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Ellen Anne Eddy
Author of Thread Magic: The Enchanted World of Ellen Anne Eddy Fiber artist, author and teacher
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Saturday, February 26, 2011

In Search of Peacock Colors: Anatomy of a Color Study

Confessions of a color junkie. I get drunk periodically. Not on alcohol or ice tea or even ice water. But I do get drunk on color. Every so often I find myself swimming in a color combination that is just plain intoxicating. It hits me viscerally. Color is visual emotion. It's a language all its own.But just because I find a color combination exhilarating doesn't  mean I understand why.
Whenever I find a color combination I can't leave alone, I like to work with it until I understand it.I've always loved peacock colors. I don't necessarily feel like quilting a peacock at this time. But the colors.....
So I went in search of peacock colors. Dyeing fabric is one of the best ways to understand color. So I went out to dye some peacock colors.
Peacock colors have always mystified me a bit. They're an analogous range (a row of colors in a line) but there's something odd about it. When I charted it out on the color wheel it began to make sense.
That's when I find it's time to chart it out on the color wheel and to see why these colors do what they do. The color wheel is a family tree for color. It shows how colors are related to each other. The basic color is teal, with bright blues, purples and greens. But fooler is that olivey chartreuse  green. It's a dulled out  sun color in a range of clear cool colors. In another way, the contrast in the combination is the olive that leans towards the sun while all the other colors lean to the shade.
No wonder it's so exciting.

So this is what i dyed!

Mystery solved! I used an analogous range of procian dyes including turquoise, teal, robins egg, chartreuse, jade, cayman island green, and sun yellow. The chartreuse is the olivey contrasting sun color. I stalked the wild  peacock. Now those colors are mine!
 Don't be afraid to hunt for the big game: the fabulous colors that rock your world and move your furniture. Use them, chart them, put them where they can excite you and illuminate your world.

If you want to explore more of the world of sponge dyeing and how the color wheel works, check out my book, Ellen Anne Eddy's Dye Day Workbook. Not just a dye book, it explains why the colors do what 
they do together visually. It's available on my site at www.ellenanneeddy.com


Cheryl said...

I too love peacock colors especialy that deep, rich, royal, turquoise color of the body .I am amazed at how a bird can have such beautiful feathers and show it off too.
I love your dyed fabrics, especially the first 2,the top shows more of the natural color of the bird while the second one it looks like feathers on the bottom where it is darker.

Vicki Davis said...

Gorgeous fabrics! I've always loved peacock colors, and the patterns of the feathers, too. We can enjoy nature's color schemes without understanding them, but if we understand them, we can use them, which is even better.

Judy said...

Yes..colour is gorgeous..a topic that can be a lifetime study.
Love your dyed fabric.

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