Bevy of Blues

bevy of blue Helen Backhouse 430x416 - Bevy of BluesIn my search for popular blues, this person’s work that you see here kept popping up, only it seemed to be attached to different people all the time. As it turns out, this is an artist that sticks with making amazing beads and elements that bead artisans can then assemble rather than creating a lot of finished work herself.

Helen Backhouse is her name and her beads and elements can be found scattered throughout Etsy and on various Facebook pages. Her pieces look to be impressed clay colored primarily with mica powders and, I’d guess, some kind of patina and weathered effect techniques, perhaps dyes or paints. Her blues are straight from the back yard, reflecting the brilliant blues found in a butterfly’s or bird’s wing as well as the dusty teals and blues leaning into greens that appear in natural metal patinas. The shapes are simple, the textures organic, and the coloring coolly dramatic. That makes for really eye-catching elements.

The best place to check out her pieces is on her Facebook page where the designers that use her pieces tag her in their photos alongside the stuff she does post.


Weekly Inspiration Challenge: Explore your favorite color. Spend just a couple of minutes writing down what you like about this color, what it reminds you of, and where you notice it most often. Look back at what you wrote and see what kind of work, forms, textures or other ideas these thoughts bring up and let those guide you in the creation of new pieces.


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The Warmer Side of Gray

Dome Necklace Neutrals-1

As I briefly mentioned yesterday, the gray you work with may actually be a very faint version of a muted hue of color. You have probably heard the terms warm and cool to describe differences in grays when it comes to things such as matching clothing items for an outfit. What this means is that the gray has a tinge of color to it, either a warm hue (red, yellow or orange) or a cool hue (blue, green or purple) so technically it is no longer gray since gray is not a color. However, in the real world, we’ll call something gray when there is so little color as to be pointless to refer to it by its hue at all. That’s when we get to the warm and cool versions.

Why is this important? Well because warm and cool colors contrast each other so if you have a gray with a touch of blue to it, it will contrast (or clash) with a gray that has a tinge of yellow. If you are creating a piece that has a calm atmosphere, and you’ll be using different grays, you would not want them to contrast or clash. If you want more contrast and energy, you can use both warm and cool grays to emphasize the combination of elements you have to support this livelier look.

You can see the contrast of grays used alongside variations in line and accent elements in this hollow bead necklace by Arden Bardol. This is a little tricky to describe and point out on a computer screen since our screens do not show colors exactly the same way from screen to screen and we are dealing with an extremely subtle difference; in other words, don’t worry if you don’t see exactly what I describe here as it may simply be your computer screen.

What I see is a predominance of warm grays leaning to yellow and several stripes of cool gray on a handful of beads to contrast it along with regular dashes of pure white. Several warm colored accents around the cut-outs and in the spacer beads were added that increase the variation and energy of the necklace. This works well with the widely varied type and direction of lines on the beads but all of it is kept subtle so it has a reserved energy to it. More cool grays would have increased the energy but then more variation in form or accents might have been warranted to match that.

Are you confused by all this? It can be a bit much to see or grasp especially since we are talking about color on such a subtle scale but when you are working with grays, being aware of the possible variations will assist you in developing a piece that has the kind of feel you are after. 

For a fairly simple explanation of grays (as well as beige and greige), check out this great little post by an interior designer. For more of Arden’s work, visit her website here


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