Thursday, June 4, 2009


What is "equilibrium"? It has been defined as "a state in which opposing forces are balanced", "the state of being physically balanced", "a calm state of mind". Sounds like a desirable quality in any definition. I often think about this quality in my bead and jewelry designs. I strive to achieve a balance in any design I create. For a long time I thought this meant I needed a perfectly symmetrical design. I worked hard to achieve symmetry at all costs. Then one day a favorite client asked me to create a purposely asymmetrical piece for her. This was a new concept for me. I felt confident I could do it. I just needed to alter how I view balance. I began to see that sometimes symmetry can be oddly disturbing. Many of the designs I make now are what one would describe as asymmetrical. I call these pieces "symmetrically asymmetrical", visually dissonant, yet somehow harmonious.

Actually, this dissonance, this off-kilter way of design has taught me a number of valuable lessons. I find that the principles I apply to my designs also have a practical application to my daily life. In my earlier years, everything for me had to be PERFECT- not a hair out of place, not a speck of dust to be seen, all in utter control. As I matured, and especially after becoming a mother, I realized that I needed to lighten up, relax my rigid standards, take a deep breath and just BE. I think motherhood especially taught me to have more flexibility. You just can't be fretting over every little toy you stumble over or you will drive yourself mad (not to mention, the rest of your beloved family). I still attempt to have a measure of control over my little world- keep the clutter somewhat at bay, keep the house fairly presentable. But who am I kidding? Life is a jumble of unexpected events, as unpredictable as the weather. We may be able to have a general plan for how we want things done, but we need to be flexible enough to complete those plans in more than one way. In jewelry, as in life, sometimes things don't go as you planned. You lose some beads, you drop your work-in-progress: frustrations happen. But when they do, cry if you need to, then gather up your pieces and begin again. Your next plan may be even better than your original intent!

"The bend in the road is not the end of the road unless you refuse to take the turn."- Anonymous

"Better to bend than break."- French proverb


  1. As a recovering rigid perfectionist/idealist, I'm in the process of learning that lesson of "letting things be." Our definition of rigid order is so different than the natural world around us of relaxed order. Actually, this is something I've been giving a lot of thought creation is evidence of...I'm still trying to figure out the right term...I was thinking orderly chaos, but I think organic orderliness is better. That means it has organization, but it not rigidly defined. Now that I've let free my creative self, I'm trying to redefine my definition of orderly. I need a bit of chaos to achieve some of my best work. I need space for things to just land together in unexpected ways. But I need it to be orderly in order to be productive. Very thought-provoking!

  2. I like that term, "organic orderliness". I think that describes the order to be found in nature quite accurately. Talk about thought-provoking!

  3. ...and how about that organic tension...i like where we're going with this theme/thought...when calm clashes with chaos...when plan collides with in nature, beauty often unfolds out of the most unfortunate disturbances...and the end result looks/feels so predetermined...

  4. Beauty rises, like cream, to the top-- even if nature has to take a while to recover from a traumatic happening. Somehow, it does recover eventually and manage to be lovely again. It's amazing when you think about it.