Of all the elements of art, I really love the element of Line.
Lines can show strength (vertical lines) or give you the essence of peacefulness, (horizontal lines). They can show excitement, (zig-zag lines), or femininity (curved lines). They can be rows of dots or dashes which imply a line…and all of these types of lines will help move the eye around your design…thus promoting good design, which means the eye moves around the piece, and doesn’t just go to one part of the design and stay there.
Line can be used inside the piece of jewelry by soldering overlays of wire onto metal, or line can be used in the stone to show interest.
Some of the best stones which employ line are jaspers…such as spiderman jasper or picture jasper. A good strong black and white Tuxedo Jasper will give a strong sense of line. These add interest and excitement to a very plain design….and in fact, with a very interesting stone there is no need to have a lot of decoration. Just let the stone speak without any distractions. Any way you use it, line adds a lot of interest to your pieces.
Of course, wire artists know this already, and they use the wires as the ultimate design element.
Wire wrap artists showcase a stone with the movement of the wire, which holds the stone in place. This is why Wubbers mandrel pliers are used by so many wire artists, because of the smooth way the larger pliers handle the wire…yielding delicate curves and perfect bends of the wire.
Take the element of Line into consideration when designing around a stone.
Many of my designs use a 2x4mm flat wire to mirror the shape of the stone, and I use it as a partial bezel. I then accentuate it by using the Wubbers Sharp Hammer to create more lines along the top of the flat wire. It’s often said that “The Devil is in the details”, but I think that God is in the details, as it really creates an area of interest along the top of the wire.
It’s these little things which really make a design “POP”! It’s a very subtle little extra that makes a piece look more professional and adds so much.
If you are using a stone for bezel setting or wire wrapping, look to the stone for help with the design. If you are using a multiple patterned or solid color stone, use line to add interest or movement to the piece. A single 16 gauge wire soldered onto a back plate will draw the eye and add interest, or you can use tiny round silver balls as an implied line. (Helpful tip: use a center punch to design a line, making sure to space the divots far enough apart, and then place tiny bits of solder in the holes, place the little balls on top and solder them all down at once.) The eye will automatically fill in an implied lines empty spaces, allowing the little balls to utilize the element of Line. Or solder a thicker wire as a frame around the exterior of the piece, and break up the solid line by drawing a bead on the wire, thus allowing some break in the solid line. The little ball on the end of the wire and empty space, placed artistically around the perimeter of the piece, adds interest and grace to a very simple piece.
You are only limited by your own imagination…but line is exciting and fun to use, adding that important principle of movement to your piece. Draw in your sketch book and have fun experimenting with line. It will add a lot of excitement to your designs, I promise. Have fun, be bold!
Lexi Erickson, President of Wubbers University, is an internationally-known artist and teacher based in Denver, CO.