Monday, June 18, 2012

More on Bead Surface Finishes

So, back to the bead finishes. I labelled the image above with various types of bead surfaces used in the bead embroidered piece. Some finishes tend to cause the bead/color to:
  • come forward more than others
  • appear more intense than others
  • reflect light more than others
  • recede more than others
  • reflect less light than others
Using opaque beads as a "baseline," in my experience I've found that matte beads and transparent beads tend to recede into the background more. This is because matte beads are literally desaturated by their lightly etched surfaces. This causes the beads to be less reflective.

Notice how the metal-lined transparent blue beads around the hand stand out. Notice how the blue lustre beads near the bottom of the photo and the green lustre beads near the right stand out more than the matte and opaque beads around them, due to their surface finishes.
Transparent beads (as long as they aren't lined with reflective silver or gilt) tend to recede because they are often in shadow, or dark threads show through them, or they just plain don't contain as much hue as our baseline beads, the opaques.

Again using opaque beads as our baseline, some beads tend to attract more attention due in part to their surface finishes. Metal lined transparent beads, beads with a lustre or AB (rainbow) finish, and metallic beads, tend to come forward, reflect more light, or appear more intense than opaques.

Once you understand how a bead surface tends to behave in your composition, you can manipulate those surface finishes to create emphasis in a design, create a varied surface effect, and use other tricks to get parts of your composition to stand out more than others.

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