Friday, May 18, 2007

My Shangri-La

Pictured: the cover of Lark's forthcoming crochet jewelry book, due out Oct. 1'07!
U-betcha I'll be blogging about my included designs because I have supplemental data and it's hard. to hold it. back. Nevertheless I shall remain an example of proper professional comportment.

Swatching up crocheted jewelry designs set me on a path to a secret paradise, my Shangri-La. I feel a list coming on:

The Seven Treasures I Picked Up Along the Road to Shangri-La
  1. Jewelrymaking gives me permission to stop and appreciate the little things. Life slows to a different tempo. I have the same experience when I crochet fine lace.

  2. It frees me to concern myself solely with beauty and charm, icing on the cake, wearable candy. I think some people have the same experience when they crochet doilies (they're jewelry for furniture) but for some reason I don't, maybe because it's home decor instead of personal adornment.

  3. Like felting, it cultivates new ways of seeing familiar stitches--in the case of jewelry, it's because the scale changes (whereas in felting, the material changes). For some kinds of jewelry, crochet stitches and techniques are done on a tiny intricate scale like filigree; other times, they are blown up as if seen through a microscope; and the amount of stitches is often drastically reduced so that each stitch becomes an accent, like a gem or bead. All because a jewelry piece needs to say a lot in a small space.

  4. I look at materials a new way. My ideal is for jewelry to be durable--not show wear or staining, like when I crochet handbags--but be too beautiful to let on that it's also practical, unlike when I make handbags. For both jewelry and handbags, I also want to use the sculptural capability of crochet without any stitches stretching out over time.

  5. Traditional jewelry shows off precious metals and gemstones, but when crocheting, (other than with pure gold or silver wire) you can choose non-precious materials and let the crochet make it special. If I choose the fanciest intricate stitches and superfine thread, I can still finish a piece in an afternoon or so.

  6. The coolest thing is that a piece of jewelry is small enough that a "swatch" is a whole bracelet, or ring, or necklace. So after getting design submissions ready, I had a bunch of new jewelry.

  7. Jewelry experiments make nice gifts!