Wednesday, October 3, 2018

You Gotta Have Rhythm

A quilt that is made of one block repeated over and over has to have something to move the viewer's eye around.  It has to have a kind of rhythm.

(start small rant)
It has to make the viewer's eye MOVE! If you have a design (like a bull's eye) that drags the eye to one spot and then stays there, well, that's very very bad. Why? Because then the eye gets bored, and it leaves to go look at something else. (Another quilt something else. Or any other thing.. just not YOUR thing or what you WANT the viewer to look at.) Basically the whole point of a good design is to capture the viewer's eye to look (and look and look) at something YOU made.
(end small rant)

So I'm lying in bed last night, after ranting and raving about the damn trees and I'm thinking.

I'm thinking about the damn trees, of course.

And a thought flutters through my head.. maybe I should put all the blocks with the dark backgrounds next to each other...

And I briefly - very briefly - considered getting out of bed to go do it, but hey, it was close to midnight, I'm in my nightgown and I had to work the next day. So I stayed in bed.

But after dinner, and the dishes, I went into the studio and took all the blocks I already had and put the dark ones together in a couple of rows, stuck the light ones on the top and then put the middle-ish ones at the bottom.

Not half bad.

But then I thought, Let's stop lining them up like a row of toy soldiers. What if I offset them?

Oooh!  That was better too.

Then I thought, what if I really put the dark ones together, and use the values of the backgrounds and make them flow towards lighter and darker ones?

So I rearranged the middle two rows and got across the room and thought, yeah that's better, but I have to put the really dark darks on the bottom, and then move the lighter ones toward the top.

So I am shuffling these all around and I think to myself how I always tell my students never to do this. NEVER to put all their darkest darks together in the quilt because it will look like a hole, and here I am doing it, except I know it isn't the same thing because the trees on these dark backgrounds are not the darkest so that is ok.

Now, this isn't by any means PERFECT, but compared to yesterday, it's a tremendous improvement. (Remember I said this is all the same blocks I had yesterday?)


THIS is a forest I know. I can build trees to carry this idea along.  And I can make smaller trees, and overlapping trees. And I will build trees that will reinforce this forest idea. (Because that really dark green background with a really light tree just doesn't give the deep forest vibe.)

So now I know where I am going. I'm not totally sure how I'll get there, and I am sure there will be detours along the way, but now the fun begins.

Yes. I know I am completely crazy.


A fellow artist said to me, "I prefer to think of it as being creative." I'm pretty sure she didn't mean it as a compliment. But I think the creative is a little crazy, and that's fine with me.



9 comments:

Elaine M said...


I like where you are going with this. I prefer a little crazy since if we were a bump on a log people would walk on by.

earthmotherwithin said...

I love watching your creative processes. I agree that a quilt that doesn't move the eye is boring. A quilt that can be understood in one glance is also boring -I like to build little surprises, that mean someone might move closer to see what is going on, or further away to see the whole effect...That is the kind of quilt I hope I can make (sometimes).

Fran Salley said...

Hi Lynne, I wanted to tell you that the thing I love most about your blog is that it's letting me in to your thought process. To know what the train of thought is behind a quilt is fascinating. I think it helps the rest of us to think or look at a design challenge in a different way. When you said to off set the trees, I immediately thought YES!!! Keep being creative and sharing it with the rest of us.
Thank you
Fran

Millie said...

Dear Fran, thank you. That’s the biggest reason I blog. To share.

Quiltdivajulie said...

Elaine got it right - why be ordinary! Happy to see you so engaged in making this work.

Linda Brewer said...

Loving the progress. Especially the idea of the light to dark as though the sun is hitting the forest.

Just Ducky said...

Yes you are crazy, but it is a good kind of crazy.

QuiltGranma said...

I've seen some quilters do an Ombre type shading of their blocks over the quilt top... Light in one corner shading across to the opposite kitty corner of the quilt, just might be an idea for you? I love the staggering of the blocks!

Robby H. said...

Your paragraph immediately below the 'forest' block got me to thinking about light in the forest. If you make one of those background trees in that block lighter or partially so, will it look like the sun streaming into the forest? Ugh, I am not even close to the creative person you are, but I might have to make a few blocks to try that image. Always fun watching your work evolve!