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Almost as soon as I had made my polymer clay retro beads I was itching to swap the colours around.

Retro tile beads by Cate van Alphen

Retro tile beads by Cate van Alphen

The combination I liked most was the one with the beige background and the big yellow and the small orange dot. It occurred to me that this was because it had a light, a middle and a dark colour. So I did a mockup on the computer to check this in black and white.


See how heavy and dark the green and brown together become when it’s in black and white? Here’s an alternative colour scheme.


I’ve gotten rid of the repeating combinations e.g. big brown dot with small green dot on one tile and big green dot with a small brown dot on another. And see how the pattern still pops even in black and white?


I’m not sure how many different colour combinations there are, but it’s a pretty deep rabbit hole as artists such as Josef Albers have discovered before me.

Will I be remaking these beads? Probably not (or at least not anytime soon since it’s nearly time for green). Although I think I’ve learnt a few lessons that will help if I do decide to make these in the next colour scheme.

Lesson 1: do a mockup on the computer before spending a day making beads!