Let’s talk about beauty.
I’ve recently returned from the Central California Bead Society in Fresno where I taught and presented a new lecture, “Designing Beauty,” based on my latest book, The Beader’s Guide to Jewelry Design.
I choose specific images for the slide show to help us precisely and instantly explore design concepts. Much of the jewelry I showed illustrated the concepts beautifully. Oohs and ahhs wafted like perfume through through the room. Conversely, since much can be learned from failure, I featured jewelry that missed the mark. Jewelry whose lack of unity evoked scrunched noses. Jewelry whose confusing shape left us uttering “wha-a-a-t?” Jewelry so visually unbalanced our bodies involuntarily listed to the left as we stared at it.
My hope was for a lively, animated discussion about aesthetics, design, and beauty. I was thrilled to get that and more!
We examined focal point and emphasis: What guides your eye in, around, and out of a piece of jewelry?
We explored asymmetrical balance and disagreed: What some sense as solidly balanced was, to others, wonky.
We analyzed intangible movement: What kinds of lines, shapes, compositions, and repetitions create what kinds of movement?
We inspected shapes: Why is it so important that the overall shape of jewelry be distinguishable and aesthetically pleasing?
And we talked briefly about one of my favorite topics: beauty.
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” one reminded us. We all have different sensibilities, different ideas of what is beautiful. Yet, there are aesthetic principles of beauty which humans have agreed upon since we became conscious.
Personally, I look to how something makes me feel before I assign the word “beautiful” to a work of art…
Do I feel inspired?
Do I feel enchanted, as if some form of magic is taking place?
Do I sense a timelessness?
Do I feel awe?
Do I feel peaceful, like all is right for just this moment – or possibly forever – because this exists?
Do I sense something larger and grander going on, something beyond what I can see, taste, hear, and touch?
Do I feel glad to be alive, honored to be in a world where this exists, honored to be part of the human family where a fellow being can create such beauty?
I am interested to hearing your thoughts. How do you define beauty? Please let me know!
Read the interview with Lark Books about The Beader’s Guide to Jewelry Design here.