Niki.Tasha – Lesson 5 – Colours

Art Deco Amulet Bag

Art Deco Amulet Bag

glass bead artisan jewelry, a spot to keep a talisman

glass bead artisan jewelry, a spot to keep a talisman

There are all kinds of websites that dedicate some space to defining the meanings of colours.  In Lesson 4 – Colour, we discussed colour theory and we explained cool and warm colours.  In addition to the theory, is the ‘feeling’ or reaction one has with colours. 

The warm colours of yellow, orange and red are gregarious, optimistic and aggressive.  The cool colours of violet, blue and green soothe ; they have a calming effect.

Black, brown and gold, ‘neutrals’ of the fashion industry, are warm colours.  White, grey and silver are cool neutrals.

Blue suggests strength, hence the executive blue suit.  It is peaceful:  the Madonna is depicted as a woman wearing blue.

People are trying to ‘green’ the world: green is the colour of the environment when it is healthy.  Hospital corridors are painted a light green tint.  Green suggests growth. 

Yellow was the colour of royalty in ancient China.  Yellow is cheerful, joyful.

Red:  outgoing, passionate, hot.  In China, red is a lucky colour.  When a bit of white is added, you get a pink tint.  Little girls in Canada wear pink. 

Purple is the royal colour:  an extremely costly dye to make, in the western world purple was reserved for royalty.  In the Catholic church, purple is a sacred colour and worn by bishops.

Gold, a warm colour,  and silver, a cool colour, are 2 precious metals.  Yellow or red gold, the colour of riches and of tradition.  As part of the marriage tradition, it is customary to offer wedding rings made of gold. 

Black is the colour of power and aggressiveness.  Limousines that are black are used in funeral processions in the western hemisphere.  It is a sober colour.

White once was considered the colour of bad luck.  It is also the colour of purity.   In olden days, a woman’s bridal dress was her best frock which was most often made of silk and either black or some other dark colour.  It was  Queen Victoria who started the trend of bridal dresses of white.

In the business world, there used to be a formula for the colours one wore to work.  On Monday you wear your power suit, black.  You want the symbol of authority, the colour black, at the start of the week.  On Tuesday the colour of choice was dark blue; still an authoritative colour but without the aggressiveness of black.   Wednesday is the apex of the workweek:  fewer mistakes are made on a Wednesday.  Wednesday was the day for grey.   Brown, the colour of earth, an approachable colour, is worn on Thursday.  The weekend is just one day away so it’s okay to loosen the reins of business.  Finally, Friday, a day of celebration:  when the whistle blows at the end of the shift we will be on our own time.  TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday), people wear beige or any other tint [remember, a tint is the colour made when white is added to a Hue.]

When you look at your design and you can’t say exactly what is missing, but that something is missing, add a bit of black.   Interior decorators use this trick to ‘ground’ a room. 

When you pick the bead colours, Niki, that you will use in the first project, start with your favourite colour.  I believe, and I am not alone in my belief, that you can never have too many beads and you will always enjoy the pieces you make using your favourite colour.  You must pay attention to the colour values:  Hue= saturated, pure colour;  Tint= the colour you chose but lighter, by adding  white to the Hue;  Tone = the colour you chose but darker, with black added to the Hue.

Copyright © Helene Turnbull  All rights reserved.  No part of this work covered by the copyrights hereon may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means – graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or information storage and rettrieval systems – without written permission of the author.


2 Responses

  1. Hey Helen

    I find colors simlpy fascinating. They reflect the different moods of the mind as well. An aesthetic sense for colors is very important, be it for beading or any other art & craft stream

    Sometimes when I read about or watch, fashion shows, functions, formal gatherings etc…it occurs to me that people do not give much importance to the jewelry they wear, not as much as the kind of clothes they wear.

    I think a careful selection of colors (in jewelry) depending on the color and type of skin, the color and type of clothes, age of the person would go a long way in accentuating the total look and personality of a person


  2. Hiya, Niki. Colour and colour selection is affected by where you are in the world. If you are in a ‘hot’ country, lots of bright sunlight and high temperatures, the strong oranges, the intense blues and so on are used. The colours need to be strong to be seen in all that flash of bright light. White is not so popular because the sun’s rays just bounce off the white and can be painful to look at. Colour, on the other hand, absorbs the brightness of the sun; it can be seen.

    In Bermuda, houses are painted the prettiest tints of pink and yellow and green and blue. The alternative, white stucco, just bounced back the brightness of the sun and was distracting.

    Because of the angle the sun’s rays hit us in Canada, the colour of our sunlight is cooler than the direct rays experienced in the latitudes close to the equator. We have only a couple of months of intense heat and sunshine. When people start wearing white we know it must be summer.

    I enjoy ‘people watching.’ Plop me down on a park bench and I can entertain myself just watching what colours people are wearing. When I see saris and hajibs and other ethnic or religious clothing in those wonderful, fully saturated colours I can’t help but stare. If there is embroidery included or subtle patterns in the weave of the cloth, I get a nice kind of tingly feeling all over. There, now, I’ve just told you a not very well hidden secret about me. Like you, I love colour. Add texture to the list, too.

    As you have pointed out, Niki, the colour of the person’s skin should be taken into account when colours are being chosen. Some of the oranges and rusts and even pinks make my already red cheeks seem even redder. Put me in something like periwinkle or lilac purple and it’s a different story.

    I have an exercise in colour for embroidery with black fabric and again on white fabric. I have thought it can be translated into a colour exercise with beads. It is labour intensive but something you can add to as time goes by. For now, Niki, I’d like to finish the Peyote exercise first so you will have the skill to do this large colour exercise.

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