The concept of sophistication has it roots in Ancient Greece where a "sophist," was a master of knowledge or learning and it is derived from the Greek word "sophia" meaning wisdom. For beaders in contemporary times mastering sophistication in beadwork is linked to mastering broader contemporary cultural ideas of sophistication in fashion. These centre on ideas of good taste, classiness, refinement and elegance. They privilege subtlety rather than ‘bling’ and flashiness in the materials, shapes, colours and patterns of a design.
|Sophisticated or not? What do you think? Hedron Rising by Glenda|
So, if you are not an aristocrat or royal whose sense of fashion and design defines what is sophisticated what do you do? How do the non-royal and non-elite beaders amongst us pursue sophistication in our beadwork? How we gain this allusive knowledge and master it? How we become masters of elegance, elite taste, refinement and elegance? How do we pursue subtlety?
A good place to start is Google images – try putting in some search words that take you to images others define as sophisticated. Look at the colours, shapes and patterns that emerge. Use these as inspiration for your designs. Mock up some colour palettes and keep them for your next design. Some word combinations that I found worked were:
- sophisticated plus - royal fashion; women; colours; patterns
- elegant plus: colours; jewellery; beadwork.
Often you will find the motto, ‘less is more’ summarizes sophistication. So, try reducing the number of colours you use, reduce the amount of bling (sparkle), pull back on complex patterns and reduce the diversity of shapes that you use.
On the other hand, if you just love bling and flashiness you might enjoy this quote:
"[...] sophistication is a form of snobbery - it's based above all on knowing something another person does not." (Holleran, Andrew (January 2001). "Staying a Step Ahead". Out (Here Publishing) 9 (7): 38–80. ISSN 1062-7928. Retrieved 2011-03-06.)To explore the allusive nature of sophistication more you might enjoy these texts:
- Faye Hammill (2010), Sophistication: A Literary and Cultural History.
- DeJean, Joan (2003). The essence of style: how the French invented high fashion, fine food, chic cafes, style, sophistication, and glamour. New York: Free Press.
- Douglas Cameron (2010). Cultural Strategy: Using Innovative Ideologies to Build Breakthrough Brands. Oxford University Press.