I’m Tien Chiu. I’m an award-winning weaver, expert dyer, and a frequent contributor to Handwoven and other weaving magazines.
My focus is color in weaving, and here at Warp & Weave, I teach about color through my online courses and in-depth blog articles.
But I didn’t start out as a color expert. In fact, when I got started, I had no art background at all! My parents are both scientists, and I majored in math at a science and engineering school. If you’d seen what I wore in high school and college, you’d have known I had zero color sense. Absolutely none.
So when I started designing my own projects, I had more than my share of disasters. Here’s one of my early projects:
I tried dyeing my own yarns, and didn’t realize that blue and red would combine into purple-brown, not brilliant violet. And I didn’t realize that purple and yellow, in the weave structure I’d chosen, would mix into dirty brown. So the bright shawl I’d wanted turned muddy. I shoved it into a drawer.
Another early experiment also turned into disaster. I was weaving bookmarks, and thought that sage green and orange might make an interesting combination. Unfortunately, the green and orange blurred into an awful mess. (The bookmark got shoved into the drawer, too!)
But I persevered. I studied color theory. I wove dozens, then hundreds of color samples. I dyed over 2,000 yarn samples to learn about color mixing. And eventually, I did understand color in weaving, and I started turning out beautiful, colorful work.
My lack of color sense actually proved to be a huge advantage, because I couldn’t just rely on intuition. I had to study color. I had to understand it, to analyze it logically, to perform systematic experiments to understand how it works. And I realized that – holy cow, stop the presses, how did I miss that before!! – color follows rules. Color makes sense.
Many people believe that designing beautiful work requires innate gifts, and that if you don’t have those gifts, you can’t create beauty no matter how hard you try. That’s simply not true. I’m living proof of that. Anyone can create beautiful work if they understand how color works.
Color and design follow fundamental principles, rules that are founded in the way our eyes see, and the way our culture interprets what we see. If you study and practice how color works, you can use color. It’s as simple as that.
And I can teach it to you.
Here are some ways to get started:
Color Courage for Weavers is my online course about color in weaving. It comes in two versions, a multimedia course and an online workshop. I’m releasing it in early December; you can sign up for early notification here.
I also write blog posts regularly about color in weaving. You can read all the articles here.
Finally, if you sign up for my newsletter, you’ll get notification of new blog posts and upcoming courses – and you’ll also get my free e-book about color in weaving!