Inspired by Color Towels

There’s something wonderful about playing around with color on the loom. You never know how two colors will react with one another in weaving until after a few throws of the shuttle. Sometimes the combination is pure magic, while other times, it’s a dud—it’s always a learning experience! It took Sarah H. Jackson a few tries to find just the right design for her gorgeous Inspired by Color Towels from Handwoven May/June 2018.

Happy weaving!

Inspired by Color Towels

Sarah H. Jackson’s Inspired by Color Towels.

Designer Sarah H. Jackson’s Statement

The inspiration for these towels grew out of a color workshop I teach. I encourage students to translate their explorations of color from the workshop into their own designs, and that leads to using profile drafts as a design tool. To illustrate the concept, I substituted a two-tied structure into a two-block profile draft originally designed for the traditional Swedish structure of halvdräll.

Using a “block substitution” tool in weaving software, I plugged in the structure and a variety of color combinations to get an idea of how it might work. The graphic quality of the profile draft appealed to me and seemed to be a good fit for placing the design emphasis on color.

The first sample I wove using this draft was a major disappointment. Using soft colors, I just couldn’t find the right combination to fit the bold look of the draft. I shifted gears to focus on stronger colors.

In the next sample, I warped two colors, hoping to create a blend of color somewhere between the two. In addition to the blended color, the two warp colors created an unanticipated stripe in the nonpattern blocks, adding textural and visual interest to the overall design.

Whatever inspires you, I encourage you to try your hand at designing. Choose colors and a structure, and weave a sample. No matter what happens, the process will move you forward in your development as a weaving designer.


Project at a Glance

PROJECT TYPE: 4-shaft.

STRUCTURE: Summer and winter.

EQUIPMENT: 4-shaft loom, 21″ weaving width; 12-dent reed; 2 shuttles; 2 bobbins.

YARNS: 8/2 unmercerized cotton (3,360 yd/lb; UKI).

Featured Image: Sarah H. Jackson found the design inspiration for her towels while teaching a workshop on color.

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