You won’t learn color theory in a more beautiful way than this!

Did you know that, in Japan, quilters and other artists study under a single master, spending years progressing from simple techniques to the extremely difficult? Yoko Saito is one of those masters, and she currently mentors more than 400 students!

Salt color collectionOne of the most important lessons Ms. Saito teaches her students is about working with color. And if you’ve seen her designs, you know that she’s created a whole world of color that defines her signature look. She calls her color style “taupe color.” The palette plays with a range of neutrals, from whites, beiges, and tans to browns, grays, and blacks, and everything in between—and there’s a LOT of in between for playing!

Ms. Saito has shared her approach to taupe color with her students for many years; but in her book Yoko Saito’s Japanese Taupe Color Theory, she shares her approach with you. If you love Ms. Satio’s work, you’ll be enchanted by this in-depth guide to her methods for choosing colors across a taupe palette.

Yoko Saito's Japanese Taupe Color Theory

In this 146-page, photo-packed volume, Ms. Saito created 20 taupe-color collections to study. Each collection—with intriguing names such as “Café au Lait,” “Bitter Chocolate,” and “Herb Garden”—contains swatches, a color wheel, and detailed tips for creating a similar color collection.

Spicy Salt color collection
Spicy Salt color collection

Her reflections on combining color, hue, pattern, and texture for each color story are enlightening—they’ll really get you thinking about how different fabrics play together. One of many revealing passages in the book is when Ms. Saito shares how she starts a new color collection: by choosing a descriptive phrase (such as “sweet and sour”), and then pulling fabrics that remind her of that phrase. She encourages you to do the same.

In addition to the 20 color collections, Ms. Saito breaks down 14 of her finished projects and reveals how and why she chose fabric for each project. It’s a fascinating peek inside the mind of a master.

Finally, Ms. Saito concludes the book with 18 step-by-step projects to make using the taupe-color theory you’ve learned, including:

Cafe au Lait Handbag and Pouch
Café au Lait handbag and pouch

Cocoa Cookie Handbag
Cocoa Cookie handbag

Marshmallow Handbag
Marshmallow handbag

Orange handbag
Orange handbag (yes—she uses splashes of color from the traditional color wheel too!)

And did we mention that the book is GORGEOUS, just like Ms. Saito’s other books? It IS.

From Yoko Saito's Japanese Taupe Color Theory

Yoko SaitoIn her introduction, Ms. Saito says, “Taupe is not just gray, or ‘tea colored.’ The world of taupe that I created encompasses not only a variety of colors, but the subtle manipulation of them. Take a hue and add a tint or shade in small degrees from light to dark. Or imagine steeping tea and watching the color becoming deeper and deeper until the flavor is robust. This is the simplicity and complexity of taupe colors . . . this is how my taupe world was born.”

To order your copy of Yoko Saito’s Japanese Taupe Color Theory, visit our website, ShopMartingale. The book also makes a great Christmas gift for other creative people in your life and for Yoko Saito fans!

When it comes to color theory, are you:

  • Comfortable with choosing colors, values, hues, and prints
  • Keen on learning more about how colors work together
  • Kinda clueless!

Tell us in the comments!


52 Comments (leave a comment)

  • kinda clueless

    —marlene Auret on December 6, 2017
  • I can usually pick my colors pretty well but am always open to learning more.

    —Peggy on December 6, 2017
  • While I love color, I would love to learn more about Ms. Saito’s methods for choosing colors, especially taupes.

    —Lenny on December 6, 2017
  • I’m keen to learn more about color. Who better than Yoko to learn this from. I love her palette.

    —Angelia Ulrich on December 6, 2017
  • Choosing colors is always the hardest part of making a quilt for me. I am not very adventerous. I have so much to learn about color! I love Yoko Saito’s previous books and winning this book would be awesome!!!

    —Patty on December 6, 2017
  • I am pretty comfortable with color. I make scrap quilts and people comment on the way the fabrics work so well together. My daughters are artist and I can’t draw so quilting is my medium. I love the colors in her book. The idea that anything goes in a scrap quilt is wrong. It takes a lot of thought. That is what I enjoy with quilting. I almost never make it the same as the pattern.

    —Kay Menefee on December 6, 2017
  • Always interested in learning more and Ms. Sakti is a master. I would love this book

    —amy f on December 6, 2017
  • I am very keen to learn more on how colour works!

    —Deb on December 6, 2017
  • always want to learn more!

    —Amy W on December 6, 2017
  • I try hard, but still kinda clueless.

    —Angie on December 6, 2017
  • Always keen on learning more about colors and values.

    —Tamara Isaacs-Smith on December 6, 2017
  • I am comfortable with color for the most part. Beautiful projects! Amazing!
    Mary

    —Mary Kastner on December 6, 2017
  • Choosing colours is my favourite part of quilting. My original choices aren’t always successful, but "if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again."

    —Carol Johnson on December 6, 2017
  • Understanding color theory is on going. I learn something new with every quilt I make and see.

    —Jean N. on December 6, 2017
  • I just go and pick out my primary color and then I hope for the best that the secondary colors go to together. Been pretty lucky so far. I would love to learn more about colors.

    —Patricia on December 6, 2017
  • Keen on learning more about how colours work together as I would like to achieve more subtlety in my colour choices. There is so much to learn!

    Marly on December 6, 2017
  • I just go and pick out my primary color and then I hope for the best that the secondary colors go to together. Been pretty lucky so far. I would love to learn more about colors.

    —Patricia S on December 6, 2017
  • I’m kind of clueless too

    carolyn on December 6, 2017
  • Keen on learning more about how colors work together

    —carol on December 6, 2017
  • I don’t think I’ll ever be 100% confident in my ability to work with color. I cannot learn enough! Fascinating!

    —Deb Bradley on December 6, 2017
  • I am keen on learning more ….
    I LOVE Yoko Saito’s ‘taupe colour’ and look forward to studying her techniques in this book!

    —Cher Merriman on December 6, 2017
  • Keen on learning more about color theory

    —Joel Sellers on December 6, 2017
  • I enjoy choosing colors for new quilt projects, but I would love to learn more about Ms. Saito’s techniques.

    —Julie in GA on December 6, 2017
  • Keen on learning much, much more – it is fascinating to see the results of such a study centered on what is comminly viewed as a neutral color.

    —Colleen on December 6, 2017
  • Usually I use color wheel, would be nice to have a taupe color wheel. Love Ms Saito’s work.

    —Marilyn on December 6, 2017
  • I am comfortable chosing colors for hand made items like quilts. As an Art Major in school I did a lot of color theory studies. I think I can do well in picking color combinations.

    —Jackie Wisherd on December 6, 2017
  • I would love to learn more.

    —Peggy Hallstrom on December 6, 2017
  • I am intrigued by taupes and want to learn more!

    —Rita Nichols on December 6, 2017
  • Keen on learnong more

    —Barbara Sikich on December 6, 2017
  • I am keen on learning more. I have gotten a little more comfortable but could still use some help.

    —Marilyn S on December 6, 2017
  • I have a lot to learn about choosing colors.

    —gail on December 6, 2017
  • I’m comfortable choosing colors, values, hues and prints! My favorite part of making a quilt!

    —Susan Spiers on December 6, 2017
  • I always ready to learn something new especially about colours :o)

    —Györgyi Varga on December 7, 2017
  • I am keen on learning more about how colors work together. I have several of Ms. Saito’s books. They are fascinating and beautiful.

    —Ann Brassell on December 7, 2017
  • The best part of quilting, for me, is the time I spend deciding on colour.I am not always confident of my choices and am always looking for a formula that makes sense to me. Yoko Saito’s book would, I am sure, inspire any quilter. Thanks for the chance to win this beautiful book.

    —Joan Wilson on December 7, 2017
  • I’m fairly confident in choosing colors, but would love to learn more about the subtle colors of Japanese quilting.

    —Ruth on December 7, 2017
  • I need to learn more…just bought a colour wheel & one of those red blocks that removed colour to see values…..very surprised at some of the fabrics I’ve looked at! Thanks for the chance to win this great looking book.

    —suzanne on December 7, 2017
  • kinda clueless!

    —Denise Campbell on December 7, 2017
  • Clueless, I’m afraid.

    —bookboxer on December 8, 2017
  • Always ready to learn more but I think I do ok😊

    —Kelly on December 8, 2017
  • Keen on learning more about how colours work together. I have been studying Yoko Saito’s books: her fine handwork, fabric selections and colour choices. I wish I was one of her 400 students!!

    —Debbie on December 8, 2017
  • I’m very comfortable with my fabric choices but, love learning and expanding my knowledge, would really enjoy and benefit from this book.

    —Judi Casias on December 8, 2017
  • I think it is a constant learning process.you are never to old to learn. I like experimenting with color,value, and scale.

    —Liz Dyer on December 8, 2017
  • Yep I fall in the "kinda clueless" catagory. I really struggle with this and really want to learn how to select just the right colors and hues.

    —Pam C on December 8, 2017
  • Colour is everywhere and one can always learn more about it. The use of taupe in quilting is very interesting and beautiful, I would love to know more about working with taupe.

    —coralie wallace on December 8, 2017
  • I can pull colors from a main piece, but am definitely open to learning more. And Ms. Saito’s work is amazing; would love to learn more about it.

    —Nicole M on December 8, 2017
  • Color has always been a problem for me. I have gone through a workbook on color theory and I do not feel any different than I did before I studied. Perhaps it is hopeless for me, I just go by intuition and am not totally comfortable with that.

    —Joan Kniffen on December 8, 2017
  • Keen on learning more… What I picture in my mind is never quite the way it looks when I am done.

    —JanG on December 8, 2017
  • I am comfortable with my ability to choose colors for quilts. However, Ms. Saito has mastered the subtle nuances of the neutral palette.

    —Linda Towers on December 10, 2017
  • Keen on learning more about how colours work together.

    —Vanessa on December 13, 2017
  • I really like to look at them, but use them when the right pattern shows up.

    —Cindy on December 13, 2017
  • I generally have a project in mind when it comes to choosing fabric.Sometimes if I like the original colour of the project I go with that and get similar look. But more often and not, I go to the store with my project and start looking at the fabrics first to see what comes forth. If a particular colour stands out and I like it, I start selecting. I look at the colour also within the fabric and start looking for complimentary fabrics as well. That will guide in your selection. Often by changing the size of print I often change up my selection choices. I also choose plain fabrics as they act as blending agents of colour and an opportunity to add texture. What is important to know you can’t learn colour overnight it take plenty of time and it’s a learning curve too. So I always ask my local fabric store owner or assistant to help if I get stuck. Never be afraid of asking for help and often a second opinion is always helpful and sometime not! Enjoy your colour choices and never be afraid of choosing colour. Julie

    —Julie Beard on December 15, 2017

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