Joen Wolfrom’s Color Play: A Wall of Free-flowing Colors in QuiltsJoen Wolfrom | November 28, 2011
COLOR CASCADE—- It’s a show-stopper!
A COLOR CHALLENGE FULFILLED!
Four of these color-challenge quilts are featured in this post, as well as artists’ thoughts.
This exhibit features a wall of beautiful quilts flowing with colors. This wall of color was a group challenge for the Sewjourners, a group of quilters in Oregon. This challenge was Inspired by the 3-in-1 Color Tool (designed by Joen Wolfrom with C&T Publishing). This group of twenty began their color exploration by each randomly drawing a color card that would determine her featured color.
Today’s post features four of the quilts and the artists who created them for this challenge. (A later post will include an additional selection of these color-challenge quilts). Let us what you think.
Color #1: Yellow
Yellow Fever by Wendy Hill
Wendy Hill and Yellow Fever
As people in our group randomly pulled out their color cards from the 3-in1 Color Tool, I heard shouts of “I don’t want yellow!” When my turn came, I reached in and pulled out…yellow, card #1! Since I’ve never met a color I didn’t like, I wondered, “what’s the big deal?” I quickly found out the big deal: The only yellow fabrics available were solid hand-dyed pieces of cotton. Every other color can be found in tints, tones, shades, and with other colors, etc. I definitely wanted to use a variety of fabrics, so with Tim Gunn whispering “make it work”, I forged ahead.
Inspired by an imaginary rock wall standing in brilliant sunshine, my composition played with elements of grout and tiles. While I collected fabrics, I also collected “yellow stuff” in every store I visited. I found yellow paper clips, buttons, coasters, a toy car, electrical tubes, beads, plugs for air mattresses, lemon bag netting, plastic tops on dish-washing soap, artificial flowers, zipper pulls and so much more! In the end, I used commercial and self-made fabrics for my “tiles”. Blue-violet fabrics formed the “grout”. A lime green hand-dyed fabric, a color really just this side of my yellow, became the background. The mix of colors created my yellow from ten feet away and I created my abstract rock wall.
Wendy & the Nitty Gritty Details of Yellow Fever
- I made two kinds of fabrics. I collaged thread, artificial flowers and other fabric like “yellow stuff” with Sulky® Solvy and stitched through it to make new fabrics. For the other fabric, I scanned images of my yellow stuff. Then I printed the images on pretreated fabric.
- I used the “yellow stuff” because I didn’t like the look of it plastered onto the border. So I printed images instead!
- I made the tiles with freezer paper templates. I cut the shapes from an acid free product called Sulky® Fuse & Stitch. To reduce fraying, I fused the tiles onto the wrong side of the fabric on a 45-degree (bias) angle. I used a zigzag setting to appliqué the tiles to the quilted background.
- I quilted the background first before appliquéing and adding the other stuff.
- I think of zippers as a kind of fabric, so you’ll find zippers in this quilt. I bent the half zippers along the curves and top-stitched them in place.
- I like to start my designs with a fairly clear idea. I figure out the steps I need to take to get from start to finish, but I always entertain new ideas and tangential paths along the way. For this quilt, a life-size drawing got me started with step one.
Green, Color #5 on a 24-step color wheel
New Growth by Sheila Finzer, Terrebonne, Oregon
Sheila Finzer and New Growth
New Growth is the quilt I made in response to the Color Cascade Challenge. I drew color #5: green. I love all colors, but #5 green was a true “challenge” for me. During the period of time we were making these quilts, it was very difficult to find fabrics to fit into the #5 color group. The fabrics all seemed to have too much yellow or too much blue. Even dyeing fabrics to fit was difficult, but I managed to make the quilt with a little help from my stash. I also used a small amount of the complement, color #17 magenta.
I had fun making the quilt three-dimensional to give it the feeling of leaves or living plants. Hence, the name New Growth. I used some of Superior Threads Texture Magic in a few of the dark areas behind the leaves. The challenge was a great experience for me. I would suggest it to other groups. The first time we saw all of the quilts hung together was very exciting!
Colors #7 and #8: Aqua Green and Aqua Blue
Asian Lanterns by Sarah Kaufman, Bend Oregon
Sarah Kaufman and Asian Lanterns
It was with JOY I drew from a bowl the aqua blue card. Later aqua green was incorporated into my Sojourner challenge too. Why joy? I am a blue-eyed Norwegian! I require not only BLUE sky, but close-by
bodies of water. Early years growing up in Astoria, Oregon and Juneau, Alaska (and later- Portland and Seattle!) resulted in my present state – a passionate need for sunshine. Our home in Bend, Oregon fills the bill! Grey skies and overcast streams, lakes and ocean are now part of my past life. Blue green and aqua green are without question the WARM shades of water, highlighted by sunlight.
So with joy I proceeded with my challenge – 18” x 40” (adhering to defined dimensions turned out to be the hard part)! I chose my favorite piecing method – Folded Log Cabin. I created Asian-style blocks resembling lanterns. Charcoal grey centers were my primary contrasting hue. Low-contrast quilts have always been my favorites! No big surprise, my stash is heavily endowed with warm, blue -green fabrics. And yes, these are the very same shades that I WEAR!
The following year I published my first quilt book – Folded Log Cabin Quilts, C&T Publishing.
Blue-Violet and Violet (Colors #12 and #13 on a 24-step Color Wheel
Celestial Navigation by Kathy Shaker from Bend, Oregon
Kathy Shaker, Bend, Oregon
Kathy Shaker and Celestial Navigation
When we selected colors for this project, I picked blue-violet. Since we didn’t have quite enough people to make a quilt for each of the 24 colors, I volunteered to take violet, thinking I could make a single quilt combining both colors. Once I got to really know these colors, though, it was obvious I needed to make a quilt for each color.
It is a good thing I have a large stash going back almost 20 years, because neither of my colors was “in” when I made these quilts. I made the violet quilt first because I had more of those fabrics in my stash. I knew several of the other quilts in the Color Cascade challenge were made using free-form piecing and curves, so I thought it would be fun to toss some precise points into the mix. The stars are foundation-pieced, while the background is pieced more randomly.
It was a challenge finding enough blue-violet fabrics to make my second quilt. Our quilts were supposed to read primarily as the pure color from a distance, but I couldn’t find enough variety in that value to make a design work. Since I enjoy surface design, I painted and stenciled one background fabric and surface-stitched another to add some variety to the mix. I tweaked a pattern from Quilted Symphony by Gloria Loughman to bring in flowing curves to contrast with the precise points in my other quilt.
I love the 3-in-1 Color Tool. It was fun watching people shop for fabrics, comparing bolts to their particular color card.
The Color Cascade Challenge in full flowing color. Created by the 20 members of the Sewjourners in Oregon—-More quilts in a future post
Aren’t these amazingly creative quilts? Tell us what you think by adding a comment.
If you took this color challenge, which color would you choose to explore? Which color would you hope not to pick? Which color is the one you usualy work with? What kind of challenge would you make for yourself—and perhaps your friends.
Text and nature photography copyright © Joen Wolfrom Quilts shown on this blog remain in the copyright of each artist.
Joen is a color enthusiast who teaches and lectures on color. She has written three color books: Color Play, Visual Coloring, and The Magical Effects of Color. Her Studio Color Wheel is used to illustrate color concepts in many of these blog posts. She is also the designer of the 3-in-1 Color Tool. Her new book Adventures in Designis now available. Joen’s newest design tool, the Magic Design-Ratio Tool has just been released. All books and products are published by C & T Publishing.