Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Wizard of Oz - Unifying Your Designs

Book Brace'lits' -The Wizard of Oz - the brain, the book and the tornado (with crystal bling inside)
a moderately steampunked interpretation
(click on the pictures for larger images)

From time to time I make book bracelets, called Book Brace'lits', of classics that I love. They tend to get noticed wherever I go, probably because they are graphic, different, and recognizable to a slight degree, enough so that people are intrigued and ask to see them close up. Over the next couple of weeks I need to paint, so I will introduce these bracelets to you and use them to illustrate design principles and elements that can make your work stronger and give it more impact and appeal.

One problem in creating an overall work of art is to have it look like the last part you created belongs in with the other parts. I often find that artists get caught up in one part of the piece at a particular time, doing things in a way the intrigues them at the moment, then later on, they work like a totally different person, using different approaches, techniques, content, what have you. Yes, we like to do what we want when we want, and exploring different techniques is fun, but too many "differences" within the same piece can make the viewer feel that certain parts just don't belong on that piece. 

The Red Shoes

A key design principle to keep in mind is UNITY. To read well a piece needs to be unified. What design elements contribute to that in this work? COLOUR is the main element. I mixed a slightly muted, metallic red in Kato clay and this colour, plus gold, are the key colours that hold all the pieces together, unifying the bracelet.

The Badge of Courage - my visual interpretation of the quest of the cowardly lion and The Farmhouse in Kansas

Because there are so many disparate visual elements in these bracelets, another principle of design that strengthens the feeling of unity is REPETITION. Between each of the elements you will see a handmade clay spacer bead, each of which also contains the unifying red colour.

The Heart - the quest of the tinman - this heart is personalized with the initials of the lady for whom this was made. Also, a side view of the steampunked brain,

The Brain - the quest of the straw man (and quite anatomically correct, thus shutting up my very persistent left brain!)


  1. Ah! Tu viens encore d'accrocher notre regard. Merci encore pour tes généreuses explications.

    1. Merci Louise. Your kind words encourage me. Thank you.