Colors in Nature

Marcy Petrini


I love color and nothing inspires me more than nature, with her subtle differences in shades, juxtaposition of hues, and tint contrasts that make the eye jump from one color to the other. Here in the South, the brilliant spring shades of flowers lead to a myriad of summer greens, followed by greens dotted with a bit of fall colors, leading to more muted browns in the winter. But we don’t get the brilliant fall colors that I love most, so I like to get away in autumn to the woods north of Mississippi. Earlier in the month we did a bit of driving and walking in the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. The local folks told us that the peak of the fall colors had passed; no matter, those glorious colors were all around us.

So, I came home and planned my next weaving project, inspired by the trip: sage green, rust, gold and brown in silks and cottons, with a pointed undulating twill, also inspired by the trip: the wind rustling through the trees moved the leaves and branches in waves. The warp in on the loom…..

Meanwhile, I am reminded that this was not the first time I came home from a fall trip and just had to weave those colors; a couple of years ago we went to the hills of Arkansas and I came home to paint those browns, greens and a bit of orange with oil-based crayons (Shiva Artist’s Paintstik®). There was some snow already on top of the mountains, so I left some of the 10/2 white cotton warp unpainted; then I wove a scarf with a light brown 5/2 silk using a broken twill, shown below:

Fabrics, painting and photography can reflect nature’s colors, but nothing comes close to what the eye can actually detect. Still, looking at the scarf, I can see those glorious mountains in my mind’s eyes

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