If you've known me a while or are just poking around, it’s probably obvious (or increasingly obvious!) that I prefer saturated colors, and what some might think are “challenging” color combinations. I like my color like I like my music: loud, in your face! Bombastic. Like rump-shaking bass and beats. I love old-school hip-hop, drum and bass, and house. I want my quilts to look like those genres of music sound!
Saturated colors feel really energizing and exciting to me. Candy colors, like I could almost eat them. Graffiti is a major inspiration behind my color sense. The colors of spray paint, of street art. Think of the acid and neon colors of the 70s and 80s…those are some of my most favorite hues.
I like to literally play with color and choose my colors on the fly. I don't overthink or overwork. I generally don’t do a lot of planning when it comes to the colors in my quilts, preferring to work in a more intuitive or immediate manner, as opposed to a controlled, premeditated manner (choosing them beforehand and using what was planned). What feels right as I go and at a given time, is right, for me. I like my colors to dance, vibrate, and give off an energy. I am consciously playing with the color wheel, and I tend to favor complimentary or clashing pairs or groups, so you'll likely see a lot of reds and greens, oranges and greens. I also like to play with saturation, and value. I do use neutrals in my work, they are needed for interplay and repose.
On the matter of fabric..
Yes, sometimes I buy new fabric. But I am not precious about it. I'll buy things when I see them, if I happen to be at a quilt shop somewhere and I've got access to the "nicer" stuff. But as a rule I generally don't follow designers, mostly because I honestly have a hard time keeping up with who does what There's an awful lot of noise out there in the fabric world. Some of it appeals to me and some doesn't. I'll buy what does but I have a hard time associating a particular person with a particular line. It's overwhelming to me. Chicago, big city that it is, doesn't have a whole lot of choices in the city limits for fabric, so I get fabric where I can find it. At shows, at regular fabric stores like Jo-Ann's, and like I mentioned, rarely, an actual quilt shop (there aren't but maybe two in all of Chicago proper).
My greatest and most favorite and preferred resource for fabric is secondhand. Old scraps of fabric jammed into plastic bags, cut-up secondhand clothing, old household textiles like curtains, sheets, tablecloths, or really whatever. I find this fabric at thrift stores, antique markets, and on Etsy. I think of these kinds of places as my art supply stores, and they help me construct my palette. I prefer the serendipity of finding my materials, wherever I can find them, and then recontextualizing the fabrics I've found, in a way that makes sense to me, in my quilts and other fiber pieces. This relates to the post-modern notion of collage and bricollage. Taking what a lot of people might consider gross trash or castoffs or ugly stuff and trying to make it beautiful in my re-contextualization via fabric play. The idea of buying a whole line from a hot designer and using it in one quilt is really unappealing to me....they've done the work! I would prefer to do the work of putting and pairing things together, instead.
I have a thing, a strong obsession, for adopting and hoarding old stuff, fabric and other textiles. Partially, this is because I honestly feel sorry for the things that have gotten dumped off at the thrift! Like it's a living breathing thing, almost! I want old things, old fabrics in this case, to be loved again and have a home and retain some use.
We as a culture throw so much useful and I'd argue, beautiful, stuff away. Just because it's old doesn't mean it's less valuable! It makes sense to me, in general, to be resourceful and attempt to use what’s already out there, rather than generating a lot of new stuff to add to the milieu of stuff that already clogs our world.
Why do you use the fabrics you use?