I’ve had a very tumultuous relationship with the color gray. It started in my teens. It was the 70s and I was in love with a 3-piece gray wool pant suit. It’s hard to believe I ever wanted a suit never mind what colour it was or why, as a teenager, I felt I needed one, but there you have it. All my enthusiasm flatlined once I tried the thing on. I looked sick. Not just a little under the weather, more like I stopped in to pick up an outfit on my way to the emergency room. My beloved suit stayed on the rack along with countless other pieces of gray clothing over the years. They called to me like siren songs only to leave me standing in the fitting room feeling disappointed,duped and looking sickly. I eventually dismissed gray as a killjoy and not for me. By extension, when I came to the world of rug hooking and fibre art, gray was simply not a part of any color palette I chose. Ever.
A few years ago I was challenged to wet felt something using a color I didn’t like. I could have fudged it, no one knew my true feelings and sordid history with gray but I decided to give it a go. With a heavy heart I went to the various shades of gray roving pile and made my selection. I covet gray in many contexts but with our checkered history I didn’t want to touch it or have it on my work table. Face to face with this fluffy, innocent pile of rovings I became aware of the depth of my aversion. Without fully realizing it, I had completely blocked it’s creative potential and taken it right off my radar.
You can probably guess what happened next. When I started to work with it I saw it differently. Like every colour there were at least 50 shades, some warm;some cool. Initially, gray and I found common ground with the warm pewter tones. They played really well with the bold, bright colours I’m obsessed with. My stash of gray yarns and materials is growing all the time and gray continues to charm it’s way into my colour palettes. I’m even sporting a gray wool winter coat these days.(with a mandatory bright scarf) After a long exile,gray seems fresh and new and gives my creativity butterflies. I’m all dreamy and fantasizing about an all gray, tone on tone, art piece. We’re getting along so well I want to doodle D.K. + G. and draw a big heart around it speared by cupid’s arrow. I may as well just confess- I love gray!
East Chezzetcook, Nova Scotia
Fish Market, Venice, Italy
A nighttime view of my Alberta Craft Council show from the outside looking in.