Before we can really get into Painting with Your Rotary Cutter aka Making Prints Out of Solid Fabrics, we have to talk a bit about how to pick palette.
There are several different ways I that I pick palettes, but right now I am going to tell you what I know about picking a palette where I am using only solid fabrics and where each color of those solid fabrics will be equally represented in the final “fabric” or composition that I make.
Here are some examples of working this way. Birch Woods Glimmer is a palette of neutrals with a few wild cards thrown in.
1. Creating a BEAUTIFUL palette
2. Creating an UNUSUAL palette
3. Creating a palette where each color HOLDS ITS OWN.
By that I mean that no matter where a color lands in the composition it still has the ability to be seen.
I store my fabric in what I call my fabric filing system. Here are 16 files.
I have about 80 files in my studio. My print stash is much larger than my solid stash. As I pull a palette, I pull my files out and look through them searching for interesting combinations. Here is the inside of a file.
Once I get a palette that I think might work, I fold the fabrics and rest them on top of each other.I want an equal amount of each color to be visible. I am doing this as a test. These fabrics will all exist together in equal amounts in the final “fabric” or composition. If I don’t like how they look now, I know it will not work later. Selecting a palette is the most important step of a composition. If your colors aren’t good, you are doomed to ugliness. That said, you can take away fabrics and splice new ones in, but is always better to start out strong with a lovely palette.
If I don’t like what I see, I add and subtract until I do. This can be a painful process. I find that I select color intuitively and listening to the non-verbal side of my brain try and communicate what it likes can be exhausting.
Once I find a palette that is both BEAUTIFUL and UNUSUAL, I must then challenge it to see if each color HOLDS IT OWN. I move the fabrics around and see how they interact with other bedfellows. I often think of my stitching as “marrying” two fabrics together. But building a palette like this is not a traditional marriage it is a polygamous one. Everyone is sleeping with everyone. I do not want anyone arguing or feeling left out.
When I first started making quilts, I used my Value Finder all the time. Now I use it only when I can’t seem to figure things out on my own. When you are using a value finder you must always remember that Red is a pathological liar and Yellow is her friend. The value finder has a hard time getting them to tell the truth. For this reason, you should always use the value finder in conjunction with your own eyes.
I arrange them by value moving from dark to light.
When I am creating these palettes sometimes I will try and work towards a palette that evokes a particular season, or culture, or time period. In fact, I did that with this palette. I wanted it to feel like a take on a southwest color scheme.
Several years ago, I found this book at Title Wave a wonderful used bookstore here in Anchorage. I find it very helpful when looking for unusual and/or authentic color schemes.