Thursday, January 26, 2012

Colorful Interviews : Material Obsession

Today I asked Kathy from Material Obsession to share a bit about her thoughts on color. Many of us have been so influenced by the amazing colors  and prints that she can put together, and have watched enviously at what the students are making in the classes at her Quilt shop down under!
Name some colors you think are "ODD" together....  or weird combos? 
I don't use warm and cool yellows together. What I mean is I cringe when I see lemon yellow with butter yellow.  It just hurts my eyes.  

I don't use beige based colours with white based colours.  
Beige and white lift off the background at different levels.  It is often the reason why mixing older stash fabrics with contemporary designs doesn't work.  The "duller" fabrics have to be used carefully against the cleaner fabrics so as not to upset the balance of the quilt.  It can be done but it has to be done with my eye anyway and everyone is different.  Just understanding what you see helps to be able to break down the "don'ts" and to work them to your advantage.

Other than that I don't have any rules about colour.  For me, it is about dealing with each colour as it appears and finding the partner that suits it best.  Sometimes it is the odd or weird combos that make the most sense. I just pick what attracts my eye and then go through my stash until my mind says "Oh YEAH! That'll do!"  There is a lot of impulse to the selection process.  I sort of have a rule not to go back and change things either.  All colours are only relative to what they sit next to...a quote from the color master, Kaffe. 

Is there a color you find you always use?  
I am attracted to polychromatic fabrics because they give me multiple choices for direction.

And Stripes!!!!

They consolidate a colour palette or make the mix of colours for you. Having said that, I use a lot of plum or brown in my quilts.  I find it is a softer dark than black particularly because I tend to live in a world of blended, secondary colours.  Many people frown at brown but I love the way it lets other colours jump.  Warm, earthy and flexible, brown is one of my favourite colours to use as a base for a palette.  Add a bit of red and it warms up and a bit of blue and it cools down.

When not using brown I use grey.

Each season there are colours that are trendy and they always affect my choices. At the moment it is grey and orange.  I am amazed at how orange has crept up to one of my favourites from one of my least favourites.  

White is another colour I don't use much.  However, it is wonderful for offsetting gorgeous saturated colours and creates a nice clean look.

Can you share three colors you use most together?
My palette is consistently purple, green, orange but always with other colours thrown into the mix.

Can you relate your favorite color to something in your childhood?   
Our houses were always  a lovely mix of colours, patterns  and textures.  The colour palette was usually green, gold and aqua or red throughout the house.  My mom always picked beautiful floral wall papers for my bedrooms.  I find that I select fabrics for the shop regularly that remind me of those wallpapers...roses from Wickfield and daisies from Shoreham Dr.  As a teenager I had lime green carpet and huge floral curtains that were yellow, aqua and lime green.  When I look back at that I wonder how I slept!   So, in answer to the question, colour was important but equally matched by pattern and texture I guess and rather than one favourite I grew to respect colours and look for how they work together.

What color makes you feel happy?  Green.
Can you tell me why?
It is relaxed, promises growth, represents the environment and plays so nicely with all the other colours...even navy I guess.

Is there a color you avoid? 
I have a hard time with navy blue.  It just doesn't blend with colours I like to use.  It is a strong stubborn colour that sits alone.  My eye gets stuck on blue so I can only justify using it when the palette is intended to be stark and using red white and blue.  It is a colour linked to concepts such as patriotism and boating and those ideas tend to over power all others..

Can you share with us your STASH/Storage area?

This is my main storage unit at the moment (outside of the shop!) 

I also have a cupboard of mixed weights and textures:
And a "current" box of things I have grabbed that I have to use immediately!

And multiple bins and huge drawers like this for storing scraps up in the attic.

How about a favorite quilt you've made that represents these colors you use often?
This quilt is called Folk Art Garden and it is made entirely  from my stash.

It was an absolute pleasure picking all the fabric combinations.  The inspiration fabric was one of Kaffe's more obscure patterns called Folk Art Bouquet.
Thanks, that was fun to take the time to consolidate my thoughts on color!

Take care, k
Thanks Kathy for sharing your thoughts!  I think it's very exciting to peak into quilters minds to see how they relate colors to each other... I love your color palette you made over at Colorlovers, I think you just inspired a quilt in me!

Be sure to stop over and say hi to Kathy and take a view at her blog...
I hope inspiration strikes you today!
Come again next Thursday for our next interview with Jackie From Canton Village Quilt Works


  1. Interesting I have always admired Kathy's work and her fabric choices. How I would love to shop in her quilt shop and take a few classes. I bet if I lived near her my style would change :) she is so inspiring I look forward to her blog posts.
    some of the pictures aren't working....
    will be back later to see them

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Love the mix of colors in her gorgeous quilts. Very appealing palette. Very interesting to get the different takes on color. Look forward to next week with Jackie.

  4. This was a fabulous post! I have always admired Kathy's work. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Fun post! I bought both of the Material Obsession books last year and they definitely had an influence on my fabric/color choices.

  6. I'm loving these color interviews!

  7. Great interview with a veritable Quilt Goddess!

  8. Thanks for the wonderful interview. I went and checked Kathy's blog and was thrilled with all the color! I have been trying to get more color and pattern in my quilts, but after seeing her work I have a long ways to go! I am looking forward to next week's interview with Jackie.

  9. Have you or will you be interviewing Malka Dubrawsky from A Stitch in Dye?? Id like to hear what she thinks concerning your questions !!!

  10. Wonderful interview! Love all the photos. Kathy is such an inspiration.

  11. Ahh how great is it when an unusual combination brown too.

  12. Kathy is wonderful isn't she? I adore her Folk Art Garden quilt, such a saturation of fabulous colour! xo

  13. I really enjoyed Kathy's point of view. They resonate with me. I will have to look at more of her work. Thanks for introducing me to a new source of inspiration and knowledge. Toni

  14. Color, color everywhere!!! Give me a couple weeks and I might let you take a peak at my stash. Currently, it's a real mess. I mean a real mess. :-)


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