Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Is there Help for the Colour Troubled ?

I got an interesting letter the other day from a person who has struggled to get a good grasp on colour. I know we can all relate. I thought there were some valuable contents to remind us importance of KNOWING what colour is.

Dear Matilda Louise Spinnaker, There is every hope in the world for you. Colour wheels and the like, they don't really work for colour planning. They are good for dyeing though.

What I've found helpful is being able to look at a colour and decide what it is. Every colour we see has a name, red , green, etc., it has an house number - what value is it running from light to dark ? and a street , the saturation percentage,how bright or dull is it. It also lives on a side of the town, the warm side or the cool side. Now that all seems simple enough doesn't it ? Where rug hookers run into problems is we only see the colour name and we are ignorant of the other components. Worse yet there are hundreds among us who believe they know this stuff, making things even more difficult. It is like the blind leading the blind.

I also want to caution you about looking for so called experts in this field ( colour ) among rug hookers or others in books and articles. Look a the work of these people, that's were you can find out if they are DOING what they speak of. Colour experts use colour masterfully, have an expansive variety of colours involved, don't usee a set palette in every rug, they create things that have real depth, that you feel you could step into. That tell lead you around their rug as though in a trance, you can't stop looking at it. They have very light( white ) and very dark( black ), truly dull parts and truly bright. They can use any material and create a world of wonder. To know more about the effective use of colour in rug hooking you can join the group Bi Weekly Lessons on the Welcome Mat. They are about building blocks for learning to understand and use colour in a way artists have for centuries. You will read facts you need to know. You will exercise them by hooking with your own leftovers. You will see your own proclivities, then once known you can begin to overcome them.

I applaud your fabric purchases of printed material you like, continue to explore your desires in colour. Make yourself a book of your journey about learning about colour, paste your exercises from the Biweekly lessons in there too. Learn what appeals, do you dye your wool ? If not find a group of sellers who have what you need. Mind you you'll notice I didn't say find what you like. If you always choose just what you like you'll be buying the same 4 colours, in the same 3 values, of the same level of saturation of the same temperature. We all do it.

Can you take a close up picture of one of your fabric samples so I can analyze it for you and show you how to ? It never fails to surprise me how little people want to study colour, by that I mean do active exercises to explore it in rug hooking. Colour is all it is. After your learn the loop pulling, well, what's left ? Instead of taking some time, maybe an hour a week, to do a few exercises to get a handle on what we are really working with ( Colour ) , we'd rather spend that time pulling out loops of wool for the 20th time because it's not working. Do a great thing for yourself Matilda Louise , hustle over to the Biweekly Lessons start with the lesson on the bottom about values.I check the homework handed in, and comment on it, if it needs refining I'll help you.

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