Archive for Gail Callahan

The Kangaroo Dyer

We had quite a treat of a guest speaker at our September meeting. Gail Callahan, the Kangaroo Dyer, came to teach us how to work with color. A great deal of modern quilting revolves around the use of color- color seems to be one of the most important aspects of the movement. At times the colors are bold, bold, bold, and at other times it is the absence of color that makes something modern. Using color sparingly. Broad sweeps of negative space. But regardless of how a modern quilter chooses to use color, all mq’s use it, and it is a high-interest topic.

Eager to hear what Gail had to say, we all gathered around a table dressed in a plain white cloth. On the table stood a lone object- a small, old black metal lunchbox. Circa? 1930s? 40s? Not sure. Gail then asked everyone to write down what they thought when they saw the box. After a few minutes of quiet reflection and writing, we went around the circle and shared what we had written. Some of the themes were the same- others were not.

The point was that we all see things- and appreciate them- differently. It is all about perspective. And this, of course, is what makes our color choices so varied.

After this Gail showed us some textiles, talking about the use of color and pattern. She spoke of her own experiences dying various types of fiber, which led to a conversation about dying fabric. This felt like an exciting prospect to a room of modern quilters- to make one’s own fabric! Though there are sites that manufacture fabric from designs that people have created and uploaded to their computers, it feels much more organic to- quite literally- get one’s hands dirty. And the exciting news is, a fabric-dying workshop for the NMQG with Gail is in the works.

Gail also gave us a tutorial on how to use her Color Grid. At times even the most creative person can feel stuck, stuck, stuck. Gail’s handy Color Grid helps those who work with color to figure out what complementary colors are. It also shows you how to choose a color that will give your project that “pop” that it needs. It is so easy to use and so brilliant. It will surely be a staple in my bucket of sewing notions.

As I left our meeting that evening, a major theme of Gail’s talk stayed with me. It was the idea of letting go. To try things. To not be afraid. Her gentle demeanor, desire to teach, and share of herself made me feel like taking risks in my work might be just a *teensy* bit safer than I thought. Thank you, Gail. Not only for coming to teach the NMQG, but giving us all the opportunity to think outside of that box of crayons.

Nicole