Friday, February 28, 2014

Making a Fabric Color Wheel

I've recently started learning more about Color Theory, and am working on creating a color wheel from fabrics. Creating a color wheel with paint was one of the first assignments covered in basic painting class (or was it 2D design?) when I was studying for my Fine Arts degree. Mixing the full 12 color wheel from just three colors of paint is harder than you'd think when trying to match specific hues! Creating a wheel in fabric is really interesting, as I'm matching found fabrics as closely as possible to the 12 colors in the Red-Yellow-Blue wheel.

The color wheel is just a diagram of colors displayed as pie piece, all in color-order around the wheel. There are actually many types of color systems that can be displayed as a color wheel. Since I am most familiar with the color system that artists use (think of mixing paint colors), I am using the Red-Yellow-Blue (or RYB) color wheel.

In terms of color study, HUE is a term that refers to the pure spectrum of colors that we know by common names (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, sometimes magenta and cyan). Sometimes these basic hues are referred to as "true" colors, like a true red, or a true green.

Now here is where this assignment gets interesting! You might think you know what a true red or true green looks like, but can you really pick one out from other similar colors? I don't think I'd know the exact blue hue from one that might have a little red added - or even a blue that might be lighter or darker that a true blue. And, how does one find a true hue, anyway?

One was is to use Color Aid cards. Color Aid manufactures special colored papers that include information about the specific color on the back of the paper. Check it out in the photo above, the code on the back of the card is BG - HUE, and stands for blue-green color, true hue. I've pulled the entire spectrum of true hues for the fabric color wheel from my set of Color Aid papers.

Armed with my true hues, I spent an entire day hunting for fabrics! I found a few already in my stash, a few more while thrifting, and the last of my colors I found at the fabric shop.

I spent the week working on piecing the color wheel - first I tried to make a pattern for the pie shaped pieces, but then realized I'd get sharper points if I paper pieced the pattern. The paper piecing worked much better!

I had some space to fill next to the color wheel, so I added sets of the primary, secondary, and tertiary colors. It's looking pretty good, and I'm excited about being able to hang the color wheel up in my studio to remind me of the true hues.

All I have left is to bind it! More photos when the wheel is all finished!


Andres said...

so cool!

Erin @ Sew at Home Mummy said...

This is too cool - you've inspired me to make one!!