I spent the last several days at The Makerie retreat in Boulder, Colorado, learning from some of my crafting idols. I’m sharing what I learned in series of blog posts. Check out Monday’s post on Heather Jones & quilting, or yesterday’s on learning to draft your own patterns. Or, just read on!

amy butler & your color storyAmy Butler, as you might imagine, knows color. The woman and her company have influenced American design, particularly with Midwest Modern and all the resulting fabric collections. It was an honor to learn from her at the Makerie.

amy butler your color storyHer class, “Your Color Story,” started with a stunning slideshow from Amy’s travels in India, Egypt and her own backyard, explaining her inspiration. Her Indian trip influenced the recent Soul Blossoms, and the Egyptian trip inspired the upcoming Hapi collection.

Amy takes thousands of photos on her travels, and when she gets home, she organizes them by color. This piece of wisdom has changed how I look at travel photography. In the age of digital photography, I usually take lots of photos and come home to delete the ones that aren’t pretty and organize the others chronologically, documenting the trip event by event. Amy looks at it a different way. She might see blues in photos from one town and more blues pictures from a fish market days later. One after another, she gathers these by color and lets it inspire her.

After learning from Amy’s color story, we turned to our own.

panorama shot2Here’s a panoramic photo of the light-filled room we worked in at Chautauqua. Amy supplied us with poster board, glue, paint chips and lots of magazines to find inspiration. Here were the color boards that she brought as an example:

amy's color boards holly and heatherMy sister Holly and I worked at a table with Heather Jones, the incredible quilter. It was soothing to spend several hours thinking about color, combining them on a palette of sorts, and doing some deep breathing.

color classme and holly tooHere are photos of our entire class’ color boards (courtesy of Amy’s Facebook page) and Holly and my two color boards.

Here’s how I composed mine: I grabbed one photo from Outside magazine, which reminded me of a Colorado mountain vista. I pulled colors from the depth of greens, blues and even purple. I can’t wait to combine this palette in a sewing project!

~ Kristina