Margie Deeb Discusses Unity

May 20, 2014, 05:18 am  Posted by Lark

The soon-to-be-released book The Beader’s Guide to Jewelry Design, written by Margie Deeb, teaches you to design your own creations by paying attention to unity, scale, proportion, balance, rhythm, shape, pattern, texture, movement, drape, and color. You’ll explore the interaction of jewelry and the body: how it moves, how it drapes, how it guides the viewer’s eye to complement–or clash–with different body sizes and wardrobe. The concepts presented are supported by photos, illustrations, before-and-after examples, and challenges. Tips from today’s leading jewelry designers in polymer clay, beads, precious metal clay, ceramic, and wire teach you how to take your ideas and refine them into extraordinary, wearable jewelry.

  • Discover why a piece of jewelry is visually appealing.
  • Understand why you prefer certain styles and how to apply the concepts to achieve what you want.
  • Gain confidence in using specific applications of visual and aesthetic principles.
  • Be inspired to grow and express more of yourself and your unique visions of beauty.


This is the second in a nine-part interview (we’re keeping it bite-size!) with the author.

Q Your book contains six chapters on the major principles of design—unity, focal point and emphasis, balance, movement, shape, color. That’s a lot of information! For someone new to design, do you suggest starting at the beginning of the book, or is there one section readers might focus on first? In other words, do you feel there’s one principle that’s more important than any of the others to explore first?

A I wrote the chapters in an order that was easiest and most natural for clear understanding. I suggest starting at the beginning for anyone, not only those new to design. Seasoned artists often rely on the same set of visual design principles as they work. This book presents many design principles they may not have explored, which will spark ideas and inspire them to try new approaches. Design, like color, isn’t something you learn once and get it forever. I’ve studied design and color for over 45 years, and will continue to for the rest of my life.

The book's table of contents


 Q Let’s talk about the principles of design. For someone not familiar with these concepts, can you summarize in a sentence or two what a designer is trying to achieve through unity?

A Good design expresses harmony, in which every part affirms its connection with all the rest, each element speaking to and with the others. Color, placement, texture, pattern, technique, materials, and components belong together: They’re related to each other and to the whole. There’s an intentional order and purpose to the piece. We call this kind of harmony unity. Without unity, a piece becomes chaotic and unappealing.

Unity is the goal of good design: how much unity is the challenge. It’s often difficult to know “when to say when” regarding how much variety to include within a piece of jewelry. On the other hand, playing it safe too often can lead to boring overuse of similarity. The challenge is how to balance variety and repetition in order to create striking unity.

It helps to think of unity not as a destination, but as a state existing somewhere between random variety and repetitious uniformity.

Q The chapter called Unity contains a section about The Ugly Necklace Contest. As your editor, the first time I saw it, I got a huge kick out of it! I had never heard of that competition. Tell this blog’s readers a little about it.

Warren S. Feld, owner of the Land of Odds bead store, concocted and sponsors the annual The Ugly Necklace Contest. It’s a brilliant idea! I’m so grateful he let me include what he has learned and some of the photos from the contest, for there is much to be learned from jewelry born of the attempt to make and to interpret “ugly.” As I say in the book, “Mediocre is easy to achieve. We all can do it when we feel lazy, uninspired, or we’re not challenging ourselves. Mediocre falls in the middle of the spectrum between beautiful and ugly. Both beauty and ugliness encompass what this book is about: the deliberate application—or lack of application—of design theories.”

Click on this image to link to a PDF that gives you a sneak peek at The Ugly Necklace Contest!


Check in next Tuesday for the next part of my interview with Margie!

Margie Deeb is the author of four other books. For more info about The Beader’s Guide to Jewelry Design, check out http://beadersguidetojewelrydesign.com

Margie Deeb


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