Pattern, in the broadest sense of the word, is a particular way something is done or organized. In the arts, pattern is a repeating motif that gives order and structure to a work.
Pattern can be natural or man made. Natural patterns can be things like waves, spirals, spider webs and crystals. In art, music, architecture and design, pattern and repetition please our senses and give order and symmetry. The Fibonacci number pattern is one sequence found in nature (think pineapples, nautilus shells and pine cones) and is also explained by mathematics.
Pattern and repetition are major tools in a jewellery designer's arsenal, along with colour, texture and type of material used. Pattern can create visual cohesiveness in your design while at the same time offering visual variety. What a paradox. But what a great paradox too.
For instance, I created a necklace that was meant to showcase some of the infinite patterns you could achieve on metal using the rolling mill. I used the same, repeating 1" x 1" squares of copper and put them together in a pleasing arrangement that mimicked a bib design but gave each piece its own pattern (from paper to netting to screen door and more) to enhance the visual interest of the piece.
I added the drop at the end. If I go back and make another one of these necklaces I think I'd choose a brass pattern plate on one square that picks up the scroll motif in the brass stamping.
Here's another necklace created with just the repetition of a single element. How easy but what beautiful results. The trefoil element was created using three simple pegs on the Now That's a Jig! by Brenda Schweder. The necklace design came from the collective brain of Bench Artisans (me, Sue Henry and Gail Speers.)
Think of all the materials you can create with that you can impose pattern on and that come with their own unique pattern that you can incorporate into your design. From stones like picture jasper to imprinted leathers, Japanese papers, wood, wire and fabric to metal blanks you can stamp and bang on to texture plates and stamps that offer endless patterns in precious metal clay and polymer clay designs, the pattern possibilities are endless and subject only to the limits of your imagination (or, I suppose, access to materials...)
Come into the store, open up your mind and your stash, and let pattern rule your next creation. I'd love to see what you come up with.