Intuitive Color and Design - Updated 2nd Edition

Intuitive Color and Design  -- Updated 2nd Edition

Jean Wells


Intuitive Color and Design has been a very successful book for many reason, the best being that it helps to launch students into more improvisional work with discussions and assignments that are classroom tested. Below you will find an outline with references to the book that have been used on thousands of students with great success. Students leave the classroom encouraged with a “can do” attitude. In the second edition the most successful assignments and discussions were kept but more projects were added as well as discussions on composition. The content in my books comes from hours of classroom experience as I want students to be successful and I love to teach and see students engage in the learning process.


In order for you to be successful as an instructor you need to read the book from cover to cover and complete the Color and Value assignment beginning on page 56 through 59 and the technique assignments on page 82 through 90.


Workshop Description:


Intuitive Color and Design

One or two day workshop (two days work best)


Do you want to explore quilt design in a more intuitive way, discover new ways of working? In this class you will experiment with rulerless cutting and piecing seams, which create gentle curve designs. You will be working with fabrics that I bring for you exploring color in an intuitive way. Then you will create a small wall quilt exploring design techniques. Intuitive Color and Design, 2nd edition is required


Lab fee $6.00


Supply list:

Fabric for project in the workshop will be provided by the instructor. Bring a sewing machine in good working order, extension cord, medium size cutting mat, 6” x 12” ruler, rotary cutter with a new blade (18mm- small or 45mm- med.), pins, marking pencils, 1 yd of neutral color flannel or quilt batting for a design wall, journal or notebook for notes and a fine tip Sharpie.


Preparation for the workshop:

(Instructor bring masking tape to tape up the design walls.)


Cut 5 1’ x 42” wide strips of a wide variety of values and intensities of solid colored fabrics for students. (You will take the number of students times six and add 12 to that number and that is the number of strips you prepare for the workshop.) (The reason you are using solids rather than prints is that it simplifies the color decisions and students really learn how one color relates to another.)


Each student will begin the workshop by choosing five different strips that they want to work with for the workshop. (Do not give them any hints about what is going to take place!) You want them to respond to the colors.


Prepare yourself to lead a discussion on color referring to the Color Vocabulary list on page 51. (I make up a poster of these words and put it up in the classroom for reference.)

Pull the students into a discussion type of setting and have them bring their strips of fabric. Pick up the first students fabrics and take a quick look at them and find something to comment on that relates to the color vocabulary or another aspect from the color discussion chapter on page 34. With each students fabrics you can always find something to say. You will find that some students in the fall end up choosing fall seasonal colors and you can refer to that. Sometimes you get an odd group of colors but you can always refer to the color vocabulary words and find something to say. The conclusion at the end of the discussion will come down to color relationships, how a red in one palette relates one way and in another group another way. It is really interesting and I always learn something too.


When you are finished they go back to the pile of strips and let them choose one more. They are NOT ALLOWED to return any of the fabrics.


Begin with the Rulerless Cutting and Sewing technique assignments on page 82. Have students trim off the selvages from all of the strips and then cut a 9” piece from each color. (Set aside the remaining fabric for the next assignment.)


Demo each of the techniques and if you have more than 12 students divide them into two groups and do two demos. They really need to see what you are doing.


(I always begin and end with a bunny tail and it keeps the needle from jamming thread and fabric down the hole in the throat plate.)


Keep an eye on the students and as soon as they have completed two seams then do the Narrow Insert Demo, then the Detail Piecing assignment. This usually takes you to noon.


Discuss with students how they have started using the fabrics in different proportions creating a pleasing combination. One of their fabrics will end up being used more like an accent and one or two main characters, etc.


After lunch begin the Color and Value Assignment on page 56. Because you have completed the assignments above begin with #3. This is such a fun assignment and the students get really into it. As they use up colors they may have to improvise or find solutions to problems, which is great. You can always quote from the chapter on Design Process beginning on page 54.


In a one day class most of the students will have at least sever or eight of the blocks finished and be auditioning a setting for them. Leave a half an hour to talk about settings. You could always have them open their books to quilt examples in the book focusing on the nine-patch. When discussing a fabric to set the blocks on go back to the color vocabulary and see what the quilt needs. For a two- day workshop they will continue on the next day and finish their pieces.  I always have another filler assignment in case they finish. On page 21 the Finding Lines assignment works well and takes them to the next step in the design process. Bring a pad of tracing paper then have them use their fine tip Sharpie.


Have fun with the assignments and watch the “lights go on” with the students. Check out the student work in the book. There are some great quilts.