Finding a pleasing mix of glass colors isn't always easy. Sometimes finding a color combination can be a downright pain in the butt when you have a main color choice stuck in your head but just aren't sure what will go with it. Often there are the tried and true combos that are just great but who wants to use the same old thing all the time. For example, turquoise and ivory (it's a great combo and you get the neat reaction from the chemicals to give you a black line around the ivory). I also like Turquoise and Parrot Green together – then you can use a little ivory to give it a pop of a lighter tone. See the previous post for all of those heart sets I made for Bead and Button.But, there are times I pick up some glass I’ve had around for a while and I can get plain stumped. You can go with something simple - like the complimentary color. In this case it would look like Christmas if I did that and often I want something just a little more complicated. When that happens, and I'm stumped I turn to color theory. It’s not that all the combinations are going to be pleasing to everyone but at least you can get an idea of what isn’t going to clash and end up beyond ugly. No one wants to put all that work into a bead and then look at it the next day and go, "Yuck".
I like to go to Color Scheme Designer. What I do is start with a key color of glass. In this case it was an emerald green (dark grass green – I think, and other than a holiday bead I just couldn't figure out a color scheme - (in general, green ain't my thang). I dialed it into the digital color chart and then checked out the possibly combinations (triadic, complimentary, and so on). Then I chose the one that had the most possible combinations for me to work with. It included combinations of glass I had on hand and in both transparent and opaque colors. After I decided on the colors I looked for the possible value (light/dark) within each colors. If I wanted to stick with the grass green and some of the matching colors (I had on hand) I was also coming up with colors that were equally dark in value and I would need something lighter to make them pop a bit (for example: instead of a bright orange (which would be the same in value as the green) I might need something a little more like an orange cream sickle. The value, tone, and chroma of a possible color are all different.
My final decision: Grass Green (it's sort of an emerald), dark transparent purple, creamsicle orange, and a sienna or reddish brown. For fun I've also added variations on this theme and made stringers and twisties - even added a little goldstone.
This is where the ability to mix your own glass comes in handy. Sometimes you just don’t have an “orange cream sickle” color but you can take that bright orange and mix it with white to make it. If you are only going to use it for dots or an accent then mixing a little of a specialty color can be a good thing. Some times this is easy and sometimes it's not. Glass colors are created with different chemical compounds and they don't always play well together. I eventually got my orange - it wasn't exactly a creamsicle color but it works for me. It isn't going to look the same under clear and will fluctuate with the amount of "flame play" it gets but I'm going to make it work. I also got quite a few other interesting colors while I mixed various combinations. But that will have to be a different post.
So here is my combo and the beads I made from it. I'm not done making beads with those colors, especially since I've made stringers and twisties I'd like to use up. Stay happy and when you’re stuck for colors try Color Scheme Designer. For more information on color combos you can also try Brandi Hussey's great blog full of color inspiration, Brandi Girl Blog.