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Getting Back on Track

Yes, I am still here!  What happened to me since my last post?  Well, things like chocolate chip cookies, writing poetry, planting seeds, fresh baked bread, spring flowers, bird watching and so on.  Of course, I have been stitching too, though my color and design project is definitely going to be a two year endeavor.  Other than the neutral palette pieces that I have previously introduced, I have pieces started for the second workshop (monochrome) and the third workshop (complementary color).  Additionally, I have selected fabric for no less than six collages dealing with the fourth workshop, complex complements.  I’m getting back on track with posting once a week here, so please check back for profiles of my continuing color adventures.  I will discuss the monochrome workshop next week.  Meanwhile, here is a picture of one of my neutral palette collages with some stitching:

The first workshop also incorporates an investigation of balance as it relates to art design.  This is the example for radial balance, where the design emerges from a main focal point.  This particular collage also uses informal or asymmetrical balance, even though I have another collage for that type of balance.  I am finding that some pieces of art straddle more than one category of certain design elements.  In these cases, a piece of art will usually be a better representative of one category more than another.  When I finish my intended sample of informal balance, I will post it alongside this radial balance piece, and I’ll compare and contrast the two.

Until next week, I will keep stitching, and searching for the ultimate chocolate chip cookie.

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Finding Balance with the Colors of an Ohio Winter

Already, I have made my yearlong color and design project more complicated than I intended, but I am having fun with it.  I have taken to heart my own advice to play with the elements of composition.  My monthly goals have been revised a bit, I am going to aim for having the fabric pieces placed by the end of each month.  The stitching on these will take much longer, especially since I started out by trying to make five wall hangings for January’s workshop on balance using a neutral palette.  This has been an unusually snowy winter in my part of Ohio, the neutral palette required of this workshop is exactly what I see outside.   Here is what I have so far:

Formal or Symmetrical Balance

Informal or Asymmetrical Balance

Radial Balance

Crystallographic Balance

I have several questions that I keep asking myself about the pieces as I work on them.  Am I using the full range of values (light to dark)?  Is the viewer’s attention going to move all around the piece?  Will I want to keep looking at each piece?  Is it something I want to live with?

There are more things to think about when evaluating artwork.  Right now, I need to think about workshop #2, February is half over already.

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Looking Forward with a Past Project

Again, I have changed course from my intended plans.  I’m being flexible!  The pumpkin and autumn leaves that I promised in my last post will come some other time.  Meanwhile, I have my 4 x 4” squares from November:

In the eleventh month of this project, I am finally pushing myself to get more creative with my stitching by filling the shapes created by the fabric pieces and jumping outside the edges.

Looking ahead to 2021 (and hoping that we get to go to art festivals, quilt shows and sewing industry expos again), I have decided on my yearlong project.  I am going to revisit the book A Fiber Artist’s Guide to Color and Design by Heather Thomas (Landauer Publishing, 2011), and complete all twelve workshops in the book.  Back in 2011 when I bought my copy of the book, I completed the first workshop, and then never went on to the second.  I am going to start over, since my skill level has improved since 2011, not to mention my creative vision changing over the years.

I will also investigate some new fabric collage techniques in this project, with the intent of making multiple small quilts for each workshop to test out all of the new things I want to try.  Ambitious?  Oh yes!  I have already started cutting fabric.  The first workshop focuses on value, texture and balance using a restricted neutral palette.  I’ll start off with pieces of commercial print fabric cut to the intended finished size.

These first four collage quilts for Workshop 1 will be collaged with bits and pieces in much the same way that I have stitched my 4 x 4” squares.  The bits and pieces will include assorted fabrics, trims and funky yarns.

Another set of collaged quilts will emerge from pieced backgrounds that will have more fabric pieces, lace, doilies, trims and stitching added to them.

How far will I get with this?  I could work on the neutrals for an entire year!  Keep checking back to see what happens in my latest creative adventure.

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Considering Composition

Good design is important in the making of any artwork.  The elements of design are the visual art equivalents to grammar, spelling and punctuation in writing.  Take a look at these two images that I took of the same landscape:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which one makes a stronger overall composition?  Consider each image as a whole, then break down the parts and compare the location of each part in the two images – the pine tree, the graves, the shadows.  Are the elements balanced in relation to each other?  Does the distance of the objects have any effect on the overall image?  What about the use of space – the size of the grassy lawn, the different gravestones in each image.  What objects are emphasized in the two images?  To sum things up, which one is more interesting to look at?  Which one holds your interest more than the other?  These are all things to consider when making and original piece of art, whether it is abstract or representational.

Meanwhile, I am having fun with this week’s index cards, check in on Tuesday to see the results.