Regular readers of this blog will recall the amazing collection of MS, and her highly imaginative and original design themes… This bracelet has been featured before, but now has been re designed with a totally different approach to grouping colour.
When I saw how MS had redesigned this gorgeous bracelet it occurred to me that we had never discussed on this blog the various approaches to designing with colour that we see among our collectors. It’s an interesting topic that is closely related to the study of how they select objects, but it’s not quite the same thing.
For example, in the case of someone who collects to mark significant moments in a period of time, and who picks beads that best reflect the event, the bracelet design will be shaped not by aesthetic, but by meaning. However, for the Trollie who chooses beads more for their beauty than their specific meaning, there are a wide range of design options for arranging their collection in compositions.
By far the preferred approach is “Colour Balancing”: choosing a palette of colour, usually two or three dominant tones, and then arranging the beads around the bracelet so that the colours are more or less evenly dispersed. This is certainly my usual method, and ideally, it results in harmonious compositions that feel balanced.
“Colour Blocking” is a much more unusual approach, but as you can see from the examples above, very visually powerful. Some designs transition the colour from one to another, others simply group like colour together. In the case of the redesigned “Trolls Treasure”, MS has arranged the complementary purples and golds directly opposite each other, and then alternated with blocks of brilliant teal. In RT’s incredible armadillo bracelet, she has focused on variations in one type of bead, and by arranging all of each colour together one can better savor the subtle differences in tone, size and texture from one bead to another. In our final example at the top, the designer has transitioned gently from one colour to another, from buttery yellow, to pink, to green, into brown and finishing on a brilliant stroke of salmon.
By far the most difficult design approach is to “Colour Wash”… In this method the gifted designer may create a balanced and harmonious composition without a specific, technical plan. This involves selecting harmonious colours and using impeccable balance, which requires an expert eye.
MS’s design experiment shows us that one needn’t be restricted to one approach. Perhaps the ideal is to use elements from all design systems to find ones own way… to create something unique, that gives deep satisfaction and that reflects ones own sense of beauty and balance.