My Design Process

my-design-process-sarah-johnson-4my-design-process-jewelry-sisooAs
many of you know, I am a jewelry designer. I wanted to share a little behind the scenes of my jewelry design process. Although no two creative processes are ever the same, here are consistent tips I implement to make my jewelry ideas to come to life.

1) PINTEREST! I created a secret jewelry inspiration board on Pinterest and I use it like a champ. Whenever I come across anything that I find inspiring (a color palette, a stone, a silhouette, a name, a non-conventional material) I pin it, so that I don’t forget it. I always add a note, like “try this kind of leather in a necklace design”, so that I remember the creative idea I had when I come back to it later. I am a visual person, and Pinterest is such a wonderful resource to see a snapshot of my creative vision.

2) MATERIALS! I’ve been designing jewelry in some form or another since the 4th grade. I’ve collected a lot of supplies and materials over the years. I try to keep them as organized as possible. I store all my Swarovski crystals according to size and color, and the same for my cabochons. I have drawers in my apartment dedicated to soldering tools, other drawers dedicated to components, and still more drawers for all my different types of chains. When I’m designing a new collection, I pull out my materials, roll up my sleeves and sit and play with them. It’s amazing how they come to life with each other. I layout different components with unexpected chains and stones. This has proven to be my favorite design method. I can get lost in the materials for hours as I get into that true “creative zone”. I designed my most favorite necklace this way. The piece literally came to life before my eyes. I work with a lot of high quality materials, so I believe in letting the materials speak for themselves as much as possible.

3) GLUE! Yes you read that correctly. Another method I use is glue. In order to create a pre-sample sample, I will mock a piece together with glue. Often I need to see how something will look or lay, or how much it might weigh, glue is the perfect solution. I find this is efficient to do sometimes before soldering a sample because it gives me a better sense if the piece will work or not. I use E6000 glue. Sometimes friends come to my apartment and are like, GIRL CAN I WEAR THIS? And I have to explain to them that it’s only a glued sample, and not yet real jewelry–yes, glue can create that awesome of a sample!

4) SKETCH! This is not my favorite design method. But I do sketch when I am developing things for CAD. It’s the only way to do it. In fact, I developed my newest braided collection completely by sketches. I was in Sag Harbor for the weekend with some friends. My friend Lauren has the most amazing mane of long luscious hair, and she wore it in a braid all weekend. I started sketching her hair into my jewelry designs. And voila, the braided collection was born. I bring a sketchbook with me when I know I will have down-time. Or I keep it by the television, if an idea strikes me while I’m relaxing.

5) PICTURES! I take pictures of everything. In fact, there is no room left on my iPhone (there never is). It’s so chock full, that I have to take photos from my Instagram app, my camera app is like GIRL, NO MORE. I take pictures of art, architecture, food, fashion, flowers, lights, technology, cars and yes I once asked a woman in a club in South Beach if I could take a photo of her shoes because I could see a piece of jewelry in them. I never know where an idea might strike me, so I take as many pictures as I can. And I look back on my photos, a lot! Whenever I am waiting in line, or if I can’t fall asleep, I will go waaaay back in my camera roll to see what I was looking at a few months ago. It’s so cool how my eyes see new things in photos I took a while ago.

my-design-process-sarah-johnson-11my-design-process-sarah-johnson-10my-design-process-sarah-johnson-6my-design-process-sarah-johnson-5IMG_9327

my-design-process-sarah-johnson-8

These photos above are from earlier today when I pulled out supplies and played with ideas for a new collection. Some pieces will get soldered and plated, others might not make the cut. It’s always fun and surprising to see what pieces come to life, depending on the day and my mood. I think it’s important to revisit the design process often, a lot of great ideas often surface when I least expect it.

favicon-sj-watercolor-heart

 

Sarah

I am a lifelong New Yorker who recently swapped the subway for the California sunshine. I've learned the only way out is through--and tough stuff makes you a whole lot stronger. Currently hooked on planning & organization, kombucha, succulents and my labradoodle child. You can usually find me in the #sisoostudio, working on my latest DIY project, designing gemstone & crystal jewelry, daydreaming about one day operating a flower farm, and spreading the Finnish spirit of sisu everywhere I go. Visit me at the links below to connect.

February 28, 2015

RELATED POSTS

LEAVE A COMMENT