Sources of Color Inspiration Part 1 (of Many)

I’m always interested in how people come up with the color combinations they use in their work. In recent years most of mine have been inspired by paintings or collages. I was introduced to this approach a number of years ago in workshops taught by Lindly Haunani, Maggie Maggio, and Sarah Shriver.


Choosing color combinations this way has made a huge difference in my work by giving me the confidence to explore combinations far outside of my previous comfort zone.


This approach has awakened me to an entire universe of gorgeous color combinations I had never considered before. Now when I start a project I nearly always pick a combination I haven’t explored before, and usually one that surprises me. I’m teaching this approach to my own students now. We all thank you Lindly, Maggie and Sarah.

In addition, I began noticing that colors I had avoided in the past and thought I didn’t like (bright yellow and red, for example) could be be beautiful when combined with certain other colors. Now I would be hard pressed to name a color I don’t like.The collage at the top of this post served as the color inspiration for the first cane in which I intentionally used colors outside of my “color comfort zone.” I used my kaleidoscoping method to produce a series of one-of-a-kind pendants from the cane, some of them are shown here.Five Pendants from my “Farewell to Spring” Series

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8 Responses to Sources of Color Inspiration Part 1 (of Many)

  1. sandra says:

    Carol, I love reading your blog. You write the way you talk, so I feel like I’m listening to you rather than just reading. I hear your voice. Plus, you always remind me of things I need to pay attention to in my own work. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I have always valued your insights and willingness to experiment with color. I have many Carol Simmons’ collages in my collection…however, this is a delightfully surprising color combination (for you). Thanks for posting the pictures. Lindly

  3. Leanna Englert says:

    I love your work and would like to see you post a schedule of classes. I live in Austin but spend a fair amount of time in CO.

    Also wondering if you could email me your rate and availability for doing a 2-day workshop in Austin.


    • clsdesigns says:

      Hi Leanna,
      I’ll send you information on my classes. Right now I’m waiting for my cane slicer to be ready to take on the road and I’m on a 2 1/2 month break from teaching locally in order to do my own work.. I’ve been talking to some people in Dallas about coming to Texas, maybe I could combine it with a trip to Austin. I love the hill country!

      I’m very excited to announce I’ll be teaching a 6-day intensive at Maureen Carlson’s Center for Creative Arts in Prior Lake, MN, next October. There will be a maximum of 7 students and I’ll be teaching everything from developing a personal color palette to constructing complex canes to manipulating cane slices into a number of one-of-a-kind kaleidoscope designs and finishing pendants. (Things I cover in a series of classes here in Colorado.) There is lodging for the participants right in the center and the workroom will be open around the clock. This is how I’d always teach if I could. Maureen is just starting to post information on next year’s classes on her website There will be more to come.

  4. Leanna Englert says:

    Let’s stay in touch. The possibility of dovetailing with Dallas is intriguing.

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