Back to Basics!

Bridget Downey's cane and her inspiration picture.

I learned so much from my 6-day workshops – I honestly don’t know who learned the most, my students or me. Some things worked out great and some I’ll do differently next time. However I returned home more convinced than ever that two basic precepts hold true.

First, the results are almost always gorgeous when students start with a source of color inspiration that really moves them. Lee Ann Armstrong was strongly affected by the colors that surrounded her on her trip to India. She chose the photograph below which she had taken herself for her inspiration. Wouldn’t her cane make a wonderful fabric for a sari?

Even when students don’t quite capture the colors in their inspiration pieces the colors in their canes harmonize and the results are beautiful.

Julie Samara (left) and Debra Davis worked across from each other at Maureen's and shared this picture between them. Their results, however, are uniquely their own.

It helps if the images used, whether on fabric or paper, have shaded colors rather than flat ones. Notice how the shapes in the picture above appear flat but have a lot of shading that is reflected in these canes.

Peggy Keyes used this photograph of a bowl of currents as her inspiration. Her cane captures the softness of the colors in the picture.

Second, starting from primary colors and mixing the rest produces more beautiful colorways than working from a wide range of package colors.  All of the canes from these workshops were created using only primary colors and white with the occasional addition of black, or a neutral such as brown or ecru to modify the colors.

The shapes, images, and thematic elements in the inspiration pieces often find their way into the canes as well, as is clearly the case in the picture below.

Cane by Pat Ghadbane and the Laurel Burch fabric that inspired it.

This entry was posted in Caning, Classes/Workshops, Color, color mixing, Kaleidoscopes, Sources of Inspiration, Teaching and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Back to Basics!

  1. Jody Newman says:

    This is a wonderful post, Carol with inestimable value. Before I have even had a chance to apply your observations, I am blindsided by your profound to include these observations in a post entitled, “Back to the Basics”. Basics of course are not as much elementary as they are foundational and requisite, and likewise, I see, the basics here emanate from the breadth of all of your experience, wisdom, and your finely honed imagination. In short, it seems “the basics” aren’t readily perceivable to those of us at a ‘basic’ skill level. Thank you again for offering the spoor of this knowledge you have so diligently pursued and then shared.

  2. Joy Davis says:

    Wonderful, beautiful and motivating!

  3. Priscilla Lane says:

    My mother-in-law was a painter who had great disdain for people who “paint out of the tube.” Like you, Carol, she understood that getting “real” color comes from using a limited number of primaries. Theda created her own signature palette just as you are teaching your students to do. And we LOVE the results.

  4. laurie says:

    Your blog posts are always interesting and informative…definitely eye candy…and brain candy!!!

  5. Lisa Heller says:

    I’ll bet the room is explosive when those canes are sliced for the forst time. Wow. More, please.

  6. Carol,

    Your students are doing amazing work – a reflection on a great teacher! Love their results!

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