Thursday, December 20, 2012

Thinking in Color (or Colour, for our UK friends)

When I first started making jewelry in 2008, I started with bead stringing - and honestly, I wasn't very good at it. Bead stringing has a lot to do with color and visual texture and I am a little color challenged. I know when things look good together and when they don't, but I can't tell you why and I have a hard time planning in advance for things that will go together. Most of my successful color-centric pieces have been happy accidents and not really intentional statements.

Now that I'm getting more heavily involved in glass fusing and copper enameling, though, I am trying to get a better handle on what I'm doing from a color perspective, especially since the enamel powders - like ceramic glazes - often look nothing at all like their final result after firing and glass (especially the dichroic I love so much) changes radically in the kiln. Here are some of the resources I've been using to get inspired and learn more about color theory in laymen's terms.

Brandigirl Blog (Brandi Hussey)

In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that Brandi is someone I know - in fact, she helped me redesign my logo earlier this year. She recently wrote a really terrific three-part series on the basics of color theory and I highly, highly recommend it as a place to start.

Her blog is also a place where you can regularly find some of the most beautiful and unusual color palettes, if you're looking for inspiration. (And her photography is stunning, too.)

Color Palette by Brandi Hussey, Brandigirl Blog

Color Palette by Brandi Hussey, Brandigirl Blog
Colour Lovers

This is a community site where a lot of different people create and post color palettes and patterns - and, like any other community, the results are a mixed bag. But it has some really fun features, including the option to find a palette you like and then use it to "color" available patterns in another part of the site.

A random palette from
Coloring patterns on
This can be a fun way to spend time when I'm feeling blocked - it has helped spark new ideas when I've been faced with a mat full of components and couldn't figure out what to do.

Design Seeds may be one of my new favorite tools. Color specialist Jessica Colaluca posts daily palettes, with a twist. See a color that you really like? Choose it from the color list on the right and see more palettes that feature that color and similar colors. It's a great way to see a color you may be working with in multiple color combinations.

Color Palette by

Palette Search Tool by
So there you go, a few free and very useful resources to help you dig a little deeper into color. I hope you all have a very, very Merry Christmas, and that the coming year is filled with beautiful handmade things and much joy.

Until next time!


  1. A very interesting blog and I shall be taking a longer look when I have more time. I also make handcrafted jewellery and colour combinations are one of the things that I struggle with but these will certainly give ispiratiopn

  2. I think I'm a color junkie. Nothing will get me more than to see a pile of beads in lovely colors. I've been known to (cough) buy beads just because of the color....
    I was introduced to Design Seeds during a challenge, and fell in love. The funny thing is, I too, find stringing to be incredibly difficult. I can weave tiny seed beads all day long, but can't string worth a hoot!

  3. Very useful information! Thank you so much. I am also one of those people that don't plan things ahead of time regarding colours. They just sort of evolve!

  4. Color is a most fascinating topic! Last year I used the Design Seeds for the my annua color Challenge. Miss Brandi is a doll. She was my partner for the 3rd Annual Challenge of Color blog hop that I just hosted in November. She graciously created the 40 color palettes based off the stunning Earth As Art photos from the Landsat satellite through NASA. You can see all 40 color palettes and the beautiful accessories that were created from them by the 80 designers from around the world on my Pinterest board:
    I plan to use these palettes whenever I need a creative boost in the New Year. May the New Year be creative and inspiring for all! Enjoy the day. Erin

  5. Thanks so much for the info, Francesca!


We would love to hear what you have to say, please leave a comment.