Thursday, 27 February 2014

Andrew Thornton's Radiant Orchid Challenge

Welcome to Andrew Thornton's Radiant Orchid Challenge! This is the first one of these challenges that Andrew has run in a wee while and I was so glad that a bit of  insomnia meant that I managed to snag one of his hard-to-get-hold-of kits. 

Andrew's kit is based around Pantone's colour of the year for 2014, Radiant Orchid. 

Can I let you in on a little secret? I don't much like it.......

Yep, that's right. 

It's just not my sort of purple. Or my sort of pink. 

Don't get me wrong, I love purple. I even love pink! But I like deeper blue-purples, and I tend towards magentas or peach-pinks. Radiant Orchid for me, is a little sickly, and yet not quite saturated enough. I like the other colours in the actual orchid Pantone have included on their swatch, but not the Radiant Orchid shade itself. (By the way, as I type this, I'm hugely aware that my colour theory knowledge is very patchy, so apologies if I use 'shade', 'colour', 'saturation' etc in the wrong way. I hope you get the general gist nonetheless!)

So, you might be wondering why I snapped up a kit based around this colour! Well, firstly, I have 100% faith in Andrew Thornton and his artistry. I knew any kit from him would contain Good.Stuff. And I wasn't wrong. Here's a peek at what we were sent:

And the mystery component (which I love) ~

I also bought a destash kit from Andrew at the same time; as it toned nicely, I got muddled in my head which beads belonged to which.... so I've thrown some of these elements in with the Radiant Orchid kit itself. And there was a beautiful porcelain pendant made by Andrew itself which I'm sure you'll see popping up in other people's designs - I haven't used it yet, but it's a beaut, and do hop over to some of the other participants to see it in action.

But also, one of my main and continual inspirations is colour itself. And how they relate to each other. Several years back, when I started taking my design work more seriously, I gave myself a series of colour challenges - primarily to work with colours that I wasn't particularly drawn to, or even didn't really think I liked. I read a lot about colour, and use of colour in jewellery design, and one thing that stuck with me was something that colour guru Beverley Gilbert Ash wrote. I'm paraphrasing here, as it was some years ago, but the essence of what she wrote was this:

"You can work with any colour(s), in any combination, as long as you get the proportions and value right."

I remember feeling excited by this prospect along with not a little unsure that it was something I could pull off. But it's a thought that has remained with me and inspires me often.

And so what I have discovered for me is not that I dislike Radiant Orchid entirely. It's just that a little goes a long way! And that is definitely what you will see reflected in my designs today, without a doubt...

The first piece I created uses acrylic flowers stacked, vintage czech tile beads (to the right), and a single pop from the RO kit. What, you mean you can't see it? Yes, the light isn't right, and you can't quite see that it is in fact a purple crystal....hanging off the left of the branch. It balances nicely with the tile beads I think. I combined the warm topaz with a lovely ceramic pendant from Kylie Parry, and some elements from The Curious Bead Shop (new deerskin leather lace, which is super-soft and delicious, and a Vintaj branch). It was also my first time using E6000 glue....hmmm. Not sure what I think. I was a bit terrified by it's many 'toxic fumes' warnings!

Now my second piece, featuring more of the deerskin lace (which I'm a little bit in love with) and one of my Deco Rose clasps, along with a ceramic link from Scorched Earth

I knew straight away when the kit arrived, that I would have to use the tiny purple bells if I possibly could. They add just the right amount of movement and sound to a bracelet that I like. I kept the leather-lace tails nice and long too, as I do like that added texture and elegance that they add. 

Lastly, a pair of earrings. I am a super-huge fan of enamelled beads an elements - in fact, I've had my own kit for over a year now with good intentions of having a go myself. Ahem. It hasn't happened yet. Similar fears to those which the E6000 glue invoked......But I will before the year is out! 

I paired the enamelled beads with some gorgeous rustic glass facets, and simply slid them onto some of my heart headpins, and then formed the remainder of the headpins into the earwires themselves. Sweet, simple and easy to wear! 

So, even if you are not particularly drawn to Radiant Orchid, don't let it put you off. I am looking forward to finding other ways that I can incorporate it into my work this year. 

Massive thanks to Andrew for organising this challenge and blog hop. Now hop over and see the other participants! 

Rebecca Anderson <------- are="" font="" here="" you="">
Andrew Thornton, Alison Herrington, Laurel Ross, Joanne Goldberg, Julie Katz, Irene Leniham, and Linda Starosciak 

Rebecca is a Scottish jewellery designer, currently living in Belfast, Northern Ireland. You can read more about her and her work at her blog, and see more of her jewellery at She also has a supplies shop at


Jeanne @ Gems By Jeanne Marie said...

Hello Rebecca,
I am having a great time seeing how everyone else used the components in Andrew's kit. You used some of my favorite components, which, surprisingly, are still sitting on my worktable.
I enjoyed your background notes and your confession.
Each piece you created is delightful!

Alice said...

Like you I shy away from the pastel pinks and purples for the deeper colors of the same. I am bummed that I missed this wonderful challenge. There's just so much going on.

Your pieces are fabulous and I thin you did justice to the kit. I like the leather you added and those bells are darling. I have to say I like the second piece the most but they are all wonderful. Nice job!

lynsey said...

Really lovely pieces

Ann Schroeder said...

I love the pieces you've made! I like the challenge of working with something outside my comfort zone. You've done a wonderful job here.

Ann Schroeder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shai Williams said...

I have to admit that I am with you about the orchid not being a favorite color. That being said, I just love how you worked it into your designs. Just gorgeous!

Andrew Thornton said...

Fantastic job! I loved reading about your process and how even though this wasn't "your color", you were still able to create lovely pieces using a pinch of the color. I think you did a great job interpreting the kit in your own way and utilizing different elements of the kit. It is always fascinating to see what people will be drawn to or not drawn to. :-)

Anonymous said...

Loved reading this about this not-for-everyone color. I'm not a huge fan either. Love that you're adventurous enough to give it a try. With little bits here and there, your pieces have some real pizazz!


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