Color – Kendra Sanders

3 12 2007

So much of the fun I have with creating glass beads is playing with color.  Not being an art student, the idea of “Color Theory” was new to me.  Well, not so much the concept, but the vocabulary.  It seems I have always had “an eye” for color and design, I just didn’t know how to describe what I was visualizing.  Sure, everyone knows about Primary and Secondary Colors, but then there are Tertiary Colors, Complementary Colors, Analogous Colors.   I’ve spent some time familiarizing myself with the concepts involved in Color Theory and have really had a lot of fun conceptualizing new color schemes, yet I still seem to be a bit “color challenged”. 


Playing with color combinations is much like trying to put a puzzle together.  You lay out the pieces that you are going to work with, sort them according to their “fit”, and then begin the process of working through the project.  Because glass is a reactive medium, trial and error is the name of the game.  Sometimes colors that look good on your work bench don’t play well together in a finished piece.  How distressing.  But when a new combination really works, the sense of accomplishment is incredible.  For me, those moments of victory are few and far between, so I tend to look outward for ideas.


When I find myself in need of inspiration for new colors or designs, I tend to look toward home decorating and fashion trends.  Two of my favorites to draw from are Waverly and Vera Bradley.  These two giants in the textile industry have developed a style and palette that is easily recognizable.  Their patterns, with generous use of florals, paisleys, round motifs and dots, lend themselves well to hot glass work.   


With the recent rise in popularity of the Vera Bradley handbag line, it is only natural that artists would be styling their work based on these color schemes.  The colors are fun and fresh, while the designs are challenging to recreate. I have seen several lampworkers comment that their designs were directly inspired by a Vera Bradley handbag.  I will admit as well that I have created sets of beads to match my own bags and created coordinating jewelry. 


Waverly tends to be a bit more classic and tailored.  Their color schemes are more rich and traditional.  Classic stripes, cheerful checks, playful plaids, lush florals are the signature of Waverly.  And they are all created to be tastefully mixed and matched within a particular palette.  This is where I look for ideas for an eclectic mix of beads, especially if I’m not up to making a set of perfectly matched beads.  A set created with dotted beads, encased florals, stripes and textures may very well have been inspired by a sample room on the Waverly website.



If like me, you are a bit challenged by the process of finding new and intriguing color combinations or patterns to work from, I encourage you to spend some time looking through the pages and sites of textile designers.  I go so far as to save photos and magazine pages for future reference.   The same thing can be done through the internet and saved to a folder on your computer.   Some sites even offer an opportunity to design entire rooms, from paint to wallpaper to fabric choices.  It’s fun to play and dream.  And a great way to rev up your own creativity for other projects.





3 responses

4 12 2007
Slowyak.Com » Color - Kendra Sanders

[…] an interesting post today on Color – Kendra SandersHere’s a quick […]

4 12 2007
Kate Smith

Hi Kendra,

As a professional color designer and consultatn, I think textiles are a wonderful source of inspiration for color combinations and I have developed many beautiful color schemes over the years based on a piece of fabric that caught my eye.

Looking to nature provides an unlimited source of color inspiration and it can be truly meaningful if you make a more personal or intimate connection with a setting or natural object. In my garden I have the most beautiful hydrangea bushes that have captivated my imagination and resulted in many blue and pink based color palettes that I still enjoy every time I see them.

Today I wrote about Chris Glass who collected leaves from a single maple tree at different times of the year. You can see his maple color wheel here… I loved this because his color combination is not only beautiful but closely connected with something that is meaningful in his life.

Maybe we can collaborate on developing an unexpected color combination sometime. I love your work.

Kate Smith

10 12 2007
Art of the Firebird » Blog Archive » Best of the Week ending 12/9/2007

[…] Kendra Sanders talks about color for Collective Creatives. […]

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