Yoko Saito’s Japanese Taupe Color Theory is an amazing book in several ways. This well-written and beautifully illustrated book begins with a compilation of 20 Japanese taupe color collections and a series of lovely small projects to practice applying taupe color theory to fabric selection. The luscious fabrics used are a combination of Japanese yarn-dyed homespuns and printed fabrics in a neutral color range with some subtle touches of pink, blue, and green. Since many Japanese taupes are neutrals and not found on a traditional color wheel, the author provides Taupe Color Wheels for each collection.
Interspersed in the middle of the book are 18 more inspiring color collections and projects. The quilted projects in the book include several purses and bags as well as wall hangings, table toppers, and pillows, have Yoko Saito’s distinct stamp of traditional piecing and appliqué adapted to highlight the beauty of Japanese taupe fabrics. Basic patchwork directions, project instructions, and full-sized patterns are found at the end of the book.
Going beyond the color theory concepts of warm versus cool colors and color value contrasts of light and dark, Yoko Saito recommends thinking of colors using your five senses - seeing, hearing, smelling, taste, and touch. For example some of her lovely color palettes include café au lait, orange, bitter chocolate, dark cherry, herb garden, spice salt, and forest. To really understand Japanese taupe color theory, the author encourages the reader to study the color collections, find words to describe the colors in terms of their senses, and follow the step-by-step directions for developing and using a Taupe Color Wheel to guide fabric selection for a new project.