Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The square is far too simple

for me to continue working with it. But it was a good stepping off point and a definate change from what I had been doing the last few years. Mid-summer I decided to give myself about nine months to a year to explore different avenues, focusing mainly on color, composition and designs. I chose to use the square because it was simple and as good a stepping off point as any. There will be other paths for me to explore I know, because as I am writing this, stripes are calling me to them quite strongly.

My friends Marti and Karoda have asked to see what I have been up to these last few months and since I have missed the last two meeting of my critique group and need some feed back I decided to put what I've done so far on my blog for them to see. Of course I know others will see what I am doing as well, so please be kind.

Whether you know it or not, going back to square one is really stretching for me. Stretching in the sense of using straight lines instead of curves, abstract color compositions instead realism which I love doing especially when it is in the form of large scale flowers. And there is more to my stretching; squares instead of circles, all hand dyes and Kona solids instead of using commercial prints with my hand dyes. Believe me I am definitely out of my comfort area.

This is the first piece I made when I decided to see what I could do with squares. Very elementary. I also decided that each composition I constructed would include some black and white, but not a commercial black and white print.

I do not like this piece because I do not like my colors choices. It seemed to be lacking excitement that a different, warmer color palette might have created. The lesson I learned. I did not like rotary cutting and eyeballing the quarter inch seam allowance during the construction of this piece. Question left to be answered. Would this piece, simple as it is benefit from the addition of a border?

For one who learned traditional quilting in the era of the template, I still find, because I do not do it often enough to be proficient, that the ruler and rotary cutter tends too much toward inaccuracy. I really wasn't happy with the 3-1/2 inch squares that did not come out to be in all cases 3-1/2 inches square. What was I to do about this problem . Practice, practice, practice because for a large composition I was not about to mark seam lines on hundreds of squares just so I could get the degree of accuracy that I strive for.

This is the second piece made entirely of squares. I like the colors I used and the gradations.
There is no originality in either one of these too. What I was trying for with this one was achieving accuracy. I got better at both cutting and sewing accurately while constructing this one.
If you are interest, all of my intersections are DEAD ON EXACT!

I find that a better composition can be had with the addition of rectangles. Playing with the combination of the two shapes produced this piece.

No squares here. I was taking a break, regrouping. Finished my signature piece for Form Not Function which I posted earlier. This is the only completed top that is quilted so far. It is a mixed media piece that includes layered tissue paper squares adhered with gel medium to the fabric in the lower left yellow area producing squares overlapping squares effect.

This is a small piece measuring 24 inches wide by 36 inches long. The 16 small squares in the center are 2" each.

A little simplicity is a good thing, especially when you know something like this is coming to mind.

This is a large piece that I am trying to decide how in the world I am going to machine quilt it. It measures approx 80" square. I really had told myself when I started down this path of playing with squares to stay within the 45 to 60 inch range in order to make machine quilting the pieces I liked less laborious. But I didn't. Got carried away again and reverted to my old habit of making large pieces.

I like the play of colors and the optical illusion that the square produce. The whole piece looks a little off kilter, when in fact it isn't. The black and white is back.

There is black but no white in this composition.
I am going to play some more with stripes in squares. I like the lost and found effect of the stripes in some of the square units too.

No black and white here, however, I did try the motif in black and white to see if I like working with it. In doing so I found the high contrast of B & W to jarring. The proportion of each was almost equal. This visual vibration made me know that I needed a color and value combination that was not sharply contrasting.

This piece measures about 50" square. The units still need to be sewn together. I decided to take a break and go see the movie "Eragon" this afternoon. By doing that, I had no choice but to sleep on this arrangement of the units until tomorrow since I wanted time to blog.
I had fun planning and making this piece too. I love the gradated orange and turquoise. Some units because the colors choices I made are perfect compliments of each other and s they seem to vibrate were the colors meet. Neat. I think the vibrating effect is also visible in the largest piece because of the sharp contrast of value where the black and white stripes join.

Now you know what I've been up to.


Karoda said...

i'm especially digging the last 5 quilts images BUT THAT 80 SQ. INCH ONE IS FABULOUS!!!

You did have to use that P word for getting exact...(whispering it, Practice).

Mrs. Mel said...

OMIGOD!!! I was so overwhelmed by the designs, I couldn't wait to say Hurray! I didn't even read the text yet!!!

Valerie White said...

Wow Juanita...the work looks wonderful. The colors pop off the page can't await to see the actual pieces. Giving yourself permission to try all those "what if's" is paying off big time...
See you soon