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Color Inspirations :: October

 In my head, the official color for October is orange.

See, growing up, my mom was crafty before crafty became cool. Dozens of trips throughout the year to the craft shows in town would net us handmade decorations for every holiday. And if calendars suddenly didn't exist, I would still know when October rolled around because the pumpkins, both real and paper mache'd, started appearing in and around our house. Wire-framed witches hung on the walls, fake cobwebs took over the fireplace, and wooden signs were staked outside. Halloween in our house wasn't a day, it was a season-long event.

And I loved it.

So, for this month, orange is playing a big role in the color palettes I'm sharing with you.

If I had a favorite shade of orange, it would probably be the ones here - a deep reddish-orange. Orange can be a tough color to work with because of how strong a color it is, and it's one of those "love it or hate it" hues. So how do we work with it?

We can use it in smaller doses or in different shades, like peach or brown (which comes from orange, did you know?). We can use various shades of it, like the palette above, in a monochromatic color scheme. Even with the touch of peach, it still feels autumnal.

Or, we can make a strong orange the focal point with lots of softer shades that surround it. Palettes 1 and 4 work because the other colors are muted and subtle and works with, not against, the vibrant orange.

And from a strictly color theory point of view, another reason why these colors work is because it's a complementary color scheme. Every color in these palettes is either a shade of orange (the peaches and tans) or blue (the periwinkles). Since blue is the complementary color to orange, they automatically work well together; orange will never look more orange than when it's against blue, and vice versa.

The trick with using a blue-orange complementary color scheme is to keep one color vibrant and one color muted. Here, the blues are soft and gray, letting the orange take the lead. So, what could have been boring feels new and different. It wouldn't have the same effect if the blues were as strong as the oranges - it would have looked off balanced, and your eye wouldn't know where to look first with two competing colors with strong hues.

So, with that in mind, you've got four palettes with different color combinations to work with this month. To keep things feeling light and airy, choose a strong orange with softer secondary colors, like Palettes 1 and 4. Keep the orange the darkest color, and lighten up or use gray to mute the other tones. To do a straight monochromatic scheme, use all shades of orange, from the deepest browns to the lightest peaches, like Palette 3.

As you make your beads or pieces, watch the amount of each color you use, too. If you're not comfortable using a strong orange, follow Palette 4's example - use just a touch of it with more tans and pale blues. If you're concerned it's starting to feel too light and airy, add in dark brown to ground your color scheme, like Palette 2.

What about you - how do you feel about orange? Which palette strikes your fancy?


  1. These palettes are Beautiful!!! I am in the studio right now glazing and pulled a few special pieces to glaze - inspired by this palette. I love the coppery brown tones to orange. Not too much the super neon orange person - but give me those warmer tones!!! Thanks for the inspiration Brandi! Perfect timing to give me a direction to go towards :)

  2. Great post, and I love the palettes! Orange is a colour that I usually shy away from, but you've inspired me to give it another go this weekend!

  3. Wonderful colors! Thanks for inspiration :)



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