Friday, June 4, 2010
Color in the Quilting Process
As quilters, we make decisions about color with every fabric choice. I expect that most of us are familiar with the color wheel, and that some us may have even had some color theory in an art class or related subject. I had a basic lesson on color in a college class many years back, but when it comes to color selections, I don't tend to analyze my choices in any logical terms. Colors speak to me emotionally, not logically.
There has been some interesting research on the subject. For example, the color red can make us perform badly on tests. Red has been shown to raise blood pressure, while blue is calming. People are more likely to make risky gambling bets sitting under a red light as opposed to a blue one. And the color red makes men more attracted to women. (I guess the Lady in Red knew what she was doing.) Then there is "drunk tank pink" used to calm the inmates, although it works only initially. The color of a room can even produce physiological affects. When employees at a company complained about a blue room being too cold, the company repainted the room a warm peach color. The temperature of the room never changed, but the people no longer found the room to be cold.
These are concepts I never consider when making color choices for a quilt, but I find them interesting. However, it doesn't explain why some people are more drawn to one color over another. My favorite quilting colors are the cool ones: purple, blue and green, especially in the jewel tones. However, my mother is drawn to fall colors. I notice some quilters find red to be absolutely divine. And others prefer more subtle hues. What's up with that?
Color in quilting has been a learning experience for me. As I mentioned above, I love the cool colors, however, I quickly learned that the cool colors really don't shine unless coupled with at least one warm one. (If I'd paid better attention to color theory in college, I might not have had to figure this out for myself.) Yellow tends to be my warm color of choice, but I'm trying to branch out to some of the others. Then there is my Storm at Sea WIP (the subject of an upcoming blog article) in which I'm putting my cool colors on black to see if they'll pop without using any warm colors. It looks good on EQ5, but will the reality be as good? Interestingly enough when I planned the Storm at Sea, I didn't think of it in terms of, "Will the black make the cool colors pop?" Instead, I thought, "Wow, this might be awesome". Yeah, a lot of analysis there.
So what is your approach to color? Do you tend to stick with your favorites? Do you know why certain colors are your favorites? Do you try to branch out?