Good question Debbie! Did everyone hear Debbie's question? (This is how I encourage my tragically shy Mexican students to ask questions, I make it a big deal and get all excited over it.)
The question is how do I start? Generally it's all about the supplies. When I obtain a new object I'm always thinking what it could be made into. My head speeds along, picturing it in different configurations. These mate tops for example:
In case you have no idea what these are, here are some examples of mate (pronounced with the 'e' in 'let'):
The metal tops are just decorative.
I knew pretty much right away they would make good necklace focals. One tried and true design for me is the focal-with-dangling-element, so I naturally started wondering what to dangle. Also because just the round piece seemed... too round? I was also wondering what to do with the bazzilion stones I got while in Uruguay:
And then went "DUH" and paired them together:
Generally, it's the supplies that begin the process, certainly not an abstract idea. To refer to the previous post, the "design principle" or color scheme reveals itself as I put different elements next to each other, take others away, and generally try different combinations. I think an artist is fascinated by what s/he can make his/her media do. So a musician is fascinated with sounds, an architect with cement and wood. etc.
My favorite thing of all is when two or more ideas come together. That is to say, I have a vague idea for what I'd like to do with one element and another idea about a couple of beads when suddenly the light goes on and I realize I can combine the two. I had gotten the cord knowing it was good for pieces with strong focals. I had gotten the mate gourd tops as focals. I had gotten the gemstones as hanging stuff. Voila. But with all the gillions of odds and ends I have, this wasn't so clear to begin with. The key to these was to keep them simple, which is not easy for me.
While I was at it, I saw one of these wacky bulbous pearl drops lying about which I'd started to think were going to be too big for anything. Good thing it was out and visible because It was just big enough for a focal-centric piece. So another "technique" is to have tons of crap lying everywhere. If you keep your goodies in sight, you might be surprised at how a random element suddenly pairs with the piece you're working on. Generally if I have multiples of anything, I keep some out and tuck some away. This way, I know what I have without an avalanche of beads burying me each time I go into my work area. But I do forget and some drawer-rummaging is always good.
Lol- I love how my tone is of utmost seriousness here. Like everyone should do it the way I do.
In any case, thanks for the question Debbie. (By the way, nice new avatar- though I do miss feeling like you were specifically flirting with me whenever I saw your old one. You tease.)
Happy 4th y'all.