Monday, August 22, 2011

Bead Color Trios: August Sunsets

Orange Sunset

The last half of August is sort of an ironic time of year. If you adore summer, it might seem unfortunate that it’s so close to ending. On the other hand, some of the most wonderful things about summer are only beginning. The end of August is usually when the fair comes to town, and it’s one of the best times to see gorgeous, vibrant sunsets.

Although fabulously colorful sunsets can happen at any time of the year - the one shown here is actually from January - they are somehow more spectacular in August. Perhaps it’s because we are enjoying good times, or even lamenting the passing of yet another summer, that they seem so poignant. Or maybe it’s just because we happen to be outdoors, with the horizon in view, more often at this time of year.

Either way, the colors of a perfect summer sunset are irresistible - but can we capture them with beads? This month’s bead triads are a combination of purple, pink and orange. These are some of the most ostentatious colors in the spectrum - they are often used as bold hues in exciting ways. The trick with this combination was to find beads that looked nice together, and to create blends with the same moods as sunsets in August.

August Sunsets Palette

One of the first colors I went for was hyacinth orange. The color is unusual and intense, like the world’s most exotic fruit punch. It’s a strong color, so I paired it with equally bold pink and purple. I call this palette Reflected Fire, because it has the qualities of a sunset seen from the beach. The hyacinth fire polish rounds look dramatic with 11/o seed beads in shocking pink and purple lined Rosaline.

Reflected Fire Bead Palette

Next I went for some very citrusy orange shell coins, and combined them with pink lined crystal peanuts, and purple lined crystal 6/o seed beads. I love the soft, sweet qualities of the seed beads, and they make a great complement for the zesty orange. This trio reminds me of the Old Fashioned Sweets that one can find in shops at heritage themed amusement parks.

Old Fashioned Sweets Bead Palette

I was so happy with the first combination using hyacinth orange, that I wanted to try using it again, this time with Swarovksi crystal bicones. I added vintage amethyst glass leaves and fuchsia lined 11/o seed beads, and got this:

Holy Hyacinth! Bead Palette

Once I had the beads all set out together, I realized it wasn’t quite right. It’s certainly doable, but there was an opportunity for something even better. I removed the hyacinth crystals and immediately added light tangerine seed beads instead to create Orchard Hammock - a palette that is both fruity and sleepy.

Orchard Hammock Bead Palette

Sunsets come in a great variety of intriguing colors. What combination is your favorite?

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  1. I love the second pallete! It's soft but definately makes a statement!

  2. Interesting how the substitution of the tangerine seed beads enhanced your third palette. My favorite is also the second, but I would be tempted to add gray to this colorway and tranform it into an urban sunset.

  3. I love the idea of adding grey! I think that is definitely the missing ingredient that would make Old Fashioned Sweets really gorgeous.

  4. Do you know where I can find a free tutorial on triangle peyote bead weaving?

  5. I love those purple leaf beads! I have some of them, too. Both of the combinations with them are great.

  6. @Melinda - One of the best tutorials for triangular peyote I've seen is from the book Little Beaded Boxes by Julia S. Pretl. You might be able to find a copy at your local library.

    There are also some good tutorials online. You can find a diagram of the steps here:

    And an great explanation of the basic techniques here:

    I hope this helps!


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