May 4, 2018

Thoughts on Making Unusual Color Combinations Work

I have a theory:  I don't think there's any color combination that won't "work" if you keep at it long enough.  I love thinking up some oddball combo and playing with it to see what happens.  This time I chose a deep olive green, soft turquoise and yellow.  I really wanted a good mustard color but couldn't find the right color of beads (yes, even with my stash) so I went with this soft lemon color.  I'm loving the outcome!

If I had to come up with some suggestions for making unusual color combinations work, I'd say:

1.  Start with three colors.  Two can get boring (unless you play with texture and finishes) and four gets pretty busy on smaller jewelry pieces.  Think of Three like Baby Bear:  just right.

2.  Vary the finishes.  I like to combine matte with shiny and I use a lot of beads with a rainbow or iris finish (both matte and shiny).  The coating seems to help the beads blend a little better since the color isn't as solid.

3.  Try changing the intensity of the colors.  If you're trying to combine blue, green and yellow for example, you'll get a much different look by using navy blue than you will using sky blue.   Using all bright or dark colors or even all pastels is less interesting to me than combining a deep navy and dark green with a very soft yellow.  Or a strong green and yellow with that sky blue. 

4.  Try an "off" color.  Try subbing mustard yellow instead of a true yellow.  Or turquoise instead of true blue.  Again, much more interesting.

5.  Experiment. I like to make a pile of the colors I'm considering.  I dig out any and all possibilities and start there. Here is an example:

Not all of the beads or every color of cord ends up in the finished piece, but putting them together and adding and subtracting colors is a good way to figure out which direction you want to go.

6.  My last piece of advice is to look around you for color inspiration.  Take the time to actually LOOK at the things around you and think about those colors. 

In a nutshell?  Have fun with color and don't be afraid to fail.  You might just learn something really interesting even in that failure.  

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