Monday, December 28, 2015

Baby, it's Cold Outside!

Are you inspired by the changing of seasons?  Or do you live in a warmer climate and dream of crystalline winter wonderlands?  I grew up in Alaska, so the winter has always been a time of great memories and inspiration for me.  If we weren't packed into snowclothes and sent outside to play, my mother kept us busy with crafty projects all winter long, so I think of the darker months as a supremely creative time.  It's not just that I love to create during the winter...I am also inspired by the season itself.  Snow and frost, ice and twinkling lights, all of it makes me want to play with my beads and try and capture the look and feel of this season.  Today I'm going to share some of my favorite winter palette inspirations with you!

Ice/Snow/Crystalline Beauty
One of the first things that comes to mind when you think about winter color palettes is ice and snow.  A frozen winter wonderland might not sound too colorful at first, but once you start studying the way light interacts with frozen water, you start seeing all the colors of the subtle shifts and variations.  Glacier blue has always been a great favorite of mine.  And what material emulates ice better than quartz?  
Quartz, vintage glass, Czech lampwotk, Chinese glass, lampwork by Jen Cameron, and Austrian crystal.

Winter Flora/Frozen Trees
I always feel like trees are one of the most obvious reflections of the season...but you don't have to interpret a winter tree into something so literal.  What if you had a primarily dark necklace (bare bark), with intertwining strands of clear aqua (snow shadow) and light topaz (last rays of sun)?  What if you had some dull gray-green beads spaced out with clean white and a carved wood focal?  Do you see where I'm going with this?  Below is my interpretation of birch trees, with their white bark and black striations, nestled with an ice covered berry bush.  
Birch Berries necklace - primarily Czech seed beads and hollow Venetian glass beads.
Chilly Fauna/Cozy Animals
Winter is a hard time on our furred and feathered friends.  I can't help but think of little critters tucked away in burrows and thickets, seeking companionship for warmth.  Some animals are camouflaged during the winter, changing their coat or plumage to winter white.  But sometimes you are treated to a fleeting view of a red cardinal, orange fox, or blue jay on the backdrop of ice and snow.  The balance of camouflage and contrast intrigues me...I hope to try them both out soon on one of these critters... 
Russian porcelain, fox by Heather Powers, Crow with Berry, Barn Owl, Seal and Jay all by Jenny Davies-Reazor, stone polar bear.

Winter Brights
Yes, I know these are holiday images, and you thought you were done with the Christmas decorations...but with all the subtlety of many winter palettes, I feel like it's important to remember that bright colors can work for winter too!  You can mix bright, saturated colors with gold and silver foil for something reminiscent of holiday decor.  Slightly muted colors can feel more "vintage" - I've loved this image of the chartreuse tree paired with black, white, mint and salmon for a few years now.  What an interesting and unexpected combination!  I've seen more pink, purple, and aqua holiday decor and fashions in the last few years seems that I'm not the only one that is tired of those primary "Christmas" reds and greens... 
Vintage glass sew on's and cabs, Venetian and Czech lampwork, artisan dichroic glass, Czech pressed glass.
Midnight Sun
Perhaps my favorite winter palettes take me way back to growing up in Alaska...and the "midnight sun".  This phrase actually refers to the summer, when the sun only sets for a few hours in the middle of the night - yes, black-out curtains are a must.  But what I think of when I hear this phrase is actually the winter, and all of my memories of being outside in what passed for daylight in the winter. The sun is rarely visible as more than an orange glow on the horizon, ice and water become an amazing reflection of the sky, landscapes are silhouetted in black or blue, lights twinkle, and you feel as if you are in a topsy-turvy wonderland.  After all, the clock says it's daytime...but the world outside knows it's still night.  Last winter my friend Sherri and I did a component swap...her micromacrame and my beadwork combined to become a Midnight Sun inspired necklace.  I can't wait to go back and investigate the other iterations of this palette, including the Aurora Borealis.
Polymer clay face by me, micromacrame by Sherri Stokey, beadwork by me.
What inspires you about this time of year?  Is it the color?  Being cozy indoors with a good project and fuzzy companions?  Or something else?!  I would love to know how you beat the trap of winter doldrums and keep creative!

1 comment :

  1. Aurora Borealis is one of my all time favourite finishes - I am just awe struck by it and use it as much as possible


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