‘Doing’ Color – The Human Way

The world of quilting is a colorful one! As quilters, we all know how important color is to the art of quilting. However, many quilters feel that they aren't good with color or can't “do color”. That just won’t do, so we are here to help you get up and running with color!

But before that here’s the kicker, in many ways you are already an expert!

Humans have an innate understanding of color that is deeply ingrained in our biology. From the moment humans started humaning, color has played an important role in our survival. For example, we possess the ability to distinguish between safe and poisonous food by their colors. We also can recognize the signs of sickness or disease by the color of a person's skin or eyes. Our not-so-modern ancestors relied on color to make life or death decisions and this ability is still present in us today.

Color perception also plays a crucial role in social situations. The effects of blushing, for example, can convey a range of emotions such as embarrassment, excitement, or even attraction. Think about how the color of a blushing cheek can convey more than words ever could. I mean, makeup is a thing for a reason!

Our innate tendency to associate certain emotions with specific colors also plays a role in our reaction to them. Our experiences and cultural upbringing shape how we feel about certain colors or groups of colors. For example, blue may be associated with calmness and tranquility in one culture, but be seen as a cold and uninviting color in another. The color green is often associated with nature and growth, but it can also be associated with envy or sickness. We also associate colors with brands, people, or cultures. Pink and blue – Babies maybe? Red and green – Christmas.

However, it is important to note that our personality and even our individual biology can also influence how we react to or feel about specific colors. This means that while certain colors may have broadly accepted associations, their effects on individuals can vary. Some people may feel energized by vibrant colors, while others may find them overwhelming. Some may feel comforted by neutral tones, while others may find them boring. Black, for example, can be seen as sophisticated and elegant by some, but as dark and gloomy by others.

So, even if you don't know much about color theory or have limited experience applying it to quilting, you already have a strong basis to build on. And on this basis we will help you build! Through the month of April we will be covering some core color concepts to help you build a mastery of color in your quilts.

But for now, just take a few moments to look at a couple different fabrics together and think about how they make you feel as a whole and what might maybe feel out of place. If something doesn’t sit right, it’s okay to switch it out and try another fabric. This is, and will likely remain, your most potent tool. Just taking a moment to get a gut feeling and trusting your instincts. Remember, you’re not learning color, you’re just learning how to more consciously apply it to quilting. You’re already almost there!

Written by Staff Member/Artist Chris

Happy Colorful Stitching from Bluebird Janet’s blog!