By Lynn Yuhr

The colors of clay and the way we can manipulate those colors is probably one of the leading factors that drew us into this medium. It was for me!  The range of polymer clay colors right out of the package are wonderful. They provide a solid jumping off point for any design.

And I am always inspired with ‘New Color Tuesdays’ by Syndee Holtz as she shows us  . . .  well new polymer clay color combinations. The colors you can mix really do seem to be endless in variety and I always try and have plenty available.

Combinations of colors can immediately evoke a feeling, place, or memory. Some obvious color combinations that immediately come to mind include red and green for Christmas, red, white and blue for 4th of July, black, orange and purple for Halloween or pastels for Easter. But lets take this further, if someone describes avocado green and mustard yellow it might bring some of us back to the kitchen we grew up in the 50’s or 60’s.  When someone describes a beach scene, shades of turquoise blues up against sugar white sands might come to mind.

Color is powerful! It is one of the design elements that we should consider when creating whether it is jewelry, a sculpture, or wall hanging. It should not be an afterthought and can often take the lead in providing a clear vision of what your piece is representing.

Ask yourself if the colors you are using support the story, do they make sense? Or do the colors compete with the story? For example, for an industrial look, cool neutral colors would dominate (concrete, old wood or brick and iron) with maybe little pops of rusty colors.  

If your objective is tropical foliage then multiple shades of green should create the background for bright, crisp vibrant colors (pinks, yellow, purples and orange).

So what story are you trying to tell? Find images in magazines, books or on the internet that reflect your story and look at the colors being used to get ideas. Then mix up some colors to develop a palette as your first step. The colors you choose might be the element that brings together a successful design.