Saturday, June 1, 2013

Chroma de Newton

Color wheels are amazing orbs.

Chroma de Newton, 2013.

When I found a color wheel hand-drawn by one of my all-time science crushes, Sir Isaac Newton, I felt giddy. His fascination with the color spectrum thrilled me. And like most things I stumble upon that capture my attention, I instantly wanted to stitch it.

Detail of chain stitched "grout."

But I don't wind up stitching everything I want to. Time constraits, my own distractibility, an overly exuberant nature... these all stop me from tackling every project I play with in my sketchbook. 

Newton's color wheel.

So I filed away Newton's color wheel with all of my other ideas.  

Then, early one morning, in those liminal hours between sleeping, dreaming and waking, the image of Newton's drawing flooded back into my imagination.

"Chroma" in Morse code along the edge. Always.

I had just selected the "Blinded by Science" theme for the Phat Quater swap (which I host), but I had no idea what I wanted to make. In the dark, almost colorless bedroom, a shimmering image Newton's color wheel, suspended over something like multi-colored, mosaic stones, floated into my consciousness. I woke up describing it before I understood what I was even talking about. 

And, just then, I knew that I had to try to make it for the uber talented Elli Course, a.k.a. Sister Twisty.

Newton's codes, in his own writing, for light refraction.

But how to translate the mosaics of my imagination into a textile piece? I decided to experiment with paper-pieced, 3/4 inch hexagons. And to simulate the charcoal grout with a think chain stitch.

Silver foxy Sir Isaac.

I've never stitched over paper-pieced ground fabric before. But I love layers in my textiles (layers of stitch, layers of fabric) so I will go back to this again. Perhaps try different shapes for my paper-piecing.

Chroma de Newton, 2013, framed.

Chroma de Newton's journey to York, U.K., was fraught, but after being locked up in British customs for what I'm sure was bad behavior, it finally found its way to Elli.

More colors and color wheels in my life, please. Just bought vintage film reel because with reminded me of a color wheel... time to play with that!


  1. Thanks Olisa, I just love it! And Newton is quite the silver fox ;)

  2. Oh, what a wonderful piece. Fantastic to hear how it came about.

  3. Ha! my "prove you're not a robot" word was just "Isaac"

  4. Dang, Olisa this is fab! All those hexies, all that gorgeous chain stitch, all that awesome Newton! You rock!

  5. so good! i'm so glad it made it to its destination. :)

  6. gorgeous ! Absolutely gorgeous.

  7. Thank you SO MUCH, all! Your encouragements means the absolute world to me. And how funny is it that Isaac was the secret code, Lisa!