Cliff Swain-Salomon

Cliff Swain-Salomon

A picture of our January presenter. Cliff Swain-Salomon

About Cliff

Cliff Swain-Salomon is an off-the-loom seed bead weaver known for creating non-traditional jewelry shapes and pushing the boundaries of color exploration. After injuring and losing use of both of his hands for over three years, he began beading when a friend recommended he try it as part of his hand rehabilitation therapy. Once he started, he was hooked.

In all of his pieces, Cliff integrates over 30 years of study in multiple fields, including graphic design, painting, sacred geometry, and chromotherapy, as well as apprenticeships with several medicine men and women.  He has exhibited his work internationally, including at the Toho Bead Galleries in Osaka and Tokyo Japan. Several publications have featured his jewelry, including Bead & Jewellery UK (Issue 112, 2021 front cover), Beadwork Magazine, Facet Jewelry, and Bead & Button, to name a few. Cliff’s beadwork has earned him several awards—he was the grand prize winner of Bead Dreams in 2018, where he was chosen for the People’s Choice Award, and he also received the Facet Jewelry Reader’s Choice Award in July 2019 and Judge’s Award in November 2019. His work has also been featured in ad campaigns and in a blog article for The Museum of Beadwork in Portland, Maine and Toho Beads in partnership with Bobby Beads & Starman. Toho Beads has also invited him to be a featured artist for their 2019 and 2020 Toho Bead Challenges. He is also a permanent ambassador for the Beadworker’s Guild and International Beading Week who featured him in their January 2022 Journal, as well as the international tutor for Melbourne, Australia for 2021.

Cliff teaches beadweaving at various stores, for bead societies, and for retreats internationally. Before becoming a full-time artist/teacher, Cliff had worked as an instructor for a college of natural medicine, as a chef, and had held a private holistic medicine practice. He is married with a 4 year-old daughter and lives in California, near San Francisco.

Cliff's Presentation

Color and Finish: Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

Using not only different colors, but different finishes, and different temperatures/hues of colors can make pieces more dramatic, tone them down, make them more whimsical, dressier, more casual, and they can even change the story of a piece.  In this lecture, you will learn how to bring your inspirations to life through the use of various finishes and colors.  

I can’t tell you how many times I have put together a kit and a student says they don’t like a certain bead, only to be pleasantly surprised when they use that bead within the pattern and see how the beads shifts and makes the piece “sing.”  I often hear them say, “I didn’t think it would work but oh my goodness did you prove me wrong and I love it.”  What happens is people get stuck in a rut and are scared to use bead colors that might stretch them.  Sometimes this is because the beads they use most are their favorite colors, they match their wardrobe or skin tone, or because they know what colors work together.  Often it is due to being apprehensive about spending hours on a piece and mixing different combinations, not knowing if in the end if the colors will work.  Other times this is due to not understanding how using some colors can help make your favorite ones stand out more. 

We will discuss different things to consider beyond the color wheel including the use of fire colors, bead shape/size/finish and how to use them effectively in monochromatic pieces, the unique reflective properties of beads and how they influence the colors of others beads in a piece, and how thread can be used to adjust color tone,  You will also learn how to bring to life pieces that once felt flat and dull.  

I often say that the only way to expand your comfort zone is to step out of it, and this lecture will teach you how to do so in ways you might not have imagined. 

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