Friday, July 19, 2013

On My Workbench: Eye Candy and Razzle Dazzle

Why is this ship painted this way? Is it a modernist art piece? The whim of a wealthy eccentric? Perhaps a retired warship put to some strange new use?

Nope. This is the USS West Mahomet in 1918, bedecked in US-Navy-approved camouflage. The particular type of camo is called razzle dazzle or simply dazzle. Dazzle was not intended to conceal a ship, but rather to confuse enemy targeting systems so that they couldn't tell if a ship was coming or going, its size, and where exactly the bow, and other parts of the ship, were located.

This type of camo was used extensively in World War I, and less so in World War II. Did it work? No one is one hundred percent certain, since controlled trials were impossible, and every ship was different. Dazzle design was the work of skilled artists. Vorticist artist Edward Wadsworth supervised the painting of over 2,000 dazzle ships during WWI, and the dazzle ships caught the attention of Pablo Picasso, who credited the designs to Cubism.

More examples of amazing dazzle camouflage:

Razzle Dazzle SS Hannibal printAnother dazzle ship, name unknown

Sharply contrasting geometric designs, even when only employing black and white, pack quite a visual punch. They intrigue the eye and delight the imagination.

In the studio, I have been creating my own set of black and white designs, as well as lots of new colorful patterns and luscious layered dangles earrings. Here's a peek at what's on my workbench this week:

Big beads ready to be strung!Colorful multihued and black and white earring dangles

In style this season: Stylized, bold accessories with imaginative geometric patterns.  Even a small piece makes a statement. Geometric shapes and designs can be big and bold, or smaller and more subtle.

The patterns in these designs originate as small sections of caned clay, which are combined to form larger canes in ever more complex designs:


Of course, a bit (or a lot) of color can be nice too!

Suzanne Anderson is the creator of YIKES! Studio Jewelry. Suzanne has been busy creating for most of her life. After graduating with a BA from Maine College of Art, she worked as a graphic designer and a painter. Suzanne works to ensure that YIKES! Studio creates work that is fun, beautiful, always interesting, and adorns the wearer with joy. Catch up with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Etsy, or her website at

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