new ideas, version 2

There are more of these than will fit in a single post, I am sure, but I have to start somewhere. At Convergence I attended a most thought-provoking day class with tapestry artist James Koehler on “The Emotional and Psychological Aspects of Colour”, and came away with all sorts of notes and exercises. One exercise I managed to finish in class, one I finished afterwards at the B & B, and one is still unfinished…

James spoke to us about the colour theories of Goethe, Albers, Kandinsky and others, but before I open my mouth on such lofty topics I need to go away and do a bit more reading. To be honest, my engagement with colour is more about experiment than theory: it was the practical exercises which really hit home with me and I loved that we spent most of the day on these.


Now, I first posted this entry a week or so ago, and then it was suggested to me (not by anyone associated with the class, I should add, but by a friendly party concerned to save me from possible repercussions) that in describing the exercise with squares of colour I was giving away James’ tutorial material. I disagreed with this at the time, and on reflection I still do. I always think carefully about what to share when I am posting, because I don’t want to infringe anyone else’s rights, but it is always a tricky business where workshops are concerned.

In the first place, there is the material which has been carefully prepared by the tutor, which belongs to them and from which they make their living. In the second place, there is my experience of the workshop, which is unique to me and — when combined with my total experience to date — may lead me off in all sorts of new directions. And thirdly there is the experience of everyone else in the workshop, which might be quite different from mine. In my blog I always aim to focus on the second item — my own experience — because that is the part that belongs to me and it is the part which will potentially feed into future work and thus future blog entries (oh, and I’ve paid for it too, which is no small thing). On the other hand, if I am going to write about a workshop, or a book for that matter, then there has to be enough general info to put the thing in context, and wherever possible I try to do this by linking to online sources and, of course, the tutor’s own website. [Note to tutors: please have a website! Blog readers want to find you!]

I only wish that my budget permitted me to get to more workshops so that I could practice this more often, because the boundaries of my own experience are difficult to define. Absolutely mine, as far as I am concerned, are those things made by me. If I make them to a pattern, such as the knitted toys from Mochimochiland, then I credit and link to the source of the pattern (usually several times over because I’m a sloooow knitter) and I don’t go trying to pass them off as my original work. If I make them in a workshop, then I will show you what I made (like this bag from way back when) and give some description of the process.

This is where I could potentially run into difficulties. Clearly I am not going to upload the tutor’s own handouts, I am going to describe the experience in my own words. And I am going to stick to description, I am not going to attempt to “teach” the class myself by way of one blog post. But how much should I say? My intention is to say enough to (a) make sense of any pictures I post of my work and (b), if possible, give an insight into what I personally have taken away from the class. It might make some readers think, “ooh, I quite fancy that myself” or it might make you think, “nah, that’s not for me”, but I don’t want to say so much about any one thing that you are left thinking, “boy, I wish she’d shut up and get back to that loom” as you may well be doing now!

One option that has been suggested to me, but which I won’t be pursuing, is that of asking permission from workshop leaders to write about their workshops or sending them text to approve. I practice a certain amount of self-censorship in what I post (so you don’t get the sound effects which accompany broken warp ends for instance) but what I say is entirely said by me, nothing added and nothing taken away — except by me 🙂

So what to do in this case? Well, in a rather weary spirit of compromise, I propose to show you my work as before — just as I would show you woven samples or a finished object — but leave out the description of the exercise. If you saw it, you saw it, but if not… let your imagination run riot. And because I love it, I will include the question “Does anyone have a depressed yellow?” to fuel your imaginings.

new ideas, version 2” was posted by Cally on 17 Aug 2010 at

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3 Responses

  1. Margreet
    | Reply

    Cally, what an interesting day class this must have been. Did you find that you came to use colours together that you might not have combined otherwise? I’m sure you’ll play with this a bit more. I think I can guess about your grey picture. Have fun with the colours! Looking forward to reading/seeing more about it.

    • Cally
      | Reply

      Yes, it was a challenge to leave aside my ideas about what colours I “ought” to put together and just work with the themes and the palettes in front of me — so a good exercise in stretching my boundaries!

  2. ladyoftheloom
    | Reply

    so very interesting! Color is so difficult for me because of the boundaries in my thinking. I have never had any art background at all and so I come from nothing formal.

    I can’t guess but am very interested! Thanks for posting about it.

    THe Kandinsky combo is my fave.

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