Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Mixing colours and finding new favourites

Everyone has a certain aspect of beading or jewellery making that they pay special attention too. Some focus on textures, others on shapes, some on craftmanship in the details, others on making all components from scratch. Of cause you need all of it to make great jewellery, but normally one thing is of particular interest to the artist. I belong to the group that is fascinated by colours.

Before I started beading I had my favourite colours, but that was it. Nowadays I've discovered so many new colours I like, especially since trying out different colour combos. I hated browns as they reminded me of those awful 70's designs I grew up with in the 80's. Never owned one piece of clothing in the colour. Brown suede or leather shoes/boots was as far as I ventured. Today I own both tops and skirts i dark brown after re-evalutating the colour when beading and making jewellery.

Blue was always my sister's colour so I guess that is part of why I never liked it. I still don't own many blue beads, but gradually I've started to feel more comfortable working with blues. Though I still prefer blues that lean towards other nuances, like montana blue, slate, teal, turquoise (which I wasn't a fan of either), indigo, seafoam, lavender and steel. So right now I feel it's pretty good that turquoise/verdigris/icy blue is the colour(s) of the year 2010.

Another thing I really enjoy, almost obsessivly so, is buying beads with long names. Not because the names are long, but because it indicates finishes, linings and/or coatings that alter the original colour. Celsian and picasso/travertin are my two favourite finishes at the moment and satin can also be added to them (and champagne while on the subject of crystals). Bead colours I love include copper-lined light amethyst, dark topaz rainbow gold luster and sparkling rose-lined light topaz luster. Not to mention alchemy from Preciosa. I'm not a big fan of pink, but the name made me buy some chaton montees in rose water opal. It's not always a good thing to be swept away by beautiful or romantic colour names: I have bought beads that haven't looked as good as they sounded...

Help to find good combinations
Anyway, I wasn't orginally intending to go on just about my favourite colours, I also wanted to write a little something about online colour scheme programmes I like.

On website I like is Colors on the web where you can "spin the color wheel" to get a random colour combo -- a fun way to challenge myself by making me use the first combo I get. Other times, I just spin the wheel and see what combos I get, making sure to write down the ones I especially like.

Multicolr Search Lab is a new favourite that is based on photos. Great way of seeing how similar or different the same colour schemes can look depending on the motifs, textures and proportions. A great feature is that you can choose anything from one to ten colours and it's easy to add or subtract each nuance.

Color Scheme Designer is a more "classic" programme that allows you to make different colour schemes based on the combos you might remember from art class: monochrome, complement, triad, tetrad, analogic and accented analogic. I especially like the latter, which is very effectful not least in jewellery.

Color Schemes is a software by Eni Oken and Greg Patton that you can download for free. This is a programme I've had a lot of fun with and a good feature is that you can save all your colour schemes.

Then there is COLOURlovers, which is a whole community and not just a place to go to explore colour schemes. Note that you can also work with patterned surfaces. And the website comes in several languages (like Swedish).

Other websites of interest includes Color Hunter, Kuler, Color Palette Generator and Color Blender. As you can see many of those have a specific purpose, like extracting colours from a photo or making a nice blend between two colours.

Beaders shouldn't miss the free articles Margie's Muse by Margie Deeb. For bead-related colour schemes and ideas, see e.g. my favourite FusionBeads. There is also a lot of interesting facts about colours on Sensational Color by Kate Smith, where you can learn about history, symbolism and psychology of certain colour among other things.

Those interested in trends of cause like Pantone -- don't miss their "color of the year". You can also keep up with jewellery-related colour trends via bead shops like Fire Mountain Gems, Rings & Things and Artbeads. Also see Crystallized and Jablonex. For reasons why to be aware of trends and places to go to check them out, see Eni Oken.

A fun website that is not about combining colours, but about combining a certain nuance with a person based on their birthday, is Colorstrology. I'm Chinese red: perceptive, kind and magnetic (the colour of November as a whole is claret red).

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