When we were asked to design a quilt for We Love Color, a quilting book using only solids, we jumped. Many of the quilts that Bill and I made together before we started a company in 1999 were made exclusively with solids. We knew that there were other designers involved in the book and we also knew that we would have access to the entire Kona solids collection. (I heard that — the sound of your heart racing at the thought of having access to the entire Kona solids collection)
So we weren’t just designing any old quilt. We needed to design something that wouldn’t look like anyone else’s submission. We looked at the list of contributors and tried to guess based on past work what sort of colors others would be using and what sort of patterns they would submit. We guessed that there would be a lot of bright quilts that would be very graphic. To give the book variety, we decided to go in the opposite direction.
Rather than going graphic we decided to go for subtle, understated and calm. We wanted unexpected color work that was modern but really, really different. We also didn’t want to go rainbowy even given the temptation to do so with all of those colors at our disposal. We started throwing out ideas about complex color palettes and where one found interesting juxtapositions of color.
We settled on the point at which the ocean washes onto the beach. Beach colors are usually thought to be the colors that designers assign to bright or pastel beachwear, beach umbrellas and Miami hotels. In fact, on the beaches of the East and Gulf Coasts of the US the colors are very soft and understated. The sands are soft taupes. There’s a lot of olive and muddy greens in the seaweed and sea life that washes onto the shore. Then there are those spectacular corals and pale pinks found inside the tiniest of shells or the beautiful conch shells. The pinks are special and there aren’t many of them but amid all of the tans, taupes, olives and dark greens of the seashore, the pinks look so vibrant when you stumble upon them.
It seemed to us that if we were making a quilt to best utilize a vast palette, that it would be criminal (from the perspective of color lovers) to limit our palette to just five or six colors. Thinking about the palette of Sanibel Island in Florida allowed us to use a small amount of a large number of colors to create complexity that wouldn’t be possible with a smaller palette. In basic design terms, one pink makes a quilt graphic, six pinks gives a quilt depth. One is not better than another, it’s merely a matter of knowing how to use color to achieve the desired effect.
As part of the blog tour for We Love Color each blogger has been asked to choose a color for the scavenger hunt. Choosing a single color is tough but I admit to having an affection for 197 Aloe. In fact we recently painted our bathroom a lighter shade of the same hue and I find it very calming. So click on over to the blog tour info page to learn how to participate in the scavenger hunt. You might even want to check out the We Love Color Flickr group.
Now for the giveaway: We’re giving away a copy of We Love Color as well as a bundle of new Kona colors. To enter, please leave a comment below describing the solids you use most frequently and how you buy them. Are you all over brights or do you stick to neutrals? Perhaps a mix of the two? Any colors you never buy? Does your local quilt shop carry a good selection of solids or do you buy online from a color card? You have until June 15th to enter.