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I love colour and I love glass and wire put them together with a little fire and my passion is here to see!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010


In this second part of my Design Tips I will cover Interpretation and how to use your ideas within a design.

When you get ideas for designs I find it best to keep them together for ease of access to the information you need. I have found a ‘Diary’ to be valuable for writing down ideas for colour combinations, designs and even how I could execute designs onto a bead. It is simply a notebook or sketchbook where all your ideas go when you have that ‘light bulb’ moment!

They can strike at the most inconvenient time when you’re going to bed, on the loo (hee hee!) and of course when you are out of the house ~ at the office, in the park with the kids, now I was going to say ‘up a mountain’ but that is much more difficult to get onto paper and you could just plain lose that one I’m afraid, especially if you are hanging from a rope!!!!

But, then again, you may remember it when you come down off the mountain or you could, of course, have seen something which you may be able to take a picture of to remind you again later!

A camera is another invaluable tool of a designers’ trade!! Oh Yes! We don’t just need it for taking pictures of our work, that’s for sure! So remember not to have a Diary that is difficult to carry around with you, an A5 or even A6 would be very adequate. I have to say I have a number of different types of Diary of varying sizes and some are notebooks and others are sketchbooks depending on what I need it for.

Now you are getting a very definite picture of my dreadfully messy house!!! Books, beads, magazines, beads, jewellery, oh and beads everywhere, so you can imagine what my family are always moaning and groaning about!!!!

Now then back to jewellery oh and beads of course!!

When I want to make something for myself, for instance, I would start by deciding what colours I need for a particular outfit, which hasn’t got any jewellery to compliment it. I need to determine what style I want it to be in ie. long, short, pendant, chain linked, simply strung, etc. I then need to decide on the right amount of beads I will need to produce it, along with the colour combinations including metals especially if I want chain included in the design and what would best suit the colours I have chosen as well as the shapes and sizes of the beads, what they are made from and then how they will be laid out!

Yay, we are DESIGNING now!!!

As I make my own beads, I can produce exactly what I need for my item of jewellery but I know everyone isn’t able to do this but it is then a matter of finding what beads you want to produce your piece of jewellery and purchase them from either a supplier or even a lampworker (like myself) whose style of beads you love and maybe even commission a set in your required colours.

I recently made in my ‘Camouflage Mayhem’ range of beads, an orange and brown set which were called ‘Tortoiseshell Flies’ maybe a bit of an odd name for a set of beads, I hear you say!! Well maybe you are, maybe you aren’t but I will explain a little of why I gave this range such an unusual title!

My Camouflage Mayhem range came about when I was trying out a new glass from CIM (Creation is Messy) ~ what a great name for a glass range/company, eh!! and it is one of my favourite glasses to use. It was a green glass named ‘Commando’, dark green resembling an army camouflage colour. Well this colour has some qualities that can come with some greens in the many glass ranges, it can be reactive with certain colour combinations, ~~ ivory being a great example. So I did, I used ivory with the Commando and ‘Hey Presto’ I ended up with a dark webbed ring around the dots I placed with the ivory, onto the green. I then stacked more irregular dots and some of them reminded me of the actual uniforms that the military wear ~~ hence my new range was born!!!

I started to jot down other ideas in my Diary of colours that I could use to replicate different camouflage colours. Then a ‘light bulb’ moment struck me, Animals! I could use their colours to inspire me in this range, as they use Camouflage to disguise themselves in the wild, birds, insects even marine life were all possible inspiration and open to interpretation in many different ways.

Now, has anyone worked out where the ‘Tortoiseshell’ comes from for my Tortoiseshell Flies set.

I will tell you and put you out of your misery ~ Ha ha!!


The Giant Tortoiseshell Butterfly to be precise. On visiting my local Whipsnade Zoo, where I had taken along my camera (don’t leave home without it!!) they have set up a new butterfly and insect garden and as I wandered around I captured this and other beautiful butterflies feeding on the flowers!

Tortoiseshell Flies

On my return I got out a book from my extensive “library” [oh yes I am completely mad!] called The British Country Companion which had many species of butterflies, insects, birds, etc.

Now, I have many ideas for colours for my Camouflage Mayhem range, along with other animal pictures I had taken at the zoo, what better way to interpret an idea than using wildlife or even nature to help guide you to endless possible design ideas.



Red Panda

Here are some other colours I have used for the range and I will name them and leave the rest up to you to decide where they have come from!!

Funky Uniform

Blue Tweet Tweet

Pink Leopard

My Glass Diary is filling slowly with other ideas I have come up with along the way.

Ducky Dots        

Socky Dots

I have used in both beads the colour of the combinations of the dots and now this can spark off other ideas of colours, shapes and generally all shapes that inspire you and interpret them anyway you want too.

I now want to show you a few things to get you started, to help you with your own ideas!

Nature, Marine & Animal pictures


Beautiful Colours, shapes and patterns


Sweets and Desserts     ~~                   Knickerbocker Glory

Banoffee Pie

Raspberry Ripple Cheesecake

 I hope this has helped a little with your interpretation of animals, things in nature and even the unusual!

Next Time I will cover:

Design Sources ~ what and where to find ideas and how to interpret them.


  1. Interesting article and some fab photos, Elaine! xx

  2. Thank you June. I am enjoying doing this, does take up a lot of time but it makes life interesting!! 80))


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