One of the first lessons I got on color use in quilting was “a little yellow goes a long way”.
Just as the sun is too bright for us to gaze upon, a piece of yellow fabric has more wattage than you would think, in a design. It will leap forward enthusiastically, almost promiscuously, and announce itself in a big, bold voice.
When mixed with equally bold fabrics and strong colors, it will behave better. But in the days of calico fabrics, and little prints that all had the same scale, it had an amazing impact. It could lift a design out of obscurity, or ruin it, all without mussing its hair or even breathing hard.
A case in point is my “Mosaic flowers” wall hanging. This is several years old, and the design is far older. Those pops of yellow completely changed the design from what I imagined would happen, once the blocks were assembled.
We all love the first daffodils in the spring, because our eyes are tired of looking at brown. Brown trees, brown leaves, brown houses, brown roads (at least, out where I live, there’s less asphalt). Our eyes are not just tired of the color brown, they are EXHAUSTED.
What a relief.
My “Dandelions” quilt was, I feel, one of my best uses of color in the early stages of my development into an art quilter. The yellow was the perfect balance for the greens and browns, not too much, not too little.
But it all started with that quiet brown fabric with the dandelions on it.
Funny old world, isn’t it?