Product Review : The Color Grid by Gail Callahan

by Lori Law

the colour gridSo, I’m planning to weave up some plain-weave two-colour scarves for an artisan show I’m involved in at the end of November.  Combining two separate colours together in my mind from what I have around the studio in cottons and/or cotton-linen (one colour for the warp, one for the weft, keeping it simple) led me to FINALLY get around to reviewing this product I’d been sent to review, a product waiting patiently for me to get around to it, I might add:  The Color Grid, by Gail Callahan.

Gail is known as The Kangaroo Dyer® and has written much on the subject of colour, dyeing yarns and fibres and is known for her dyed fabrics.  I think it’s suffice to say, Gail knows colour and thinks about it a lot.

the colour gridWhat I like about the Color Grid is how it provides a hands-on approach to visualizing colours through isolation and then pairing them for us without having to think about which colour one would like to pair with a chosen colour.  Instead of having to attempt to visualize colour combinations in one’s mind or by gathering objects together side by side (or skeins of yarn or swatches of fabric), one can simply slide the grid viewer around and see what a pair of isolated colours and their close neighbours in the grid do for each other.  No squeezing the eyes shut to get a clearer picture or to block out distractions, no scrounging around for ideal objects/candidates in the vicinity.

Really, for fun and a totally off the cuff approach, one could actually arbitrarily drop the viewer onto the grid and allow it to do all the work for you, taking and angst and wondering completely out of the equation.  I think I will actually try this approach towards some of the scarves I wind warps for over the coming weeks.  I will post pics of their progress or once they are completed and you can see how they come out.

The above approach is a little beyond the scope of what the grid is meant to do for us –  Gail suggests choosing a colour which will be a main colour in a design or composition and the accompanying colour(s) chosen by the grid viewer to be a ‘pop’ of colour, used in the ratio of 9:1, main colour:pop colour.  Still, a grid such as this is a great jump-starter for playing with colour.

the colour gridI have been a bit of a colour hound for most of my life.  I gravitate towards colour combinations with quite a strong gut instinct in terms of what I like and what combinations I like.  I tend to go more for the ‘almost’ something colours… ie. a tan which is ‘almost’ green, but could also pass for a bronze or a gold.  Indigo, ‘almost’ violet, almost navy.

The grid does not disappoint in this respect as it provides a full range of tonal variations of pure colours such as violet, purple, blue, green, lime, yellow, orange, etc.  I know, technically (with my background in Fine Arts), what the grid does is pair what would be known in colour studies as complementary colours which are directly opposite each other in a colour wheel, a subject that’s been bandied around for centuries.  However, the simplicity of having the grid do the selection process for you and also emphasizing the selection by isolation, is great.

I think the Color Grid does what it claims to do,  that is, it helps one to choose colours with confidence.  I also think it invites us to consider colours and combinations we might  not always naturally gravitate to.  In the world of creativity, I think this is always a positive, to open up the box a little more sometimes and jump.

Note, I received this product from the creator in order to do a hands-on review.  However, I did not receive financial compensation for the writing of this article.  Opinions about the product are my own and may or may not be in agreement with other opinions.

Photos © Lori Law.

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Lori Law

Web: Oceanwind Knits & Musindigo

Lori Law learned to knit before she could read. Since then she’s spent a most of her time pursuing creative projects in the traditional arts (which led to a degree in Fine Arts) and through various fibre adventures which include knitting, designing, dyeing, spinning and weaving. Her online background includes web design as well as writing for various publications over the years and being the one-time editor of a large-scale online information site.