Colour Inspiration Tuesday: Aurora Star

Aurora Star color scheme from Clever Chameleon

Colour Inspiration Tuesday: From colour scheme to quilt block and beyond!

Bougainvillea Surprise color scheme from Clever Chameleon I love green and purple together. Always have, although I have not really given it any particular thought before. They look so strong and comfortable together, complementing and magnifying each other without competing. And it is a generous colour scheme…. you can add in other colours without making a hideous mess (usually). 


But until recently it flummoxed me why this is so. They are not complementary colours. They are two parts of a triadic colour scheme if you add in orange. But quite honestly, they can sing together without orange. Helen Godden, one of my all time favourite Australian quilt artists, shared a comment on facebook recently that helped make sense of the brilliance of purple and green. She says “It’s a well balanced combo. Both green and purple are blue (primary) based, one has yellow (primary) added and the other has red (primary) added so all bases are covered and it looks visually balanced.” I had never looked at it in this light before. Thanks Helen!

Aurora Star color scheme from Clever Chameleon

Colour Inspiration Tuesday: Aurora Star

This week I needed to make a once-off 12.5″ pieced quilt block. No further guidelines were given. Which is a much harder task than “make this block”, don’t you think? Anyway, I had no initial ideas beyond wanting to make a scrappy batik block in greens and purples. Thankfully, this past weekend we decorated our Christmas tree (earlier than normal), and that sparked of a whole raft of ideas. And like many of my ideas, the one I settled on came to me via a rather circuitous route. 

green star atop Christmas Tree
My daughter’s green star atop our tree. .You can also find a tutorial on how to make your own drum ornament like this one here.

On top of our tree this year is the paper star that my daughter made in Germany last Christmas. It is green. And her green star somehow reminded me of pictures I’ve seen of the Northern Lights, which are predominately green with purple. There are some amazing pictures of the Aurora Borealis on Unsplash.

Northern lights
Photo by Vincent Guth

While I am not a bucket-list kind of person, the northern aurora is one thing I do want to see one day. I was fortunate enough to see small southern auroras from my home twice when I was a teen and I will never forget them.

Anyway, getting back to the point, I started wondering whether people take pictures of Venus (the Morning Star/Evening Star) with the auroras. And of course they do. One of the photographers I have featured before has even shared one on UnSplash. The amazing Jonatan Pie.

Aurora and Venus

But in the end it was his photo of the aurora at sunset that captured my colour imagination. 

Aurora at sunset

So I put all these ideas together and decided to make a simple aurora star block in green and purple with splashes of sunset colours. Here is what I made.

Aurora Star block

Aurora star block

It turns out that I didn’t have as many green batik scraps at hand as I thought. But I am still happy with my pretty little block. Of course now I want to make a whole quilt! hahahaha! But that Vanuatu Turtle quilt is the next thing in line for attention, so I shan’t. 

Want to make your own Aurora Star?

Now it turns out that there is truly very little new under the sun. A little digging revealed that Em of Sewing by Moonlight has already shared a very good tutorial on how to construct the block I wanted to make. So I decided not to re-invent the wheel. I can tell you that the template she provides works very well, so if you would like to make this block, I wholeheartedly refer you to her post. About the only change I made was that I did not trim the outside edges of the block until I had it all constructed and blocked it square.

Of course, Em’s reasons for making this block were completely different to mine…. if you place multiples of this block together side by side you get octagons (spider webs) with stars in between. But if I were to make a quilt from today’s aurora star idea I would actually use offset blocks to break up the octagons. Because I would want to emphasise the stars in a sea of aurora colours and swirls. Something like this…..

Aurora Star Quilt 1

Or this….

Aurora Star Quilt 2

Or maybe with most of the stars darkened out for the sky…… I think this is my favourite so far.

Aurora Star quilt design


Today’s photos are from Unsplash is a collection of free, high resolution, “do what you want with” photos. Credit is not required, but I’m sure you’d love to know who is being so generous with their talent. Accordingly, the aurora photos that inspired me to make the aurora star block were provided by Jonatan Pie. Be sure to check out his collection of photos on Unsplash.

Jonatan Pie

You can also see Vincent Guth’s photos here.
Vincent Guth

green clever chameleon logo

I hope you enjoyed today’s Colour Inspiration Tuesday! Let me know if you’ve been lucky enough to see Aurora Borealis! Or share your favourite aurora quilt with me – I know there are quite a few bargello versions out there. You can send pictures via the blue, round email icon at the very very bottom of this page. I always love to hear from my readers! 

P.S. If you like vivid colours and free-motion quilting, you are sure to like Helen Godden’s work. If you are not already familiar with this amazing quilt artist, then go check her out. She is my recommendation for the week.

P.P.S. If you would like to use Jonatan’s photos or another Colour Inspiration Tuesday photo for your own projects, you can easily find all the Unsplash photos from Colour Inspiration Tuesday in one place for free in my Colour Inspiration Collection.

P.PP.S. Check out the other hubs of creative activity I am linking up with this week:
Main Crush Monday
Love Laugh Quilt
Quilt Fabrication
Sew Fresh Quilts
Freemotion by the River
Busy Hands Quilts
Crazy Mom Quilts
And a new party for me this week: Moving It Forward at Em’s Scrapbag

12 Replies to “Colour Inspiration Tuesday: Aurora Star”

  1. I so enjoyed seeing those dramatic photos, nature does have the best colour combinations. Your star block is a lovely reflection of the colours, well done.

    1. Hi Susan! The great thing about a photo like that is the number of colour combinations you could pull out! I’m sure on a different day, in a different mood, I’d do something entirely different too! 🙂

    1. Thanks Christina. I really enjoyed making this block and wish I had time to do the whole thing! Batiks….. most definitely my favourite of all fabrics.

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