How I Go From a Hazy Concept to Technical Jewellery Design
Alexandra's Design Process Notes
The first phase of my design process is a combination of research and messy quick sketching to find the path I want to take with the pieces. Which way will the little honeybee face? What curve whispers, "I'm a palm tree you want to sit under on vacation"? How can my cedar berries be a visual voyage? Before I even fathom carving the pieces, I need to explore the options and find what feels right.
The Bermuda Kite
This was my first design and the most challenging piece because I tend to favour flowy, organic shapes rather than geometric forms. At this stage, I was thinking about how much I liked using different coloured beach sands in my recent longtail ornament and showing off as much pink as I could in the kite's panels. I also wanted movement without fuss and determined that rather than a chain tail, which would hang straight and limp when not in motion, my signature "Melt"-style motif would be gorgeous hinged from the base. I chose to create a D-bail rather than add any more length to the design with a normal loop and ring bail. The textured hummers and flowery accent broke up the rigidity of the geometry in a Bermudaful way.
Humpback Whale Pod
A delight to design, this mama and baby needed to nestle without being too chunky. I considered a breeching whale shape, twisted tails, and even depictions of water. The curve of these two tucked in together, baby nestled under mama's fin, baby's tail overlapping mama's, brings me immense joy. In this arrangement, it was also very difficult to make them look whale-like rather than dolphin-like. Shapes that looked extremely whale-like also looked droopy and sad, so getting the shape of the beaks right was a challenge. Also, deciding where to put the sand without losing the signature humpback whale texture was a challenge, so I chose to focus the sand in the mama alone, or else the overall piece would need to be a lot larger. I hope you like these design choices!
Bermuda Honey Bee
Fun fact, bees actually have 6 legs, and my little guy has just 4. This was a helluva decision to make, but I wanted to have enough room in the design for the pink sand bum as well as open, airy lacy wings, and if I added an extra set of legs, the wings were going to have to shrink to a little blade-like span. After a few attempts to stripe the bum with silver and pink, I decided to put striped texture on the other side of the piece and give as much open room to pink sand as possible for this little piece. The furry texture of the bee's back needed its own moment, so I depicted that on the upper back. My team is obsessed with the lacy wings, so I'm glad I dropped a couple of legs for them. I stand behind the "artistic license" card with glee for my wee little bee!
Bermuda Cedar Sprig
Several years ago, I cast a large cedar sprig in silver as an everlasting wedding cake topper, which was such a thrill. So when you all asked for cedar in the survey, I was so excited to create a piece using this technique. Initially, it was much bigger than this, but with painstaking pruning, we whittled it down to just the right shape. Then came the cedar berry placement, which also came quite easily to me compared to the other pieces' design complexities. I chose to have just three berries, and rather than clustering them, to follow cedar's pattern of popping up random berries growing right out of the green part of the sprig. The gentle flow of the branch and the subtle pops of pink will make any Bermuda-nature-lover rejoice with this everlasting cedar spray.
Coconut Palm Tree
Oh, how I could design an entire collection around these beauties! Their shape brings me joy, like a firework overhead, exploding in the salty air. I loved drawing palms with S-curves, but for the jewellery depiction of the piece, I simplified the line to a single sweeping arc. This was also the moment I decided to skip some fronds and have a little less sand and a little more definition in the texture and articulation of each leaf's shape. And the design wouldn't say "paradise" without the coconuts tucked in under the halo of fronds. I considered making them with a rough, hairy texture, but the rest of the piece was so textured that I instead chose to call attention to them with a high shine, polished finish. I hope these design choices bring you all the vacation vibes.