Pantone Color Everywhere

So apparently, this has been quite the week for Pantone in the craft blogs.

Besides the posts here, Art Bead Scene chatted about the new Fall colors, showing off some lovely bracelets in the palette colors and throwing in a nice little tutorial for a hidden clasp beaded bracelet.

Then over at the 2 Good Claymates’ blog, Carolyn and Dave spent the last week breaking down the Pantone colors and giving away polymer clay color recipes for the majority of the Fall 2013 palette. Here is a collection of their trademark flowers, using their recipe for the rich orange that Pantone calls “Koi“.


The Goods also have recipes for Samba, Mykonos Blue, Deep Lichen GreenLinden Green, Turbulence and Carafe as well. (click on the color name to get to their post on each of the colors.) If you like the Good’s recipes, you might want to get Carolyn’s Color System tutorial for some more color exploration.

Thank you to Francie Owens, who sent me the Art Bead Scene link, and to Jamie Hibbs, who clued me into what the Goods were up to this week. Thanks for keeping me in the loop, ladies!


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Outside Inspiration: Bead Embroidery in this Fall’s Colors

I am off a tad from Pantone’s palette on the colors of this piece, but of all the pieces I looked at, I kept coming back to this. Maybe it’s because I could see this being done in polymer (by a very patient and dedicated artist). The bib style necklace, not to mention the overall texture and stones, could be translated into an incredibly beautiful polymer piece.

Bead embroidery is a type of bead art that uses a needle and thread to stitch beads to an underlying surface, usually fabric or leather. It requires a tremendous amount of planning, precision, and, of course, time.

Guzel Bakeeva is a rather prolific Russian bead artist with some of the most amazing compositions in this type of work that I’ve seen. Mind you, I’m sure I need to investigate even further into this kind of work (what a horrible task to look forward to!), but her work is quite varied and always mouth-droppingly gorgeous. I can’t even say that this is one of her most stunning pieces. Yes, she has much more to rival this piece, but it stuck with me and the colors could work with this Fall’s palette.



Put some time aside today to look at her website. Just remember to occasionally pick your jaw up off the ground. As my dad used to say, “You don’t want to catch flies!”


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Graduating Gray

Grays are not the most popular color choices for jewelry and home decor, and certainly not in polymer. Gray is completely neutral and is actually a shade, not a color. However, people do have gray outfits to coordinate and, honestly, if you’re going for more subdued accent pieces with a black outfit, gray is an excellent choice.

Using a variety of grays in graduating shades, all either cool or warm,  is one of the best ways to create strong visual impact. Strong lines and graphical elements also work wonderfully with grays. Here is an assembly by Poland’s Jagna that demonstrates the drama of graduated grays and how well it can highlight a single color, even another rather neutral one. In this piece, Jagna goes from pale silver gray to dark slate, but with a trail of gold peeking out from her mokume pattern. Between the graduated grays, the graphic lines, and the contemporary shape contrast, this whole piece is the kind of adornment that could make a little black outfit really shine.


Here is another piece by Jagna that is just gray. It’s still very dramatic and high impact for a uncomplicated necklace design.



The one thing about working with gray (or any monochromatic palette) is that you are forced to rely heavily on your other design elements, rather than depending on color to carry a piece. In fact, one of the tricks we used in art school to analyze composition, contrast,and overall design was to take a black and white photo of the piece in question. If it didn’t work in gray scale, it was usually pretty weak even in color. Try taking a black and white photo of your work next time you get the feeling it’s not quite right, and see if that doesn’t help you find where the issue is.


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Floral in Fall

Working up a Fall product line doesn’t mean leaving your floral tendencies behind; the fashion designers certainly aren’t this coming year. From all I’ve read about upcoming trends, pattern in general will be a big focus and flowers, especially wispy wildflowers, daisies, and even dandelions, look to be the “in”thing. So how would you change things up from your Spring or Summer collection of blossoms?

Color will be primary in changing up for a Fall look. Although the Pantone palette for Fall has some rather bright colors, they are not pure colors or pastel. The Samba red and the Koi orange are both deeper and a step or two off their color origin, and the lighter colors are neutral more than anything; the Linden Green comes awfully close to being a kahki, and the Deep Lichen Green is more a cool gray than a green. So, can your flowers still be beautifully ornamental if toned down from their summer brilliance or if created in neutral colors? Of course!

Eva Thissen does neutral floral with a very delicate and controlled application of lines, small shapes, and contrast in color. In this case, we have a rich red heavily contrasting a neutral green (pretty much that Samba red and Linden green in the Pantone palette) with subdued blue, cream, pink, and brown flowers accenting the scene. Feminine, fetching, and definitely floral, there is the reserve and the richness associated with Fall, although I would be putting this in my jewelry rotation year round.


Part of Eva’s distinction as a polymer artist is in her color choices. Although she is far from the only one to work heavily in the polymer embroidery technique, I find I easily recognize her work due to her color choices, not to mention the precision of application with those tiny bits of polymer and her penchant for story-like scenes. Enjoy perusing her Flickr pages and her enchanting pieces for a bit today.


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A Bright, Mature Fall

Have you found some color combinations in the Pantone Fall palette posted yesterday? I did quite a bit of searching looking for pieces that fit this palette. Searching by color palette is no easy task, let me tell you! But I did find these lovely beads by Claire Wallis that use two of the brighter colors in the Pantone palette.


Although we don’t think of Fall as a bright season, people don’t stop wearing rich, saturated colors simply because the air is cooler outside. We don’t match our outfits to the changing color of the trees outside (although I have seen people change their home decor to match it). If we are to follow the Pantone Fall palette, there is going to be some brightness in our creations this coming season. Great news for polymer!

The Pantone Acai is a more blue-leaning purple. Purple is associate with royalty and extravagance due to its rarity in centuries past as it was simply a difficult and expensive dye to produce. Because this purple has more blue in it, the calm associated with blue makes this feel more reserved than extravagant. The magenta, which appears a bit richer than the actual Vivacious Pantone color, is also leaning a bit more towards a sense of maturity with its deeper tone, rather than going towards the bright and girlish pink end of the magenta spectrum. And what is Fall but the richer and more mature end of our cycle of seasons?

I will continue my search for more polymer work associated with Pantone’s color palette for this week’s posts, and we’ll certainly talk more about color choices, color mood, and creating palettes; but if any of you find a well-done piece you think I need to share, please give me a head’s up:  sbray(a)

In the meantime, take a closer look at Claire’s work on Flickr. Her pieces are excellently finished and her variety of forms she creates is quite interesting and are  also very well done.


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Pantone’s Fall Colors

I’m sorry I don’t have an actual polymer piece here today, but I’ve had this on my block to blog about since it came out. Pantone distills the color trends and comes up with color palettes for the coming season for designers and artists to use as a guide when developing their product line. With Fall just around the corner, I thought we ought to take a look at what fashion and home decor will be trending color-wise. And beside, they are really beautiful colors this year!

This palette is Pantone’s, but I pulled this particular image from “Brandi Girl Blog” because it’s a great image to print out and keep in your studio if you want to follow the color trends, but also because she’s provided a whole slew of color combinations that you could use to help map out your pieces.



The colors this year are saturated and rather bright, but I think it’s fantastic–perfect for polymer! I have my eye on this particular  blue-green-purple combination. Yum.

Do check out Brandi’s page of color combinations, and if you want to keep a close eye on color trends, sign up for Pantone’s newsletter on their website.

Connecting the Dots

I thought it would be hard finding a relevant dot related quote for our Sunday contemplation, but surprisingly, it wasn’t that difficult. I am not Steve Jobs’ biggest fan, but this is very apropos for artists as well as entrepreneurs and anyone trying to create anything new in their lives.



My take on this: don’t try to predetermine how things will be. Set yourself up to be in the best position to grab opportunity and push your goals forward. Trust that things will work out and don’t worry about what has not yet happened. Oh, I am so lecturing myself here! It is pointless to worry. It’s much better to just do what seems to be the best you can do with what you have now.


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An Abundance of Dimensional, Tentacled Dots

I wanted to do a post focused on dimensional dots and their variety; but in my search, I found this bit of beautiful insanity and just had to share it. It’s one kind of dimensional dot, but there are so many!

I have a bit of a soft spot for polymer artists who work what we call the “con” circuit–known to muggles as those weird Sci-Fi/Fantasy conventions. That is the arena in which my polymer art sales actually got started. These shows can be wonderfully weird, it’s true,  but they also gather some of the most vibrant and active artistic imaginations on the planet. Even after my art went in another direction, I still participated in a few of these shows each year just to be surrounded by the tremendous talent and intellect as well as discuss the state of art in general; as with polymer, the Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror art genres are other areas that struggle to be appreciated as true, fine art. Not that the genre arts aren’t appreciated–DragonCon, which occurs every Labor Day weekend in Atlanta, had about 65,000 attendees last year, and Comic Con had to cap their show at 130,000 last year. And these people buy a lot of art! I would sell out or come awfully close at the shows I attended. It’s a fantastic market if you create genre art. But that is a conversation for another day or another magazine article.

Back to this crazy use of dimensional dots … this set of tentacled wonders by Kaity O’Shea was sold at the most recent Comic Con. Talk about a lot of dimensional dotting! I’m amazed at the patience it must have taken to create this, not to mention I’ve been wondering how she held up the forms so nicely while baking!



I’m pretty sure she created the tentacles in three sections, with the center swirl latching onto the twining tentacle masses on either side. Can you imagine trying to give someone a hug with this on? You do have to admire the engineering here, even if tentacles are not your thing.

You can see more of Kaity’s cephalopod inspired dimensional dotting on her Deviant Art page and in her Etsy shop.


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Outside Inspiration: Cosmic Dots

In searching for dot-focused art for today’s Outside Inspiration, I found that, outside of textiles and glass blowing, polymer seems to be one of the most dot-obsessed crafts. This strikes me as maybe a little odd, because it seems just as easy to create dots in the form of holes and inlay in so many other crafts. Maybe we just like to talk about our dots, and so search engines are able to gather more of them. But in any case, I did actually come across a silversmith with a great appreciation and fondness for dots — cutting holes and inlaying, as well as the applied dimensional dots we are so fond of.

Abi Cochran of SilverSpirals works with her dots in an organic and gorgeously colored manner at that.  She crafted the piece here in silver (I think silver clay, as she mentions it’s what she primarily works with), used gold for the dimensional dots, then added resin in a glass enameled fashion to compliment the focal opal in this cosmic-style pendant.


In other pieces of Abi’s, semi-precious stones become the dots that accent her work, or she uses granulation to add small grains of metal for her surface design (see the first issue of The Polymer Arts, Fall 2011 for a faux granulation technique, along with other faux metal approaches). You could spend a lovely break from work or during your downtime this evening looking through her site or checking out the close-ups of her work on her Facebook page. Just a suggestion!


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