Saturday, February 26, 2011

Color in Quilting

Earlier this month I was asked to write a guest post for Randi's Blog - i have to say - also known as the driving force behind the successful Etsy Store Fresh-Squeezed Fabrics.  Many of you will have read this post as it was promoted here on my blog and on my FACEBOOK page. For those of you who missed it here is again.

Randi suggested that I write a little something about how I go about working with color it really made me stop and think about how I use color and how I make my color choices for my quilts.

My initial thoughts were that I could go into depth here about the theory of color and how quilters can use the Color Wheel to help guide them in their choice of colors, and explain a little something about the relationship between colors.  However, my professional background is far removed from anything artistic or creative (certainly not color theory!) and to now write a knowledgeable article about  color theory I would have to go and do some serious research.   So, no I don't have a color wheel beside me as I set out to make quilts.

I was "awakened" to color several years ago when I attended a lecture in Melbourne by Kaffe Fassett on color.  The message that I took home from Kaffe's lecture is to look to the world around me for color and shape inspiration.

Train your eyes to see this never ending source of creativity.  Color (and shape) is everywhere, every day!  We just have to stop and really absorb the color in our surroundings.  Get excited about the brick walls,  flowers as they appear in nature, the fruit bowl, a box of buttons ~ I even become mesmerized by the colors of the products in the grocery store aisle. Make a concerted effort to notice color everyday, and it will become habitual ~ you'll soon find that once you start noticing color you'll also start to see shape.

If you are familiar with my work you already know that I love intense colors. Color preferences are highly individual and I have learned to appreciate those colors that challenge me ~ like purple and lilac and lavender ~ and embrace those that I love working with.  In addition to using a spectrum of colors in my quilts I bring contrast, clarity and sparkle by using white solid fabric.

Working with color should be fun and despite many misconception there aren't any rules about color.  Sure, there are theories and guidelines and accepted color combinations, and although color theory is important in understanding the relationship between colors, don't allow yourself to get too caught up in these concepts.  Instead, I hope you too will take from Kaffe's message to be open to the colors and shapes in your  every day surroundings.

 Noticing Color ~ Instore @ Antropologie NYC Dec 2010**

**Whist is NYC in December 2010 I snapped more than 2500 pictures.  Many of the pictures were taken because of their color/shape rather their tourist appeal; those were taken by my traveling companions who brought their own camera as apparently I hog the camera - who? me? 

I encourage you experiment with color, trust your eyes and your instincts, but most of all enjoy working with color!

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  1. Your use of color is what drew me to your blog and made me a follower.

    KF was one of my first glimpses into color and shape. His work is wonderful. Would love to attend ANY function where he's featured.

    Your use of white really does attract my eye.

    Anyway, thanks for blogging.


  2. Excellent advice! Seeing our environment with new eyes can really change our process. And taking time to notice the small things has the added benefit of teaching us to appreciate the beauty in our every day world.

  3. A fantastic post, lots of great things to look for when I am out and about.


  4. Thanks for the great thoughts about color :)

  5. I've been taking a class at a local art college on quilting and it's really changed how I see things. I swear there's a quilt design in everything! Thanks for the lovely photos.

  6. I love the fact that you say that there are no rules about colour, although colour theories can be a help in understanding how they work together. Using contrasts are just as important, I think, and I love the way you add pale solids to the bright colourful fabrics I too love so much - that brings a lot of interest to your quilts and tends to give me that little happy "wow"-feeling whenever I see one of your quilts!

  7. Thanks for the tips and the reminder to see color in the world around me. I love your use of color in your quilts and it is an area that I feel like I really need to develop.

  8. Great post, Rita! I always love the colour combinations you use.

  9. Hi Rita thankyou for your mention of my quilt on your facebook page. I squealed so much that my husband was frankly worried!

    I have always loved colour too.

    I recently made my friend some bunting which was purple, green, white and turquoise, now she wants a quilt to match!


  10. lovely photos Rae. I'm taking a class and it's really changed how I look at design. thanks for the inspiration!

  11. The use of color in their quilts which are wonderful, are very strong visual and personality. Congratulations!.
    It is true we have to see what surrounds us with different eyes thus find
    small details that make the essence of them.
    My work with the color has now inspired the person to which I have given.
    It is true you have to enjoy working with shapes and color !.....

  12. I look to nature for color combos. They're interesting.

    My grandmother used lots of color in her quilts. And it didn't always work. Hue and values are really important and I'm learning to try out different combinations. Audition colors on a design board. Read. Observe. I think these things open our eyes to new ideas in color.

    But it all comes back to, you like what you like. It's a personal choice.

    Thanks for sharing!


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