From left: “Homage to the Square”, 1968 by Josef Albers via the Museum of Modern Art; Color Palette Bundle #3 from The School of Making, Abstract Gold Organic Cotton Swatch from The School of Making, “Lapis Lazuli (left) and Blue Verditer (right)” from An Atlas of Rare & Familiar Colour: The Harvard Art Museums’ Forbes Pigment Collection by Kingston Trinder (pages 116–117); Button Craft Thread from The School of Making, “Two Works: (i) Untitled; (ii) Untitled”, 2001 by Wangechi Mutu via Artnet.
In 1965, Josef Albers wrote of his series Homage to the Square: “They all are of different palettes, and, therefore, so to speak, of different climates. Choice of the colours used, as well as their order, is aimed at an interaction – influencing and changing each other forth and back.”
At The School of Making, we chose 2020 as the Year of Color. It has been a year of so much, but in January, we had set down a path of a year-long study of color. We press onward, being even more mindful and diligent in our study.
Inspired by Albers’ color studies and the work of other artists, we’ve developed color palettes—bundles of fabrics, thread, and floss—as tools for color exploration. Our newest color palette bundle includes Gold, Dove, Peacock, Baby Blue, and Ballet organic cotton fabrics, paired with Navy, Dogwood, Goldenrod, White, and Slate threads and floss. The fabric bundle is available in 2-yard cuts of these colors for deep design explorations. Our 10” x 16” precut and stenciled Sample Swatch is perfect for embroidery and treatment developments, and our 5” x 5” Organic Cotton Swatches are intended for color explorations. Add the Thread and Embroidery Floss to your color tool kit.
From top left: “White Circles”, by Hilma af Klimt from Hilma af Klimt: Notes and Methods (pages 80–81); Color Palette Bundle #3 from The School of Making; “Yellow bolt of fabric in Building 14” from Alabama Chanin. Photographed by Rinne Allen; “Homage to the Square”, 1966 by Josef Albers via The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation; “Homage to the Square”, 1964 by Josef Albers via The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation; “Celestia, 20” x 17”. Spot composition on Chinese silk. (left)” and “Stages in creating embroidery” (right) from Design in Embroidery by Kathleen Whyte (pages 200–201).
In Albers’ color theory studies, he understood color to be relative and always seen in relationship to the colors around it. We all experience and see color differently. Color can be scientific. It is a feeling, a translator. It carries meaning. It is used as a tool, and as Albers said, “a signifier of human emotion.” Color theory, like the interaction between our eyes and brains, helps us make sense of what we “see.”
In Victoria Finlay’s 2002 book, Color: A Natural History of the Palette, she writes, “The first challenge in writing about colors is that they don’t really exist. Or rather they do exist, but only because our minds create them as an interpretation of vibrations that are happening around us.”
Vibrations happening around us. We live in a world of color and often take it for granted or simply don’t notice the daily nuances and details or even how color is made.
Easily, we find ourselves down this rabbit hole of theory. Color is a complex concept with an enormous depth of meaning and history. We take it one fabric at a time, mindfully creating our palettes, feeling the vibrations around us.
Slow down, explore, and create. Experience, after all, is the greatest teacher of color. Thank you, Mr. Albers.
Find our Color Palette Bundle here.
Add to your exploration of both color (and texture) with our new fabric scrap bundles in assorted colors—choose between waffle, medium-weight jersey, and lightweight jersey.
Explore a reading list and wealth of color inspiration here.
P.S.: Our Lightweight Organic Cotton Jersey is available for a short while longer by the yard. Find the limited-edition selection of colors here and stock up soon.