Wednesday, January 11, 2017

No More Same Old


Looking at that wall of black and white triangles just reminded me of the black and white triangle quilts I made last year. I thought, Damn it! Been There. Done That.  No More.

So I dug out the light blue accessory bin and ironed everything in it.

One of the things that came to me as I was working on the layout for Treasure Trove, with the long horizontal diamonds, was that if I swapped the values (light diamonds, dark background) I could get clouds.

Except that isn't what it ends up looking like. Any time you use a pair of colors with strong contrast (and black and white is the strongest contrast you can get), what happens is the two create a strong pattern that stays flat on the picture plane. It means you get a strong pattern where both the light and dark are right up front. One value does not sink backward into the distance, especially if the shapes are visually the same size. They fight. Actually they dance, but they dance TOGETHER. Both are stars. Both are equals.

I remember being at a quilt shop once where a woman was buying fabric for her first quilt. She picked a simple design, a square with two opposing triangles, so four blocks put together would make an X shape. She picked a very wimpy pale fabric for the triangles in the corners, and a darker subdued purple for the big diagonal strip. But she had colored out her pattern, and said to the shop owner, "I don't want this purple to take over. I want this pale fabric to be the focus."

I had to walk away to prevent myself from saying aloud "Well, that will never happen. If you want a wimpy fabric to be the star of the show, you have to make everything else around it a lot wimpier. Your purple commands a lot more attention than your pale print." It didn't help that she wanted to make the blocks 12" square.

So if I want to have long horizontal diamonds look like clouds floating, I have to make the background seem to float backward. I have to pick something that doesn't fight as much. So, duh, white clouds, blue sky... light blue scraps.

In drawing or painting, there are techniques, or tricks, to use to make things sink backward and other things pop forward. Generally it is how you handle your edges, but you have to pay attention to everything so that what's close is more in focus (or sharper) than what is farther away.

I'm not really interested in making my diamonds literally float forward and create a 3-D picture space. If I wanted to do that I'd make a painting, which I am perfectly capable of doing. What I like best about quilts is their very strong graphic quality, where the design is very much on a flat plane. I want to create a LITTLE push pull forward backward space. Not a big one. Yes, I do want to play with your head, making you see one thing while I am doing something else.

So I will experiment and see where it leads me. Because I am all about seeing what happens in front of me as I work, not replicating anything I've seen someplace else, because that would be, like, boring.


Melody A. said...

well, no matter which way you go with this idea I am sure it will be striking as your other quilts are. Looking forward to seeing what happens. from Iowa Take care and hope you are feeling well now.

The Selvage Fairy said...

Speaking of painting, yesterdays pic of Little Miss is just screaming to be a painting.

Quiltdivajulie said...

Honestly, I wondered about those black and white triangles (I knew you could do something marvelous, but it did seem eerily similar) . . . happy to see that you are headed off in a different direction! You know how I feel about scrappy light/sky blues.

Pat said...

I always enjoy reading your blog. I love looking at your beautiful quilts but I also really love your attitude towards quilting and life in general. I just went back and looked (again) at your Gizzy Quilts. So much fun. And I still chuckle from time to time remembering when you took someone to task for mentioning that they often didn't see any reason for making the effort to do a job well. YOU were all over their case saying you would always do your very best, otherwise, why bother? I love that philosophy.

Tine said...

Sometimes a project just isn't right. And then it is better to put it away. The blue looks wonderful. I am looking forward to seeing how you work it all out.

Lynne Stucke said...

Love your blog. Love your quilts. You both always have something interesting to say! Thanks (lynnstck[at]