Studio Musings

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Brown - what a boring name for an interesting color

Last month I signed up for Sally Russick's One Crayon Color challenge and blog hop.  But instead of choosing a color myself, I asked Sally to assign me a color.  I'll admit to being a bit, uh, surprised when I was assigned 'Brown'.  Hmmm.... somehow I tend to forget that it is indeed a color, in and of itself.

Truth is, I like browns, they're just not what I think of using this time of year.  Unlike the fashion industry, I tend to work in the colors of the current season, and browns are definitely Fall/Winter colors in my palette.  For inspiration, I went to - you guessed it, my crayon box.  There I found browns with luscious names like chestnut, tumbleweed, mahogany and bittersweet, but oddly enough, no chocolate. 

Then I came across an old UFO, a companion piece for my Leopard Jasper bracelet, and I knew I'd found my piece. So here it is, so newly finished it doesn't even have a name of its own yet, right now its simply the Leopard Jasper Choker.  Descriptive, eh?

And the back shall be front

This is actually a picture of the back of the choker.  The shank on the original button I'd selected when I began (and abandoned) this project two years ago had broken, so I went shopping for new buttons to fit the project and found this beauty.  Now, my choker has two alternate fronts.  And seems to have a decidely western feel I hadn't anticipated when worn back to front.

Here's the jasper focal:

Leopard Jasper choker, freeform peyote

I like the almost snakeskin quality to the coloration and bead work.  I think that is also adding to my feeling that this comes from the dusty southwest of my childhood.  Not the land of red rock, but of golden, drifting sand.

Truth is, I'm not entirely certain the choker is quite complete.  I may decide to add more top work - layers of bridges atop what's already there.  The bracelet definitely has more top work.  I found that simply increasing the scale from bracelet to choker created enough complexity that I'm not sure it needs anything else.  I think I'll live with a bit and see before I go too far and made it too 'busy'.  What do you think?

And in the meantime, here are the other participants, nicely grouped by color families:

Button Purchases - which one?

Hosted by:


Bobbie Rafferty




Narrowing the selection to two
Linda Landig
Rebekah Payne



And we have a winner - now for more stitching
Cherie Reed
Rebecca Anderson
Alicia Marinache
Charissa Sloper
Sandi Volpe



knee brace as needle holder & workbench


Jenny Davies Reazor
Elizabeth Auld



Adding bridge work


Jennifer Judd Velasquez


Diana Ptaszynski
My original bracelet


Birgitta Lejonklou


  1. Karen! I am so envious of your earthy, rustic, down right beautiful freeform peyote choker!! I love, love, love how the browns create such a wonderful pattern!! I'm envious because over the past month I have tried and tried to create a freeform peyote bracelet (your original bracelet is so stunning, too).. mine have been it's been an epic fail! I'm going to be contacting you for help!!!!

    Thank you so much for joining in on the challenge/hop!! I can't stop staring at your gorgeous bead work!!

    1. Sally, I'd be more than happy to help with any questions regarding freeform peyote. It's far and away one of my favorite art forms and I love to share! :)

  2. Oh, heavens this is gorgeous! Love the jasper, and the change in button is wonderful. Girl, you do such beautiful work!!

  3. Hi:-)
    Very beautiful and original work.I love the free form peyote stitch,because it allows our Beading Fantasy to spread the wings freely.Brown is beautiful and has got thousand'faces'.You have used those shades in the very interesting way.Also all the additions to both pieces are synchronized perfectly.
    Warm Greetings from Sweden-Halinka-

  4. First, let me compliment you on your beadweaving skills. My eyes and hands would never be able to do this technique, nor would I have the patience.

    Your piece is stunning! It reminds me of a safari, or some remote destination in some exotic far-away place.

  5. This is one of the most beautiful designs I've ever seen! It's funny how you compared it to snakeskin, because when I first saw it I thought it resembled a snake that I'd see here in the desert - only much more beautiful!! I'm amazed at your talent and yes, brown is one of those fogotten colors - but it's one that I wouldn't want to live with out! My jaw is still on the floor over this stunning work of art!

  6. It DOES have a snakeskin look! I love freeform work and this is exceptional!

  7. Wow! That is just a true piece of art. I love the beading and the way you incorporated the stones. I agree that it almost looks like snakeskin. The bracelet is also stunning. I am just in awe.

  8. Another jaw dropping piece of jewelry. I love it! I love the snakeskin look and the freeform feel of it. Yes, it is definitely western in feel. First thing I did was run to your shop to see if you had listed it. But, then you said it wasn't quite done. Oh well, I love it. Great job!

  9. Hi Karen,
    I love your piece it is beautiful! I am in awe at your talent with free form peyote. I have always wanted to try free form but have been scared to try. My first thought when I saw your choker was a Rattlesnake skin. I love the button you chose and the Jasper focal is gorgeous.

  10. My jaw is still hanging open and my eyes are bugging out from the sheer WOW factor of your snakeskin bracelet. Awesome work!!!!!

  11. This is creative genius!! Love the progress photos! So very, very beautiful!

  12. That is wonderfully rich.

  13. You really gave brown the attention it deserves! This piece is so pretty and all the browns are just gorgeous together!

  14. Wow, gorgeous! To me, the bead weaving resembles fabric, it's so beautiful!

  15. Karen, this is beautiful! I love the original bracelet, too, and I think your new piece is gorgeous - the rich combination of browns is lovely!

  16. Oh, it's Leonard's big sister! And she's beautiful. It looks like one of those beautiful rock formations in the desert, with the striations and variations of colors from each layer of geologic activity...I think she's perfect as is. Great job, as always, my friend!

  17. This is absolutely beautiful. I love your button choice and the mixture of browns is awesome. Great job.

  18. Love your work. I am in awe of seed bead creations and the use of browns is really beautiful here.

  19. Just gorgeous. Love the modulation of the color and the freeform use of peyote. Fantastic!!

  20. Wow! This is fantastic!!! Am amazed!

  21. Wow, this is the second freeform peyote piece I've stumbled across on this blog hop and I love it...the design and your choice of colours are just gorgeous...I can see chocolate, coffee, caramel and liquorice. Yummy!

  22. I love this choker! It does look like snakeskin! I love freeform and I'm an admirer of your work. This beautiful and gives new meaning to the color brown!

  23. Gorgeous! Oh how I wish I could create something like this!

  24. Wow, what a gorgeous study of the color Brown. Love it. I like that it is still evolving.

  25. I tend to forget that brown is a color too, but I love what you've done with it here! The beadwork is just perfect for the focal bead.

    This piece makes me want to stop overlooking brown, tan and bronze the next time I go bead shopping. :)

  26. I wish I had known about your book when I first started free form peyote. You do beautiful work! I can relate when you say you wonder if you are done.....I have the same thoughts often. It is hard to know when to stop.
    I am going to follow your blog now.

  27. Beautiful! Love everything about it!

  28. Wow, brown is not boring at all, gorgeous work!!

  29. My very first thought when I saw this beaiutiful freeform bracelet was WOW that looks like snakeskin
    Awesome bracelet!

  30. Oh My Brownie Goodness!!!
    I love EVERYTHING that is going on here...I love the focal, or when the back is front that it looks like a small scarf. I love the soothing earthy colors. I love the stitches and beads. I LOVE the button choice---best of the 3 for this piece! I LOVE it all and really need to work out of that lovely book of yours I received this winter! I hope the knee brace isn't a result of a trapeze incident.

  31. Oh what you've done with brown! This piece is so full of texture I just want to touch it!! Very cool necklace.

  32. Free form peyote? I am always amazed and intrigued! Gorgeous variety of browns, lovely work! Wow!

  33. I definitely enjoying every little bit of it. It is a great website and nice share. I want to thank you. Good job! You guys do a great blog, and have some great contents. Keep up the good work. expired tumblr