Last month’s post was an introduction on the keys to creating a dramatic and dynamic background, through deliberate absence and use of edges. This month, we’re going to continue on the subject of backgrounds by discussing how color and color accents can complete your projects beautifully.
My “Karen” rug uses color as a key aspect of the background. I decided when planning the project that the main motif of the rug was going to be the peonies. Everything else, including the scrolls and other flowers were going to be in support of the peonies. Once I decided the peonies would be orange, it became easy to choose blue for the remaining elements in the rug, as that is the complementary color. The scrolls, remaining flowers, and background are all hooked with the same navy color, in various values. This creates a “navy wash” that visually pulls the scrolls and small flowers into the background, to support the peonies. The navy color is also very grounding – it sets the rug off well when placed on the floor.
If you read last month’s post, you might recognize that the background of this rug also uses edges in the soft echoing of the shape of leaves used elsewhere in the pattern, similar to the technique I used in my “Jack in the Green” rug.
Color accents are related to the surrounding colors, but when chosen carefully, can represent different effects. Usually color accents are seen in choices like using “poison colors.” In my “H2O Lily Pad” rug, the beaded flower is the obvious focal point. The lily pad leaf, and especially, the water, are in support of the beaded element. Taken as a whole, the water in this rug looks like a pretty standard take on hooked water. However, the closer you look at the water, the more you might notice colors you would consider “unusual” in the normal context of what we think water looks like.
I hooked neon green, bright purple, orange, and turquoise wools into the water as accents. That sounds crazy as a concept, but it works very well in this rug. I specifically chose to use these accent colors in the background to give the impression that the water was moving and reflecting light and other nearby items. Adding color accents to your background can be very effective in showing movement and reflected light. It causes the eye to scan and take in the entire rug.
When I approach the background of a rug, I think of it as the environment in which the motifs of my rug reside. It becomes a living space, of sorts. Bringing a thoughtful approach to your backgrounds can really enhance your entire rug. In addition to color, and color accents, I also use deliberate absence and edges when planning my backgrounds. A combination of these four aspects in the background can inspire the viewer’s eye to truly see your rug’s key motifs, to their best advantage.
Have you used any of the four key aspects that I discussed this month and last? Do you have any tips or tricks you like to use in hooking your backgrounds? I would love to hear about them in the comments below!
2 thoughts on “Dynamic and Dramatic Backgrounds 102”
Thank you for sharing your goals and the thought process you use in your backgrounds. I am working on a rug now and trying to implement the soft edges in echoing in my background. My husband who always comments on my rugs has complimented me twice on “specifically” how the background is looking!
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Then I think both of you deserve a gold star !🌟