Sunday, September 18, 2011

Coming back to color

Wow, it would seem that we don't have much to say at New Threads, since we haven't blogged since last spring, but that wouldn't be true. The opening and running of a gallery, shop and workshop space has been engulfing, all-encompassing and time-consuming, to say the least! But we've had posts in mind that Facebook couldn't do justice to along the way, and one of those involves color. 

Dyeing is one of my favorite fiber arts, since it's practically instant gratification. It's an "I made this!" activity, and if you know some simple techniques, you can dye at home. I dye fiber and yarn every Sunday here at Nice Threads, and our Space Dyeing For Beginners class is a regularly scheduled class for people to try out those simple techniques.

But that's a process class - what are the steps, what equipment, what are the chemicals, how long do you heat, etc. What we can't cover in a drop-in class is 'what colors should we use?', and 'how do we achieve those colors?'

Remember those Tiger Beat and Seventeen interviews with teen stars that always included the cheesy questions like, 'What's your favorite word?' and 'What's your favorite color?'  That hasn't changed much these days, but what color Scott Baio liked in the past, or Taylor Lautner likes now makes practically no difference in your life, while your favorite color could be pivotal when you plan to knit your next sweater or weave your next scarf.

It's so interesting when Project Runway contestants choose their fabrics from Mood, taking their inspiration from rolls of fabric that someone else designed, with colors that a fashion industry committee chose. Even when they were allowed to design their own fabrics this season, I noticed that they -unanimously - chose black and white. Not many people have a powerful relationship with color, and those that do, frequently don't know how to create those colors. So we usually get our inspiration from the shelves of yarns at the local store.

But how personal is that? Have you noticed that sometimes you can't find the colors you like, or that the shades are off, or that some seasons, everything is just dog-ugly? Sometimes you are stuck with what you can find. But that doesn't have to be the case.

They say that Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and Color is also a matter of personal choice. But how do you choose? It's a journey that most fiber people take at some point in their development, and it's a fascinating one. And fun. Revel in discovered color, capture color in it's element, master your palette and make color serve your inspiration, rather than the other way around. Come and join our Color Journey for Fiber Artists class, a comprehensive study of color and fiber. Beginning in early November, we'll meet for 3 hours on 3 evenings to develop our color path and then take 2 workshops of 6 hours each, learning to create those colors in the dye kitchen. Open to anyone, at any level. Just email us to get the schedule.


  1. Only those who love color are admitted to its beauty and immanent presence. It affords utility to all, but unveils its deeper mysteries only to its devotees. (Johannes Itten)

    dye on!

  2. All of your Itten quotes are great, but this one really cuts to the essence of what dyeing is all about for me. Thanks, Robyn!


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