Shades Of Blue

Inca Design JewelryRifle Shell Jewelry

79. Royal Arsenal by Gretchen Prewitt. (top left) This piece is based on the geometric weaving designs of Inca textiles. It also features the brass shells of a 22-caliber rifle.

80. Untitled No. 1 by Jimmylene Wertman. (top right) A porcelain fetish and macramé techniques add to the interest of this piece.

81. Untitled No. 2 by Jimmylene Wertman. (left) The centerpiece is a museum replica of a gold bat-man, a Pre-Columbian adornment made by the lost wax method. Abalone shell elements and Peruvian beads are also used.

Mayan Fiber Jewelry

82. Mayan Mask by Ileen Shefferman. (top left).

83. Untitled by Phyllis Baez. (top right) In their previous incarnation the incised clay whorls on this necklace were used in pre-Columbian civilizations as spindles to spin fiber into thread.

84. Untitled by Phyllis Magrab. (left) Golden horse pin on a needlewoven pendant.

Phyllis MagrabMarion Boyer

85. Cam's Frog by Marion Boyer. (top left) A frog motif was woven w ithin the piece.

86. Figuratively Feline by Cookie Labby. (top right) This necklace was warped in two directions. The lower part was warped vertically so that the beads could hang lengthwise. The upper part was warped horizontally so the beads could be arranged horizontally. The colors of beads and threads are typical of Peruvian textiles.

87. Untitled by Daniele Dubois, (left) An owl mask with fox ears.

Beaded Owl DirectionMacrame Macramista

88. Noble Warrior by Eugenia Nowlin. (top left) Gold museum replica; multi-strand closure.

89. Flying Frog Pectoral by Edward Hyland. (top right) Dangles are of carv ed stone.

90. Nazca Huari Pectoral by Joanne Bast, (left) The design of the interlocking "C's" is derived from the Nazca Huari of the south coast of Peru (ca. 700-1000 AD). This choker style is woven first as a neck band, then the vertical warps are attached to the band to create the pectoral with golden dangles.

African Designer Chokers

91. Failing Girl With Cat by Bonnie Dunn, (left) The falling man motif occurs in pre-Columbian weaving motifs.

92. Bird Pin by Maggie Wheeler, (below) "This carving of a bird's head was completed with a needlewoven and beaded body."

Helen Banes
Imagenes Pectorales Macrame
93. Helen Banes wove this necklace to go with an African-look jacket designed by Mary Preston.

Designing Your Own Necklace

Several necklace patterns are included in this book for you to use as they are or for you to modify. Of course, you may want to try designing one of your own. Whatever you decide, this chapter will help you. If you wish to use one of the patterns provided, move right along to Chapter 4: How to Make Your Own Necklace, and come back to this section when you want to make a special necklace with your own design.

Many people doubt their own creativity. They don't realize that creativity comes a glimpse at a time rather than as a blinding revelation. Each small step we take will eventually bring us to completion of a piece. Often, those people we think are brilliantly creative are building on the work of others. As Thomas Edison said, "Genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration." Look around you for ideas and translate or interpret them into your own designs.

You may wonder how to begin designing a necklace. Like many problems, designing a necklace becomes more manageable when you break it into its component parts. The key elements or building blocks of design with which we will work are color, line, shape, texture and focal point. In working with these elements, it is helpful to have some guidelines for assembling them into a pleasing piece. Three such guidelines are scale, balance and rhythm. These are not meant to be hard and fast ailes but rather general ideas to get you started and to help you learn the vocabulary of design. Although not an element of design, we'll also explore symbolism briefly. To begin, let's talk a little about each of these terms and see how they apply to our necklace design.

Just as a child changes as it grows, each piece creates the need for new responses as it evolves. Don't force your original idea during the developing process.

The Building Blocks Of Design: The Elements


Color depends on the composition of the material and how it reflects light. The spectrum of colors we see in a rainbow is merely the beginning of colors available in fibers and beads today. Due to the advances in commercial dyes, fiber artists are fortunate to have a vast assortment of colors readily available. And if commercial colors are not satisfactory, we can create our own by dyeing thread with convenient, color-fast chemical dyes or dyes from natural materials. Beads, too, can have an endless range of color. Beads can be painted or wrapped with thread to achieve an exact color. For more ideas, see Chapter 4: Finding or Making the Perfect Beads for Your Necklace.

Learning to use color seems to come naturally to some people. For others, a more structured approach to understanding color will be easier than trial and error. Many books arc available which explain color theory in depth. They describe the color wheel, the composition of colors, the interaction of colors and the meaning of color We'll give you a brief introduction here.

The Color Wheel

A color wheel represents a method of organizing the colors of the spcctrum so that various relationships can be explored. The simplest color wheel shows the primary colors (red, yellow and blue) each spaced at one third intervals around the wheel. By mixing two of the primaries we get the secondary colors. For example, by mixing red and yellow we get orange, which is placed between red and yellow. Similarly, yellow and blue are mixed to give green, and blue and red are mixed to give purple. Usually a color wheel goes one step further, mixing primary and secondary to achieve tertiary colors. For example, mixing yellow and green gives yellow-green This gives us a color wheel with twelve colors (see figure 1).

This color wheel is just the beginning of color exploration. There arc three aspccts to color: the hue or color name; the value, or its lightness or darkness; and the intensity, or how bright or dull it is. Tints of color are made by adding white and shades of color are made by adding black. It is even more exciting to work with colors that are mixtures of many colors. You may wish to try playing with color by mixing colors with inexpensive tempera paints. Start with the basics, black, white, red, yellow and blue.

Color bridges are transitions of color from one value or one hue to another. Light blue to medium blue to dark blue is a transition of

Colour Wheel Tints And Shades

Figure 1. The Color Wheel with Tints and Shades. A color wheel can provide many ideas for color directions. Memorize the sequence of colors and practice recalling their opposites on Ihe wheel (the complementary colors) and their neighbors (the analogous colors). Then think about some neutral colors that could work with your selected color. You'll quickly have several possibilities with which to work. (Courtesy of The Color Wheel. 1337 Donna Beth Ave.. West Covin a, CA 91791. Manufacturers and distributors of a variety of color wheel«.|

value. Such a color scheme would be referred to as "monochromatic. Or, imagine the colors of a glorious sunset, which is a transition of hue. The sky might go from brilliant rcd-orangc to pinks and mauves to the soft gray blue of the evening sky, all with a smooth gradation of colors.

A pleasing color combination can result by selecting colors next to each other on the color wheel, such as blue and green (analogous colors), or by selecting opposite colors, such as orange and blue (complementary colors). More complicated color schemes involve three or more colors such as orange, yellow and blue violet (split complement). Many combinations exist and it's fun to try new colors with which we have not yet worked. When you try using different colors together, note how some colors seem to change in appearance, depending on what other colors are used with them.

Before you start working, ask yourself if you prefer bright, soft, or more neutral colors. Then look at the color wheel. Which color is opposite your selected color on the color wheel? Which color is next to it on either side? Do you have a second or third color choice? Imagine what color might result if you had paint and mixed all these colors together. That color might serve as a bridge between your other colors. By asking yourself questions like these, von can begin to select the colors you would like to work with.

There are many, many color schemes to use. Start with a palette of three or four colors in light, medium and dark values, in monochromatic or contrasting colors. Sometimes adding a touch or highlight of an odd, off-beat color will provide a striking accent to your piccc. Restraint is the key here, however.

The best advice 1 ever heard regarding color was ihis: Anv two colors will work together if you use them with a third color which is a mature of the two original colors. For example, if you decide to work with yellow arid violet, try adding a dull gray-green as your third color. This is the color which would result if you mixed yellow and violet paint. The dull gray-green serves as a transition or bridge between the yellow and violet.

- Diane Fitzgerald

Consider using at least three values — light, medium and dark — so that the necklace can be worn on a variety of background colors. Unlike other art forms which hang on a flat wall or are free standing. wearable art is usually worn against a background which can vary.

Helen Bancs

Helen Banes

94. This African-inspired necklace was designed by Helen Banes to complement a vest created by Marian Gartler. Marian used a silk african strip weave textile for the vest. The vest is Marian's original "Safe-Keeper" design and features many pockets both inside and out.

Often I am inspired to choose a combination of colors for a new piece based on an article of clothing. Since I buy articles for mv wardrobe which are made of authentic ethnic textiles or are created by other fiber artists, the necklaces reflect the artistic talent of the original clothing creator. By wearing the necklace with the related clothing, each piece is enhanced. (See Photos 93, (page 32) and 94.)

- Helen Banes

94. This African-inspired necklace was designed by Helen Banes to complement a vest created by Marian Gartler. Marian used a silk african strip weave textile for the vest. The vest is Marian's original "Safe-Keeper" design and features many pockets both inside and out.


A line, my mother told me, is the shortest distance between two points. She remembers this because it was the only question she missed on her high school geometry test. In making necklaces though, we are not concerned about finding the shortest line, but rather the most pleasing line. I like to think of a line as a path which the eye can follow as it moves across your necklace.

A line can be wide or narrow, straight or curved. It can meander or move diagonally. Lines can be solid or a series of dots. In weaving a necklace, a line is created by weaving with thread or by placing a series of beads next to each other. Your eye steps from one bead to another like tiptoeing across stepping stones in a river (figure 2). Lines also serve to define shapes, another element of design.

Try to avoid creating a stripe across the width of the piece, especially a dark or bold stripe which cuts the design in half visually and obstructs the rhythmic movement of the total composition.

- Helen Banes

Helen Banes

Figure 2. Lines: Lines can provide interesting design possibilities. See the following necklaces for ideas using lines: in photo 39, "Miss Piggy," lines are used to outline shapes. In photo 56, "Diver's World," wavy vertical lines represent undersea vegetation. In photo 71, "Puppet Show," straight lines become stripes.

Figure 2. Lines: Lines can provide interesting design possibilities. See the following necklaces for ideas using lines: in photo 39, "Miss Piggy," lines are used to outline shapes. In photo 56, "Diver's World," wavy vertical lines represent undersea vegetation. In photo 71, "Puppet Show," straight lines become stripes.

Although you are using a threaded needle, do not consider the process of needleweaving akin to embroidery or drawing which create a line of color. Needleweaving is more related to the concept of silk screen technique or painting. Consider instead the idea of shapes of color using a combination of beads or a solid area of thread. THINK SHAPES MORE THAN LINES.

- Helen Banes

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