“Can you teach me about color?” That’s what many people say to me. I love your colors. I just never know what to choose. A few years ago, when I taught dyeing, I just assumed that people would know what colors they liked and would be able to choose the dye to make yarn that color. It wasn’t so simple. The students would look at my yarn and copy it. I got smarter and more strategic and now I have my students look at magazines or at Pinterest and pick some images that they like. Then we can dissect those images and pick colors they can use to learn how to dye.
I am constantly trying to hone my knowledge about color and how it affects our lives. I have noticed that we all SEE colors differently. Art historians believe that the impressionists like Van Gogh and Monet saw colors much more vibrantly than others around them. So this summer, I am working on the Munsell Student Color Set.
The colors come in a small pad. They are not in any particular order that I can see. AND there isn’t an answer sheet. So it really is a good exercise. The way I approached this experience was to look for the clear hues that had little or no grey in them. Those go on the right side of the rows. Then I looked for the shades (greyed hues) that were the same value as the true hue in each row. I then made sure that the saturation (lightness/darkness) of the shades proceeded in order from lightest at the top to the darkest at the bottom. I did this early in the morning with the clearest, brightest light. Then throughout the day I walked past them to see if there was any color chip out of place. Every once in a while, something seemed wrong to me, so I would move the chips around to see if it made more sense. Finally, I glued them down. The book wants you to glue them with a “post-it” kind of glue, so that you can remove the chips and use them in further exercises. I hope to remember to pick up some of that glue….gotta put that on a list! The book is fantastic. It contains information about colors, hues, values and interactions. It also contains a lot of exercises to hone color knowledge. A caveat: many of the color books available are geared towards painters and while the principles are the same, the way that fiber artists work with color is different and has to be taken into account. So if you want to learn about color, get this book and complete the activities! You will work with color a whole lot differently after you do!
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