TechniquesA few months ago I took a big step and went to our local hardware store for a color fix. My master bedroom had been cornflower blue for 13 years—long enough to get tired of that hue, but not so long that it had entirely worn out its welcome. My husband still loved it, but I was ready for something new. With my husband traveling on a business trip and a free weekend in front of me, what better time was there to make a change with a fresh coat of paint?
With a gallon dangling from each hand and a few paint rollers tucked under each arm, I made my way to the car … with only a slight hesitation. Why the pause? Because I’d gone from blue to purple, and the introduction of the new color into our home was sure to cause a stir.
It’s amazing how color can change the mood of a room, the message of a painting, or the intention of a quilt. Switching out brick red for tangerine, for instance, can pop the atmosphere in a landscape from subdued to happy. Alternating shades of blue and green in an ocean can signify movement or depth in the water. And dotting an eye with a single glint of white will add life to a portrait. Color is important, and as artists, we know that instinctively.
This issue of Quilting Arts Magazine is all about color—why we love it and how we use it in our work. But most of all, it is about the artist’s intense need for color and contrast in their work. If you look at Maria Shell’s improv pieces, there’s no way to avoid the fact that they are colorful, but why are they so inviting? I think it is because they have contrast in both color and value. And what about the swirls in Jane Dávila’s marbled fabrics or the lush ice-dyed cloth from Cindy Lohbeck? Again, rich colors mix and move on the surface in glorious designs, creating patterns and pathways for the eye. What could be more appealing?
As you leaf through this issue of Quilting Arts, you’ll surely notice how artists manipulate value, hue, and intensity to create work that appeals to the visual color junkie in all of us. From thread sketching to digital image manipulation, from the ancient technique of marbling to the contemporary trend of improv quilt making, we’ve got you covered. I hope you dig into your fabrics, set up your wet studio, pull out your paints, and experiment with the many techniques that explore how color can enhance your fiber art. Take a chance on purple! You might find you like it!
Artist Profile: Maria Shell
Maria Shell’s quilting career might have gone in another direction—or never even started—had she not walked into the Calico Whale quilt shop in Valdez, Alaska. Learn about her quilting journey in this Artist Spotlight.
Artful Improvisation with Maria Shell: Making Prints out of Solids
In this Master Class, we will be discussing ways to use line to create shape—or, in quilting lingo—we will be piecing strips into blocks.
In the Spotlight: Cindy Lohbeck
We shine the spotlight on Cindy Lohbeck who has worked in textiles and fabric dyeing for over 30 years and is truly a dyehard at heart! Her first exposure to fabric dyeing was in Mrs. Flanagan’s eighth-grade home economics class.