I've always loved Margie Deeb's books about color for bead artists – The Beader's Guide to Color and The Beader's Color Palette are two reference books that I keep handy no matter what I'm working on. And I devoured the podcasts she had available on her website, Margiedeeb.com. So one day when I saw that Margie offers personal color use consultations, I thought that this would be a great way for me to take my artistry with beads to the next level.
It might sound familiar to a lot of bead artists, but I had always been confused and mystified when it came to color. In college, I had a lot of friends who studied art and took classes on color theory and got to spend hours mixing their own colors. I was always fascinated by the process because they always seemed to know exactly how to get just the right shade they were looking for.
Of course, "painting" with seed beads isn't quite the same thing! But you can learn how to use basic color theory and your own personal color preferences to create striking beaded jewelry.
One of the best things that I ever did was to sign up for one of Margie's Personal Color Consultations. At first, it sounded kind of hokey to me – sort of like when "having your colors done" was all the rage at department stores, and sales assistants and color consultants put you in a "color box": "oh, no, with your skin tone, honey, you can't wear fuchsia!"
But working with Margie was like getting all the art education that I missed in college without ever having to leave home. And it was fun. Did I mention that I got a coloring book out of the deal?
One of the first things that I did was answer a set of questions from Margie about what colors I liked to use and what colors I didn't like to use. Then she sent me the first few pages of the coloring book and my first homework assignment. I had to create my own color wheel using colored pencils!
After a few sessions working in that coloring book, I was hooked. I suddenly began to understand the difference between cool and warm colors, although I still have to remind myself that a cool color is one that I would want to dive into on a hot day and a warm color is one that I would cook with on the stove. I started experimenting with shades and tints and had great fun mixing colored pencils to create new colors.
I knew at the start that I didn't like to use light colors. I've never been a fan of ethereal pink and lavender and powder blue, but Margie gave me coloring exercises that were easy and fun and really did translate into the ability for me to use these colors more effectively in my beadwork! I don't shy away from pastel colors anymore, and I've even added a few tubes of light colors to my seed bead stash recently.
At the end of the experience, I took away a whole new set of skills in using color that I still use, along with my coloring book. The coloring book, which was designed by Margie just for these sessions, was tailored to my particular color needs and is something that I still use when I'm feeling stuck or I just need a little bit of a creative break.
If you're interested in learning all about color and how to effectively use it in your beadwork, take a few minutes to look around Margie's website and check out her online classes, her past installments of Margie's Muse and her color reports.
Have you ever taken a beading or art class that changed the way you looked at your beading? Leave a comment and share your experiences here on the blog!