Variations on a Theme


Dimensional Cuff Bracelet Tutorial       oval bracelet

If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you know that I make many analogies between jewelry design and music. This is yet another. Variations on a theme bring to mind classical music in which many of the great composers embellished their own basic motives to create numerous variations. Some contemporary musicians have also taken short snippets from classical music, varied these and employed them in new music.

Variations are also a big part of training in creative thinking wherein we ask participants to think flexibly and change an original idea. Sometimes the ideas that follow are better than the first and sometimes this exercise simply serves to reassure the thinker that they had the best idea in the first place.

The same is often true in jewelry design. I try many different versions of a “theme” or design to see whether it might be improved. Sometimes I initiate this process out of sheer boredom when I’m tired of the same design, yet it is still popular with customers. The following is an example of this.

You will likely recognize the bracelet on the left above that is a design I’ve been making for at least five years. I also sell the tutorial for it in my etsy shop and it has also been popular there. (Thank you customers!)

When a boutique customer called to she needed more of the same, I realized it was probably time for another variation on this design. I’ve made it with square and rectangular faces in the past, but wanted something new. After experimentation with shapes, I created the bracelet shown on the above right – a variation on the theme. I plan to make this one again using more colorful gemstones that will show up better against the weaving.

Another popular bracelet, the wave, that initiated so long ago that I can’t locate a photo, also needed revamping. I changed the initial bracelet shape to triangles as shown below.

wave tri

Finally, still considering the wave bracelet theme, I made a new “cursive” bracelet that proved to be a bit tricky. This one required plenty of wraps to help the 14 gauge wire hold its shape. I think this one holds further possibilities.

cursive bracelet

This was an interesting and somewhat challenging exercise and I continue to think “what if” regarding variation possibilities. But for now, I think I’ll just go play some classical music on the piano with a score that someone else wrote.