Our focus this month for Alchemy of Fabric are neutrals and how they play together and with bright supplemental fabrics, much in the style of Jen Kingwell. While she was here, she wrote a guest blog post about her thoughts on neutrals. In that blog post, she talked about different tints of neutrals (grey, cream, white) impact colors differently. Jen likes to use over one hundred fabrics in a quilt using all different prints and scale of prints. When first looking at this month’s collage by Valori Wells, texture and scale is what stuck out in my mind.
Look at the entire collage. What do you notice first? What changes in each image? How do the images affect each other? Notice the values throughout the collage.
The first thing that I notice is the kitten because that image has the highest contrast. My eye then moves up to the flower then around and down in a counter-clockwise direction, ending on the cat again. When I look at each image individually, I react the most to the changes in texture. In the kitten photo, you can see how she is soft and fuzzy without touching her but the bricks around her are hard. The wood grain above her has a texture that I can feel simply by looking at the photo. In the upper left, the carvings have a distinct texture by their look.
How can you play with texture using fabric? Maybe finding a woven neutral that has a different texture to it, that will cause it to pop when next to flat cotton fabrics. Maybe stamping or painting on the fabric makes a new texture. Maybe some simple hand embroidery, like French knots or Kantha stitching will create a new texture that you will love.
Something I love about this collage is the difference in scale. If you look at the upper right corner, the trees are small and seem to be far away while the flower just beneath it is very large in scale by comparison. If you compare the flower and the kitten, the scale is very different. If you look at the fabric pack for May, you’ll notice that the scale of patterns on all the fabrics is fairly small but there is still change in scale. How would a background change if you throw in a large-scale print? These are things to consider.
It is important to keep the elements of design in mind, even when working in neutrals (or monochromatic themes). Even without a range of colors, the elements of design are ever present and even more noticeable. If you get a small stack of neutral paint chips from a home improvement store and cut or tear them up to create a neutral collage in your art journal, you can see how a small change in texture or scale will drastically impact the overall design.
Our intention for creating the "Alchemy of Fabric" club is to provide the spark... the catalyst... the inspiration... for a project that your color palette is built upon. We have a monthly tutorial of insights on each fabric chosen. We have also included 10 other recommended fabrics to expand from the core fabrics and further guide your choices.
We are excited to share this educational opportunity as a study in color and fabric as well as build your artist palette of fabrics. As you practice designing your project from many different designers and collections our hope is to facilitate greater confidence and empowerment in your creative pursuits..
At the Stitchin' Post were are committed to creativity and inspiration and we are now embarking on a journey opening to new options together as the "Alchemy of Fabric" unfolds each month. Please share with us what the spark has ignited in you using the hashtag "#AlchemyofFabric" on your preferred social media platform, so others can be inspired by your work! You can also search #AlchemyofFabric to see what others have done, and to gain your own inspiration.