Wednesday, January 16, 2013

mauve--can you define this color?

Oh the color mauve--what a love hate relationship I have with you? Yes, it is glorious--soft and elegant. Haunting. Reminds me of trees in November. The soft haze of hills in the distance with  just that touch of pink from the setting sun? Just hints of it in the colors of the clouds.

And yet, to define this color. What exactly is it?  I remember the first time I got an order for a quilt in the color mauve. Now this customer knew exactly what she wanted. But was it really mauve she wanted? Wasn't she thinking more of faded magenta with a hint of taupe. Colors can be so particular and so general at the same time. I used paint chips and fabric samples. Patience and photographs to match her room.

And that was when I learned that mauve was actually an invented color. An eighteen year old chemist. Indeed his biography was called Mauve--how cool is that. And then to make color more interesting, the dyes for the color mauve tended to fade so we now think of mauve as lighter than he did. You learn something new everyday don't you? Want to know more--check out this article on Wikipedia:

Now I have another order for a quilt in mauve.  One of my rolling hills. You may remember them--wall hangings and table runners that capture moments of time and space. Simple but complex at the same time. Here is one in blues and sunrise colors.

Yes, I can find lots of fabric in mauve but I also need colors to create the feeling of light and distance. Not too bright. The first attempt had too much orange and brown. But the quilt is not supposed to be lavender or purple--can't use too many blues. That would change its nature also. This is the hard part.

I go through and find a soft yellow. A few wonderful greys. I create the color palette. Not too bad--I tweak it a bit. Search for just a few other darker faded lavenders. Must make sure I don't get it too brown. This quilt should be haunting and magical.

I make the first piece. Does it work?


Maybe just a bit more light. A little more yellow. But soft and gentle. Not too busy.  I play some more. Keep piecing. I love that hint of soft apricot. Just a bit of warmth. That works, doesn't it?

Now I can't wait to finish it--two more blocks. Then sewing it together. I think this time I have caught the moment. Now I want to make another one. So lush, isn't it? Almost magical. Then maybe I should make one in taupe--there is even a color called mauve taupe. The possibilities are endless, aren't they?

And you--how do you work with mauve? What do you think of it?

1 comment:

  1. How do you sew the strips together to get a smooth but rolling effect?