Monday, November 7, 2011

Bead Color Palettes: Wild West

Desert Blues, Desert Reds

Over the past few months, I’ve been adding to a collection of necklace inspired collages with simple themes and striking color palettes. Each collage has a basic template of an editorial photo, coordinating garments and accessories, and a few background elements to tie everything together.

So far, my favorite collage features a Western theme, with a classic palette of coral red, turquoise blue, and sandy, leathery browns. The combination of coral and turquoise is one that we see so often, it’s almost as ordinary as red, yellow and blue. But with the addition of a neutral - like warm desert brown - it really comes to life.

I wanted to see how well these three colors would work with beads alone. The challenge would be to pair up shades and finishes that compliment each other as well as the natural colors of coral, turquoise and leather.

I was drawn to use a simple combination of seed beads and druks, which would allow for a wide variety of designs, while remaining uncomplicated with just a hint of texture. Though the beads are drastically different in size, the smoothness of the druks makes them easy to blend.

Saloon Color Palette

The first palette began with pepper red - bold and spicy enough for a Western theme. I included creamy dark beige seed beads that seem to recede against the red. The addition of the turquoise druks balances and brings them together. Their bright, orbital appearance inspired the name Chameleon for this trio.

Chameleon Bead Palette

Next I combined slightly smoother shades of lustered cherry and turquoise. Together they look like mint and cinnamon - Hot and Cold. I topped this palette off with some brown horn druks, which have a rustic look all their own, and add personality with their varied finish.

Hot and Cold Bead Palette

For the third palette, I couldn’t resist switching to some different shapes, so that I could include my strand of bright red rice beads. I suppose I will have to get around to using them eventually, and this might just be that palette to do it with. To complement the transparency of the rice beads, I added dark topaz seed beads, and turquoise blue 4mm cubes. The amount of light and color in Red Leather Belt is stunning!

Red Leather Belt Bead Palette

Do you like to combine turquoise with coral red?

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  1. The combination of Turquoise and Red isn't one that immediately springs to mind, but now I see it I think it's stunning!
    I like the addition of leathery brown into the equation too.
    Thanks for the inspiration :-)

  2. Fun theme! I love turquoise and red. What you've done with those pairings here is beautiful.

  3. Yes! I grew up in Texas and spent a lot of time in he Southwest where turquoise and red was combined quite often in jewelry. In fact, there is a necklace that uses turquoise, red and dark brown in my studio right now :) A rich amber looks great with turquoise and red, too.


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