Session 2 of the design class from my studio has a strong focus on color. I introduce students to a variety of simple options and tools on how to identify color. The ultimate goal is for participants to become sensitive to the nuances of color in each image they inspect. Honing ones color observation skills will be beneficial when selecting threads, fabrics, when dyeing and painting.
The simplest form of analyzing color employes a small hole punch. It is used to isolate shades, tints and tones in monochromatic or richly colored images by punching each colored section. This leads to the discovery and identification of slight variations in the selected color areas of the image on hand (one’s own photo or a magazine picture). I encourage students to paste the original image into their sketchbooks. Then each person will glue the small colored dots that were punched from the image initially close to the perforated areas selected earlier. It is amazing how a simple exercise like this reveals rich information when it comes to identifying color.
The second exercise we begin in class involves a small image. This image is once again pasted into the sketchbook. With a black, fine-tipped permanent marker and a ruler the picture is divided into 1 ” squares. (Example above)
A second grid with 1″ squares is created directly below the image. With colored pencil, or felt tip pen, or paint within reach each square is carefully evaluated. What are we looking for? We determine which color is predominant in each square. The identified color is then selected from the media and the corresponding square on the “empty” grid is filled in. Here is the finished example using watercolor pencil crayons:
Simple, right? Once again, it is one option to hone color observation skills. You could leave it at that and move on to other color explorations. I for one embraced the exercise when I first came up with it. But, maybe you want to ensure that there is a definite end purpose, after all we are studying design. I can hear the question now: “What could I do with the resulting patchwork?” After I completed a number of these exercises many years ago I thought these studies reminded me of simple patchwork quilts.
With this in mind I decided yesterday morning to see if I could follow through with these ideas. I opened my hand-dyed fabric cupboard, pulled a few baskets from the shelves and within 10 minutes had selected a small stack of fabrics that would be suitable for my interpretation in fabric. I cut 2″ squares, arranged them according to my study and was soon sitting at the sewing machine, joining the patches. I stitched in the ditch to apply some simple quilting and soon completed my translation from paper to fabric.
What’s next? I have already pulled several colors of cotton floss and am actively contemplating the possibility of adding hand stitching to the simple patchwork. For now I am quite pleased that I was able to use fabrics I had on hand. It is one way to create miniature quilts without breaking the bank.