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Summer assessment – colour

Strong colour has been everywhere this summer, textile degree shows, high street fashion and multimillion-pound architecture. In the blog post I wrote earlier this summer (Why you should visit a degree show) I commented on the strong use of colour used by these recent graduates, observing that their approach was youthful and exuberant. Looking at the colour trends more widely I would suggest these students were bang on trend. Marie Claire’s online magazine described the 2018 Spring Summer colour trend as coming straight from a box of Crayola creating pulsating primary colour palettes. And one of this year’s nominees for The London Design Museums Beazley Design of the year 2018 is the Bjarke Ingels Group for their LEGO House, a multi tiered construction in the bold colours of the playroom.

It is no surprise then that OCA textile students are experimenting with bright colour palettes, demonstrating their understanding and synthesis of current colour trends. For Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary Jean Hutchinson used a wide group of colours in a range of fabrics and papers. Some of the compositions are created with control and accurate stitch work to create geometric organisation. Others are arranged in a chaotic configuration with distorted edges and a rumpled application of materials. She has put colour together in ways that cause them to shout either in a noisy brouhaha or with systematic precision.

Nicola Bennett (Textiles 1: A Textile Vocabulary) has also worked with strong colours but has taken a different approach. Rather than placing single flat colours together in her textile samples she has created blocks of colour. These are made up of many tones building into a visually textured surface. The colour remains strong despite using pale through mid to bold tones creating movement and depth. Texture is very much part of these samples where the colour along with the techniques and materials create uneven but vibrant surfaces.

For Textiles 1: Mixed Media for Textiles student Nicola Winkworth has carried forward what she learnt about colour in her previous course Textiles 1: A Textile Vocabulary. Despite being a more materials led unit it is important to be conscious and play around with colour in Mixed Media for Textiles. For the section on wrapping Nicola has chosen wisely a colour palette that is sympathetic to the raw tones of the wooden spoon. There is also something very appealing to the combination of bright white yarn and the baby/Germolene pink of the latex in her moulding and casting samples.

Colour is introduced early in the OCA textiles programme because we believe it is an extremely important part of textile practice. It is vital therefore to use the skills you begin to build during A Textiles Vocabulary throughout your studies and beyond. Aim to be always conscious of the colours you are working with. Think about how they sit together and the sort of effect they create as a group. This is important even when you are using found objects or recycled materials. It can mean the difference between a piece of work looking like a collection of waste materials and something beautiful and desirable.
When planning your colour palette don’t just think about the colours themselves, also consider their proportions.  Small splashes or dots of a bright contrasting colour, also known as an accent colour, can bring dynamism and energy to a design or art work. Patterns with an even distribution of colour will create a gratifying rhythm. Above all play with and enjoy your colour exploration in the same way you investigate textile techniques and materials. This will encourage you to discover your own personal touch and colour expression.

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Posted by author: Rebecca Fairley
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