Shape & Color, with Margie Deeb

June 17, 2014, 05:31 am  Posted by Lark

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.


Margie Deeb

This is the sixth in a nine-part interview with Margie.                   

Q How is shape important, Margie?

A As we wear a carefully crafted shape of beauty—for that is exactly what jewelry is—it becomes an expression and extension of who we are. Shape contributes to that expression. When you look at a piece of jewelry from a distance, its shape is the first thing you see. You can’t discern individual beads or intricate surface embellishment. Your eye immediately perceives just the essential shape.

Obsessed as bead artists are with surface embellishment, it can be tempting to minimize the importance of the shape of the jewelry we’re designing so we can get to the “good stuff,” the intricacies of stitch wizardry and surface ornamentation. When this kind of myopia is in place, design suffers. The most extraordinary beads woven into fascinating patterns amount to little if they’re part of a sloppy or confusing shape.

So I encourage everyone to fall in love with shapes: learn all you can about their movement, style, and language. Your jewelry will be more beautiful because of it.

Click on this image to link to a PDF of these pages



Q It seems color would be the most important principle for a piece of jewelry. Isn’t that the first thing people notice?                           

A Most often, yes. But it depends on the distance the jewelry is being seen from. When seen up close, color does compose the major impact of a piece. When looking at a piece of beadwork, a viewer will accept or reject it in less than 30 seconds. The colors account for 60 percent of that decision. Consider the jewelry on magazine covers: color provides the over-riding emotional tone. But when seen from a bit of a distance, even just another foot or two, it’s the shape of the jewelry that our eye immediately discerns. That’s why a whole chapter of my book is devoted to shape.

I devote another chapter to color. Our reaction to color is emotional and visceral. Our “heart” reacts strongly and we feel the response in our bodies. Likewise, the colors we choose for our jewelry elicit emotional, gut-level responses from others. Color, and color alone, can infuse your creations with the ability to astonish.

Color is critical to the artist because it’s one of the most powerful notes in your artistic voice. Your unique sense of color, cultivated and nurtured, becomes a signature of who you are.




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


Margie Deeb is the author of five beading books. For more info about her newest one, check out http://beadersguidetojewelrydesign.com


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