Sometimes, the most interesting colors are also the most difficult to use in beadwork. Subtle or vibrant hues, combined with the unique finishes of glass, create combinations that don’t always play well with others. Recently, I acquired a strand of lovely little Czech glass scarabs, with a metallic blue iris finish. Some have more of a coppery finish that others, but each has a wonderful combination of deep indigo blue and warm patina.
For my first scarab project, I took the easy route and combined a single bead color with black and white stripes. Not only do the two neutrals go with everything, but the combination of both in equal proportions gives an exiting backdrop for any color, no matter how tricky. Of course, I can’t use this method every time I add some iris scarabs to a project, so I went on a search for some more complex palettes for future projects.
Without a particular mood in mind, I scanned through my entire seed bead stash, looking for colors that would contrast the vibrant scarabs, or soothe them with neutrals, then mixed and matched until they looked just right.
The first color I chose is a curious blue lined matte gray. The softness of the blue, combined with the matte finish, makes it ideal for all kinds of palettes. It looks especially mysterious with the blue iris scarabs, so I added some intense-looking black lined amber to create a Desert Dusk trio.
Orange and purple always make for interesting combinations, so I searched for an orange that could pair well with the shimmery scarabs. In Forbidden Fruit, I combined juicy red lined topaz, and transparent emerald green. Although I like this palette, it would take some time to find just the right proportions to make all three colors work well together.
Finally, I went with some tried and true favorites. Turquoise blue complements the scarabs perfectly, and matte vanilla provides a great neutral to let both colors stand out in Horizon. A hint of antique gold would finish this palette off just right.
Now the challenge is to decide which palette to use first.
Have you tackled any tricky bead colors recently?
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