Tag Archives: Color Lessons

Orange: September’s Color of the Month

Orange is a bit of a conundrum:  it harkens fall like no other color, yet quilters have a love/hate relationship with it.  More than any other, orange is the most challenging and disliked of all colors when I survey my workshop students.  However, those quilters who love orange do so with an unwavering commitment to it and find a way to use it in almost every quilt they make.

So here’s something for quilters on both sides of the orange fence:  if you have a passion for orange, you’re really going to enjoy this month’s show, which features stunning and innovative uses of it in quilt projects both large and small.  If orange is not your favorite and you tend to stay away from it, you’ll be surprised by what you see:  one of the quilters in the show felt the same way and unexpectedly found herself relying on it for her designs.

Get advice from the pros and see their quilt designs and fabrics using orange.  This month I host Edyta Sitar, Betty Alofs, Pat Sloan, Sarah Whitney, Geri Richardson, Faith Wellman, and Laura Berringer of Marcus Fabrics.  To view the show in Full Screen mode or to embed this slideshow in your blog, just click the Menu link.  Remember to support these wonderfully creative designers by asking for their patterns and fabrics in your local quilt shops!

Confused about Color?

I put together a list of the many resources I’ve created over the Color Mastery journey and put them into one place for you.  Wow.  No excuses not to have outstanding color in your quilts any more!

Color Tips for Quilters by Maria Peagler

All Dressed Up . . . .

The cupcakes were baked, decorated, and ready to be nibbled on in a ladylike manner.  My studio was sparkling, ready for the Mom & Me Quilter’s Tea guests to take a tour.  Their parents won the experience at a silent auction for my son’s school.  Books autographed, check.  Camera, check.  All done a day before.

My elder son and husband were away at a Boy Scout caving trip, so it was just me and my younger son.  Who came to me in the middle of the night saying, “Mom, I don’t feel so good.”  Poor guy.  He was up all night with a stomach bug.

Tea postponed, check.  After all, fiddle-dee-dee, tomorrow is another day.

Like the frosting on those cupcakes?  Then you won’t want to miss February’s Color-of-the-Month show.  It’s the first Tuesday in February, only 7 days away!

January Newsletter

The January issue of my newsletter is out and it’s filled with promise for the new year. While some resolutions are drudgery (losing weight and going to bed earlier), I personally like to cloak mine with fun opportunities. Like exploring a new aspect of my creativity. My latest newsletter helps me and you do that by filling you in on:

  • New Color-of-the-Month feature offering innovative tips on color from the industry’s top quilters and designers
  • My latest teaching schedule. If you’re in Georgia, you’re in luck! If not, forward my newsletter to your program chairperson
  • A fabric bundle giveaway
  • Chicken Cutlet in Mustard Sauce recipe

Haven’t signed up for my newsletter yet?  Click on the Email Newsletter tab at the top of the screen, and soon they’ll be coming to your Inbox automatically.  And I don’t do anything with your information but use it for my newsletter, of course.

Anatomy of an Art Quilt

My lecture at Ann Litrel’s gallery last Friday was delightful – thank you to so many of my friends, readers, and students who came out and supported me.  I talked to gallery visitors as they stopped in and then my lecture was at 7p.m.  I talked for only a short time about each art quilt, the inspiration behind it, and how I approached color in each.  I’ll be premiering a new video from the lecture each week, and this week’s is about my spiritual art quilt, Redemption.

The Monastery of the Holy Spirit, one of the inspirations I mention in the video, says of their facility:

What matters most about the monastery is precisely that it is radically different from the world…
In a world of noise, confusion and conflict it is necessary that there be places of silence, inner discipline and peace.
– Thomas Merton

Woodstock is a delightful town with so many great shops and restaurants.  After my lecture we headed over to a great burger place that had the best black bean burger ever (I don’t do red meat).

Color and Inaugural Fashions

Did you notice the colors our presidential families wore to the inauguration?  Among a sea of black wool coats, both men and women accessorized in bright, vivid colors.  And the most popular?

Yellow.  And that wasn’t an accident.  Michelle Obama’s yellow dress and jacket were the most highly-contrasting color she could choose to be visible next to her husband, dressed in a black coat.

Style blog Limelight declared yellow 2009’s signature color in their post, “Yellow is the New Black,” praising First Lady Obama’s choice of a yellow dress.

Bill Clinton wore a yellow scarf against his black coat.  Both George Bush. Sr. and Barbara Bush took yellow one step further and wore yellow turtlenecks with violet scarves.  Again, yellow and violet are complements that have high contrast, so their outfits guaranteed they would stand out in a crowd.

And if our government officials weren’t wearing yellow, they sported either bright blue or red scarves or ties.

You can see all these colors in action in NPR’s slideshow of the inauguration here.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Color . . . .

Ok, well maybe not everything.  After all, it’s only an hour.  But what an hour it will be.  I’ll be chatting with Morna McEver Golletz in the Professional Quilter Cafe, and of course the topic will be my favorite:  color in quilts.  What an artist date!

What I’m most excited about is having a one-on-one where we can really dig deep into the subject.  Color is so intimidating for most quilters that this is a jewel of an opportunity to really “get” color in a way they never have before.

And since this is a Professional Quilter teleclass, we’ll be talking about color not just for quilters, but also for instructors who teach color classes, pattern designers and how they can use color more effectively in their samples, and for shop owners and how they can really help their customers in choosing colors for their quilts.

Hope you can join us.  It’s only $9.95 and that’s for both the teleclass and downloadable MP3.  You can’t even buy a dinner out for that.  So stay home on Thursday, Jan. 15 and join us at 8p.m. Eastern.  Here’s the link.  See you there!

Holiday Goodies in My November Newsletter

The November issue is out, and I included some incredible articles:

  • how to keep a color journal
  • how to orchestrate the colors in a “blended-type” quilt
  • a fabulous source for free machine quilting patterns
  • my favorite cranberry sauce recipe
  • details on my Twelve Days of Christmas giveaway

You are on the email list, right?  Well, if not, you can sign up here.  Really.  Great stuff this month.  Hope you don’t miss it.

Quilt Project Runway: Color Trends

Color trends are a dichotomous lot.  They seem to diverge in different directions, with no rhyme or reason as to why they came about.  2009 will be no different, but here are the color predictions from Michael Miller Fabrics:
  • black & yellow color scheme (look for these in Vera Bradley handbags)
  • grey
  • orchid (a dull, medium, red-violet for all you Color Masters)
  • jeweltones in red, blue, and green

Why these colors?  They trickle down from Paris runways, and seep into fashion, magazines, and the ultimate arbiter of all things designer:  Target.  Really.  When you see Rubbermaid, Daytimers, and hangers at Target in trendy colors, you know those are what’s hot.

Here are some quilts from Michael Miller’s newest fabric lines:

Multimedia message, originally uploaded by Colorful Quilter.

Multimedia message, originally uploaded by Colorful Quilter.

Multimedia message, originally uploaded by Colorful Quilter.

Multimedia message, originally uploaded by Colorful Quilter.

Multimedia message, originally uploaded by Colorful Quilter.

Chatting about Color with Fabric Designer Elizabeth House

Today we have a special guest here at Quilts & Creativity:  Elizabeth House, student and designer of the newly-released LizzyDish from Andover fabrics.  I’ve always wondered how a fabric starts from an idea to actually making it onto the printing press, and Elizabeth shares her thoughts on design, color, and how she envisions using LizzyDish in projects.  Enjoy!

Q:  Please tell us a little about you:  how did you get started in quilting and fabric design?

A: My name is Elizabeth House, and I am from Humble, Texas. I’m graduating in December with a BFA in Printmaking. I am also a book artist, and textile designer. I have a real love for Vince Guaraldi, beautiful design, cleverness, and sleeping.

I got my start in the quilting world from my mother (editor’s note:  Cherri House of Cherry House Quilts). She has quilted for as long as I can remember, and for as long as I can remember I wanted to design the fabric she was using. I was very young when I decided that I wanted to design fabric, but it wasn’t until recently that I actually started quilting myself. I think almost a year to date! But I got my actual start in fabric design last year (2007) at Fall Market. You can read all about it here!

Q:  What was your inspiration for LizzyDish?

A: I have such a fascination with images from the 1950’s and 60’s. I feel like if there was a time in this past century that I could have been alive, like 20-30’s it would be those decades. A kid in the late 30’s and working in the 50’s.  Ok. I will put it like this: I would either like to have been a Vaudevillian, Fanny Bryce, OR, a 1950’s concept artist, Mary Blair. So, just add those things plus a love for entertaining, baking, cooking, all together party throwing and you have LizzyDish.

I wanted it to feel like you found it. You were handed down something or you went thrifting or garage sailing and there was a dish towel, a box of old recipe cards, a cook book, or a set of mixing bowls that reminded you of what was, how your mom, or your grandmother cared for things. I saw those things in my grandmother’s house. An exquisite attention to detail that we, for the most part, pay very little to no attention to. The mothers of the fifties were renaissance women. They wore aprons, everything matched, meals were timed. There is definitely a resurgence of this, the timing, the aprons, the details, but it was more of a calling then and I wanted LizzyDish to feel a part of that era. I want to be a modern renaissance woman of that same caliber.

Q:  You’ve written in your blog that you keep about 3-5 journals going at the same time.  Is one for color?  How do your journals influence/inspire your work?

A: It’s gotten a little out of control, the notebook thing. I keep one for a specific project that I am working on, which has grown into large sheets of folded paper that I keep meaning to bind, but have really been liking the ability to just lay them all out and look at them together… one is for notes… but I seem to be getting lazy, because they are all starting to blend together which requires me to carry all of them at all times. They greatly influence my work, I would never throw away any of my journals or sketch books. They are like lessons and I am grateful to be able to turn to them to gain inspiration, as well as avoid previous pitfalls.

Q:  You were inspired by Fiestaware, retro kitchen appliances,  and the state of Hawaii for your colors.  Can you elaborate on how you selected those colors?  Do you choose colors intuitively or use color theory to guide you?  How does your color chart guide you?

A:  I feel like the more familiar you are with color the more intuitively it comes. I don’t go about things looking for a triadic color scheme or to be monochromatic. It usually occurs to me later that I have created split compliments or analogous color ways with no actual intention. I would say color is probably one of the most important things to understand. For this group, because the inspiration for the images was so strong I wanted to play with colors of the same era.

For the color way Kitchennaire I wanted it to be kind of girly. I took inspiration from popular Fiesta Ware of the 50’s as well as the idea of a Barbie Homemaker. I like the image of that. Appliance is the retro appliance, the avocado green, and the ochre yellow, as well as a touch of the Rock and Roll-Space Age. Sunny Side Up! is based on the new state-hood of Hawaii as well as the Beach Party Movie craze. Elvis Presley, Gidget, Franky and Annette. There is a definite reason to each color. It took a while to get correct, but it was worth it. I feel it is a very sincere fabric collection

The color chart is a guide, after I choose colors in the beginning I place them all in the chart, and I take away and add from there. It’s just a key to the whole thing, like a color map.

Q:  Have you made any projects yet with the LizzyDish fabric?  How do you envision it being used?  What fabrics would you recommend to use with it?

A:  I have designed several projects, but I currently don’t have the fabric in my hot little hands. As soon as I do, all my sketches will come to fruition. As far as how I see it being used, I see it as much more than novelty prints. It would work in anything from quilts, to aprons, all the way to children’s wear. There are no limits to what LizzyDish can, and should be used for. I would use it with solids. But I am very excited to see what people create. If I had a house, I would upholster a breakfast area in it. I’ll be saving some yards for when that day comes.

Thanks Elizabeth for stopping by today and chatting with me about designing fabric.  It’s great insight to peak into the mind of a designer and see how a fabric goes from idea to the quilt shop!

The Aha Moment for Fiber Artists

Multimedia message, originally uploaded by Colorful Quilter.

My favorite insights as an instructor are when I see the actual moments my students really get it:  that singular moment when they realize they’ll never see color, fiber art, or quilting quite the same way.

We had lots of those moments in my Color for Fiber Artists workshop at the Sharptop Arts Center in Jasper.  This was a two-day class, and the first day is learning the vocabulary of color.  It can be a bit befuddling, as there are lots of terms to understand.  But the second day is when the light bulbs go off and I hear things like:

“I realized I was making the same quilts over and over again, using the same colors.”

“I’m so glad I took this class.  I never would have imagined putting those colors together.”

Multimedia message, originally uploaded by Colorful Quilter.

We created one of these fiber art pieces for each color harmony, starting with the same main color.  When you finish, you have a sampling of what’s possible around the color wheel using the same color as the starting point.  It was an exercise that really opened the eyes of the fantastic ladies taking the class.

Multimedia message, originally uploaded by Colorful Quilter.

Multimedia message, originally uploaded by Colorful Quilter.

These are my birds, and I started with the same red-violet fabric each time.  Because it’s a tertiary color, it’s difficult for most people to identify, and it’s complement is yellow-green, also a challenging color because it’s so bright.  I pulled off the contrast well, but they are all too cool.  Too much green, and not enough reds and oranges for me.  The challenge is to use fabrics in your stash, and I brought my scraps with me and let students use those as well as their own.  I will probably tweak these later.

I took these photos on my camera phone and uploaded them via Flickr, all from my cell phone.  Technology makes my life and my work so much more fun!