Artists often start a sketch or painting using shapes. Heads are circles, torsos ovals and a triangle represents a pelvis. Buildings start out as a square or rectangle, roofs are triangles, wheels are circles and so on. Using shapes helps artists keep their subjects in proportion and visualize what the final rendering will look like.
In jewelry, designers and the materials they choose to use determine the shape of a finished piece. Shapes can convey strength, fluidity, movement and infinity as well as drawing the eye up (triangle) or down (inverted triangle). Jewelry artists incorporate these characteristics into their jewelry to subtly influence how a piece is perceived by the eye.
In the case of the miniature pendants I paint, the subject matter has a lot to do with the shape of the pendant. A tall narrow subject works best on a rectangular shape, while something that is more circular will be round or oval.
It's not always the subject of my paintings that decides what shape I will use. Many times, I will have a bezel/component that I wish to use and have to find a shape that will fit, so I can't always have my heart set on a certain subject.
And, then there are shapes within shapes. A designer may use a square shape to convey strength, while using a round shape for movement. These kinds of works have a lot of visual interest.
When it comes to free form shapes, wire is a natural due to it's ability to curve, bend and spiral.
These are just some of examples of how jewelry artisans use shape to create and define their artistic visions. Shapes are a very basic part of art and design and one that is taken for granted. Next time you are out and about, look around and you will see just how important shapes are not just to the jewelry you wear, but to all aspects of daily life.
To see what the other participants of the February blog carnival have to say about shapes, please click on the links below:
The Crafty Chimp
Echoes of Ela