Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mix and Match Color Swatch Exercise

I get caught in a rut of the same old colors and even the same designs when I am creating.
I get fixated on a certain style, technique or color and then cannot get myself free from the power of familiarity and comfort.
Since I am not inclined to try new things, no matter how many great tutorials I purchase, I have had to devise tricks to jumpstart my creativity.
Whether you are a beader or a clayer, there is always room to wiggle into the unknown. I know many caners who will derive their palette from a work of art or architecture. Many kaleidoscope canes that are in my portfolio are derived from photos I found in a book, or my flower series canes are created from a landscape photo I took around the beautiful mountains I am calling home at the moment.
Sometimes though, not even those tricks are enough to jumpstart the creative juices or I am so comfy in my cane making that I do not want to try another color, so all my flowers and canes start to look alike.
I have found a way to get creative even to the point of discomfort.
I collect paint swatches and have for a long time, just so I can see how the colors work together. I cut the swatches into little pieces of paint chips and then placed them into a plastic bag. You can collect a lot of different manufactures or you can stay with one set of colors per manufacturer. Whatever it takes to get your creativity flowing.
The point of this exercise is to give you a reason to either create new color blends – for you clayers – or work with a new color combination in a jewelry or bead design.
I start by randomly pulling 5 colors and lay them out side by side. You can set the light and dark to make it easier to decide which will become your dominant color. Maybe the dark color will be your accent or maybe you will go with all dark colors and use the light color for highlights.
The point is to take the random swatches and create something from them using those colors and a connecting color, or in the case of jewelry, a metal to draw it all together.
I used a white clay to bright these colors all together by creating a color blend with the white as my connection between all these relatively dark colors.
It does not matter if you automatically like the colors you pulled from the bag, use them anyway. By working on trying to figure out how to make them all work together, you will be exercising your creativity and you may well end up with something you like after all.
Have fun!
Julie and Blu


  1. Pretty cool!

    I find that when I knit, I will knit a bunch of the same things, different colors. Then I put them away. I always knit in the winter. Then in the Fall when I get "them" out, I think of a new design. Colors are whatever I happen to have on hand!


  2. This is a great idea! I tend to stick to color schemes that are ones which I wear a lot and to ignore other colors. This would be a great way for me to explore other colors (and also a great excuse to buy more beads!)