Last year when Pantone announced its Color of the Year—Tangerine Tango—I was a fan. I like cheerful, sunny colors, and this one hit the spot for me. I could see using it in different modes, from fabric to embroidery to surface design techniques.
|The blues and golds of the batik fabric created by Ginny Eckley mingle to create different shades, including green.
This year, emerald is Pantone's Color of the Year. At first, my heart sank a little. Dark green? Not my favorite. When this color becomes ubiquitous, as tangerine did last year, how will I cope with the flood of emerald on everything from fabric to tableware?
But then I thought back to the advice Luana Rubin, co-founder and president of eQuilter.com and a member of the Color Marketing Group (CMG, an international color and trend forecasting group), gave last year in reference to Tangerine Tango
"When Pantone announced the 2012 Color of the Year . . . they knew it would spawn a wide range of orange hues," Luana wrote on her Color Inspirations blog. "This happy and vivacious color has been reinterpreted in floral, fruit, and butterfly shades that are absolutely dripping with personality!"
Her point was that you can interpret a color many ways, with a variety of shades and tints. And you don't need to let it take over: a little can go a long way enhance the other colors with it, especially when you're talking about quilting and surface design.
Studying the color wheel can help you figure out what combinations you like best. But sometimes, you just have to practice and play. For example:
If you have some emerald in your stash, pull out the fabric and pair it with different colors. Try not to pre-judge: try emerald green with pink, spring green, taupe, or gold. Better yet, toss a few scraps on your floor or worktable and see let the combinations surprise you.
If you don't have emerald in your stash, use a paint chip sample. Hold it up to different fabrics to see how the hue works with colors and patterns.
Another way to try out a new color is through fabric painting. Start with a plain white piece of fabric and stamp or paint other colors along with the new color to explore different combinations.
Try fabric dyeing techniques like ice or snow dyeing using a dark green dye, complementary or analogous colors, and a fat quarter of plain white fabric. See what develops as the colors melt and combine.
Actually, "practice and play" is good advice for any aspect of fiber art: don't close your mind to a color (or an idea, pattern, or fabric) because you think you don't like it. Try it out in different ways, and you might find a new favorite. Surface design is an easy way to do that, because you can practice on a small amount of fabric.
In her Quilting Arts WorkshopTM Surface Design with Silk Screens Soy Wax Resist & Fabric Manipulation, fiber artist Ginny Eckley demonstrates surface design techniques including screen printing, dyeing, and shibori-style fabric manipulation that can help you explore the range of one hue as well as how colors can enhance each other in patterns. Watch a preview of Surface Design with Silk Screens Soy Wax Resist & Fabric Manipulation to see how easy and fun it can be.
P.S. What do you think of emerald? Are you thrilled? Lukewarm? Or do you stick with the colors you love regardless of trends? Leave a comment below.