Sunday, October 17, 2010

Strip-Piecing as LINEWORK


Steppin' Out - 60.25"H x 47"W
Hand dyed Fabric, Machine Pieced and Machine Quilted


Until my recent venture into painting on fabric, my work has been 99 % about Shape. The use of shape feels very comfortable to me in fabric while my attempts to use strip-piecing (which created lines) was not very exciting and it didn't feel right.

I love to see clunky lines or elegant lines or rambling lines moving across an expanse of fabric but my lines tended to be too straight and without purpose. I have one piece, Steppin' Out, in which I used some strip-piecing that I believe is successfull. Still, when I completed the piece, I knew it was not going to be the genesis of a series.

Why did the strips/lines work here? I believe they worked because they were not uniform. There is strong contrast (complimentary colors) between the strips as well as lots of variety of the actual shades of red or green. The strip-pieced areas have a role to play in the composition other than just another vertical unit of strip-pieced stripes. The strip-pieced fabric "fills" the negative space created by the black figure. It both supports the figure and creates tension in relation to the blue/green background. To my eye there is a figure which is in the foreground, a middle ground made of the red and green strips and a background.

On the left edge of the piece you can just see vertical stripes of two shades of red which introduce another area of strip-pieced fabric but because it is so subtle, it adds texture more than pattern.

I am prone to finishing a work, sending it off to a show, or rolling it up and putting it away not to be seen again until I "need" the work for some current exhibtion or show. I am thinking I might plan to "air" my work out more often. Just pull something from my storage area and hang it on a wall. The would allow for the possibility of seeing with fresh eyes and a new attitude. You just never know what you might find.

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18 comments:

  1. I l.o.v.e. this piece Terry! And that's a gut level instant reaction - no analysis necessary. But I loved reading your self critique. I always learn from your Terry!

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  2. Whoops - I meant I always learn from "you".
    ;o)

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  3. Thank you very much Leslie! I have shown this work a couple of times and it has been well received. I enjoy what is happening in the piece but haven't made peace with the technique. (I would likely blush is I was aware of all my typos so No Worry ;-)

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  4. I really love the graphic appeal of this quilt, and enjoyed reading your description of it. I see a brush stroked Chinese character on a complex background!

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  5. Thank you Jan for your comment. I see that as well as a figure which makes sense if you think about what chinese character are. Love hearing from you.

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  6. It looks MUCH more lively than my strip piecing!

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  7. I find this very animated. The bold black "shoulders and arms" and the stripe torso, occupy and move in the space. Love the color too.

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  8. Thank you Diana and Dianne! I appreciate your comments. The "funny" thing to me is how hard I had to work to make it appear spontaneous;-)

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  9. I like your concept of hauling out an old work and looking at it for a while. The challenge is to learn something from it, not just enjoy it. Let us know what you learn!!

    PS I have always loved this quilt, especially since I think I was in the room when you started it. and always wished there were more like it!

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  10. Thank you Kathy. Yes, learning something or at least helping you remember something, is the goal. Were I to be inspired to "make the next piece", I would most likely not include the figure. I loved it when I made it but it may have just been a passing fancy. What I feel most connected to is in this work is the space and color.

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  11. Terry,
    Love the idea of giving work in the closet its own moment in the sun! I really love the little line treatment and the POW complementary color scheme. What fun. But then, you know how much I love line.

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  12. Thank you Rebecca. You and I are truly Salt and Pepper when it comes to subtle and POW but I too love line. xo, T

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  13. Wow, I seriously love this piece.

    "I believe they worked because they were not uniform. "

    I think you're correct... line them up, make them march across the quilt in coordinating colors, and you lose the spirit of the piece, IMO.

    (Was there something you wanted to talk to me about?)

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  14. Thank you Judi! There was and I did ;-)

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  15. very jazzy -- in that Matisse "Jazz" kind of way.

    In the few things I've seen since stumbling across your site, I'd say that line -- in the form of the edges/boundaries of the shapes and in the quilting -- plays a strong, if secondary role. Or am I misunderstanding the distinction. I'm new to all this art talk and not entirely confident about what thnings mean in this context.

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  16. Hi Melanie, Thank you for commenting. You are correct in your observation that most of my work does not utilize line as a primary element. Most of my use of line is through the way I stitch the work (quilt) which doesn't really show in this image. I am, however, currently working on a series in which line is primary. I'll share that at a later time. Kudos to you for "jumping in"!

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  17. As I look at this piece, I wonder to myself if it has the same "tension" in real life then on the computer screen. Here, the pixels make the green and red vibrate because of their closeness in value, yet vastness in hue. The eye then travels to the black for a rest, but the thread lines cast a barrier, if you will, into diving into the depth of the blackness. To me the black figure is about to topel over, yet held in place by the strength of the green, so there is a feeling like something is going to happen if the green gives way. There is also tensioin between the overall brightness of the red being "capped" if you will by the black figure and surrounding green... the redness wants to shine yet is held in place by the other elements. This quilt certainly says a lot (to me at least) without even representing a "thing." It is active yet stationary. I'm thinking one could never tire of seeing this on the wall a new things pop out each time! Suuuper!

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  18. Hi Robin. Thank you for your excellent observations and insights. While it's true that images intensified on the screen, this one is very intense and has the same vibration in person. Your feeling that the figure is unsteady is in line with my feeling only to me she is extending her "foot" outward or forward in a very shy or unsure way. Holding back a little. I try not to be too introspective about that. I checked out your blog and will be visit again soon. Many thanks for your comment!

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