“It’s All About Color” at Zephyr

by Christine Barnes

Where to begin? There are so many great memories from this year’s retreat! The weather was perfect (there have been snow flurries since then) and the lake gorgeous. We made wonderful new friends and shared in the creative excitement of each class. Without further ado, let me show you what my students accomplished in our workshop, “It’s All About Color.”

After a crash course in basic color concepts and the color wheel, we warmed up doing one of my favorite blocks, King’s Crown. Pat’s version is soft and beautifully balanced, and it shows just how effective stripes can be in the corners. (Imagine the secondary pattern where four identical blocks meet.)29-pat-kings

Lori’s modern block illustrates how repeating colors in different values and intensities can unify a design. The intense colors of the center fabric are echoed in the low-volume fabric for the corners.9f-lori-kings

To learn about color-wheel combinations, we made Granny Square blocks. Here’s Sally’s triad of yellow-orange, blue-green, and red-violet. And look—her center fabric has all three of her combo colors. You can find color-wheel combinations in many multi-colored fabrics. 22-sally-granny-color-combo

Tamberly’s Granny Square is a rich split complement of red, yellow-green, and blue-green. You start with red, then go opposite to green on the color wheel, and “split” it into yellow-green and blue-green. What a contrast between these two blocks!26-tamberly-granny

As a group we decided to use black-and-white fabrics for the “rolling” squares in our Rolling Stone blocks. Mary Ellen’s version is a celebration of dots and stripes. (She gets double the usual extra credit for using both in her block.)34-mary-ellen-rolling-stone

Linda Bellman also used stripes, and here they draw the eye to the center. See how dramatic her block looks with a denser black-and-white fabric for the squares.35-linda-bellman-rolling-stone

Party Hat is a delightful block, and it gave us the chance to combine prints and mostly solid fabrics for a contemporary look. The background in Diana’s sophisticated star is a white-with-navy print by Carolyn Friedlander. Oh so modern!72-diana-star

For the final cut-and-paste exercise, students did the Japanese X and Plus block. (It goes by other names, too.) Barb chose to work with Kaffe Fassett blues and a printed plaid by Jane Sassaman. Love the crisp contrast between the organic prints and the plaid.84-barb-x-plus

Tamberly also chose blue for her X shapes, but her plus pieces were cut from a woven plaid. Doesn’t the “plus” look luminous?87-tamberly-x-plus

Jane’s block proves that batiks work beautifully in a modern design. Here the cool indigo blues are perfectly balanced by warm yellow-greens. Visual temperature is one of the concepts we worked with.92-jane-dunnington-x-plus

Another example of warm-and-cool balance, by Linda Brewer. The green “stripe” is a nice contrast to the splashy prints.91-lindda-brewer-x-plus

Judith chose the Kaffe stripe “Strata” to lighten the look of the bold print. (Again, extra credit.) The almost-solid, yellow-green Grunge fabric provides a bit of visual relief from the patterned fabrics.88-judith-x-plus

Cindy’s fabrics say “the more the merrier!” She went on to sew a number of X and Plus blocks using the same modern background fabric in each. What fun!86-cindy-x-plus-block

Back in the classroom, I couldn’t resist taking a pic of Lori and one of her fabrics. Students often choose fabric in the colors they’re wearing.48-lori-wears-her-color-combo

Some students decided to start sewing X and Plus blocks for a quilt, while others chose to start making my Urban Sunsets quilt. Here’s a visual reminder of that quilt:urban-sunsets-quilt

Diana’s units (and one completed block) on her board for our open house on the last full day. The super-skinny swizzle sticks are cut from a white-and-black print. 113-dianas-units-and-1-urb-sun-block

Judith’s Urban Sunset units and blocks with gray ombré borders. (Each center unit measures 7 inches square.)e-judiths-urb-sun-unitsHere are Trish and her husband Norm checking out our room. 121-room-with-trish-and-norm

We “curated” our class, ganging the same exercises on boards, so others could see them as a whole. Don’t they make great “paper quilts”? On the left are Sally’s fabrics for her Pop Beads quilt, a project from last’s year’s transparency workshop. Way to go, Sally!111-walkabout-wow-multi-exercises

Late on the last afternoon, when most students had packed up. I just wanted to show you the view from our classroom. So sereneg-toward-lake-on-walkaboutA huge thank you to my students for bravely tackling new exercises and being willing to try (and try again) until we found what worked. You are both a joy and an inspiration to me. What a fabulous week we had. I’ll be enjoying our Tahoe time together for weeks—make that months—to come!

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8 thoughts on ““It’s All About Color” at Zephyr

  1. Wonderful recap of your student’s fabulously successful color blocks! So inspiring, fun, and bold! We all had a fabulous time at the Artistic Alchemy Retreat! What wonderful creative adventures will we have next year, too!!

  2. Looks great. When can you sign up for 2017?

    On Saturday, September 24, 2016, artisticalchemyblog wrote:

    > artisticalchemy3 posted: “by Christine Barnes Where to begin? There are so > many great memories from this year’s retreat! The weather was perfect > (there have been snow flurries since then) and the lake gorgeous. We made > wonderful new friends and shared in the creative excitement” >

    • Thanks for your comment, Carol! I’ll put you on my list—I would love to have you as a student. We’ll publish all the info for 2017 in the blog in January, but I can tell you the dates, September 4-8. I’m already thinking about it . . . 🙂

  3. You can bet your sweet bippie, you’ll see me sitting front and center next year. Your ability to teach color to those of us who don’t quite understand it all certinally is appreciated. I am gearing up and very excited about taking your class at Sugar Pine Quilt Store. I’ll be there early with my nose pressed against the glass ……open…..open…..open!!!
    I truly enjoyed viewing all your beautiful photos of those heavenly quilt blocks.

  4. Raedean, somehow I missed your comment. Thank you! (Haven’t heard “sweet bippie”in a while—you made me smile 🙂 You are a delightful student and I look forward to seeing you in class again!

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