Picking Color Combinations

Posted on July 28, 2010

Picking Color Combinations:



Since color is such a personal thing, I am going to approach this very tricky subject in the most general of ways, which is to show you what I like. Now this does not mean that these beads are especially good, or especially inspired, but they are what moves me color-wise, as I am sure certain colors move you. 


What first drew me to glass?  I guess it has as much to do with the transparency or transluscency of the glass as it has to do with the color.  From the way a Chihuly piece simply vibrates with intense color, to the rainbow glow of a 100 year old piece of carnival glass, I love the way the glass "carries" its color.  Is it the way that the light moves through it?  Or the shifts when you move the piece?  Is it the mix of opaque, translucency that sublimely changes colors? 


Personally, I love the cool sapphire blues, the way the glass glows that rich purple-orange when you are melting it, the richness of color saturation.  I love the aquas, and the greens and the peridot limes – those watery colors that seem to fit glass so well.  But sometimes, sometimes it’s just not enough- too much of a good thing I guess, but if you throw in a little bit of orange, or maybe some red, now, just a little something to set it off, the colors really pop, just a small addition shows them off to their full potential. 


Pick two (or three) colors fromt he same side of the color wheel, say a blue and an aqua, then add in one color fromt he other side of the wheel, say, an orange or a red.  The contrasting (hotter) color give the cooler colors something to play off of, making them more brilliant.  You can use as many colors as you like, and can bring the colors to equal balance (say blue and aqua and orange and yellow- 2 + 2), or you can play with the intensity of the hot/cool balance to create a look you want.


So here they are, in the order that I love them today (might just be different tomorrow), but for now:


Turquoise, lime, and a touch of orange:


Pale version:  turquoise, nile green, and light orange:


 Lime, blue and dark turquoise: 


Orange, yellow and black:


Very graphic looking and less "painterly", this set has great impact.  Mixing black and/or white into a set of colorsful beads really sets off the colors, giving them a background against which to shine.


Then there are the pinks:


With hot colors, they become 'summery"

Put them with richer, darker colors, they become more fall-like:


Try out your own color combos.  make a few test beads, and then add or subtract according to what they look like coming out of the kiln.  Most of my current bead sets are based on previous sets, I have adjusted the color balances to where I am happy with them.    It's all about experiementing and not getting caught up in what's right and wrong- so many of my true successes are based on what I thought at first were failures!  Have fun- Laura


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siobhan   July 28, 2011 at 6:16 am

  Laura, I love your work! Your words and creations offer so much inspiration! It has been a delight to savour the colours, to catch a flash of contrasting colour and basically just wallow in the joy of just looking at your work!!! THank you!!

choschiba   January 30, 2015 at 2:41 pm

  I will try ??  

choschiba   January 30, 2015 at 2:42 pm

  Oops, those two ?? should be a "thumbs up" sign  

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