May 30, 2012

Celebrating Beads of Color: Pantone Summer Color Bead Swap

Tangerine Tango? A color study. Oil on canvas by artist Christiane Nault, circa 1990.
Celebrating Beads of Color! 

As jewelry designers, understanding the art of using color in design can be tremendously beneficial, if not imperative, to creating outstanding work. The complexities of color in design can be challenging to master without a formal art education, yet color-ways are an integral part of creating handcrafted jewelry. Understanding and using color well is a skill that can be practiced and improved upon, even informally. Purposely focusing on and expanding your use of color in jewelry design is as important to your craft as perfecting a technique or defining a personal style.

Lori Anderson’s Pantone Summer 2012 Bead Swap was an excellent way for jewelry artisans to focus on creating color-ways. Anderson paired interested artists from her Facebook group, “Bead Soup Café”, and the nationally and internationally paired artisans swapped beads using the Pantone Summer 2012 Colors as a guide. As a simple swap, it was up to each pair of artisans to decide what colors and how many beads to trade, with no further requirement to create jewelry with the swapped beads or participate in a blog hop later. Here are the Spring/Summer 2012 Colors, including Pantone’s color of the year, Tangerine Tango! 

Pantone's Ten Colors for Spring/ Summer 2012 (women).
I swapped beads with clay expert instructor and artist extraordinaire Tina Holden of Beadcomber. Holden is a certified instructor for Donna Kato, and currently has an intermediate level class on Kato's CraftArtEdu, "Textured Flower and Wire Pendants" using her own original Origami color gradient blend and a Wire Basket Weaving technique to assemble the pedals. Donna Kato's CraftArtEdu instructors are considered world class, and as I explored Holden's art I began to realize the great honor I had in swapping beads with Holden! (I'd actually asked Holden if she was comfortable with wire wrap or perhaps wanted beads only! lol...I'm so embarrassed now, but she graciously named the many jewelry techniques she is a master of, and was full of kindness and patience with me. I realized Jewel School desperately is missing a Kato clay artist and information on the clay arts!) Holden has invented clay arts techniques. She is a contributor to Step by Step and PolymerCAFE magazines, and her art is simply stunning. We decided to swap all ten colors, laughing when our bead swap became BIG! But our swap was as much fun as it was BIG, and although I was more than a little nervous to create ten beautiful bead soups for an artist like Holden, I think I met the task. Here's what I sent:

Tangerine Tango
Polymer clay focal by Second Surf, panda beads, Mexican fire opal rondelles, pearls, carnelian, agate focals, Japanese 12-2 flowers in copper & orange, MOP resin beads, quartz, Mop diamonds, silk tube beads.
Polymer clay focal by Second Surf, panda beads, Mexican fire opal rondelles, pearls, carnelian, agate focals, Japanese 12-2 flowers in copper & orange, MOP resin beads, quartz, Mop diamonds, silk tube beads.
Tangerine Tango Colorway: Light, Mid, & Dark Palette

Solar Power
Yellow chalcedony, "Summer Breeze" flowers (design by Lauren Andersen), pearls, yellow quartz, faceted lemon quartz, MOP coins, gold-tone Austrian crystal rondelles, lemon beads, gold panda beads, carved yellow jade beads.
Solar Power Colorway: Light, Mid, & Dark Palette

                                                    Lapis rectangles, rounds & pears, Himalayan Kyanite, blue coral rounds, panda beads, banded agate focal and tube beads, "captured" lapis chainmaille beads, blue goldstone carved flower beads and faceted elongated pears, squares & rounds, blue glass squares, AB rondelles, MOP diamonds.
Sodalite Colorway: Light, Mid, & Dark Palette

Sugilite rondelles, charoite beads, Mojave purple turq- jasper marquis beads, amethyst, purple aventurine, carved jasper focal beads, faceted crystal quartz, purple faceted rondelles, carved glass roses, chainmaille "Summer Breezes" flowers (design by Lauren Andersen), MOP discs, Ice-flake quartz.
 Bellflower Colorway: Light, Mid, & Dark Palette

Crazy lace agate focals, silk beads, Japanese 12-2 flowers, drusy focal, pearls, Swarovski bicones, agate focal
Cabaret Colorway: Light, Mid, & Dark Palette

Amazonite faceted rounds, rondelles and pears, crackle quartz coins, rondelles, banded agate, crazy lace agate focal, MOP focals, silvertone rondelles with Australian crystals, pearls, Japanese 12-2 flowers and diamonds
Cockatoo Colorway: Light, Mid, & Dark Palette

Jade ombre focal, ombre agate, Czech two-tone glass, glass foil focal & bead, tourmalinated prasiolite, panda beads, green chalcedony, pearls, green and white jasper, green glass, ice flake quartz coins
Margarita Colorway: Light, Mid, & Dark Palette

Abalone & bone focal, abalone & shiva eye focal, faceted rainbow glass, faceted labradorite rondelles, panda beads, abalone diamonds, black lip shell, gunmetal rondelles with Austrian crystals, rainbow hematite
Driftwood Colorway: Light, Mid & Dark palette

Half-Persian 3-1 autumn jasper focal, gold sandstone carved & round beads, shells, ocean japer pears, MOP stars, shiva eye shells, tiger eye elongated pears, champagne AB glass, bronze glass, brown lip shell focal, blister pearl focal, pearls
Starfish Colorway: Light, Mid, & Dark Palette

Sweet Lilac
Opalite leaves, diamonds, rondelles, "Summer Breeze" flowers with Swarovski, wonder beads, pearls, morganite nuggets, faceted AB rondelles, Ausrtrian crystal watch component/ focal, panda beads, light amethyst beads
Sweet Lilac Colorway: Light, Mid, & Dark Palette

 Because I wanted to include handcrafted elements with my bead swap mixes, I decided to create a few silk  beads, chainmaille captures, and several types of chain maille Japanese flowers using wire for color:

Japenese 12-2 flowers, captures, diamonds & Lauren Andersen's "Summer Breeze" flowers, available in an e-book from STEP BY STEP WIRE JEWELRY, "Ten Wire and Crystal Projects"

I learned the importance and challenge of color in jewelry design from this bead swap. By simply exploring colors of beads, I thought of jewelry design in a way I hadn't before: with color as an inspiration for and  basis of a design. Creating jewelry with beads of color is a new approach for me, and there is so much to learn! Shades of purple are complex, for example, as Pantone's "Bellflower" is more a periwinkle blue, like Tanzanite, and "Sweet Lilac" is a more red based lavender. As always, Lori Anderson is ingenious and generous, sharing her time and wisdom with the jewelry arts community with empowering events like the Pantone Summer Bead Swap. How fortunate we are that she creates all the time in so many ways: with bead swaps, blog hops, literary art and of course, her jewelry art!

Celebrate beads of color. Try new colorways. Upload a photo or two or just one color to the CSS DRIVE and see what color-ways await your jewelry designs. Let color be your inspiration, and let color move you  to express and create and re-create. Let color tell your story.

Color can represent identity, community, and personal taste. Color-ways can represent one’s culture, or express admiration for artists like Monet, Andersen, Kato or Kahlo. Color can reflect the personal, such as being drawn to warm shades of copper or cool grays of silver in jewelry metalwork --  yet just as strongly reflects popular culture too, such as rich shades of gunmetal.  Color in jewelry design can even celebrate the handcrafted community -- honoring, for example, the amazing range of color clay artisans are able to create in soft, beautiful shades, much like the gorgeous bead soup mixes Holden sent me and posted on her blog, "Polymer Clay Bites!"

Color interconnects us and lets us express our individuality; it defines us yet unites us. Celebrate beads of color, and try some of the Pantone Summer colorways this summer. Enjoy!


  1. Oh, wow! You did a GREAT job, I know Tina would have a blast using each of your colours mini-swap! I love how you made each personal by including a bit of chainmaille in each colour package... love it!

  2. Thanks Alicia! The beads you sent Tina the last bead swap were lovely. And t necklace Tina made from your beads is gorgeous! I do hope Tina likes these color mixes -- the swap was fun :)

  3. Wow I am most sure she loved everything you sent, You know kato Use to be on the Carol Davull im spelling the last name wrong but she was on everyday day and always had kato i watched her create the most beautiful poylmer clay beads ever. so anyone who has had Kato as Mento sure got the best teaching ever.

  4. Wow! It's really a treasure ^_^
    This swap is really funny!

  5. Alicia is right, I LOVE your handmade chainmaille components and I adore all the beautiful collections that match each Pantone so well. 'Like' is such a poor word for the assortments you sent and when I say I 'love' is just not enough either. If 10 is the highest rating for me loving this collection, I have to give it 10++++++++ I'm just sooooo amazed, your generosity and kindness, I feel kind overwhelmed, in a very good way. Thank you soooo very much! <3

    PS...I'm not actually certified by Donna Kato, but am an accepted Instructor on her site. Which reminds me, I need to write another tutorial soon.


  6. Oh Tina, you're so kind to me!! Wasn't our swap A BLAST? !! I loved it, and I'm the one who is honored with the amazing mixes you gave me with so much beautiful art!! You're work is gorgeous, and I cherish your handcrafted work -- I wish there was a place to comment on each color mix you sent because each is so special! Having so many jewelry art focals and beads by you is art I treasure more than I can say in words. I really felt my gem mixes didn't compare to your generous mixes of artwork -- so special -- but I hoped sharing some of those "GemFairy" finds would at least be a way to begin to say THANK YOU TINA for being my partner and for the laughs and the fun!! I AM honored to swap with an artist like you :) And I'm so glad glad you have your mixes now (that was quite a trip the package went on... oh customs! And my post office promised me 3 days for express!)because NOW I'm going to dive in and start creating with the gorgeous treasures you sent !! :)


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