Thursday, October 25, 2018

Questions & Answers, Part Two

Yesterday I shared some of my responses to comments about my Early Autumn quilt. Here are more.

Jean wrote, "Since you like to be closed in by evergreens, you should enjoy western WA or western OR. Over the Cascade Mountains on the east side we seem to be able to see forever!"

This is Mt Hood in Oregon.

Actually Jean, I have family in Hood River Oregon, in the Columbia River Gorge. It's one of my favorite parts of the country. Driving east along SR14 on my way to visit the Maryhill Museum, I got a glimpse of those vast expanses you mentioned. And being able to see Mt Hood from... everywhere? Priceless.

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Robby wrote, "[You] got me 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?"

Well Robby, the answer is a big "maybe." Look at the picture above. Look at it QUICKLY, then look away. What part of it did your eye go to first? It went to the lightest white tree in the middle right part of the picture. You can argue you didn't notice it first, but you are MISTAKEN! It is the way the BRAIN works. You have no control over it. Your eye (anybody's eye) will be drawn to the area of highest contrast first. Artists know that, and they use that to manipulate what your eye goes to first when it looks at something.

There's one tiny problem though. A very bright area surrounded by much darker stuff can occasionally look like a hole. That is bad. So the artist has to be very careful with the placement of "the lightest light" in a piece of art. In my quilt, I wasn't interested in how the light looks as it is filtered through trees in a forest or the woods. I simply wanted green and color. I was not interested in creating a three-dimensional space either. I just wanted to play with the repeating tall triangle shape of the trees and the colors of fall to suggest "Early Autumn."

Notice I said "suggest." I didn't want to hit you over the head with it. I wanted to capture the feeling of the woods in early autumn. I didn't need the "gimmicks," the pumpkins, corn stalks, or cabins in the woods. That would have weakened the graphic quality of the quilt and made it "cute." For the record, I hate, loathe and despise "cute" (except where small children and my granddaughter are concerned). I do not make "cute" quilts. Cute is for six year olds and I am not six.

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Three days into my work on this quilt, Rita commented, "I love tree quilts very much. When I look at this one it is, I'm afraid to say, depressing. It is the colors; the trees are mostly dark..."

Rita was right. It WAS mostly dark, but three days into this I had not yet found my feet, and did not know where this was going. My immediate reaction to this comment was, "Rita, gimme a break, I haven't got started yet." Sometimes there is a point in the creation of a piece of art that it just looks like crap and doesn't seem to have any potential whatsoever. That's not a bad place for me, because it's at that place where I do my best creative thinking. My breakthrough came three days later.

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 Alice wrote, "I do hope you will do a tutorial on this one. Will put it in my "definitely want to try."

Dear Alice, making free pieced trees is pretty easy and I'm betting you could find a how-to on the internet without too much trouble. After making this quilt and hearing how everybody likes my overlapping trees... I think I will write a short tree-making tutorial that will include how to make overlapping trees. However, do not expect full blown instructions on how to make the entire quilt.

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 Yesterday Sue asked, "If you use it as a tablecloth do you use batting? And is it flat enough to put glasses and such on it?"

Yes, Sue, The quilts I use as table covers all have batting and are quilted and finished like normal quilts. I have one of those plastic flannel backed tablecloths underneath the quilt, to protect my mahogany table from spills. Sometimes I use coasters underneath glasses and I have been known to use placemats on top of the quilt if I am really worried about something spilling or staining.

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On the very first day I blogged about making a tree quilt, my pal Julie wrote. "I am VERY sure that your tree quilt is going to be a knockout!"

My first thought was how nice it was that my best friend had such faith in me. Then I thought, oh hell, how am I going to that?

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I love reading all your comments. They tell me whether what ends up in the quilt is what I had in my head when I conceived it. Just because I think it's there doesn't mean it really is. I need to see it through your eyes. Thanks.


Julierose said...

I love how it came out--a beautiful forest! And thanks for the tip on lighter colors amid darks seeming like "holes". Now I'll know "why" certain fabrics don't look right..hugs, Julierose

Rebecca said...

Love the Q and A !!!
But it made me think (ouch)
Now I wonder how different would be the color placement if this was set up in a circle layout?

Linda Swanekamp said...

Thanks for sharing your thought process on this quilt, as you have with others. The hardest part for me, if I am making something not knowing how it will turn out, is to drag my feet or not even try, because what if I can't do it? It is good to see your process- gives me hope.

Quiltdivajulie said...

Of course I have great faith in your vision and skill set - you rarely fail to pull things together after most of us mere mortals would have left the building. That is your gift - and we are all the better for watching you work.