Designer’s Sketchbook: La Bella Joya

La Bella Joya – Handmade Jewelry by Marcie Abney
designer's sketcbook jewelry
Where do you get your inspiration? Why do you draw/create?
Lately, I’ve been really inspired by ancient art and architecture. I’m really fond of finding unique shapes and patterns and trying to recreate them with beads. I enjoy looking through those big picture books in the library and borrowing ideas from cultures from all over the world. Even the smallest of shapes can be turned into something amazing with enough time and attention to detail.
My desire to create really comes from a strong desire to do something new and original. When I first started beading I focused on creating patterns that I saw in magazines or books, but the first time that I created a unique and one-of-a-kind design, I was hooked and since then I’ve spent most of my time trying to do my own thing.
designer's sketcbook jewelry
What is your creative process like? Do you work in steps?
Most of my work, especially the beadwoven pieces, is very step-oriented. This is one reason that my sketchbook is actually a journal, so that as I create a design, I can write down the exact path that my needle took so that I can re-create the design again using different colors or materials.
I normally start with a sketch, or a shape to inspire me (photo:pendant1) and then start pulling out beads to try to acheive the look that I’m going for (photo:pendant2). Then comes the fun part, getting to work with needle, thread, and beads, creating something unique and special(photo: pendant3). I edit my designs as I go, sometimes original ideas get cut and new ideas are added to create the finished product. (photo:pendant4)

How long does it take you from your original idea to a finished drawing?
It all depends on how intricate my design is. I’ve created designs that have literally come together in an hour, and then others that had to be created three and four times before I arrived at a finished design. The beautiful thing about the design process is that it can change as you go. Some of my favorite designs look nothing like the original drawing, but I love what they became during the process of creating them.
Do you use all the ideas & sketches you come up with or do you or weed your ideas before bringing them to fruition?
I couldn’t possibly use all the ideas that I come up with, there just aren’t enough hours in the day! I choose designs based a lot on the materials that I have on hand and of course, there are just some that really speak to me more than others. They’re just kind of begging to be created!

What has been your favorite project or design as of late?
My little nesting bracelet design is definitely a favorite of mine, the color combinations are endless, and I didn’t expect the finished product to have such a great drape. They are really fun to wear and fun to create and as a result, I’ve pretty much emptied my local bead store of their 4mm gemstone stock.
What trends are you enjoying in handmade jewelry or handmade gifts this holiday season, if any?

A great trend that I see happening across the board in jewelry is mixed media. I love pairing bead-woven components with metal chain or connectors and using stone with beads to create pieces with interesting and modern finishes. I think it really opens up the options that a designer has when creating jewelry, and can really make a piece that much more personal.

designer's sketcbook jewelry

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