September Newsletter


A Saturated World: Has Social Media Influenced Our Use of Color?

The internet has become saturated with color, from brightly styled Instagram photos to design blogs featuring books, thread, or other objects arranged in color order. Our obsession with vivid color seems to come from the ubiquitous use of photography in social media. As makers, the object we create takes on a new life and gains much wider reach as a photograph, which then becomes a separate object in its own right. The images that perform best on social media seem to be those that are brightly colored or highly contrasting. We are so heavily influenced by the way things look online, that it’s colored our reality. Literally.

A new study even suggests that people who use black and white Instagram filters are depressed. Color is equated with happiness. My fabric designs with bright colors or stark contrasts always sell better. Since much of my fabric is sold online, sales are impacted by the limitations of photography. I’ve noticed these color trends with art as well. Many contemporary abstract painters seem to soak their canvases with color and receive thousands of Instagram likes. But maybe we are missing out on subtleties when looking at pictures on a 4-inch screen for less than two seconds? Perhaps color is all that our brains can immediately recognize in our frenzied scroll through imagery?

When I wrote 1, 2, 3, Sew, I made a patchwork duvet in neutral colors, but it didn’t photograph well and was scrapped from the book. The medium limited the content. Despite this seeming death of neutral colors, I’ll continue to experiment with low-contrast fabric and texture. I want to make quiet things that you have to touch, even though this concept may be obsolete. Because fabric is a tactile medium, I don’t think we’ll ever fully lose the need to see it in real life, not to mention that it’s predominately made for utilitarian purposes. Unlike art that we hang our walls, fabric is meant to be used and worn.

As I’ve been experimenting with texture, I’ve been making freezer paper stencils, which allows me to indulge in the zen practice of paper cutting, then I can get my hands messy with paint.  The other day I stumbled upon the fact that steaming the painted fabric creates texture. The pieces I’m working on now will eventually form a subtle, textured quilt, but I guess you’ll have to come see it in person 🙂


If you’re interested in experimenting with fabric design, block printing is an excellent place to begin. Whether you carve rubber stamps, linoleum, or wood, block printing allows you to create repeated designs and experiment with different colors and substrates.


Click here for the tutorial.


For Personal Use Only: Restrictive Clauses in Craft Patterns from the Craft Industry Alliance.
You Can be a Mother and Still be a Successful Artist  by Marina Cashdan for Artsy.
The Skin We Are In, Badass Quilters Society Call for Submissions.
My Woman, Angel Olsen (album).