purple_astonishmentA friend of mine loves the word “astonish.” What a fun word! I love being astonished. And I love astonishing.

Do your creations have the ability to astonish? Of course not every piece of jewelry you make. But have you made a piece where you purposefully set out to make a piece that astonishes?

I’ve seen a trend in the last decade in beaded jewelry. An assumption that the more beads one can load onto backing or string, the better a piece will be.

This “more is better” attitude is everywhere. When we watch the news we see 5 boxes of information being fed to us rather than concentrating on one story.

My husband, a guitar player, has shown me that line of thinking takes the form of how fast a player can play; how may notes the artist can cram into one or two seconds. The more notes, the better the player. Absurd, as it sounds, that’s the thinking.

In reality, “more is better” is a lazy approach. If one doesn’t have the focus, competency, or knowledge to consciously compose something interesting or beautiful, one falls back on simply doing more, more, and more of something, hoping others will be dazzled by sheer volume or amount of energy expended.

How many items one can attach to leather backing is production, not true creativity. It is not astonishing.

I find that in jewelry that astonishes me, every bead is (or looks as if it is) purposefully arranged, with thought to each bead around it, and how it relates to the entirety of the piece.

  • The composition is planned and ordered, even if it appears to be spontaneous and random.
  • Colors harmonize with each other and are balanced throughout the entire piece.
  • It’s well-planned movement guides my eyes and delights my senses: I enjoy following it.
  • It interacts with the body in fluid, seamless motion.
  • The technique intrigues me.
  • An overall harmony exists: of the entire piece as a whole, and each individual piece.

I’m interested in hearing your thoughts. What astonishes you?