Ann Johnston at the Columbia FiberArts Guild

Many years ago, in a galaxy far, far away …. no, that’s not right, I mean here in Portland, OR – in April. Ann Johnston – one of my heroes, gave a lecture to the Columbia FiberArts Guild and then offered a 3-day workshop afterward.

Hand dyed fabric from Ann Johnston
Hand dyed fabric from Ann Johnston
Hand dyed fabric from Jill Hoddick
Hand dyed fabric from Jill Hoddick

What a fascinating ride Ann has been on. For many years she’s worked with dyed and painted fabric – produced in her own studio. Her book – Color by Accident, was my bible. My Virginia kitchen was filled with ziplock bags of fabulous coloured muslin, silks and sometimes even velvet cloth. Rows of curing yardage spread out on the kitchen table – while my husband was away flying planes, or putting up cellular towers in strange places around the world.

Since then, we have left our Virginia house, where I had the free run of the kitchen for my dyeing projects. We were beginning an 8 year wander, from Virginia to Florida to end up in Portland, Oregon.

My dyeing equipment sold, but I kept all the fabric and schlepped the boxes around from home to home. I still made quilts but surface design and dyeing was off the books.

Now we are settled here in the NorthWest, we have finally decided to buy a home again.

I am thinking…….. maybe I could start dyeing my fabric again?

And if I do, I’ll be following Ann’s books and now her DVD.

Emerald and Tangerine colorflow necklace

Emerald and Tangerine Colorflow necklace - triple spiral beadweaving. Made with glass seed beads. Image copyright © Rose Rushbrooke.

Finally I got around to posting this ombre necklace. It’s been showing itself off at a summer exhibition and I’ve just got it home. In fact, I’ve got a pile of beadwork back so there will be more goodies posted over the next few weeks.

This was made for a pantone color competition. We were given a choice of 3 swatches – all of which were a bit weird. But I rather fancied the emerald, tangerine, and I think, linen swatches. It’s quite a task finding beads with colors which will flow into each other. And then working out how to actually fit them together so they do flow. It’s easy to make a stripe but to blend, not so much.

I used a triple spiral and it made a thick cord. I just kept going until I came back around to the color I started with. The necklace ended up being around 3 foot long. So you can wear it lots of different ways. I mostly wear it knotted as shown above but you could wear it lariat style:

Emerald and Tangerine Colorflow necklace - triple spiral beadweaving. Made with glass seed beads. Shown as lariat. Image copyright © Rose Rushbrooke..

Or wrap it around your neck a couple of times.

You can see the color flow better in this picture:

Emerald and Tangerine Colorflow necklace - triple spiral beadweaving. Made with glass seed beads. Image copyright © Rose Rushbrooke.

Interactive Colour Wheel

Colour is ………. Well, what can I say, it just is. And some of us can use it to advantage and some of us need help.

Hibiscus - watercolor paintingWhen I painted in gouache using colour seemed pretty obvious. I painted stylistic landscapes and still lifes and used the colours I saw, or a derivative. This is a watercolour painting of a hibiscus. It was growing in the garden of my little Caribbean apartment.

BTW. This is the first painting I ever made.






It got a bit more complicated when I switched media to fabric. Then it was necessary to suggest colours, find them in the fabric stash, lay them out next to each other and decide if it worked.

Large image of Lydia - fractal art quiltSometimes I had a pre-coloured design I worked from – such as this fractal art quilt Lydia, and sometimes just the line drawing. A minor complication was whether the fabric was solid, tone on tone, or multi-print. But even this could be dealt with by squinting my eyes, looking at the piece of fabric from a distance and gauging the predominant colour.

Then I started working with glass beads. And things got really strange……..

Because now you are working with transparency, metallic finishes, matte and opaque glass. So many different ways light reflects colour. Beads reflect onto each other too, add this into the mix.

One way to get started with colour is to play with an online interactive colour wheel. I found one here – The Interactive Color Wheel.

Interactive Color Wheel
Interactive Color Wheel

What’s specially neat about this colour wheel is the bar which pops up on the right hand side. It shows the hue and the tints and shades of a particular colour. Very useful.

After I found this I discovered Interweave were offering a live seminar – Seed Bead Savvy: Get the Most out of Your Seed Bead Colors and Finishes from Beki Haley. She discusses how to understand different seed beads and pick the right ones for your project. Just what I was thinking about. Thoroughly serendipitous I say.