Elements of Design

The element of design LINE is the visual path that enables the eye to move within the piece.

Line is the most basic element of design. We make marks, which appear as lines, to communicate in languages both verbal and visual. In the visual language, line is perhaps the most expressive of the elements, and indeed embodies some, if not all, simply by existing.

One of the most expressive qualities of line is its direction. Lines can be straight, horizontal, vertical, diagonal, curved, or jagged.

    Horizontal Line (calm)

    Horizontal lines are peaceful and calming. They also provide order and move the eye from left to right. When they are dominant in a work of art there is a strong restful, relaxing, almost peaceful feeling within the work of art. The direction of line is important because it can control the viewers eye movement.

    Vertical Lines (stability)

    Straight up and down lines in a composition create a sense of strength and stability. There is often a sense of structure and poise about the work of art also.

    Diagonal Line (action)

    Diagonal lines are placed at angles in the composition. They are neither horizontal or vertical and suggest movement and activity.

    Curved Lines (movement)

    Curved lines flow and dance through a composition. They are sensuous, organic, and rhythmic.

    Jagged Lines (energy)

    Jagged lines turn and bend at sharp angels. They convey enthusiasm, anger, and energy.

The following pieces of jewelry are examples of the element in design line, showing how they can be made and the impact that they have on the designs.

For a closer view of any of the following designs just click on the designer's name and you will be taken to their site where you can also check out some of their other creative designs for inspiration.

Champagne Freeform Peyote Bracelet
by Paula Huckabay.
This exquisite freeform peyote bracelet loaded with freshwater pearls, glass pearls, and Swarovski crystals in shades of Golden Shadow, Violet, Chrysolite and Alexandrite, has horizontal curvy lines that help guide your eyes across the piece then back again.

This freeform peyote necklace by Bhava Mitchell full of rich tones reminiscent of harvest fields skirted with orchard trees bearing their last fruit of the season, makes excellent use of lines from horizontal to curved to vertical guiding your eyes across and gently down the whole piece. The contrast of the different size, shape and bead surfaces add texture to this stunning piece of jewelry.

"Earth Wisdom" by Ingrid Wright.
The neutral color pallet of stones give this piece an organic feel. The vertical lines of large faceted golden Irish moss stones around the base reminiscent of wise women standing tall in a circle with the dainty fringes of small faceted citrine and smokey quartz beads pouring down the wisdom of the earth. Ingrid is able to take nature’s raw materials and transform them into creations that a woman can wear and express her own unique innate beauty.

The vertical straight lines of glass beads like female warriors standing tall between the two bronze chains give a sense of strength and stability.

This stunning neckpiece by Sherry Serafini makes creative use of vertical lines in design. This Egyptian inspired piece uses an analogous color scheme of turquoise, pale green and light blues that are reminiscent of the nile river. The various sizes of beads and stone chips and their patterns add interest and texture, giving the appearance of water falls. The splash of gold throughout gives it a regal feel fit for the deity of the sun.

This charmed bracelet by Peggy Wright is an embellished right-angle-weave base made of large fire-polished crystals creates lines with two types of fringe added—kinky and straight.

"Meandering Hearts Charm Bracelet" by Lydia Muell, glass bead artist and jewelry designer. I love how Lydia has made use of curved lines by hugging her lampwork beads with wrapped silver wire on one side and a line of heshi beads on the other. The curved lines along with the rich hues of magenta help to make this piece bold and sensuous.

'Frizzle' Necklaces designed by Carmen Bermel made with amethyst, dichroic glass, freshwater pearls, Murano glass, and handpainted silk. The darker purple silk strand contrasts wonderfully against the the soft shades of amethyst and pink as it twists and turns like a rose garden path leading your eyes through out the piece. The beadalon wire curling in and around the beads helps soften this necklace.

Carmen Bermel has a great sense for the use of lines in her designs. The hues used in this monochromatic color scheme like the fresh greens of springtime. This necklace is a wonderful example of the various ways of creating a design line using silk strands, silver wire along with the striped patterns on the Murano beads. The diagonal lines on the beads and the curved lines of the ribbon and wire gives the sense of lots of activity helping guide your eyes throughout the piece.

Diagonal lines are created by braiding 7 strands of pearls, garnets, glass and stones creating movement and texture. Designed by Jelcy Romberg.

This micro macrame necklace was made following a pattern created by Elaine Lieberman in Katie DuMont’s book, ‘The New Macrame’ is a creative use of diagonal lines using 1mm waxed cotton jewellery making cord.

The jagged lines formed with wire adds contrast to the flowing rhythm of the peyote stitches.

This Sand and Shells Peyote Stitch Silver Bracelet designed by www.organic-designs.co.uk is a wonderful lesson in creating lines when designing jewelry. This bracelet has a sterling silver wire frame which holds a peyote stitch beaded design. A set of Handmade LampWork beads nestle between then freeform bead work has then been added.

Elements of Design LINE

Related Articles:

For more Elements of Design see: Shape, Space, Texture, Color.

For more Principles of Design see: Balance, Emphasis, Rhythm, Movement, Contrast, Harmony, Variety.

Return to Top of Elements of Design LINE
Return to Why Is Composition and Design So Important When Making Jewelry?
Return to How to Design Your Own Jewelryl
Return to Beading Design Jewelry home page.

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