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November 15, 2009

Putting Myself Back in the Box

Since winter has come back again this year (dammit! Why won't it stay gone?) I am back in the studio on Saturdays, and my beadmaking is again limited to once per week. We're looking for a bigger apartment that has a garage/workshop/studio-like aspect to it, but until that happens this is how things are going to be.

Travelling back and forth to the studio means that I need to be really conservative about how much stuff I take with me. I also have to pack it well, since I only have two hands. I'm acutely aware of how many more 'essential' tools I've acquired since last winter, and they now have their own space in a cute little lunchbox that Holly bought for me on eBay.

Both because of my space issues and because it really works, I'm back in my mode of being extra strict with myself about my colour palette. I did this for the first time last spring because I was having trouble focusing at the torch. With too many colour choices in front of me, my attention is really scattered, and I find I don't learn as much about how each colour behaves. The rules of this 'colour diet' program are pretty restrictive, but I've developed them over the last year and I really, really like doing things this way.

Here are the rules:
  1. The palette must have no more than 15 colours. Black, Clear, Ivory and Dark Ivory don't count as colours and are always in the box as staples.
  2. At least five of the palette'scolours must be transparent.
  3. Silver Glass colours do not count towards the total since they are used mainly as an accent.
  4. I must use the same palette (see #5) for at least eight consecutive torching sessions.
  5. I am allowed to make ONE adjustment between torching sessions if I decide that I really don't like a particular colour or if there is a new colour begging for me to try it RIGHT NOW, but if I put something new in, I must take something else out.
  6. If I make any adjustment between torching sessions, I lose credit for the sessions I've completed with the palette to date and have to start over again. (see #4) If the change was because I ran out of something, I can just carry on normally.
  7. I start with around 1/4# of each colour. When I use up all of the rods of a given colour, I can select a new colour to replace it, or just grab another 1/4# of the same colour if I don't feel done with it yet.
It takes a couple of sessions to arrive at a palette I think Ican live with, which is what I've been exploring for the last couple of weeks, but I am pretty happy with the colours I've chosen now. If anyone reading this is interested in joining me on my winter colour diet, here is where my palette will begin:

  • EFF Red Copper Green
  • CiM Adamantium
  • CiM Mink
  • CiM Tamarind Unique (-1)
  • REI Mystic Beige
  • EFF Okey Dokey Artichoky
  • EFF Copper Green
  • EFF Dark Violet
  • VET Seashell Swirl
  • EFF Light Brown (Transparent)
  • EFF Pale Green Apple (Transparent)
  • EFF Pale Emerald (Transparent)
  • EFF Pale Aqua (Transparent)
  • EFF Pale Ink Blue (Transparent)
  • Staples: Clear, Black, Dark Ivory, Ivory
  • Silver Glass: Assorted Silver Glass Colours, rods & frit
  • Metals: Silver Mesh, Silver Wire, Copper Mesh, Silver Leaf, Silver Foil
  • Dichro: Dichro on Clear (various colours)
  • Goldstone: Gold Aventurine Chunks
In some cases, I'm not starting with the full 1/4# of a colour because I've already blown through some of it in my initial exploration, or because I didn't own a full 1/4# of it when I started. Light Brown Transparent, Mystic Beige and Pale Aqua fit into this category, and they will probably be replaced or replenished pretty quickly as I get going. I am also starting with closer to 1/2# of Okey Dokey Artichoky because I am completely in love with it and couldn't stop pulling the rods and then couldn't make myself put them back.

Another pleasant side effect of this 'discipline' I'm imposing on myself is that I will actually use some colours up and free up space in my glass storage boxes. Those boxes are a little bloated from all of the shopping I did at the Frantz Bash and the glass Mike Frantz sent me when my little poem about Copper Green won me second place in a contest he held on LE last month.

Since it's my poem, I'll go ahead and share it here. It seems appropriate, given that its subject is on board for this ride.
An Ode To Copper Green
In rod form I love you and can't get enough,
It's when I cremate you the going gets tough.
Your colour is tricky and goes all askew
Transforming from green into two shades of blue
With some shades you develop a big, thick black line,
But with purple, the line looks a lot more like wine.
Under clear, you turn yellow! Why is that, o Green?
When you get too hot there's an odd silver sheen...
You spark and you pit and you hate to be hot,
But in spite of all that I still love you a lot.

Here are some of the beads that I made last week as I was making my palette decisions. So far, I'm enjoying the colours and how they play together.

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