Inspire me with contrast, please?

I’m trying to inspire myself with contrast. And it’s hard. What inspires you? Lots of things start the wheels turning for me…

I think that’s one of the hallmarks of being creative, always looking for that next thing that just lights you on fire. That happens to me even when I’m in the thick of creating.  In fact, I would venture to say that the busier my brain is creating, the more ideas it spews out.

Often, a piece of fabric inspires me. I’ll see a particular color and immediately start thinking what I could do with it. Sometimes a pattern sets me thinking, but usually color comes first. I’m getting ready to start a new project very soon, and I was thinking only of one thing: contrast.

My first thought was, “I need to go buy fabric.” Fortunately, my rational side reminded me that I have enough fabric already to clothe three armies. So, I stood in front of my shelves, trying to see individual pieces. I’d pull out a piece and consider it. If I liked it, I’d look for a piece to contrast with it. Nothing. While I wanted two colors that contrasted, I didn’t want to use solids. None of the prints I have looked right. This hemming and hawing took way longer than it should have. I stood there like a goofball, asking my fabric to inspire me. How strange.

Finally, I found a black and white print that I’ve had lying around for a while. I am not sure why I bought it in the first place because I really don’t love it, but I’m repurposing it now. And then, I pulled out a lime green. Lime green and black. Those contrast. They’re both strong colors. I can do this…

I know, I know, these seem out of character for me, but you have to agree that they do contrast

I then pulled out a whole pile of black prints, and a pile of greens. I don’t really have a lot of either, but I think I have enough for what I want to do. These aren’t the colors I would normally choose, but remember, I’m shooting for contrast here. Then I decided I might need an accent color. Since red is green’s complement, I started there. No, maybe that’s too expected. Orange? Maybe. Yellow-orange? Maybe-er. Or maybe aqua? Expected or not, I think I like the red. Well, I can make that decision later.


Maybe aqua (or turquoise, whichever)?
How about yellow-orange?


Red. The light makes it look more fuchsia, but it’s lipstick red.


And what’s the project I pulled all this for? Well, sorry, I’m not telling. Yet. Come back tomorrow and you’ll find out what I’m planning with all of this. It’s something I’m doing just for myself. How about that?

This has been an interesting challenge. By shifting my viewpoint, or the element from which I started, I’ve ended up with a completely different palette than I would normally choose. I won’t need half of these fabrics, but I might leave the pile on the table for a while. You never know what they might inspire me to do.

What inspires you? Do you start with the fabric or with a pattern? Or do you, like me, start with color? What makes it all come together for you?

  • Wendy Tuma

    Curious where you’re going with this, but I really like the colors you’re going with. I think I’d like to stare at your fabrics for awhile too. They are much more exciting than mine!

    • Well, the truth is that I’m curious too. We’ll see soon!

  • You made the right choice!! 😉

    • Thanks, Chloe! I think so too. But you know, you have to hold auditions…