An eclectic blog about beads, beading and beyond

Monday, August 13, 2012

Wearability and the 'wow' factor - do your designs have it?

Wearable or not? From
You've just finished your latest beading design and you're delighted with it.  It might be wacky, fun, inspirational, avant garde, highly fashionable or just different but in your delight you're convinced it has a certain 'wow' factor. But, if you decide to enter it in a beading contest judges are likely to be concerned with another 'w' factor -  the 'wearablity' factor.  Could you wear it? Would you wear it? How will it feel to wear it?

 'Wearability' is the focus of this week's blog and it is the 7th blog in my series on criteria in beading competitions. If you are entering your beadwork in a jewelry competition you may want to 'wow' the judges but a key question they will ask is, 'Can you wear it?'. A deceptively simple question until I began to muse about it for this blog.

What makes jewelry wearable? I have a necklace I made some time ago that 'wowed' me when I made it. However, I've never managed to wear it for a whole day. The wonderful turquoise and vintage glass beads that 'wow' me are so heavy when strung together that wearing it for any length of time is just plain uncomfortable and it begins to irritate me. Musing further reminded me of the various non-wearable pieces of jewelry I owned or had made. The Cellini spiral necklace whose crystals scratched me, the assymetrical fringed amulet bag that always hung off-centre, the silver bracelet whose clasp pinched me because the bracelet was too tight, the necklace whose chain made my skin itch, etc, etc.

So, based on my experience of the non-wearable in my jewelry box here's some questions that might help you reflect on the extent that those 'wow' designs are also 'wearable' designs.
  • Weight - is it too heavy, too light or just right?
  • Fit - does it drape well or is it too stiff or rigid? Is it too tight or too loose or just right?
  • Movement - can you move in it or does it restrict your movement in some way? 
  • Safety - do any components scratch, prick, pinch or prode you or others?
  • Does anything irritate the skin or rub uncomfortably against it?
Perhaps at the end of the day these all boil down to the 'comfort' and irritation question that started my musings -  can you/could you wear your 'wow' design all day every day without irritation of any kind?

To help you muse further about wearablity you might enjoy following the fun links below to some jewelry that has the 'wow' but ? wearability factor.


Rudraksha said...

this is mind blowing informative and fantastic post thanks for sharing a lovely post...
navratna mala

Glenda of Dax Designs said...

Thanks Rudraksha - glad it was of interest and use to you.

MegansBeadedDesigns said...

A great post with excellent points to consider. As jewelry makers, we can often get cared away by the possibilities of our craft, and it's important to keep the functionality in mind to. After all, a necklace is made to wear, not hang on a wall like a tapestry might be.

Jessie said...

Love this post. It is funny to think back to some of the crazy pieces I have made especially for my sisters and their faces when they see that it was meant to be worn.

Dax Designs - now on Artisan Co-op