SAQA Seminar 2021 - Color

Member Program

Many will say that color is the most important element in art. So, as textile artists, do we really know what color is? How is it used? How is it different by medium, by culture? Why does color matter? 

The Education Committee has worked hard to put together a meaningful experience exploring color and many of its aspects. Humans are visual creatures. Since early in their development, they made color images on cave walls to describe their experience of living. 

In this seminar, you can explore the source of color; various color theories; what it means to work with color; the science of color; how artists use color; and the history, language, and culture of color through interviews, articles, and interactive exercises. A gallery from our online collection also accompanies each unit. This is not a “how-to” seminar, but an exploration of concepts and the experience of color.

Available Units
Welcome to SAQA’s 2021 Seminar on Color. Through our introductory unit, we hope you will explore your current relationship to color.
Color Theory

Once colors were seen through a prism, scientists started to create color theories to assist in understanding color and its uses. Color theory and the use of the color wheel sounds like a topic we all recognize. But do you...

Working with Color
Artists work with color all the time. In this unit, we want to introduce methods of being intentional about using color.
Getting Technical with Color
Significant scientific work has been done to understand light and color. This includes the basic physical science of light and color, as well as the impact color has on the psychology of human beings. Here we explore both sciences to help understand our physical and psychological reaction to color.
Using Color
Artists in different media have used color in many ways, from vibrant primary color palettes to nuanced neutrals to striking black and white. In this unit, we will explore how various artists have used color throughout history. 
History, Language, and Culture of Color
Color has cultural context. It’s had a significant impact on human history and the history of art, be it through availability, trade, design, or fashion. Cultures use language to describe color in a variety of ways; the emotional interpretation of color is also culture-dependent.
Wrapping up

Over the last six weeks, we have presented you with a great deal of information about color, its science, its impact, its use, and its context. This is an opportunity to integrate what you have learned and share it with...

Featured Content
SAQA Seminar (Video Conversation)
Director of the Wayne Art Center in Wayne, Pennsylvania, Nancy Campbell, and Artist Cindy Friedman have a retrospective chat about Art Quilt Elements and some of the color trends observed in that exhibition over the years.
SAQA Seminar (Video Conversation)

Luana Rubin, co-owner of, explains how the Color Marketing Group operates and how forecasting predicts color changes in all aspects of your life: clothes, cars, hotels, appliances, and more.

SAQA Seminar (Video Conversation)
Ready for a deeper dive into color vision, the Munsell color system, and the history and development of color theory? Then this video with painter and art teacher David Briggs is for you!
SAQA Seminar (Video Conversation)
Join Susan Fohr in a tour across time and countries as she uses pieces from the collection of the Textile Museum of Canada for illustration.
SAQA Seminar (Video Conversation)
See how artist and fabric illustrator Kestrel Michaud does design and color decision-making using technology as part of the design process.
SAQA Seminar (Video Conversation)
Hear artist and teacher David Hornung talk about the basics of color and color theory in the context of art.
SAQA Seminar (Video Conversation)
International Quilt Museum curator of collections Dr. Carolyn Ducey leads us through an introduction to color theory illustrated by quilts from the museum's collection, and answers the question "How is color theory like mayonnaise?".
SAQA Seminar (Video Conversation)
Katie Pasquini Masopust explains how to use color to get a finished composition that has depth and illumination. Choosing a compositional layout and colors from a color wheel is a great way to start a new piece with the hard decisions already made!
SAQA Seminar (Video Conversation)
Lori Weitzner, Principal and Creative Director of Lori Weitzner Design, is internationally known for her contributions to the world of textiles. This is the recording of her live webinar on March 4, 2021.
SAQA Seminar (Video Conversation)
Nancy Bavor, Executive Director of the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, talks about color trends by decade, what was happening inside and outside the contemporary quilt world, and how this is reflected in artworks.
SAQA Seminar (Video Conversation)
Hollis Chatelain talks about color from an emotional point of view because she believes that we react emotionally to art, and color is what pulls us in or repels us. 
SAQA Seminar (Article)
Noted thread painter Carol Shinn shares her process for creating her image and the colors used to complete them. Her use of color to create moods and shadow is masterful.
SAQA Seminar (Article)
SAQA artist Michelle Jackson explores how she uses color to capture, express, and stimulate emotion.
SAQA Seminar (Article)
For the next seven weeks, SAQA’s Education Committee invites you to play with color. We will be exploring lots of aspects of color, but before we get into the details, let’s start with play.
SAQA Seminar (Article)
This article reviews some of Christopher’s research about facial color being a response to and a trigger for human behavior in a very engaging way. 
SAQA Seminar (Article)
In this article, artist and author James Gurney talks about limiting your palette within a piece and provides several strategies for doing just that.
SAQA Seminar (Article)
Maria Elkins describes how she used Munsell Color Theory to expand her color range within her work. She includes helpful photos of her fabric stash sorted according to hue and value.
SAQA Seminar (Article)
Linda Colsh, a long-time SAQA member, reflects on her use of color and why she has been working in neutrals for several years.
SAQA Seminar (Exercise)
Try out this color exercise by David Hornung from his book Color: A Workshop for artists and designers.
SAQA Seminar (Exercise)
Try out this exercise from Katie Pasquini Masopust. She takes us through making a fabric color wheel and some exercises using different color schemes.
SAQA Seminar (Exercise)
Try this creative way to come up with a color scheme using words and the Fibonacci sequence. You will be surprised by the result!

Frequently Asked Questions

When do I have to be at my computer for SAQA Seminar?

SAQA Seminar content is delivered each Monday afternoon via email and will also be available online. So you can review everything on your own schedule, even if you join late.

Each unit may includes video conversations, articles, optional activities, a related gallery, and some resource links. We do encourage you to join us for our weekly Live Chat sessions where you can talk about each unit with other participants and/or participate in the SAQA Members-Only Facebook group.

Most of these Zoom chats will NOT be recorded as they are are casual conversations in breakout rooms. If we do have special guests with presentations, we will record that portion. Details will be included in your weekly SAQA Seminar emails.

What is SAQA Seminar?

Launched in 2016, SAQA Seminar is an annual project offered through the Education Committee just for SAQA members. We wanted to provide members with opportunities to learn more about a particular topic, share their expertise, ask questions, have conversations, and meet new people.

SAQA Seminar is a multi-media collection of content that will be released weekly over a 6 to 8 week period. It will include articles, resources, video conversations, and more. The content is not instructional in nature but a guided tour through topics of interest. Weekly Zoom meetings give you a chance to discuss the topics with other participants and share our creative journeys.

SAQA Seminar is NOT a traditional retreat, workshop, class or conference - there are enough spots for everyone to participate as long as you are a SAQA member. All the offerings are available online and can be accessed even after the Seminar is over (check out our archives from past seminars).