Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Gray Matters

It's another gray drizzly day outside my window.  I didn't let it stop me from getting a little color in my life though.  A visit to the garden center was just the thing.

Rows and rows of beautiful colors in hanging baskets.  This aisle seemed to go on to infinity:

Observing all the bright colors against the gray sky, got me to thinking about something I have noticed in the quilt world lately.  The color gray is popping up everywhere.  You might even say that Gray is the "new Black".

Here are just a couple of current fabric lines that feature gray:

Lori Holt's Millie's closet
Etchings by 3 Sisters
Ruby by Bonnie and Camille
Michael Miller Zoned Citron Gray

I did a little poking around the Internet and found that the color gray has become very popular in lots of design areas including home decor, paint chips, on the runway, even  for weddings.

Yellow and gray are teamed up quite often in Interior Design.  Lots of examples here.

So what's up with all the gray, anyway?

According to Empower Yourself with Color, the color gray is subdued, quiet and reserved. It does not stimulate, energize, rejuvenate or excite.  Perhaps in this age of ever changing technology and 24/7 access to a constant stream of new information, we want to surround ourselves in a color which allows us to relax.

According to Kate Smith at Sensational Color, gray is perceived as long-lasting, classic, and often as sleek or refined.   Maybe that explains why so many people are decorating their kitchens with stainless steel appliances.  We don't want to have to replace them any time soon.

Gray can also be industrial and urban.  Perhaps that's why so many of our technology devices come in gray/silver packages.

The gray trend in fabric is not a comfortable thing for this jewel tone gal.  I don't find myself wanting to use it in my quilts.  I associate the color gray with mourning, loneliness and old age.  Remember the scene in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy opens the door and the movie turns from grayscale to color?  For me, that's when the movie really starts to shine.*

On the other hand, there are only so many bright and colorful quilts that one household can contain.  You can hang them on walls, or put them on your bed or table, but they tend to scream for attention.  Quilts made with the softer, gentler tones of gray and it's companions are much easier to work into your decorating.

I did not mean for this post to sound like a term paper. (although I did actually do a term paper on The Psychology of Color back in High School.)

I'm glad that there is a wide spectrum of color, shade and tone in the fabric world.  I like to work with brights, but I certainly appreciate the beauty in a quilt made from a subtle, soft palette that includes gray.

I guess it's no surprise then, that I brought home 3 of these from the garden center:

* It has taken me 4 years of blogging to finally be able to reference Wizard of Oz!

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  1. Interesting term paper, er post :-) I really enjoyed the gray and yellow interior design photos as I am wanting badly to change my living room. A gray sofa could have endless possibilities.

  2. I was at a quilt show on Sunday and I was looking for a piece of gray fabric. I wanted something that looked like driftwood or barnwood to frame the picture quilt I'm working on. I was at a vendor who specialized in hand dyed fabrics--lots of beautiful fabrics. I asked if she had anything in gray. She said, in a haughty voice, "no, I don't have any gray fabric...I don't do gray". I guess she didn't like the color gray!!!

  3. I just recently painted one of our rooms a very soft gray and it is very relaxing to sit in there. I see more gray coming into my house. I have white appliances (just don't like the work in keeping stainless steel spot free), so I'm thinking of painting the cabinets a gray. It's wonderful that it's showing up in fabrics now too!

  4. I have just recently started to think about trying to use gray in a quilt. I'm thinking about combining it with a green. We'll see, though. I do like colors that draw the eye to them, and gray is not one of them.


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