Forays Into Neutral Territory

July 08, 2016

Forays Into Neutral Territory

Studio Artist, Kimber O’brien shares her experiences at Carol Soderland’s dye workshop held at the Crow Timber Frame Barn. Kimber’s mission: to bring back the knowledge to expand the depth and breadth of the Blue Fish color palette with complex and evocative neutrals.

Traveling to Nancy Crow’s barn for Carol Soderlund’s dye workshop, “Neutral Territories,” was a phenomenal experience. Upon first arriving at the farmhouse I’d be staying at in Ohio, I felt a sense of great calm. Rhythms seemed dictated by the “moo” of cows and the lazily shifting clouds. Needless to say, I slept like a baby that night.

The following day was a bit different! Onward to Nancy Crow’s property, with my new friend, Stefani, an architect enrolled in a rigorous studio class with Nancy. We headed out early in the morning and wouldn’t be home to the cows until a bit after 9pm. This was to be an intense exploration into the nature of color and how to achieve a neutral color palette via dyeing techniques.

The barn turned out to be an absolute art haven- surrounded by woods, and internally lined in art from all over the world- African, Australian, Mexican, you name it. It was essentially a museum for all the artifacts Nancy and her husband John, collected over their lifelong travels. For an entire workweek, this would essentially be my second home, and I felt the influences of all the various cultures seeping into my subconscious art mind. I began to ponder how these new visions might impact our upcoming designs over at Blue Fish.

Between the unending museum inside the barn and the natural environment itself, I was just about filled up, “Ok, I’ve got plenty of inspiration, time to go back home and get to work at Blue Fish! This will change everything!” Oh, wait, it was only the first day. No, the first hour at the barn.

I headed downstairs, into our art studio, and met my official teacher for the week, Carol Soderlund, an epic color magician, capable of dyeing any of the infinite hues imaginable to the human eye. The week’s focus? “Neutral Territory”- an expedition into the discovery of all the glorious hues sandwiched in between our beloved primary colors.

This is a task easier said than done, as one can never quite anticipate the behavior of pigment once you begin to break it down and assess its nature. Pigment, as it turns out, is a rather complex entity, with a mind of its own. For those 5 days, we were all scientists. I sat there with actual scientists- a retired geophysicist, an architect, a retired biologist. We worked together to “dye in between the cracks,” as Carol calls the process of unveiling hidden neutral hues. It was a lofty pursuit, but we were well prepared for late nights with beakers and calculators in hand.

After much work, we came out of our art lair with a rich lexicon of purple-grays, blue-greys, green-greys, toasty sienna hues, an array of blacks- some cool, some warm. Not only had we come up with an incredibly extensive catalogue of neutral colors, I’d also been introduced to some new screen printing and fabric dyeing techniques! Woohoo! This could be a big gamechanger for Blue Fish!

I feel overjoyed to start putting all this new knowledge into effect here at Blue Fish!

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Size Guide


Blue Fish sizing is uniquely ours. We have developed this system to fit many body types, shapes, & heights comfortably. Here is the Blue Fish size chart and its traditional size equivalent:

00 – only available in select styles. fits up to size 6

0 – fits up to size 10

1 – fits ups to size 16

2 – fits up to size 22

3 – only available in our studio tees & some tunics. fits up to size 26

O/S – one size that fits most customers

Remember that each style is unique & has different measurements--please check the size chart on your item of interest for exact measurements! One style may fit you differently than other styles you have worn before and we strongly recommend checking the measurements before making your purchase.


You might wear a combination of sizes depending on your body shape and how you prefer the drape of your clothing. For instance, you might wear a size 0 pants and a size 1 top. If you prefer looser, more flowy clothing, size up--if you prefer more fitted pieces, choose those closer to your actual measurements. We provide measurements for each style so you can find the best fit for the way you like to wear your Blue Fish.  

If you ever have questions about the fit of our clothing, just give us a call! We will help you find the specific styles that will work best for you. Call us at 800.395.4566 M-F from 9-5 CST to speak to our personal shoppers. You can also email us with any questions at