I’ve been working for the last several months on a new set of quilts with a very different aesthetic than I’ve used in the past. Sometimes these experiments don’t really turn into anything, but I have hopes for this one!
The most recent one is Unfurling, pictured below. This is so far my favorite.
It’s 16″ x 20″ mounted on painted black canvas.
This series explores large shapes and the tension between the positive and negative space of the design. I used warm red and orange for the primary shapes, accented by a narrow black and white stripe, and a deep purple for the secondary shape on the lower left. The green negative space is a duller, less saturated hue so it recedes into the background. In this one, I added texture with simple lines echoing the shapes. I really like how the change in the shape results in secondary design patterns in the stitching.
Balance, above, is 20″ square, also mounted on painted black canvas. This piece won an Honorable Mention award at the April Open Exhibit at the Art League gallery in Alexandria, VA. In this one, the shapes are dull raisin and brown, and the background is a stronger, more saturated gold. There are different motifs stitched into each shape, and the background texture is the echoed lines of the shapes.
Color Slices, above, also uses large shapes to define space in strong saturated colors–red, blue and green, with a background of muted yellow. The stitching is again simple lines echoing the shapes to add interesting texture. This one is also 16″ x 20″ mounted on painted black canvas. This was the first one in the series.
In these pieces, the negative space, or background, is just as important as the shapes that define the design. It’s important to “draw” the lines of the shapes with my rotary cutter carefully to create not only an interesting primary shape, but an interesting background shape as well. It’s interesting to try something that’s so different from my usual “small shapes, lots of colors” work. I certainly won’t abandon that work, but I’m always pushing myself to try something new and ask “what if?” to grow as an artist.
This series grew out of a workshop I took with Nancy Crow last fall that focused on spare designs. Her approach to the exercise was somewhat different that what I’ve ended up with, but it made me think in a different way. And that’s the great thing about continuing to expose myself to other ways of creating my art. I am going to take a 7 day independent study class in June with Michael James and I’m excited about that!
What do you do to shake yourself out of your comfortable creative space?