The spring months this year were hard on nearly everyone I know. Not only were we sheltering due to the pandemic, but the New England weather didn’t cooperate, and we were stuck inside with weeks of cold gray skies and lots of rain. Visiting friends, trips to the gym, and dinners out were replaced with virtual meet-ups, zoom yoga, and sourdough pancake experiments. But despite the disruptions, there were a few bright spots. Family dinners, game nights, and political debates helped my family make it through those months of sheltering in place. I read a pile of books, cleaned closets, and caught up on podcasts (more on that later). And to top it off, I even finished a quilt that had been languishing in my studio!
Finally, the weather turned warm, the gray tree trunks sprouted lime green leaves, the sky perked up with puffy white clouds and warm sunshine, and the cardinals darted in and out of the woods to their feeder. When color returned to my backyard, it brought a sense of hope and vibrancy that had been missing. It is amazing what a little color can do to lift the spirit and feed the soul!
This issue of Quilting Arts Magazine is all about color; how we see it, why it is important in our artwork, and ways to apply it to quilts, including stitching, dyeing, piecing, and painting.
If you’re interested in understanding the process of designing quilts with sophisticated color palettes, check out Christine Barnes explanation of classic color theory and its application in contemporary quilt design.
If you’d rather color your own cloth than use commercial fabrics, learn about Cindy Lohbeck’s Rad Ombré dyeing technique. She explains the process so clearly even a novice will be able to achieve this sophisticated effect.
Are there a few ‘fabric fails’ in your stash of prints? Lynn Krawczyk teaches you how to fix that fabric with paint. Plus, our readers provide many examples of how surface design can also alter commercial prints with amazing results.
While planning the articles for this issue, I had an “a-ha” moment when listening to an episode of the Fiber Nation podcast (Deadly Dyes and Colorful Cures) hosted by my colleague Allison Koreleski. I know that color is important to me – it boosts my mood and makes me motivated to be creative. But color is also important to our society and culture, and some people have paid the ultimate price in order to get it. I will never look at yellow wallpaper and purple fabric the same way! I asked Allison to share the fascinating story behind her podcast episode and I know <em>Quilting Arts</em> readers will enjoy learning more.
I hope you enjoy this deep dive into the colorful world of fabric, design, and art quilts!
Vivika Hansen DeNegre
**Note: The image at the top of the page is a detail of “Playing with Colors” by Cindy Grisdela.
Gravity is the key to dyeing an Ombre fabric. Imagine dyeing your own wide range of value all on the same piece of fabric! It’s a ‘work smarter, not harder’ approach.
Fix my Fabric!
Lynn has been printing her own fabric for over a decade. On more than one occasion she’s looked at the resultsand thought, “Yep, this needs to be buried in the backyard.
Hideous!” At least that’s how she used to view ‘Flop Fabric.’ Now she uses over painting to create amazing pieces of fabric art.
Classic Concepts, Modern Color
Is classic color theory relevant to modern quilting, where originality is prized and rules—if they even exist—are meant to be broken? After years of teaching about color, it’s clear to author Christine Barnes that color-theory concepts are just as applicable to modern quilt design as to more traditional or art quilt making. Color theory is more accessible than you may think. And, guess what: Being ‘good with color’ is more about practice than talent.
The Power of Sight: The art of seeing
From dreams to vistas, anatomical studies to optical illusions, Vision 2020 explores the theme of vision from different angles. Eye imagery dominates and many works highlight the importance of eye health and vision care. I embrace this focus – 90% of blindness or vision impairment is preventable or treatable.
– Brenda Gael Smith, Curator
Color to the Rescue
Our readers love color and they love surface design so for this Reader Challenge we put them together! The challenge was to alter a piece of fabric—a recycled or commercially printed fat quarter—with color, ‘rescuing’ the poor, sad fabric in new, inventive, and surprising ways! We asked them to save half of the fabric in its original state so we could see both the before and the after.
Haven’t picked up your copy of Quilting Arts Magazine? Why not subscribe today and have it sent to your door! Each issue is full of beautiful and inspiring art quilts; cutting-edge techniques to add color, texture, and interest to your fiber art; and interviews with today’s top art quilters. Don’t miss an issue – subscribe today!