Thursday, February 28, 2013

Custom Color Palette

A few weeks ago my sister-in-law, Shari, admired an enamel disc bracelet that I had made in sky and sea tones to sell in my Etsy shop. She asked me if I would be able to make a similar one for her. I knew what that challenge would involve. You see, back in the 80's Shari "had her colors done". For some time now she hasn't shopped for clothing or accessories without her palette of custom color swatches in hand.

For Shari, adding to her wardrobe is a process of determining which colors coordinate with her skin tone, hair, eye colors, and with each other. She is an "autumn", so she wears "jewel tones" as recommended by her colorist. Of course, one of the benefits of using her 'color set' of swatches is that she is able to assure that each purchase will coordinate across her entire existing wardrobe.

Now, you'd think that submitting oneself to a pre-determined and defined 'set' of colors would confine one's choices into a kind of prismatic prison. Instead, I found it actually liberating to sort across Shari's palette of recommended hues and tones. In the end, the real difficulty was to limit the choices down to only the 6 or 7 to be included in the bracelet. We finally decided on rusty brown, caramel, turquoise, purple, dark green, blue and dark red.

The enamel artist has one advantage over jewelers and beaders. Like painters, we own the colors of our canvas. We blend them, and fuse them, and create new ones when necessary, to achieve singular effects that are limited only by our imagination. And now I've noticed that, like in the 1980's, there is evolving a new interest in color, stimulated by the internet. It ranges from the "chip it" applications available at the paint manufacturer's websites, to Pinterest boards that focus on the nuances of color palettes, and color planning websites that focus on interior and exterior decorating.

Expect to read more here in the future as I begin to explore this new (to me) discipline of coordinating colors to personality and lifestyle.

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