July 5, 2019

Limited Palette Colour Challenge (June 2019)

I kicked off this summer with a challenge to myself and other lampworkers in the Limited Palette Challenge group on Facebook.  The premise of the challenge was simple. We could use only Black, White, and Light Turquoise in our beads, and the only tools we could use were mandrels and a graphite marver.  Our job was to create whatever beauty we could from three starkly different colours.

This is how I started. The colour I was allowed to use was laid out and ready - some for putting directly on the beads, and some, weighed and pre-cut, waiting for me to blend them.

Note the sad lack of clutter on my bench. No enameled stringer available, no stamps, no presses, not even a tweezer. The tweezer shortage was periodically a big bummer, but this was the start of quite a lot of fun.

Each session at the torch multiplied my palette as I mixed 3-4 new colours  from the three challenge colours at the start of every torching session:

The mixing has become a bit of a fetish, and I can't seem to stop. Here are all the colours I mixed as I moved through my 6 torching sessions. Some of these got mixed more than once, I liked them so much.

I'm particularly fond of the Dark Blue transparent I got by mixing Black and Dark Turquoise in a 1:1 ratio and the pinkish purple I got from mixing Black and White in a 1:8 ratio.

I made a video to help other challenge participants with colour mixing. If you are interested in seeing how I mix colours, you can find it at this link:
(sorry, for this one you will need to join the Limited Palette Challenge group on Facebook. Next time I make a video I'll post it on YouTube, but I'm still getting the hang of this.)

Here are the beads I made, grouped by the week I made them in:

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Group Shot (All 4 weeks together)

I learned a lot about mixing colour, and had some neat design ideas for beads, but the most important things I learned last month doing this challenge were about myself.

I learned that:
  • I prefer to make beads with a really minimal set of tools, but a marver just isn't enough. Out of everything else I have sitting around, the only things I really missed all month long were my tweezers (serrated and tungsten types), my beading awl, my brass knife, my mini-mashers, and my jumbo roll-about mashers. All my other tools are just taking up space.
  • I really like mixing colours. A lot.
  • I'm slowly transforming from a big bead person to a small bead person.
  • It's not necessary to have a lot of colours, and I have more fun when I have fewer choices in front of me.
Anyway, that's what I've been up to.  If you feel like playing next time, join our Facebook Group :)


  1. Awesome challenge! I'd like to give it a shot! I don't use half of the tools I own. Less is more & you showed how beautiful it can be! Thanks

    1. Thank you for the feedback :) If you do try it, I'd love to see the results.

  2. Your website is my Go To for all things lampwork colors! Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us and let us in on your challenges and experiments! So nice.

    1. You're so welcome :) I enjoy it, and appreciate you posting to let me know how you feel.