You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Beads’ category.

A review on Amazon for my book, The Beader’s Guide to Jewelry Design, touches me deeply. Alicia wrote:
“What I didn’t expect was the paragraph at the end where the author emphasized that as beaders we’re allowed to think that what we create is important. 

…we’re allowed to be passionate about our own creativity. It gave me chills. It brought tears to my eyes. It was an enormous relief, because for years I’ve been unknowingly downplaying my own love of beads and beadwork. I’ve been playing it off as a mere hobby, keeping quiet about it, pretending it’s a shameful secret that nobody really needs to know about, instead of a vital part of my creative life and an increasingly important part of who I am.

I think I needed to hear that even more than I needed help with color values, to be honest.”

I wrote last week’s blog post/newsletter, An Act of Love with Alicia’s words in mind.

caldroun_creativityDecades ago a collection of my beaded jewelry was featured in a gallery opening. I didn’t tell anyone about it because I thought it wasn’t important. It’s just jewelry, made out of glass beads, and after all, I made it, so how important could it be? If I’d been showing paintings, now that would have been important.

I was raised amid the mind set of artistic chauvinism, believing that creating in one medium was superior to another. It’s a common snobbery that was even more prevalent pre-internet. It did damage. Someone else – someone unnamed, ambiguous, and anonymous – had the power to determine if what I created measured up, not me. And I came to believe that what I created would never measure up, no matter the medium. What a price to pay! It’s taken years of conscious effort, contemplation, and healing to unlearn that garbage and learn to value and honor creativity more than the medium, more than the creation itself.

What is important is that we create.

Whether we use glass beads, paint, words, sound, fabric, or macaroni elbows is of little importance.

What is important for me is that when I’m creating I am connecting with my Soul. I’m giving to myself and to others. I’m inspiring others to create and seek and connect.

I’m honored by Alicia’s words. She inspires me and reminds me how much creativity, my creativity, matters.

I’m interested in hearing your thoughts. Why is creativity important to you?

Thank you,

Want to see knock-your-socks-off extraordinary creativity in every medium imaginable? Check out one of my favorite Pinterest boards, Soaring Creativity

I’m working on my 5th book and I want you to be my co-author, so that The Beader’s Guide to Jewelry Design gives you exactly what you want and need.

The Plan
From now through June 2012 I’ll be asking you questions, seeking your advice and feedback, and requesting examples from you. I’ll be chronicling our progress. If you respond, you, your words, or your jewelry may be in the pages of the book (with your permission). You will be acknowledged for your contribution.

I’ll do this through this my Facebook Artist Page:

If you want to be a part of this adventure, please subscribe so you won’t miss any of my requests.

About The Book
The Beader’s Guide to Jewelry Design is not a technique, construction, or project book. Rather, it will teach both seasoned professionals and beginners how to design, or improve their design. It will demonstrate design concepts and principles and show you how to apply them. It will explain the aesthetics of function, form, and wearability. Ultimately, it will inspire you to create, grow, and creatively express more of yourself.

OK, Here’s Where You Come In
The First Question: What problems do you face when designing jewelry?
To get your mind working, here are more leading questions:
Are you challenged by shape or composition?
Does color baffle you?
Is making focal points within a piece difficult?
Do you know how to lead the viewer’s eyes around and within a piece?
Do you have trouble making a piece look unified?
Do you have problems with your work looking boring or lifeless?
Not sure where to begin when trying to design?
Stumped as to how to take your design skills from solid to spectacular?

Please keep your answers brief. You can respond at, or Email your answers to:

Thank you! I’m so excited about our journey together!

Excerpt from The Beader’s Guide to Color

Something happens when you pair the enchantment of adjacent colors with the gusto of complements… something rousing and vigorous, coursing with life. This “something” is technically called the analogous complementary scheme. But what really happens is magic.

"Waning Crescent” by Margie Deeb exemplifies the analogous complementary scheme. Tranquil blues play the dominant role, emphasizing the meditative reverie of the night drenched dreamer. One complementary accent–moonlight yellow–commands our attention. Tapestry created by Frieda Bates in peyote stitch.

Analogous complementary scheme on the wheel

Analogous-complementary scheme of "Waning Crescent"

Begin this magic by choosing an analogous group of two or three colors adjacent to each other on the wheel—okay, four if you must! This group becomes the dominant color force.

For the complementary part of this alchemy, select the color directly across from the middle of the analogous group. This direct complement becomes the accent color. Or, choose a near-complement (one on either side of the direct complement).

You have now created a dominant color grouping of three similar colors accented with the direct complement (or the near-complement) of one of them. See the color wheel for “Waning Crescent.”

A show-stopping combination of brilliant, irresistible colors comprise this startling analogous complementary scheme. Necklace by Margie Deeb based on a technique by Diane Fitzgerald.

Analogous-complementary scheme for the blue and orange dichroic necklace in photo

Got it? Good! That was “Analogous Complementary Magic 101.”

To graduate to “202,” switch the dominant color to feature its complement rather than one of the analogous members. Mingle accents of the analogous colors into the dominant background made of the complementary color.

In the necklace and accompanying color wheel for the blue/orange necklace, the blue sits directly across the wheel from the orange of the yellow-orange analogous group. It could have been used as an accent color, with startling results. But instead, blue was used as the main color. The results are equally stunning.

To practice “Analogous Complementary Magic 303,” extend the palette. Rather than using just one complementary color, put two or three to work. See “Chanin Study” (below).

An extended, complex interpretation of the analogous complementary scheme. “Chanin Study” by Margie Deeb (created by Frieda Bates) was inspired by the abstract Art Deco ornamentation on the Chanin Building in New York.

Analogous-complementary scheme for "Chanin Study"

Avoid a random mish-mash of colors, logical relationships have been established. The analogous members are grouped together: violet, purple and red serve as a background, greens and yellows swirl and flow in front.

An extended analogous complementary scheme is as complex to work with as it is to say aloud. Juggling these many colors, especially complements, requires planning.

But it is worth every effort. What happens when you harmonize and balance this lively array of color? Pure magic!

Download and read the full article in PDF format at my website:

I had so much fun giving patterns to the winners of the “Answer & Win” contest in May that I’ve decided to give away my beautiful seed bead weaving patterns for FREE and will continue, 2 by 2 a month, until they are all free!

This includes peyote, brick stitch, square stitch, and looming versions.

June features are “Celebration” (one of my most popular) and “Lotus Blossom.”

Tell all bead weaving maniacs to come and get ’em! (PDF downloads only, not the hard copies.)

Click the link, then scroll down to find the free patterns.

Margie’s PDF patterns

excerpt from the June 2010 Margie’s Muse column

Seed beads are chameleons. They change their color—sometimes dramatically. When strung as a hank, seed beads will enchant you, casting a spell that sounds like “Buy me. You can’t live without my color.” Then when you stitch or string it alongside ten other colors (you couldn’t live without) they darken or lighten, disappear or pop out jarringly.

Glass beads are the grandest of visual tricksters. The smaller the bead, the trickier the tricks. Color changes radically based on the light source, surrounding beads, thread, background, bead finish, and other factors.

For example: did you know that when you look at the surface of a silver-lined bead you see about 50% reflected light and 50% reflected color? If it’s a green silver-lined bead, you are not seeing all green… you are actually seeing much of the light source illuminating the bead.

A bead’s color is altered by its surface finish. Depending on the bead’s finish, the same hue of green can appear hard and rough or soft and smooth, iridescent as cellophane or solid as velvet.

Admittedly, our pre-mixed medium of beads limits our color selection. However, surface finishes give us a creative playground unavailable in other mixable mediums such as paint. Red paint is altered only by another color or substance (oil, glaze, varnish). In contrast, red in the form of beads comes in a matte finish, semi-matte, opaque, transparent, iris, pearlescent, or some combination of the above.

Understanding a beads’ reflectivity as well as color provides a more comprehensive approach to designing with beads.

Start by thinking in terms of reflectivity first, color second when you are choosing colors. When you look at a particular bead, how much light are you seeing? How much actual color are you receiving?

…To read entire article with many more photos & a downloadable PDF, go to Margie’s Muse

I offer a one-day class exploring the issues presented by bead finishes. I also offer an on-line class at CraftEdu titled “Seed Bead Finishes and Their Interaction with Color.” At the end of this hour long class you will:

  • know the major categories of seed bead finishes and you’ll understand how each interacts with light and reflects color
  • be able to make confident choices to create the effects you want in your beaded jewelry and art
  • be able to enjoy the thrill of working with seed beads creatively, artistically, and expressively.
  • In the Feb. 18, 2010 episode of Project Runway guest judge Tory Burch said “I’m not sure that blue and orange are that complementary, do you think so?” Heidi, Michael, and Nina (the show’s regular judges) agreed with her.

    Maybe Tory meant “I’m not sure that blue and orange are that complimentary, do you think so?”

    In either case she – and they – are wrong. And it irks me that fashion designers don’t take the time to understand how colors interact with one another.

    Blue and orange are complementary: they visually complete each other. Blue and orange are also complimentary: conveying a compliment, something that is flattering.

    I’ve run across so many people that should understand color, but don’t: interior designers, graphic designers, jewelry designers, painters, artists of all mediums. And now, the top fashion designers in the USA.

    Color is absolutely critical to these professions — it can make or break a project. Color influences mood, decisions, behavior. It definitely influences how people spend (or don’t spend) money.

    It’s shocking to me that these artists do not see the value of learning about color. Why wouldn’t artists want to expand their color knowledge (and possibly their income) to develop their mastery? It’s not hard, and it’s a lot of fun.

    Leaving a BeadFest show I shared a shuttle van with another teacher and her assistant. They asked what I did and I told them I taught color. The assistant said “You should see [the teacher in the van]’s work – she’s great with color!” And they opened up many cases of her beadwork. It was all the same three pale colors used in combination. They were lovely combinations, not a thing wrong with them. But over and over the same combinations, the same degree of paleness, the same predictability. (I bet she doesn’t know that humans can see the most subtle shift in color, and can visually distinguish perhaps as many as 10 million colors.)

    Years ago, before I’d published my color books, a very well-known bead author said to me “No one will want to spend time learning about color: there’s just not that much to learn. I know what works well together.” (By the way, after 40 years of doing so, I still study color on a regular basis and am still learning.)

    I find many artists engaging in two severly limiting behaviors: operating under the the arrogant assumption that they know all there is to know about color, and limiting their work to a couple of combinations they feel safe with. They don’t risk anything. The price is that they don’t gain anything. There’s no personal voice singing through the work, you can see and feel the timidity of playing it safe. It’s mediocre. It’s boring.

    As artists on a path of growth we start with the academics: theory and the color wheel. We learn the basics so we know how colors interact optically and impact us emotionally. Then we have the confidence to expand into our own voice, working intuitively and expressively on a solid foundation of learned knowledge. Then comes the magic. Then the mastery. Then the whole cycle all over again, many times, microcosmically and macrocosmically. A never ending, fun-filled journey, rich with rewards.

    Congratulations and thank you, Dear Reader. You are not one of the folks blindly unconscious to the value of understanding color. You would not be reading this if you were!

    Project Runway Judges: You are welcome to take any of my classes and learn about color with me. I can show you 50 ways to make the complementary colors blue and orange look fantastically complimentary. We did it in my Denver classes.

    I’ve been following what I can of fashion week, and am particularly interested in accessories (there are just NOT enough photographs of the accessories!) and how the economy has impacted sales. Here are excerpts from a hope filled article by Kristina Cooke that you’ll all like reading (bold font is MY doing):

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Designers at New York Fashion Week are betting on accessories such as belts, boots, jewelry and even a pearl-studded scrunchy to tempt shoppers during the recession.

    It is not just that accessories are a more affordable way for consumers to make a fashion statement, some buyers can also be enticed by one-off investment pieces — as long as they are unique, experts at New York Fashion Week said.

    Accessories sales have held up better than clothing in the worst recession in some 70 years and according to market research company NPD Group they are poised to be one of the earliest fashion areas to recover.

    Designers are taking note.

    Bold belts, necklaces and bracelets featured prominently on New York Fashion Week runways as designers show collections for spring and summer 2010 and one of the most talked about pieces in Marc Jacob’s collection was a pearl-studded hair scrunchy.

    Many stores that focused on clothing are opening up to having bigger displays or bigger buys for accessories and shrinking their buys for clothing. You’re just seeing a different kind of market right now and I think designers are recognizing that,” said Jodie Snyder, whose DANNIJO jewelry partners with designers such as Carlos Campos and Bensoni.

    Luxury brand Henri Bendel has stopped selling clothes at its flagship Fifth Avenue boutique to focus on accessories, gifts and beauty products.

    Australian designer Anna Coroneo scaled back her collection of dresses this year but is rapidly expanding her accessories offerings. Her key accessory — silk beads — has been popular with consumers worldwide and she is now working on a scarf collection based on her own artwork.

    “Accessories are really important right now,” designer Jill Stuart told Reuters backstage after her runway show, which featured fishnet boots and sparkly belts.

    Belts played a key role in a number of collections, coming in a variety of widths and textures including on evening gowns and high-waist swimsuits.

    In the first half of 2009 belt sales performed significantly better than other accessories, rising 32 percent compared to a year earlier, according to NPD Group data.

    The economy has forced designers to become more attuned to what the consumer is looking for and give them a compelling reason to buy, experts said.

    In the past decade “consumers were afraid of missing out on the next big thing. Now that the paradigm has shifted, consumers are king again and they are pushing back. They are much more discerning in their purchases,” Ann Watson, a fashion retail consultant, told Reuters as she sat in the audience of Brazilian designer Carlos Miele’s show.

    Maria Bogomolova, executive director of couture jewelry designer Alex Soldier said the well-heeled were prepared to open their wallets for unique pieces that were seen to be timeless. Alex Soldier’s jewelry retails from $995……”