Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Desperately Seeking Color

When I was a little girl, some of my favorite dresses were navy blue, cinnamon brown and bottle green. I don't know if I was trying to avoid being noticed or maybe my early taste was influenced by my classy, fashionista Aunt Ethel whose clothes were all dark, city-sophisticated tones and who never wore bright colors, except for shorts and polos in the summer. I have a classic dorky teenager snapshot of myself at Easter 1960, wearing a gray suit-- my sister's color choice for an outfit that year was tomato red!

Attending art school for ceramics didn't leave much room for playing with color-- earthy tones and organic shapes were in style in the early 70s and at the temperatures we used to fire the clay really bright colors were impossible. Or at least as I recall-- I hated all the chemistry that was required for glaze recipes and clay body composition and tried to avoid it as much as possible by using alternative methods like salt glazing and raku firing. Lots of texture but not a lot of color there!

When I moved to Berkeley in 1977, my artistic endeavors turned to textiles and in that medium, color became a tool that was user-friendly and easy to manipulate. I started taking classes at Fiberworks, an independent school for all things textile, and my color abilities began to blossom.

A few days ago someone remarked that she thought my beads looked like fabric. I was bemused--you'd think I would have noticed that! As I was choosing things to photograph for my post today, I noticed that I actually do have a color style that is unique to me. It seems that it takes a body of work to discern this. I'm beginning to see this in my clay work too.

To honor Earth Day and all the vibrant colors of Mother Earth, here's a little gallery of past textile work, some dating from 1975 or so. Go take a walk and enjoy Her.

"Vermont" souvenir punchneedle hooked pillow

Crewel Embroidery

Sweater sleeve, natural dyes

Quilt square

"Once in a Blue Moon" punchneedle hooked rug - detail

"Daylily" - detail - original design embroidery - pearl cotton


  1. These are so lovely. Textiles were my first love!

  2. What a fabulous is interesting to look back and see where our influences were and what has shaped us...colour is very much a part of who we are and the choices we make! Found you through Deryn Mentock...glad I clicked over!