In the past, I didn't often work much with coral and peach, but those colors have really grown on me the past few years. I'm typically drawn to cooler colors, such as aqua blue, or chartreuse green, one of my all-time favorites, but I've recently been adding more warm peachy oranges to my work. And I'm really happy with the result.
Orange had never been a color that I gravitate toward. The first project that I remember using orange in was this quilt, originally titled Yield, that I made in 2011. It was inspired by the yield sign, painted in a grid on the surface of the parking lot of a local big-box retailer, and it really was the impetus for my body of work that is inspired by things I see in my everyday life. It is such a significant design to me that I included it in my debut book, Quilt Local: Finding Inspiration in the Everyday, as there likely would be no Quilt Local without it.
Renamed Mason for the book, the orange is combined with a neutral mushroom brown background, and aqua blue and chartreuse green solids. I pulled that color palette from a number of solid cottons that I had in my studio, after arranging them and rearranging them. When I saw that stack of fabrics sitting together, I knew that I wanted to use them in this design. In terms of quantity, and yardage specifically, the orange is the color that is used the least in the quilt, although it brings quite a strong presence to the overall design.
And as a side note, the orange squares in the design appear to be more strong in the position next to the aqua blue fabric, as opposed to the chartreuse green rectangles. This is due to the fact that orange and blue are complementary colors, that is they are opposite of each other on the color wheel, and they pop against each other.
In my Dayton quilt, also from my book Quilt Local, orange becomes the center of attention in the design. The orange that I used for this quit is more of a coral shade than the orange that I used in Mason. Although this hue is not quite as powerful, because it is used almost for the entire quilt, it could read quite strong; however, because I chose a shade of orange that bordered on the coral side, I feel like it's a bit more subdued. The cream colored thread that I used for the quilting also played a role in softening up the intense color by almost creating a veil or filter over the fabric, due to the heavy amount of stitching over the orange.
In my Third Street quilt I again revisited the combination of aqua blue, just as I did in my Mason quilt, but this time I combined it with an orange that was even more of shade of coral. This quilt was used for the cover of the book, in part I think because the two colors combined with the linear elements of the quilt create quite a strong visual design, and really capture the eye of the reader.
Here's a full shot of the Third Street quilt. You can see how that coral reacts with the aqua blue and how the linear elements of the patchwork break up the background and create a lot of visual movement in the design.
Apparently, I have a thing for blue and orange. Seriously speaking though, I tend to go back to that combination because of the fact that they are complimentary colors and can create such a strong visual element to a project. This large-scale improv half log cabin block quilt is the first one that I made after finishing the manuscript and projects for Quilt Local. As it was created improvisationally, that is, created by relying on my intuitive design and not by the structure of a precise pattern, it allowed me to follow my gut with the design, which was exactly what I needed after working on my book for almost a year. The coral orange squares that are in the center of each block are actually made from the same fabric that I used in my Third Street quilt above. By placing the coral adjacent to a neutral cream solid, it is not quite as visually strong as it would be if it were placed next to it's compliment.
Recently I've been experimenting with stretched fabric pieces, such as the one above. I make improvisational patchwork blocks that are sewn from scraps of fabric and then I stretch them around wooden supports and then use them as works of art. I love the opacity that the solid fabrics inherently have, and in this example I paired a soft peachy coral with deeper red-orange, combined with a few shades of creamy white.
Coral has gone from a color that I rarely used in the past, to one that has a significant role in Color Dash, the debut line of fabric that I designed for Robert Kaufman. The Sorbet color palette, shown here, consists of a coral combined with a few shades of pink, white, and a bit of gray. This is a version of my Make Your Mark quilt, a free pattern that I designed to work with my collection that is available from Robert Kaufman's website.