Plunging into Colour

colorplay_largeI know I haven’t posted for a bit! I have a few new kicks to talk about. First, I recently decided that I need to know more about colour, design and composition. It’s fine if I’m making a kit, following a pattern — but sometimes I want to be the mistress of my own quilting destiny. And unfortunately, I’m not always thrilled with my end results. They end up being “better in my head” than in actuality. So I started by grabbing a Joen Wolfrom book from the guild library last month, Color Play, 2nd edition — more of an impulse than anything else. And I remembered a comment made by quilt artist Hillary Rice at one of our recent meetings, that when she first started quilting, she did what most quilters never do: she bought a quilting book and actually read it, cover to cover. I decided to follow her advice, and read Wolfrom’s book, instead of just flipping through and looking at the pictures.

Well, for good or ill, reading the book catapulted me into a whole new mindset. I began to realize how much I don’t know about art — and quiltmaking is an art, after all. It’s not just sewing seams — it’s about selecting fabrics, choosing or devising patterns… it’s like painting, but with fabric. But here I was, with little to no knowledge of art, colour, or composition, blundering along and hoping for the best. I decided to change all that.

INTERACTION-OF-COLOR-50TH-ANNIVERSARY-EDITION1-666x1024I’ve managed to procure other Joen Wolfrom books (The Visual Dance, The Magical Effects of Color) and then I started checking out library books and reading websites about colour and colour strategies. Trying to understand colour theory led me to purchase the interactive iPad version of the book Interaction of Color by Bauhaus artist Josef Albers. And now I’m thinking of taking a drawing or watercolouring painting class this fall, to improve my knowledge of colour and composition further. It’s an unexpected foray in a new direction.

I’ve also purchase a couple of books I had to order from used book providers, both of which purport to teach colour to quilters/fibre artists through exercises. One is Julia Caprara’s Exploring Color (apparently she was a quite well-known fibre artist) and Maria Peagler’s Color Mastery. Haven’t delved too deeply into either yet, but I immediately noticed that both advocate having a color journal(s). I have neither color journal nor sketch book, so I guess I’m about to add those habits to my life, too. Am hoping to work through both these books over the summer.

Coincidentally, my friend Megan also invited me to join her in taking two workshops this fall — one on colour value and one improvisational quilting. So I’ve signed up for those… they will be fun.

So lots of new things in the works — although all the old things still have to get done! And soon the kids will be finished school for the summer, so I don’t know how my free time will play out. But! One step at a time — and it’s great to have things to look forward to and be excited about tackling.

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