|The original. Maker unknown, Lancaster County Pennsylvania, circa 1900.|
|My version in solids. (Yeah, I know my center red square is too small.)|
|My version number Two, in blenders.|
|My version number Three, in Batiks. (Mostly, the center red square is not a Batik)|
|My version number Four, in prints.|
|My version number Five, which has prints and a Batik.|
I sure do hope some poor lady in Pennsylvania isn't spinning in her grave.
The original, with its vibrant colors, simple geometry, and utter abstractness of design absolutely defines what it is I love about quiltmaking. It doesn't need one extra thing. So I am sure some of you are wondering WHY I felt the need to push the idea around and make four additional variations. Let me attempt to explain.
First of all it was a, "why not?" With a simple pattern that works, and using the same four colors, I was curious to see how different types of fabrics would affect the design. Actually I had a pretty good idea, but sometimes things happen in real life that you can't imagine in your head.
From my experience as a painter, I can tell you that you cannot make any color more intense than it comes out of the tube. Think of the color (and the fruit) Orange. In oil paint, you buy the color Cadmium Orange. Any time you add any other paint to that Cad Orange, you reduce its intensity. Translation: it becomes duller. It may also be lighter or darker, but it will NEVER be as intensely bright as it came out of the tube. So if you want it absolutely BRILLIANT, you try to leave it alone.
The original Amish quilt, and my variation, play on this concept. The colors are pure and intense, and the red alongside the cool teal is a complementary as well as a strong hot/cold contrast. The red center is also a complement of the green outer border. An important color lesson you should know is if you want to make a color APPEAR more intense, place it next to its complement. So if you want RED to look even more RED, then put it next to GREEN (the complement of Red is Green.)
The blender version is pretty close to the original, but because blenders are subtle patterns, they can't capture the brilliant intensity of the version with the solids. Like I said, they're close.
Every other version, the batiks, and both versions with prints, continue to degrade the intensity of the original colors, so the design doesn't have that same impact the original has, but the patterns in the batiks and the prints add different elements to make the quilts interesting.
And that's what it's all about. Taking something tried and true, so common you don't even notice it any more, and shake it up and make it look NEW. That's an experiment that's always worth doing.
So Lynne, you say. Is there any way you can show me all four of those variations next to each other so I can really see how they are the same and how they are different?
Mais bien sur! (But of course!)
Check back tomorrow.
For those of you who want to see these fabrics in more detail, you can visit this blog post. You can also click each photo then double click for more detail.