Thursday, 28 April 2016

The Colour Collaborate: April: Seedling

If you've been reading this blog for a while now then you may be familiar with the monthly "Colour Collaborative" posts. A group of us - and we have changed a little over the years as people have left and joined - post on an agreed date and theme around the subject of colour. My first post was in June 2013 at the very start of the project, and I wrote about Home, always a subject I'm happy to talk about.

But this will be my last Colour Collaborative post and now, at the end of my third year, feels like a natural time to step down. I spent a while looking back through these posts and one of the things that leapt out at me was how often I've ended up writing about nature. This isn't, and never will be, a nature blog. The natural world features here from time to time as part of the fabric of life, but you'll never find me correctly identifying a bird or flower, or offering gardening tips. Others do that so much better. And yet I wrote about nature a lot, about it's rich and varying colour, how it can be pale or bright, quiet or loud, and how endlessly inspiring it is. From the delicate silver and pink of dried hydrangea heads 

Fading - November 2013

to the palest and deepest pinks all tucked up inside the first bloom on a camellia bush
Bud - March 2014

to the pewters, grey and silvers of wet winter's day.

Storm - February 2014  
Colour and contrast and drama everywhere you look.

But the avenue I've really enjoyed exploring is the colour combinations that so often emerge within the natural world. I'll look at the colours really closely on, say, a bird or shell, and start thinking how utterly fantastic they look together, how perfectly matched and balanced they are, how harmonious. 

Some favourites include:

A plate of heirloom squashes in the autumn.
Halloween - October 2014

These beautiful ranunculus stems on a carefully laid table.

Tradition - April 2014

This splendid seagull, his colours reflecting the landscape behind him.

Bird - March 2015

The ear-like interior of a shell.

Found - June 2015

Maybe it's just me, but I can imagine so many scarves, blankets and throws, so many yarn or fabric based creations in the palates above, and I guess that's when it gets really fun for me. When I'm so taken with an idea that I go on to make something based on a colour combination I saw in nature, like the cushion below.

Inspired by the brown trees against winter sunsets and sunrises, the colours in this project chose themselves.

Wooly - January 2014 

And these four hoops - such a delight to make from start to finish - inspired by the colour changes in the seasons, which I wrote about in September 2014.

Which brings me all the way to today's prompt: seedling. I was struggling with this to be honest, as I'm sure you've realised by now, but it occurred to me that something which keeps me going, both in blogging and in real life, is the pure joy I find in making something with my hands, from the thinking and the choosing and the starting to the long process which brings an idea to fruition. And it my seedling of an idea comes from nature, then all the better. It does have the best colours after all. 

Thank you so much for reading and commenting on these posts. I hope you've enjoyed them.


Don't forget to visit the other Colour Collaborative blogs for more of this month's posts, just click on the links below:

Jennifer at Thistlebear
Claire at Above The River
Sarah at Mitenska 
Annie at Annie Cholewa will return next month.


  1. What a nice retrospective of your contributions to the CC, Gillian. I've enjoyed them all along the way. I'm proud to have been included in such a project with the likes of yourself. :) Thanks for all the lovely, thought-provoking posts.

  2. Love all the beautiful color combinations represented and I especially think your embroideries are just wonderful !! Such inspiration, thank you
    From Iowa, USA

  3. I'll miss your Colour Cooperative post Gillian, I have enjoyed everyone of them. x

  4. I have enjoyed your Colour Collaborative Posts a lot, but I know that I will go on enjoying your other posts too. A lovely review of some of your memories from over the years!

  5. I have enjoyed reading your colour collaborative posts and this one with your selection of photos has been set out beautifully. I really do like your embroidered pictures they depict the seasons perfectly.

  6. I have loved your Colour Collaborative posts - what a great retrospective. xx

  7. What a lovely post Gillian. We've enjoyed this journey with you, so thanks. You are a girl after my own heart with loving colour so much, which I've done since 'very' young. Will look forward to seeing all your future projects even without these pariculr ones. Have a great weekend and take care.

  8. Since my strong point is not in analyzing the details that make up the whole, I appreciate those like you who help me look at life from a different perspective and broaden my own outlook. It is exciting to see how the colors around you in the world have encouraged you to plan and then plant seedlings of ideas that grow into lovely creative projects, Gillian. Thanks for the Colour Collaborative posts you have published. xxxxxxx

  9. A beautiful post, such fantastic photos and gorgeous projects. I love those embroidery hoops of the seasons with the little ladybird in each one, and the photos to go with them. Stunning.

  10. A visual feast Gillian, beautifully put together, honestly, your pictures are a real treat. I love how you've picked out the colours from the natural world in your creative pieces. You have such a good eye when it comes to putting things together. I too will miss your Colour Collaborative posts, but I shall look forward to following your other posts. Wishing you and yours a good weekend. CJ xx

  11. Your Colour Collaborate posts were always wonderful, Gillian! Sorry to see you are not going to write them anymore, but I hope we'll still get to see plenty of colourful posts from you about your beautiful home and the world around you which inspires you so much!
    How are the kitchen works going on?

  12. Such a rich and interesting post. I'd love to know how you do the colour analysis blocks, I often see colours that I would love to put together in a knitting or crochet project and it would be handy to be able to lay them out in the way you do.

    1. Hi Sandra,

      Sorry it took me so long to respond, your comment didn't come through to my inbox so I didn't see it until now.

      They take a while to put together. I use a free online photo editing website called picmonkey. Click on edit and upload the photo you want. Click on the magic wand icon on the left hand side and scroll down until you see the option "draw" and select that. Click on the little pipette icon and then, as you move the cursor over your photo, you'll see all the different colours picked up in the chart on the left hand side. When you have the colour you want, right click and the colour will be selected. Using the paintbrush, block out your whole photo in that colour and save, and make sure you save it as something different - blue 1, say - and don't wipe the existing photo!

      Repeat until you have all the colours you want. Then, go back to the picmonkey homepage and select "collage". Upload your original photo and all your blocks of colour and play around with them until you have an arrangement you're happy with.

      Have fun!

    2. Gosh, quite a process - thank you so much for taking the time to explain it. No wonder they take some time to put them together - very effective though.
      Thanks again Gillian.

  13. A lovely post, I really enjoyed looking back at those pictures. Sad you're leaving, too but I know what you mean about things coming to a natural conclusion. I'm quietly working away behind the scenes to make a lot of changes to the blog. It's all about moving forward and evolving.
    I know you'll keep on celebrating colour, it's the first thing that comes to mind when I think of your blog x

  14. I'll miss your colour collaborative posts, Gillian, I've enjoyed all of those I've read. You have an extremely good eye for colour and I love seeing your photos and creative projects. Hope the kitchen is coming along well. Sam x

  15. A really lovely post, Gillian. Truly inspirational.
    Margaret P

  16. Love this post. The colour palettes you've generated are fantastic. I especially like the one from the shell.

  17. Hi Gillian, thanks for this great post. I would love to Pin the 4 seasons embroidery hoops but cannot find them on your Pinterest Boards. Would you fancy adding them?
    Lovely idea.

    1. Hi Sal,
      Sorry it took me so long to respond to this - your comment didn't show up in my inbox for some reason. I don't think I've used my pinterest account for a year at least (no time!!) but you can easily pin the images yourself if you wanted to and add them to your own interest board. But I really must do something with my pinterest account, even if it's just delete it!


  18. Oh how I'll miss your lovely colour collaboration posts. They have truly inspired me xx

  19. hello yes i too have thoroughly enjoyed these posts.Thank you for taking the time to write them.
    .... but lets get back to the kitchen!!
    how is it coming along? I have been thinking about you...

  20. You take so much care with your posts Gillian! I am mega-impressed! Your seasonal embroideries are truly beautiful X

  21. I loved this post. Those hoops were lovely I remember them fondly and they inspired my one for the cabin. I made a hoop when mark One was in existence. My man is working super hard this weekend building Mark two and I have made another hoop to celebrate but it needs some finishing touches. Have a great long weekend. Jo x

  22. One of the things I've always loved about The Colour Collaborative is that it's possible to interpret the prompts quite tangentially and still write a fascinating post, just as you have here.

    It's been lovely to share the 'CC' journey with you Gillian x

  23. what a beautiful post x love your photographs and colours and the way you interpret them x

  24. Some beautiful colour combinations... And you're right, some lovely inspiration for wooly makes!

  25. A beautiful and inspirational post Gillian. Your eye for colour is sublime. Hope the kitchen fitting is going well, you must be so excited to see it all come together.

  26. I love the photographs in this post - you always take great photos but I particularly like the first one here. I read the theme 'seedling' and the colours of that first photo made perfect sense. Pinks, peaches and soft greens: the colours of new growth and of spring.

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  28. What an excellent retrospective. You are an inspiration! I love the first picture and the colours beneath, they feel very now. Ive started work again and am struggling to blog at all, I don't know quite how you do it!

  29. I enjoyed visiting your blog. Lovely photos and inspirational projects. Continue the good work! Beautiful blog!


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