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Art Series: Exploring Art Deco: Patterns, Jewelry, and Art Therapy

by Lauren Fallat, LPC LPAT ATR-BC

Art Deco, a prominent artistic movement of the early 20th century, emerged in the aftermath of World War I, flourishing until the outbreak of World War II. It was characterized by its bold geometric shapes, lavish ornamentation, and a distinct sense of modernity and luxury. Originating in France in the 1920s, Art Deco quickly spread across the globe, influencing architecture, fashion, visual arts, and even jewelry design. It transcended mere aesthetics, reflecting a society embracing modernity and technology.  This post explores how art therapists can harness the power of Art Deco for pattern making and jewelry design.

At its core, Art Deco exudes a sense of sophistication and elegance. Its aesthetic is often characterized by sleek lines, geometric forms, and a vibrant color palette. These elements are prominently featured in both pattern making and visual design. Patterns in Art Deco often incorporate motifs such as chevrons, sunbursts, and zigzags, creating visually striking compositions that exude energy and movement. The repetition and symmetry found in Art Deco patterns evoke a sense of harmony and balance, making them ideal for various design applications. 

In jewelry making, Art Deco revolutionized the way precious metals and gemstones were used. Designs became more geometric and abstract, with emphasis placed on symmetry and precision. Art Deco jewelry often featured intricate patterns and bold color combinations, reflecting the exuberance of the era. Pieces were crafted using innovative techniques, such as calibré-cut gemstones and intricate metalwork, resulting in exquisite works of wearable art.

Art Deco and Art Therapy

The Art Deco movement offers valuable lessons for art therapy, particularly in pattern making and jewelry design. Creating Art Deco-inspired patterns can serve as a therapeutic exercise, allowing individuals to express themselves creatively while exploring geometric forms and symmetry. The process of designing patterns can be meditative, providing a sense of focus and relaxation.  Art Deco patterns were often meticulously crafted and repeated.  Incorporating pattern making into art therapy allows clients to explore repetition as a means of creating beauty and a sense of rhythm.  Creating a simple geometric pattern can be a calming activity, while more complex patterns can encourage focus and concentration.

Similarly, jewelry making inspired by Art Deco can be a therapeutic activity for individuals seeking self-expression and personal growth. Crafting intricate pieces of jewelry requires patience, concentration, and attention to detail, qualities that are essential for promoting mindfulness and reducing stress. Moreover, the act of wearing handmade jewelry can serve as a form of self-expression, allowing individuals to showcase their creativity and individuality.

Incorporating Art Deco elements into art therapy sessions can also facilitate exploration of cultural identity and historical influences. By studying the history of the Art Deco movement and its cultural significance, participants can gain a deeper understanding of artistic styles and their impact on society. This exploration can foster a sense of connection to the past while inspiring new avenues for creative expression.

In conclusion, the Art Deco movement offers a wealth of inspiration for pattern making, visual design, and jewelry making. Its bold aesthetic and innovative techniques continue to captivate artists and designers alike, serving as a source of creativity and self-expression. In art therapy, incorporating elements of Art Deco can provide individuals with a therapeutic outlet for exploration, self-discovery, and personal growth. By embracing the principles of Art Deco design, participants can unleash their creativity, cultivate mindfulness, and connect with a rich artistic heritage.

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