Get to "WOW!" with Laura Bryant

Our guest Joy Hogg.

Blasting off with color

In an effort to add voices to Spinning Daily, we have invited Joy Hogg, a retired technology teacher, spinner, weaver from Cadillac, Michigan, to be our guest today to share with you her experiences with Laura Bryant's DVD A Fiber Artist's Guide to Color. After watching the DVDs Joy contacted us because they had such a transformative affect on her thoughts about color.

Joy Hogg: Temple Grandin, the brilliant autistic, has been quoted as saying that in regard to human interaction she sometimes felt she was "an anthropologist on Mars." Color interaction and choices have some of us similarly flummoxed. Hold onto your hats; we are leaving Mars.

In both A Knitter's Guide to Color and A Fiber Artist's Guide to Color, Laura Bryant leads us away from color rules, recipes, and a slavish devotion to the color wheel. She claims "You don't get 'WOW!' by doing the expected."

Her observations are science based. Colors (and we can perceive millions of them) have different amplitudes of color waves. They recede in our eyes' perception if they are heavy colors and move forward if they are light colors. Hue (color) is not what matters to her. The weight, the receding or moving forward, is what matters when making color choices.

She describes how colors are never seen in a vacuum and are all affected by the interaction of the colors around them. Color juxtaposition is critical, and a color next to another sucks its own color out of its neighbor. Good-bye Mars, some of my color choice disappointments have been explained.

  Joy's handspun river of color!

The heaviest quadrant of Joy's river.

The lightest quadrant.

Now for action. In both DVDs she recommends an exercise for sorting everything in your stash based on the weight (receding or moving forward) and making a color river. See mine. She claims that if you divide your river of color into four quadrants, you can choose any colors in any one quadrant and they will "work" together.

In subsequent chapters of A Fiber Artist's Guide to Color, she analyses weaving samples explaining how colors together create a color story that works. She substitutes colors to increase the "WOW!" in richness or subtleness, particularly in weaving, and describes what she is doing and why. All changes are based on her color weight and color interaction lessons. She can make "a color story" or "make her colors sing" where there was once just a pattern or series of colors.

The Fiber Artist's Guide does repeat A Knitter's Guide to Color's concepts of the importance of color weight and relativity in order to expand a further range of techniques described in the chapters "Quantity Matters" and "Optical Mixtures." These chapters are of great interest for quilters, felters, and weavers, and focus on what happens when colors are juxtaposed. She talks about how colors lift off the surface, energize each other, or other amazing effects I had never been able to create.

One might get saturated watching either DVD in one sitting, but each chapter is understandable and builds on one another. If you have a color conundrum or just want to improve your natural color instincts, these DVDs offer both ends of the spectrum.

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