In past Challenges I have struggled to work with this Bright Orange Armadillo, and have gone to great lengths to find a combination that I could wear for even just one day.
However, when I went to tackle this once-yearly bead and wrestle a design into place again this year, I found it unexpectedly easy. Something has definitely shifted in my taste, because this year I seemed to have all the right beads to comfortably tease together something wearable and pretty! It made me wonder, what has changed?
For me, one of the rewards of the challenge is that it has given me a much greater understanding of my own taste. There are colours that I don’t necessarily love on their own that play key roles in my designs, because of the way they complement the tones that I really do adore. Take, for example the caramel yellow unique in the photo at left…
… Or the “Chocolate Parrot” at right. These are beads that one or two years ago would not have turned my head. I admired them in other peoples’ collections, but didn’t yet fully understand how beautiful they would make my soft sage greens and slate blues. Now I am happy to find one of these essential beads to help gel my palettes.
Another lesson learned from past Challenges is that it’s perfectly ok for me to have multiples of one bead pattern. Intellectually I understood the value of patternmaking with multiples, but my thrifty Scottish heritage still whispered in my ear that it might be better to spend my bead bucks on a new design. Between the addition of a few, key multiples (Azure Bubbles, Labradorite, Blue Desert…) and a handful of useful neutral and complementary beads… I am finding this year’s Challenge flows more easily than ever.
Clockwise from clasp: “Sterling Double Lobster Lock” (retired format), “Unique Glass”, “Limited Edition Kimono Series”, “Golden Cave”, “Plait” (retired), “Labradorite”, “Unique Glass”, “Unique Glass”, “Shortcut” (retired), “Labradorite”, “Orange Armadillo” (retired), “Labradorite”, “Smiling Cylinder”, “Unique Glass”, “Golden Quartz”, “Artisan Labradorite”, “Tupilak” (retired), “Unique Glass”, “Chocolate Parrot” (retired), “Limited Edition Kimono Series”.