Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I'll confess.  I like the rain.  My favourite weather is cool, raining and overcast.  My skin feels better, somehow, in the damper environment.  My eyes feel more comfortable in a more gentle, diffuse light.  It must be all those northern Atlantic forebears bequeathing me their hot blood - I don't need the sun to be passionate! *G*

Another thing I love is colour.  You may have noted in the past few posts that I'm a little preoccupied with colour and its possibilities lately.  I looked out my window this morning and this is what I saw:

It wasn't until I was pulling up the colours that I realized just how diverse are the hues in my rainy, urban industrial area.  From the bricks of the (rather large) detention centre close to my office, to the myriad greys of different pavings and walkways, it was hard to cull back the selection to something postable.  I think that's another reason I like the rain so well; it gives a completely different aspect to the things we see every day.  It deepens some colours and washes clear others.  A fresh new palette with every rainfall - gotta love it!

Happy Beadsday!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Got Colour?

Colour fascinates me, so I thought we'd discuss that a bit today.  

My daughter, C, has the best innate colour sense of anyone I’ve ever met.  She’s now 21 but her taste is spot-on, always.  Years ago I was renovating my parents’ home for us to join them and decided to let my two children have a free choice of how they wanted to have their new rooms look; they were old enough to have definite tastes and after all, the rooms were for THEM.

C, then only 9 years old, selected blue carpet, white woodwork and ceiling, and JOLTING BRIGHT lime green walls (the colour name is actually “Leap Frog”!).  She set it all off with dashes of electric blue, aqua, hot pink and burnt orange.  Much to MY surprise (having been ready to see her already high energy levels zinging through the ROOF with such a stimulating colour scheme) it turned out to be perfect.  A small window provided only a little light, but with such happy colours awaiting it, even that little bit of sun seemed to warm the entire space.  Twelve years on and the colour combo still looks fresh and inviting.

A game we used to play was “Bead Soup”.  At the time I was doing a great deal of freeform peyote work, which basically BEGS for bead soup!  I would ask C to make me a bead mix and provide guidelines for her.  I'd give her an amount of mix I needed (for example, “fill this small dish”…), what sizes / shapes / finishes I would like used (such as “nothing bigger than a size 8 seed bead or smaller than a size 15 but any shape and only shiny finishes”) and a theme word (“Forest”, “Icestorm”, “Candy”, etc.).  She would then dive into my stash and return after a time with the most GLORIOUS mixes.  She could always intuit the atmosphere I wanted to work with and instinctively selected what would be needed to evoke my idea.

Now that my personal colour maven is in University, I'm down to my own resources.  As many people do, I’ve found that there tend to be specific colourways to which I gravitate.  These include:




Cafe Au Lait

Have you found a particular group of colours that works for you?  I'd love it if you'd share YOUR perfect "go to" combination.  One of the things I truly love about teaching beadwork is the opportunity to work with students, finding colours that work well together as well as suit their intent.  

Happy Beadsday!

Monday, September 10, 2012

'Tis The Season...

...to play with colour.... *G*

Isn't colour fabulous?  A quick glance at certain combinations brings immediate recognition.

Red / Yellow / Blue?  Kiddies!
Pink / Green / Yellow? Easter!
Green / Red / Gold? Christmas!

Knowing that a lot of beaders are already working on their holiday presents I thought it would be fun to take a look at that ever-so-evocative combination of Green / Red / Gold (or silver!).

The classic combination is beautiful.  But "it's been done"! *G*

Have you considered ramping up the richness and going for deeply jewel-toned hues, like Emerald / Merlot / Metallic Gold?

A great way to shake up the standby, yet keep the idea recognizable is to use muddier tones, such as Mustard / Brick / Olive.

Of course, a modern take can be simply a nod to the token traditional colours - have you tried Lime / Fuschia / Crystal AB yet?

Taking a traditional colourway as a starting point is a great way to build on your own colour tastes and develop colour schemes that work for the occasion as well as your preferences.  Begin with the traditional, then mute it, or vamp it, or tweak it sideways - use secondaries or even tertiaries; the possibilities are endless and the exploration is sheer fun.

Happy Beadsday! 

Thursday, September 6, 2012


The world is just offering up so much fabulousness...the beady world is going to be graced by TWO geometric beadwork books this winter!  Kate McKinnon and community will be providing the instruction and eye candy of Contemporary Geometric Beadwork (which will still include the utterly amazing work of Jean Power), and the OVERLOAD of Jean Power's cool geometric designs will stuff ANOTHER amazing must-have book!  I'm not that surprised; when you get two incredible geniuses focusing towards one goal, you are simply BOUND to get more ideas than can be reasonably fit into one book!  Rather than chop it up into bare tastes of the subject matter or overwhelm with a multi-volume SET of books, they sat down to consider how best to handle the overwhelming volume of creativity and came up with what IMHO is the PERFECT solution.  Jean's work will still feature in Kate's book, while the wide-reaching body of work that is Jean's OTHER work, that cannot be crammed nor shoehorned into Kate's book, will fill an all-Jean, all-POWER book of her own.  I am so thrilled to be associated with two such generous, fabulous women artists.  These gals both know how to SHARE!  Something I've had recent occasion to value highly....

Happy Beadsday!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Caught In The Vortex

Cones are still occupying my mind... there's a fair bit of room in there! *G*  The pre-release goody of the week is going to be Cone instructions.  Have you ordered your book yet?  The cones are just so fabulous to play with... You may have seen my Double Coneflower Ring on an earlier post; this is what happens when you make the narrow portion VERY VERY LONG.

Now mind you, this is only a start!  Before the piece was complete the lonely ends had a bit of company!  I cannot show you the complete Cones Of Darkness Lariat as it now adorns the neck of its new mistress, the lovely Kate McKinnon, but we'll see if we can sweet-talk her into a photo soon.

Happy Beadsday!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Cone Heaven

I've been knee deep in the delicious delight of cones for a couple of days now, writing up instructions for various projects and new designs.  I have BARELY begun to explore them, but already have a ring, lariat, pin and more done plus more in the making!  This is being seriously TOO MUCH FUN.  The possibilities are pretty well limitless.  Every single beader brings their own style sense, colour awareness, personal aesthetic, cultural sensibilities, etc. to every item they make.  You can send out identical instructions and even when followed to the letter, different individuals will produce very different work.  It's so exciting to see all the work people are sending for the book.  Seriously, if you haven't pre-ordered you are SOOOOO missing the boat!

Happy Beadsday!