Christine here. OK, I admit it, I am not one of those talented “color” people. I don’t immediately look at a piece of fabric and have an idea of which fabrics I will pair with it. Sometimes I’m lucky and I hit it right – I think my fish rug is an example of this – and sometimes I’m wrong.
I’ve been thinking a lot about color choices lately because I’ve been really struggling with them for the rug I’m making for the “Ugly Fabric Challenge” at Methuen. Here’s what the fabric looks like:
Back when Loretta Zvarick had her shop, she couldn’t give this fabric away: it was just so dull and awful. (Boy do I miss Loretta. We didn’t always see eye to eye, but we enjoyed each other even so.) In working with this fabric, I am finding that it actually is quite lovely to braid with… but I’m still struggling with the color. While this would be a wonderful background color – just about any color can be made more interesting by making it stand out next to a dull background – I see the challenge here as making the ugly fabric a stand-out part of the color scheme. Making the fabric not just background, but a feature.
I demonstrated dyeing at outdoor workshop a year or so back and, while I mostly demonstrated with cream and white, I also wanted to show over-dyeing, so I happily grabbed this fabric. I didn’t care WHAT color people chose for over-dyeing: I was sure that ANY color over top would be an improvement. I ended up with a red-orange over-dye that I think is quite pretty, as shown in the photo. But using this over-dyed stuff for the Ugly Fabric Challenge would be sort of cheating, don’t you think?
I decided what I liked most about the fabric was the sort of dull coral stripe, so I tore the fabric lengthwise into strips so that the coral color would be on view. Now, with some experience with the torn fabric, I don’t know whether that was such a good idea… maybe it would have been better to tear it cross-wise and keep the rest of the taupe and dark gray-brown stripes.
I think rugs look best when they have a mix of light and dark tones, and an array of different of colors. Here, though, I’ve kept (mostly) to a middle range in tones. My color choices are those on the color wheel that would be described as “analogous” –drawing from colors that are all within a narrow range of on the color wheel, such as coral/pink/red. While a “safe” way to choose colors… I prefer complementary or split-complementary (Ex: red with green, or red-purple and red-orange with green). I’ve considered putting a dull teal out toward the periphery of my rug to contrast with the dull pinks and corals, but I’m uncertain whether it will “mesh” or just look tacked on. We’ll see. I only have so much time, anyway, before Methuen.
My favorite aspect of any braid in is “Show and Tell.” I can’t wait to see what others have done with this fabric (not that everyone is participating in the Ugly Fabric Challenge, but some are). I can’t wait to see if people have made it a background fabric to brighter and more vivid colors, or have tried to coordinate with it, or have shifted it toward red-oranges or toward pinks. Looking forward to seeing what everyone else has done.
Two things to announce:
- The newsletter is coming back! After taking a break for 6 months, the Revolutionary Rug Braider newsletter will resume its quarterly issues in January, 2017. The newsletter, which most people receive via email, is 20-28 pages about braiding: braid conferences, rugs, often an interview, and techniques and diagrams. It has a calendar and a bulletin board, in which people post their braided rugs (and other items). To subscribe, click on the “Newsletter” tab up above.
- The Teaching Committee of the Valley Forge Rug Braiding Guild is now ready to accept proposals for classes at the May 4-7, 2017 braid in, in Bethlehem, PA. Please click on the “Propose A Class” tab up above for more information.