A Peek at the Design Process
by Jennifer Araya
Every item offered by JennJill Designs is both designed and created by me. From the initial sketches on notebook paper through the development of prototypes and, eventually, the finished product, the product development process is a labor of love.
My design ideas often have their genesis in daydreams or doodles, but my designs just as often are initiated during conversations with my family and friends. I carry with me a notebook full of sketches and quickly jot notes about ideas that come when I’m away from my studio.
Particularly for my clay creations, which are 3-D and somewhat hard to sketch, I will often spend weeks turning the design over in my head – literally spinning the 3-D item in my mind to determine how I want to shape each element – before I attempt to sketch it. The Madonna and Child Ornament is just one example of a design that lived in my mind for nearly a month before I sketched it and attempted a prototype. Some of the designs in my little notebook will never make it off the page or will be scrapped after I make a prototype or two, but many of them will eventually find their way to the online shelves of JennJill Designs.
After an idea has formed and sketches have been jotted, I’ll make my way to my studio, where I have a wide array of beads, fabrics, and clays available. When making jewelry, I first lay out the entire necklace, bracelet, or earring on my bead board, tweaking the colors and bead arrangement until the overall effect of the piece is just so. The clay creations require a bit more pre-planning, for once I start blending and molding the clay colors together, there is no option for retreat.
After a prototype or two, I will eventually settle on a final design, at which point it’s time to photograph the product and post it online for perusal by you – my customers.
Stay tuned to next month’s newsletter for a more in-depth description of some of the techniques I use to create special effects in my Clay Creations product line.