How often have I held a tube of beads in my hands, of a beautiful or unusual color or finish, and resolve: I am going to make something with you! And how many times does it not happen?
Sometimes it does work out – where I have a color to start with and I just start matching other tubes with it. Often a color will “pop” against it, or an unexpected pairing will make me go “ooohhh, yeahhh” - which is one of the moments beaders live for.
But generally I find that as much as I want to use this color, these beads, right now, the search frequently winds up in a dead end. My lesson is: you can’t force a color on yourself. Despite the many challenges bead bloggers make to their readers – make something with orange! Use a color you hate! – it doesn’t work for me. I want to color outside the lines as much as anyone who has a monster bead stash. Not only aesthetically, but practically I want to use those beads I bought. But alas, the colors dictate more than I like to admit.
Color tastes change too. When I started out beading I was the Bling Queen. The shinier, the gaudier, the more I liked it. If the beads weren’t silver-lined, I wasn’t interested. I privately referred to this preference as “bordello chic,” though I hasten to add that I have never been in such an establishment so please don’t get any ideas! I expect it came from watching the marvelous Régine in “The Seven Per-Cent Solution” as an impressionable young person.
My color preferences have expanded over the years and embraced a somewhat more muted but I like to think more complex palette. This is the result of the Raku Revolution in bead manufacturing – of creating beads that have that amazing finish. Like these:
Photo from Baubles and Beads
These days I let the focal beads I’m working with do my blinging for me. That also pares down the palette decisions, an added bonus.
To show you what I mean, here’s a piece of embeadery (my term for bead embroidery – check out my Pinterest board under that title) done around a polymer clay cab by Chris Kapono of Mandarin Moon, whose work is largely responsible for the drool marks on my laptop. I wore this piece to a bead show and one of the exhibitors said it looked like a peacock. Hah! No surprise there. Now of course I can’t see anything but the peacock when I look at it. Ah well.
So yes, I still do bling, but with dignity.