Thursday, 2 September 2010

Color Palette Blog Walk ~ Artists' Materials

Although I skipped yesterday, I really wanted to post some more colour palettes today for Brandi's Color Palette blog walk ~ as today's inspiration is Artist's materials. And with a business name like mine, what else could I choose but beads ;)

Nigerian Sapphires

This is a set of beads I bought at the Stourbridge Lampwork Bead fair last weekend.
These are boro beads by Weelainy (who has a shop on Etsy)

There was too much colour inspiration in these beautiful beads by Kate Sullivan (Sublime Beads) to restrict myself to just one palette, so I created two ;) These were also from the bead fair.

If I get a chance, I'll be back tomorrow to post some final palettes ~ not sure what the theme will be yet, but I've got my thinking cap on!

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Color Palette Blog Walk ~ Travel Palettes

Today I'm joining in with the Color Palette blog Walk, and idea put together by Brandi of Brandi-Girl blog and Catie's Blue on Etsy. As you will know if you have read earlier posts, during August I have been taking Brandi's 'How to be a Color Rockstar' eClass, all about using colour in design, and as part of that I have been making lots of color palettes. This week Brandi is organising a color palette blog walk, with a different theme each day. I missed out on the 'Book' theme yesterday, but was determined to make up for it today with the Travel theme. Below I have included four palettes, derived from photos from around the world, two of my own and two taken by Trey Ratcliff of Stuck in Customs ~ one of my favourite places to go for an eye-candy fix!

The Gilded Cage - Harem, Topkapi Palace, Istanbul ~ by me

I took this when I went with a friend on a short break to Istanbul back in 2004. It was November, and very cold, but we had a great time. This is one of the rooms in the Sultan's Harem in the Topkapi Palace, where his son was kept practically a prisoner, to protect him from those who were plotting to do away with the Sultan's heir...

Blossom Trees - Rhonda, Southern Spain ~ by me

This photo was taken a couple of years ago, when we had a 'free' holiday to the Costa del Sol (for 'free' read ~ timeshare hard sell ;) Once we shook off the salesmen we managed to explore more of real Spain, including one day when we drove to Rhonda in the mountains.

Icelandic Horses - by Trey Ratcliff on Flickr

I chose this photo from Trey's Flickr photostream, because it reminds me of my own travel to Iceland. In 2001 I went on a riding holiday to Iceland ~ and it was such a fantastic week, and the Icelandic horses were so lovely ;)

Indian Temple - Trey Ratcliff on Flickr

And the final photo is not anywhere I have been ~ yet! But I want to go. My family lived in India back in the 1930s, and I really want to go and see the places they lived and the sites they saw (and visit the gem dealers too, of course ;)

If you haven't done so already, check out Brandi's blog, and follow the links to see other people's Travel Palettes from today ~ enjoy!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

My Colour Stories ~Periwinkle, Azure & Orange~

Continuing on from the theme of my last post, here are three more personal 'colour stories': Periwinkle, Azure and Orange are all colours which each mean different things to me, and which I have been using in my work too.

When I was a teenager my older female relatives were all into ‘Color Me Beautiful’ ~ and had all ‘had their colours done’, I thought this was a great concept, and the idea of a session being draped in lots of different colours to find out which look the best was fabulous. In case you aren’t familiar with it, the idea is to categorise you into one of the four seasons, with a corresponding colour palette that best suits your skin tones (Spring – warm and clear colours, Summer – cool and soft, Autumn – warm and dark/muted and Winter – cool and dramatic). So my aunt arranged for me to have my own colours done and as I had already thought, I was officially confirmed a ‘Summer’. While I certainly don’t stick to this system rigidly (I still wear lots of black, even though it’s strictly a winter colour), it has still informed my clothes buying choices ever since, and I think on the whole it has probably done me more favours than not ~ I am never tempted to buy tops in acid lime green, which just make me look sick! And happily the Summer palette is the one I would probably gravitate to anyway… So periwinkle blue ~ which I consider an almost-but-not-quite purple ~ is apparently one of the best colours for me, and I do feel fab when I wear it too. Seven summers ago, I splashed out on a simple, strappy, bias cut dress by Ghost in this exact colour, to wear for a friend’s wedding. Then I got the news my Dad had died suddenly and the next day I was on a plane to Minneapolis to be with my family and make the arrangements. I was very clear that I didn’t want to wear black for my Dad’s funeral~ he was always so supportive of me and my sister, not least boosting our confidence and telling us how lovely we looked when we got dressed up for an occasion ~ and I knew this bright, happy coloured blue-purple dress was the one to wear to do him proud at his final send-off. It was understandably a difficult day, but when I got up to read at the service, I felt right in that colour.

This colour, really a shade that sits between Azure and Turquoise, has come to represent creativity, communication and specifically my jewellery business. When I was thinking about a signature colour theme for my banners, card, packaging etc, I played around with purple, but it just didn’t look right. I have always loved aqua-blue-turquoise shades, blue-green is another colour that’s more complex than the primaries, and, like purple, seems to m e to have substance and depth. For me, as for a lot of people I imagine, it brings up memories of happy holidays by turquoise seas, blue swimming pools and bright summery exotic fabrics. So I settled on azure-turquoise for my business colour. I wear a lot of turquoise too ;)

~ The rocks and blue sea at Kalamitsi - Halkidiki, Greece~
(Photo taken on holiday there in July 2004)

Orange is not a favourite of mine, I certainly wouldn’t generally consider wearing it, but it does still have some happy associations for me. When I was younger, my best friend and I used to discuss what we thought of different colours, and we were both in agreement that orange was our least favourite to look at. Still we conceded that although the colour may have been in our bad books, as a flavour we liked orange very much. And actually, orange seems to be a very happy, joyful colour, and I have to say it has grown on me, particularly since I have been designing jewellery. There are some beautiful orange gemstones; good carnelian seems to have a deep inner glow, and sunstone a fantastic glittery schiller, and I have really enjoyed making pieces with these stones.

I'm fascinated by the way different people react to colour, so if you have your own colour stories please feel free to share them ;)

Friday, 13 August 2010

My Colour Stories ~Purple~

As part of my colour class over the past few days I've been working on my 'colour stories'; thinking about a few key colours that have special meaning for me. The first is Purple:

For me, colour always starts with purple; I surround myself with this colour, and am known for wearing lots of it too. I do love most shades and tones of purple, but thinking about this question in the context of the colour wheel I think it’s probably more accurate to say my favourite is somewhere between blue-purple and purple, violet, I guess. Purple has always been my favourite, as long as I can remember, I always considered it to be a colour with more going on than what I thought were ‘basic’ colours like red, yellow, blue, and green; for me it has always seemed a bit magical and special.

When I was really very little, probably four or five years old, I spent a few holidays with my Gran. When we were out and about, I always used to tell her that I didn’t like purple cars or purple front doors. and she told me later she thought I was telling her I didn’t like the colour purple. Far from it! In my twisted logic my aversion to purple cars and front doors was not because I didn’t like the colour, but that I didn’t think these things did justice to my favourite colour. Purple cars and purple doors tended to be painted a kind of matte, desaturated Cadbury purple ~ this was in the late 70s, and I guess matte purple was all the rage, but to me it just didn’t look right! Clearly I had not been able to articulate the subtleties of this to my Gran at the time ;)

~ Ford Escort MK1: Purple Velvet ~

Ironically, not so long ago we bought a classic 1974 Ford Escort MK1 ~ in Purple Velvet no less, and I did love that car, colour and all ~ in the end it had to go (too must rust and not enough money to put it right).

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Exploring Colour

Since the beginning of the month I have been taking the ‘How to be a Color Rockstar’ eClass that Brandi (of Catie’s Blue) has put together and is now running for the first time. We’re only 7 lessons in, but already it is really making me think about colour in new ways. Last week, we focused on the basics of colour theory; how colours are made up, how they relate to each other and the myriad of different colour schemes that can be created and provide inspiration.

~ Orange Palette ~
Photo Courtesy of

I have learned how to make colour palettes, like the ones Brandi often creates for her own blog, and so I have been experimenting with some of those. This week we are starting to look at the psychological aspects of colour, we all have colours that are our favoriites, and which we gravitate towards, and so we are now exploring the reasons behind these colour preferences and associations. More of that later, but in the meantime, here are some of the colour palettes I have put together, and I have tried with some of them to chose colours I would not naturally pick but could not resist one with my favourite hues too ;)

~ Red Palette ~ Photo Courtesy of

~ Purple Palette ~

Image courtesy of Prozac1 at

I'm starting to think about my personal colour stories today, and will try to post with some of those a bit later in the week. Hope yours is a good one so far.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Summer Update & Summer School

Eastern Promise

I haven't had as much time as I'd have liked for making stuff in the last couple of months, especially as I've been focusing on sorting out a new day job, which is now in hand... so time to get back on track. I've had a few shows recently, and although the summer festival season started pretty slowly, the last couple of events ~ the lovely Leamington Peace Festival and the Godiva Festival in Coventry ~ have been great: good weather, lots of face painting, a fun weekend with the Sent-2-Coventry girls and pretty respectable sales too


These are some of the pieces I have managed to make recently: a pair of earrings with some of those gorgeous violet chalcedony brios, and pearl and labradorite nugget necklace and a lampwork, gemstone and silver necklace with some gorgeous electric blue beads by the fabulous Clare Scott.


And now that non-jewellery things are settling down a bit I decided to take some time to do a bit of summer studying ~ just in case there was a danger I might get bored, you understand ;)
I am really excited to be taking an e-class next month 'How to be a Color Rockstar' which has been designed by my friend Brandi (of Catie's Blue). I love to work with colour already, and I like to think I have a pretty reasonable grasp of it, but there's always lots more to learn, and the class is all about putting learning into practice as we go along... I can't wait. Registration is still open if you fancy it, and from what I have heard already, I reckon it's going to be a great class.
And if that's not enough, I've also decided I want to learn a whole lot more about the beautiful gemstones I use in my jewellery (and those I wish I had the money and skills to use) and have completely fallen in love with... I've got some books already and I'm looking at courses at the Gemmological Association too ~ who knows? Perhaps for my next career move international dealer & connoisseur of fine gemstones could be on the cards ~ Stranger things have happened!

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Festival Season

Summer proper is right around the corner (at least I hope it is) and that means it's Festival Season again. Last summer I only really managed to have a stall at one summer festival, but this time around I have got myself much more organised.

It can be a daunting prospect to have a stall and sell at an art fair, and it does take some organising, but it is great fun, especially when you are not on your own. I am really lucky to have met a brilliant group of girls at a time when we were all trying to get our work out there a bit more, and we formed an artists' collective Sent-2-Coventry (check out the website). We decided it would be much better to get together to sell our art; it's much more fun for a start, and it also means we can afford to be at more events if we share the cost of a pitch. Don't get me wrong, six independent, headstrong women working together can be interesting(!) but we are all still friends ;) and the support we get from working as a team is great.

Peacock Necklace

Having a stall at an art fair is certainly no guarantee of sales, and so I take the view that each fair is an investment that may or may not pay off. The weather, especially in England, has a lot to do with it when the event is outside, sunshine generally = sales, and rain definitely puts a damper on profits... Sometimes shows with lots of people still don't generate sales, it all depends why people have come, and it's not always to buy jewellery.
Having said all that, while I sell some pieces in my online shops I tend to sell much more of my work face to face. Online there is so much competition, and it does feel like I am a small fish in a very big pond. Doing art and craft fairs is a great way to reach a more local audience, and as with many things, people often prefer to see and try something on in person before committing to spend their money. One of the added bonus benefits from having the Sent-2-Coventry stall is that we do kids face painting alongside our tables of arts and crafts, so even where we may not make a mint on our wares, there is always a queue of kids waiting to get their faces painted, so we can generally break even doing that!

Moon~Lagoon Earrings

I have a show coming up this weekend, which I'm doing with one of the Sent-2-Coventry girls; we are going to try our luck at the Birmingham Lord Mayor's Show on Bank Holiday Monday. It's an event we haven't done before, so this is really an experiment, but we are going to give it a whirl. At each event we learn a bit better how to set out our stall, what essential items we absolutely must have with us (gaffer tape and diet coke are pretty high on the list) and what is likely to sell (although I can be surprised on that front too).
Rosa Bracelet

And of course I have been making some new pieces for the summer, including these here. As always I have lots of ideas and too little time, but I am working through them slowly!