Blackwork and Color Theory

Kathy at The Unbroken Thread recently completed an absolutely beautiful blackwork piece. The first photo is the finished piece. The second photo is missing some of the border, but it is at less of an angle so you can see the patterns clearly.

Many of the fillings are from String or Nothing, which generously provides 150 free blackwork filling patterns. So if this inspires you to start a blackwork project, all you need is an outline. You can read about the entire process to develop the hearts and flowers project to get you started.

I also wanted to talk some about value and shading in color theory! Kathy had a lovely post about shade and shadow, illustrated by a fuzzy picture of the project in progress.

See how the blackwork patterns create darker and lighter shading? This also applies to colored designs in other embroidery styles. Suppose you decide to fill a heart with a purple color (dark purple, light purple, blueish purple, reddish purple). You are not done designing! There’s texture to consider – smooth, fuzzy, loopy, bumpy, padded. Now are you done? No!!!! Satin stitch will be a very different color from a distance than trellis stitch – just like these blackwork fillings.

That said, don’t freeze up! Yes, there are lots of possibilities. No, you don’t have to consider all options every single time. Just pick something! If you already know what you want, that’s wonderful. But if you’re stuck and don’t like your current ideas, these questions can help you think of a new set to consider.

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This entry was posted in Blackwork, Color and design, Free resources online, Goldwork, patterns and designs and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Blackwork and Color Theory

  1. Yes, there’s a lot to think about in these projects – but that’s the fun of them, isn’t it!

  2. kbsalazar says:

    Yup. Being monochrome, tonal contrast/density is the main vehicle for bringing movement and interest into these styles. There’s more about density (with an only partly successful example). one that works better.

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