Wednesday, July 3, 2013


OK, so you all know I'm diving headlong into what-you-see-isn't-what-you-get. I want to make my viewers WORK, and then I want to tweak their sensibilities a bit, a lot.

(I admit it, I'm nothing more than a blatant manipulator.*)

Herewith, are four whites with varying degrees of black. (these strips are between 2" and 2-1/2" wide.)

Which one of them will make a letter (on a white background) that can be read at a distance? (That's easy.)

The one that will show up MOST is the one on the far right - with the most black.

But which one will disappear? Which one will ALMOST disappear? The answer might surprise you.

The only way to find out is to try. I decided to use this "a" from my "Make It Work" quilt. I didn't want to make a "normal" letter. I wanted to push the boundaries. I made this "a" in each of the four white fabrics. This "a" is about 4" tall and the widest part is less than one inch wide.

 So did you guess correctly?  And now for a tougher question, which I will leave you to work out on your own.


Why are the "successful" letters readable?

Why does the least successful letter fail? (And btw, that last letter, although you can see it now, would be lost once it was quilted.)

If you can figure out WHY these four fabrics work (or don't) then you've got a great handle on how to manipulate what your viewers see.

For those of you jumping up and down, waving your hands in the air, calling out "CONTRAST..." Sit down. You are wrong.

*But then, that's what Art is. Making YOU see what I want you to see, the way I want you to see it.


Ruth said...

When I look at the 3 letters on the left I see that pattern in the fabric fills the letter patches. The motifs are so far apart and random that there is no clear pattern to follow in the letter on the right.

The Selvage Fairy said...

In #1 and #3, the black design is spread evenly throughout the fabric. In #4 and (to a lesser degree) #2, the black is clumped together in a way that doesn't contribute to the "a". I like #3 the best because it looks like it is already quilted.

Susan R said...

Ok I'm going to think very simply now. That being said the last fabric on the right doesn't have enough black in it to form the letter "a". And as you step back the letter would disappear altogether....

Brenda said...

it's value. there's too much variation of value in the far right letter, and that variation fools the eye.