelry Making Supplies - Land of Odds Phone: 615/292-0610.          
Email: warren@warrenfeldjewelry.com
BLOG: blog.landofodds.com