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The Principles of Art (in Quilting!) Part IV: Movement

 Now some of you might be a quilt?  That thing is stationary!'re correct (unless you're in the habit of throwing quilts from place to place).  However what we mean here is visual movement.  This is all about visual "flow," how the eye moves through the piece and the feeling that movement triggers.  More dynamic movement in a piece gives the viewer an impression of excitement, volatility and energy. Static movement gives a sense of seriousness, calm or quiet.  

There are entire quilt techniques built around this concept. Bargello quilts give a sense of waving movement, like a flag. Watercolor quilts have a cascading movement. It can be achieved in so many ways that a quilter must carefully (whether they actively think it or not) consider fabric choice so as not to create vibrations of a busy print in an otherwise calm piece, for example. 

You can also create movement quilting and with color choice.  See the watercolor quilt above?  The quilting choice also forces the eye to move to the brighter spot in the quilt.  The wavy quilting below moves the eye in a different way than the very stark, linear piecing it is paired with:

It can be done with color choice, too  The eye doesn't want to focus on bright yellow, so throwing bright yellow in a quilt will force the eye to bounce around.  Using a pattern in a sashing might guide the eye around the quilt in a different way than a solid one.  Using wavy stripes will have a different effect than straight ones...see below:

The yellow makes the eye move around what is otherwise a very calm quilt. 

Now, what would happen if those regulars triped were replaced with the stripes below?

Do you have any quilts you've done that are good examples of movement?  Sharre them in the comments below!


Backing Day is Saturday, October 30th!

Here's a reminder from your friendly neighborhood Cotton Patch that Backing Day is this Saturday, October 30th! 

If you're familiar with Backing Day, you might be saying to yourself, "Hey self! Why isn't Backing Day on Halloween?"  that's because Halloween this year is a Sunday, and well, we're closed Sundays! So, it's the day before.  

If you're new here and don't know what Backing Day is...

Bring in your finished quilt tops (100% complete, no more borders to add, done) on the last day of the month and receive 25% off your backing of choice, even Clearance!

The usual rules apply:

  • If the last day of the month falls on a Sunday when we're closed, then Backing Day is the day before (Saturday). 
  • Discount valid on single-fabric backings only.  Sorry, this is not valid on several cuts of different fabrics for a pieced backing.  
  • Sale prices not combinable with any other offer (this includes deals from Five Stars, redeeming points, and coupons)
  • Sale prices good in-store only on the sale day and limited to stock on-hand. 
We can't wait to see what you've created - see you on the 30th!


The Principles of Art (in Quilting!) Part III: Proportion

Proportion mainly deals with the size of a component as compared to the sizes of the surrounding components. it goes hand in hand with Emphasis - larger items are emphasized more than something smaller by comparison. 

A good example of conscious use of proportion is with caricatures - they are drawn with a person's most identifying features (small eyes, a wide mouth, chubby cheeks, a prominent chin, a delicate nose, for example) being shown the most out of proportion with what one would expect from a portrait, either drawn comically small or absurdly large.

EXAMPLE: Hey Leonardo, your forehead is disproportionate with the rest of your face!

With quilts, this mainly is achieved with altering the focus portions of a block - stretching them in one direction or another, making one block very large while others are small, etc.  This often gives a more whimsical or fantastical feel to a quilt.  Check out these examples:

All of these have the proportion of the otherwise pretty basic and traditional blocks messed with to come out with something new and fun.  Note that none of these are super elegant - they all have more of an eclectic and whimsical feel to them.  

Would you ever want to try adjusting proportion in a project?  Let us know in the comments how you'd incorporate it into a project below.  


The Principles of Art (in Quilting!) Part II: Contrast

Contrast is one of my favorite aspects of a quilt to tinker with (aside from color).  It is the visual difference (or lack of difference) between portions of a work.  When we think of Contrast we often think about opposites in color - like Black and White.  

Make a quilt in black and white and you will have a high-contrast, highly graphic finished product.  But Contrast is more than that!  You can have contrast in texture, value, and block size.  Use varieties of those to draw attention to a certain area of the quilt.  Keep in mind, the greater the Contrast, the more dynamic your project will be.  Contrast also doesn't solely focus on the extreme visual can also use it to create quiet places, a sense of softness or calmness.  A popular style of this are the low volume quilts.    

Contrast is a good example of how it takes more than one Element or Principle to make a quilt pop.  Let's say you're making a quilt and you just fell in love with a line of blenders. You use a variety of colors but for some reason, it just looks flat - why?  Without a little bit of contrast in the prints' texture, there is little visual contrast despite the variety of color.  The quilt will still be beautiful, but it won't have very much depth as compared to a piece with a variety of textures.  

Here's a few examples of how to play with Contrast:

Do you prefer working in high contrast, low contrast, or are you more strategic?  Let us know in the comments below!