Friday, December 17, 2010

Bead Color Triads: Aurora Borealis

Star Trails and Northern Lights

Before we take a look at some fun winter-inspired color palettes, I’d like to share a quote from Margie Deeb’s recent interview with Lark Crafts.

I see so much extraordinary beadwork that does not focus enough on design, but instead emphasizes process and technique. It smacks of “Look how many beads I can use!” or “Look how intricately I can bead!” rather than being an integrated, exquisitely designed piece of jewelry, beautiful in form and function.

Whether a piece takes one hour or 30 hours to make, or whether it employs one stitch or 50 techniques, isn’t the point. The overall design of the jewelry is what’s most important: the shape, the silhouette, the wearability, the drape, the visual impact.

Coming from an expert like Margie Deeb, these words are music to any beader who has ever questioned their own skills. Being a talented beader or jewelry maker isn’t about having the most elaborate designs. However you choose to create, with whatever techniques, materials and skill, the true test is how much pleasure one of your designs can bring to its wearer.


So with that in mind, let’s imagine some wearable designs with simple bead palettes! This month I thought it would be fun to capture the Northern Lights with beads. The phenomenon is a welcome treat in the winter months - the vibrant display becomes easier to see near the solstice, and with short days and darker nights, the effect is even more beautiful.

Although the colors seen during an aurora borealis display can include a rainbow of shades like red, purple, and yellow, it is the bright electric greens and blues that we usually think of most.
Set against the inky black winter sky, the effect is truly breathtaking.

The first palette is called Moon Goddess. I started with a lime green tagua slice pendant, which has that great electric hue. It contrasts beautifully with blue fire polish, set against a background of jet black 11/o seed beads.

Moon Goddess Bead Palette

Keeping with the astral phenomenon theme, Sky Lights is like a trio of UFOs caught amongst swirling storm clouds. The jet black Swarovski rivolis really stand out against sapphire Miyuki triangles and jonquil lined aqua 15/o seed beads.

Sky Lights Alien Bead Palette

Finally, we have Blue Eclipse. I couldn’t make aurora borealis palettes without at least some flash, so I paired up black vitrail daggers and green vitrail Czech glass leaves. These look great against the moody blue shade of abalone lined crystal TOHO seed beads.

Blue Eclipse Bead Palette

The night sky is such a wonderful source of inspiration. The Northern Lights, the harvest moon, and constellations all have great qualities that can translate into beaded designs. What’s your favorite?

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading

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  1. A very good point indeed! I have to say Moon Goddess and Sky Lights are my favorites.


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