Colours in Clay

Polymer clays are available in a variety of wonderful colours and with a little work you can mix just about any colour you can imagine. The use of gradient blend techniques such as the Skinner blend can add amazing depth and realism to your work. This is particularly true in millefiori canes where depth must be added through colours and blends because the item is two dimensional.

You may find the most incredible, lovely shade of blue for that flower petal but if you can’t reproduce it, it’s a one time miracle. So how do we go about making (reasonably) consistent colours? And how do we use our colours to produce a palette?

Your Palette

The challenge then is to produce a palette that is consistent and useful. The benefits of a good colour palette in your work are incredible – your pieces will work together better, individual components will match and complement the whole and your body of work overall will become more defined in terms of style and appearance. You’ll have less wasted canes (and time!) because the canes will be ‘good’ colours and more importantly you’ll know how you made them and which ones will work with them.

Picking a Palette

Some people have a good eye for colours and effortlessly arrange complex colours that work beautifully. The rest of us pull our inspiration from around us. A dish of favourite food, the colours of a sunset, a beautiful painting or my daughters pyjamas are just a few of the starting points I’ve used. A visit to the paint department at the hardware store will net you some professionally packaged palettes in the form of paint chip samplers. The same with home decorating magazines.