Trollbeads Inspiration: Transition


IMG_6933We’ve all been there…

this morning I stood before my open closet, completely bewildered as to what to wear.  Today was the first day of school for our North Vancouver kids, and right on schedule, we woke up to a grey and rainy day.  After what felt like an unusually long and beautifully war and clear Summer, we are

IMG_6934finally, really, settling in to Autumn.  So.  What to wear?  It’s not really cold yet, and the sunshine of the past season hasn’t quite faded from mind yet.  On the other hand, the leaves are starting to turn around the edge, the dark is coming earlier and earlier, and the shop windows here in Edgemont Village are filled with Autumnal treats.

IMG_6936I will never understand how I can be so flummoxed by this every time the seasons change.  It’s as though I completely forget what I used to wear.  What felt good this time last year?  Surely those pieces must still be hiding in my wardrobe?  I envision myself updating them artfully with a well chosen accessory, and sailing out the front door a vision of seasonal style… and one day that may actually happen.  Today however, I do have a few good ideas on how to transition one’s Summer bracelet to a wonderful, early Autumn composition!


Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 12.23.41 PMMost of us have fallen in love at some point or another with some of Trollbeads’ gorgeous turquoise toned beads.  Here I showcase a range of beads in that lovely colour, including the Spring collection’s “Ancient Palace”, a couple of yummy uniques and the

IMG_6939very tricky, limited edition “Daydream Blossom”.  I took the cue from the blossom bead, and added a range of spicy tones.  For these I reached for my favorite golden and cherry toned ambers, as well as the new “Brown Yellow Chalcedony”.  Two of the new faceted beads for Autumn of 2014 offer complex pattern and a touch of sparkle.  The overall look is still warm and full of sunshine, but the rich chestnut tones and deeper teals mark this as an Autumn composition, not Summer.


Clockwise from clasp:  “Spiritual Temple Lock”, “Turquoise Prism”, “Unique”, Unique Amber”, “Rolling Waves”, “Luminous Facet”, “Unique”, Brown Yellow Chacedony”, “Transformation”, “Unique Amber”, “Daydream Blossom”, “Unique Amber”, “Trefoil Knot”, “Red Tigers Eye”, “Ancient Palace”, “Unqiue”, Lotus Top”, “Unique Amber”, “River of Life Facet”, “Turquoise Prism”.

All beads currently in stock at Tartooful.


Trollbeads Design Challenge: Final Day!


I cannot believe that it has been an entire month.

Thirty days, and more than thirty designs later I don’t feel as though I have even begun to explore the possibilities in my modest collection, and I am overwhelmed at the potential for beautiful composition.


It was very hard to choose one last design to showcase here on this blog… Of course, I wanted to finish on a high note, with a dramatic, unforgettable bracelet design.  More than that, however, I wanted to finish the way I had set out to begin… with a sense of adventure, playfulness and willingness to try something new.  So rather than just try for simply “beautiful”, I decided to dive in and once more explore a fresh approach to my collection.


Throughout the challenge I had arrayed my beads into colour families while designing each bracelet.  I decided to begin this bracelet by arranging the beads instead into material types – stones, ambers, glass, and silver.


Seen this way, totally fresh and new design ideas began to form in my head.  I chose to play with just the stones in my collection.. (Who knew I had this many?!)… and began to see what kind of composition I could create using exclusively those.


Starting with all the stones together on the tray, I slowly edited and shifted the beads to create small clusters of complementary colour.  I remembered that fellow Challenger, LeAnn Lowe had mentioned that she was beginning to become attracted to the “Ball Of Yarn” bead that has been featured in so many of this month’s bracelets, so with a little smile to myself I placed it in the middle of the bracelet.  After all, this exercise has been all about encouraging each other, and garnering inspiration and ideas from each others’ creations.


Working outwards from the “Ball of Yarn”, I tried to balance light and dark, facets and smooth, clear and opaque, patterned and plain, narrow and wide… I edited out the extremes of colour, opting not to work with a few favorite stones because they called too much attention to themselves.  (Sorry, lovely faceted claret coloured amber…)


Even within such a narrow definition of only one little collection there is so much diversity… and in order to create a composition that is truly harmonious there are so many elements to consider  Fortunately, with Troll it is so simple to play, design and freely create.  Trollbeads is pure fun!

I hope that this past month has inspired some of you to actively enjoy your collections; to play, create and design beautiful compositions that make your hearts sing… A huge, heartfelt thank you to LeAnn Lowe and Melinda Deyhle who faithfully posted their designs every day on our facebook page, as well as all you other ladies who shared selected designs along the way… Melinda & LeAnn, we have a very special Troll treat headed your way to show you how much we appreciate your support!



Trollbeads News: Summer Stones

Well, this *is* exciting…


The new Summer Stones from Trollbeads are here!  This is the series that truly has something for every collector, and every composition.  If you love the natural stones in the collection, then you are going to have to come take a peek at these…


300x300The new stones are all cabochon, or polished smooth.  They include “Dalmatian Jasper”, “African Amethyst”, “Rhyolite”, “Red Mud Jasper”, “Zebra Jasper” and “Canadian Jade”.  This gives a truly lovely range of colours, with so many possible design applications.

Love uniques?  These definitely qualify – every single natural stone has its own personality.  Love warm, earthy tones?  Cool, minimalist & urban?  Pretty and pastel?  The designs of the Summer stones series can enhance almost any palette.  (We had a good play with the new beads and have photographed some ideas that we’ll share with you over the next couple of days…)

On a side note, We are delighted that a Canadian stone has been included in this collection… (We’re totally stoked, eh!  Pass the maple syrup.)  Canadian Jade is in fact a different type of stone than the classic Oriental Jadeite.  The rich green IMG_1036stone that is called Canadian Jade is a close elemental relative named Nephrite.  We are particularly excited that this stone is native to our own Province of British Columbia.  Each year, BC produces around three quarters of the Canadian Jade that is sold around the world.  With vast reserves of huge deposits of this gorgeous stone, it is used for everything from massive statues of the Buddha, to intricately carved jewellery, to impressive slab doors for the Playboy mansion… and now, Trollbeads.


Stay tuned for some fresh inspiration, and be sure to pop by the gallery soon to come see these new lovelies for yourself…


Trollbeads Design Methods

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.