I design … I teach … I create … I craft … I love kumihimo

Color Me Happy

I love color.

Bright, bold colors make me happy. Dark, rich colors make me happy. Jewel tones? Happy. Monochrome? Happy.

I love color.

People often ask me how I choose my color combinations when I design and when I teach, so I’ll share my simple visual method here. Throughout the post I will mention beads, but the same method applies to cord, leather and all other mediums.

I play. Really, that’s about all there is to it.

I grab some beads, mix a few together or lay them out with whatever focal I’ve chosen, and let them spend some time together. Truly.

I’ll notice them as I walk by or do other work. I’ll make a note if I like them. If something doesn’t seem to be quite what I want, I remove or add some components. Then they spend more time together until I’m either a) satisfied or b) no longer interested in that project. Don’t judge. It’s just truth.

When I’m mixing different colors of same-size beads, I keeping mind that just a little is usually quite enough. I don’t mix whole tubes of beads together just to experiment. If I hate the blend, I don’t want to separate hundreds of beads.

For my bead mixes, I measure one or two caps of beads (note the tiny white cap partially showing in the photo; marvel at my high-tech methods) in a small container. I pour them onto a bead mat and let them get to know each other well.  You know, to let them choose to either make friends or agree to go their separate ways.

These beads are getting to know each other.

In my photo, I’m letting an experimental blend make friends. I’m looking for a nice subtle blend for a beaded kumihimo project that will use these focal handcrafted lampwork beads. (Pssst! Love the beads? Check out Juli Canon’s work at Studio Juls. I know, those silly implied Business Competition Rules say not to share trade secrets. But I’m an educator and I’m happy, so it’s ok.)

Once I string the beads, I’ll twist the strands together and evaluate them again. Then I’ll start braiding and evaluate again. Persnicketiness pays.

For color inspiration, there are a lot of options. I photograph everything and place color ideas in folders. And inspiration abounds online. You can find my Color Me Happy board on Pinterest.

What is your method for choosing colors in your designs?
Creatively yours,

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