Excerpts from the July 2009 Margie’s Muse 

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Snake Goddess from Beading Her Image

"Snake Goddess" from Beading Her Image

Minoan culture–especially its art–has fascinated me for decades. What I love about the society is its partnership: the equality of women and men. Even though the society was matriarchal and the Goddess revered, neither gender was elevated above the other: women and men worked in harmony. And nature was sacred and respected. This is evidenced in the joy and exuberance of their art. I show photos of frescoes on pages 40-41 and 66 of  The Beader’s Color Palette

So when I designed “Snake Goddess,” yet another tribute to this beautiful culture for my book Beading Her Image: Images of Women Portrayed in 15 bead Patterns, I naturally used colors similar to those of Minoan frescoes. I updated them, of course, to appeal to contemporary eyes accustomed to clearer, brighter hues.

AMinoan Bull Frescot its core this palette is a primary triad based on the red/yellow/blue pigment wheel: red, gold as a substitute for yellow, and three shades of blue. Variations of this primary triad, often muted and darker, are found all through Egyptian murals. The essence of Egyptian color usage is three-to four-color combinations hinged on red or yellow… Add a verde green…and you have the full palette for most Egyptian wall paintings, and the famous Minoan bull mural. Heidi Kummli designed a pendant project (below) for The Beader’s Color Palette based on this 4-color palette.

Heidi Kummlis Minoan Pendant from The Beaders Color Palette

Heidi Kummli's Minoan Pendant from The Beader's Color Palette

Let’s talk about triads, specifically, the primary triad.

Basic triads are composed of three colors equidistant from each other on the color wheel, or every fourth color on the wheel

Primary Triad

Primary Triad

Triadic combinations exhibit bold, energetic and striking contrasts because the members of the group, spaced as they are on the wheel, are neither analogous nor complementary. Basic triads contrast strongly in both temperature (warm and cool colors) and value (light and dark colors). Because of its bold directness, the primary triad of the traditional pigment wheel—in its purest red-yellow-blue state—is often used in children’s toys and graphic design.


Challenge yourself to create an innovative scheme based on this powerful trio whose roots reflect a society who celebrated what was most important: joy, nature, partnership, and beauty.


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