Sunday, December 5, 2010

black and white and grey--or is it gray

I don't know if it is the weather or the stark contrast between light and dark these days. Maybe it is the fact that with no leaves on the trees. Or maybe it is the fact that my DH and I have been bringing in some 16 inch firewood for our new little wood stove, but right now I just want to work in black and white with lots of greys thrown in.

A couple of weeks ago I made this quilt--reflections on the night to celebrate the change in seasons. Dramatic. I loved working in those colors.

But still I wanted more.  When I go to the fabric store--whether it is The Textile Company or
A Notion to Quilt, all I look at is the greys. The mauves, the taupes, the blue-greys, grey greens. I want them all. Dark and light grey--I buy at this time of year. I don't know why.

I start a new quilt. Not sure what I am going to do. There are a couple of projects that I have in mind. I need to make a table runner. So I make a few test pieces and glance at one of my books of old Amish quilts. Now I do love the traditional Amish quilts--the repetition of the patterns so bold in the plain colors. The intensity of the work and the humanness of the result. I think of the rail fence pattern. Try it with my pieces.

Ugh!!!  It just doesn't translate.  Time to try again. Sometimes it is important to play--to stretch oneself.

Interesting. A possibility. A landscape that needs something more.  The colors are compelling me though to keep trying.

Why? I do a bit of research. What is grey? Or is it gray? Supposedly the combination of black and white.  Why is it that my black and white tuxedo cat is black and white and not grey--even where she has just the tiniest bit of black or white. I get a bit deeper into color theory. Is black a color? Is white? It all depends on how you are seeing color. My head swims. I check the web site and learn that GrAy is how it is spelled in America and GrEy is how it is spelled in England--get it? But that many people also  believe that grey is a silver grey and gray is all colors in between. Interesting.

I check on Wikipedia and learn that we can see the tiniest changes in the color. That is why there all those wonderful shades of grey. I also learn that artists sometimes use grey as strictly the combination of black and white while gray may be all the other colors. Interesting.

And what mood does grey convey--is it the calm and mystery of mist? A grey day? A grey mood? Grey matter. Grey suits. The power of an Ansel Adams photograph or an old black and white Hitchcock movie. What is it?

I don't know. I just keep sewing--right now not even knowing for sure where it will end up. This is the first of the grey trees. Maybe I'll make another one for CraftBoston this coming week-end. Do you ever feel the need to work in a particular color? Can you figure out why?


  1. In Canada we say grey. Greyhound. : ) I'm drawn to grey too now. Love it as a landscape - but then I love horizontal lines dearly : )

  2. I write grey, and I think this quilt is one of your best.

  3. Thanks Monika and Kari. I find myself writing grey naturally also.