Tuesday, March 18, 2014

when colors give the wrong vibrations

“Color is all. When color is right, form is right. Color is everything, color is vibration like music; everything is vibration.” 
― Marc Chagall

I wrote and then deleted a post a couple of days ago regarding this quilt project. I had been working on it for a couple of weeks, struggling with the design. The quilt top I finished was so hideous that I couldn't leave it up here. :)

Theoretically, the reds, green and yellow of the 1950s tablecloth, the green and white polka dots from a girl's dress, a yellow and red mini-print from my 1980s stash, and the yellow gingham should work together. In the photo above, they look all right. Cheerful even, which is what I was going for: spring.

But the final result was bad in composition (an ambitious attempt to take inspiration from this gorgeous painting by Linda Vachon) — bad vibrations (thank you, M. Chagall) — and one of the main factors was this yellow and white gingham. When looking at the final piece, the gingham faded in juxtaposition with the yellow and red mini-print, which came off as golden/olive by comparison. I wish I had the heart to post it here so you would be convinced. Maybe you can picture it.

Chagall also said,

“All colors are the friends of their neighbors and the lovers of their opposites.”

At first this sounds contradictory to his other statement at the top. But I think it's important to keep both in mind while designing a quilt. Color is everything.

I haven't ripped this top apart yet, but I've begun another project: a modern flying geese quilt in white, cream and soft blue/green. I needed to get away from bold colors, which need a good deal of design skill to pull off.


  1. Ohhhhhhh, Ruthie. I bet this almost crushed you, until you came out from under it and rose to the surface to recreate anew! Maybe Olive will set into motion incredible vibrations that will more than make up for the momentary nosedive?

    1. Boots, happily it didn't crush me! After a few seconds of disappointment, I just laughed! A Facebook friend recommended using it for a picnic blanket, and I like that idea, if I don't keep the fabrics for a different project.

      It is very sweet to think of new vibrations from our next grandchild. What memories (and mementos) will we create with her?

  2. Color is endlessly fascinating.
    So much possibility.
    I like your second
    Chagall quote very much.
    Yes, color opposites 'sing' together. I think I did a little cold theory in high school.
    You are right, the yellow gingham fights with-rather than enhances - the other pieces.