Delica browns and flesh tone samples

2011 Color Tip #2: Weave or string samples.

Keep reading!

Don’t skip over this post because the thought of making samples sounds like drudgery!

I’m big on the discipline of planning ahead: sketches, samples, and test-runs are part of my design process. I do this for all my paintings. Because of their surface finishes, sample work is even more critically important in bead work.

Beads are like living organisms: you can’t truly know how they’ll interact until you corral them together and watch what happens.

I’ll say it again: YOU CAN’T KNOW HOW BEADS WILL VISUALLY AFFECT EACH OTHER UNTIL YOU WEAVE THEM TOGETHER. It’s impossible. I’ve been beading over 23 years and still make samples to learn from the beads themselves.

The smaller the bead, the more true this is.

When you weave together samples, you’ll see how they visually interact. Like siblings, some get along beautifully, while others were not meant to be strung side-by-side.

Delica pinks

Keep your samples for future referral. I keep mine in binders, so I can pull them out when necessary, and store them neatly when not in use.

If you really want to improve the color in your jewelry, make and learn from samples. Study them carefully in all kinds of light: fluorescent, sunlight, tungsten. Sample making doesn’t have to take a lot of time, and it’s worth the effort, especially for more elaborate finished pieces.

Learn more about color in my comprehensive color and beading book, The Beader’s Guide to Color.