Friday, December 11, 2009

Compositional Conversation: Stage 15 - Terry Jarrard-Dimond

Stage 15: Terry Jarrard-Dimond

This project has been a fun/wild ride with lots of surprises, twists and turns. I retrieved the piece from the PO Tuesday morning of this week and spent part of two days making my changes and additions. Here is my story.

Terry's Comments

From the very first I thought that when it came time for the project to be returned to me that I would make only a few minor changes or additions. I thought this because I knew so many of the artists working on the project and know the quality of their compositional skills but as you can see, that is not what happened. I felt all along that the most important part of this exercise was what happened with each individual in the studio as they worked on the piece and I still feel that way. While the work certainly is more complex than my own work, I had liked it when viewed on my computer screen, however, when I saw the piece in person, I knew I would have to change a few things.
  1. I wanted to eliminate the large red shape I introduced in stage 1. It took a while for me to figure out how to do that but I did succeed.
  2. I wanted to try and strengthen the color palette. The colors and values just did not seem cohesive.
  3. I felt compelled to remove the diagonal element on the left side of the composition. Diagonals are very strong elements and I found it was all I could see.

It didn't take long to realize that removing elements from the composition was akin to the potato chip ad that says, "Bet you can't eat just one," only now it said "Bet you can't stop with a few changes." It was like any formula, remove one part and the whole is changed. Despite this, I wanted the piece to retain some of the feeling of the previous version either through using actual shapes or through cutting some new shapes in other colors. It was difficult.

There is 'the famous' bag of removed elements which has traveled along with the work from person to person. I laid those elements out only to find that most of these were like what was on the wall only smaller. I might like a color but the remaining fabric was too small to work with. I might want to use a specific shape I found in the bag but it was the wrong color or value. As the problems became more obvious I considered reverting back to the work as I had received it but I knew this would be totally disrespectful to all the work and effort my group had put into solving this puzzle.

  1. I started by recutting some of the shapes I wanted to keep in colors/values I felt would work better.
  2. I added a few more colors.
  3. I selected a mix of the fabric with flat colors and some of the textured fabrics. I loved the textured fabrics that were introduced but it is a hard combination to resolve.

This is the piece as I received it.

Here you can see that I have removed some pieces from the top right,
the curved elements and the small piece of blue at the top.

Here I have replaced the yellow/green element on the top left with one the
same shape but with a strong yellow. I have also added the a deep
burgundy element in the center top.

Here I have removed the vertical 'chain' element and turned a couple of
elements 90 degrees.

Here I began the process of opening up the left side.

My final version.

My resolution is not perfect but as I said, I learned a lot from this project in many unexpected ways. I am planning to do one more article on this project with statements from the artists involved and we would love to hear from you and get your thoughts on this experiment. We appreciate your following along.

Terry Jarrard-Dimond
Mini Artist Profile

Art is an interesting talent to have. Everyone seems to admire your ability but this does not translate into fame and fortune for most of us. Despite this reality, I have both an undergraduate degree and an Master of Fine Arts degrees and wouldn't have it any other way. I taught at all levels after completion of my MFA including universities and schools for the gifted but my last 12 years before retiring, I worked in the textile industry designing for home interior products. I now spend my time in the studio and on this computer!

Terry in the studio.

For many years my work was mixed media sculpture utilizing wire, sheet aluminum, asphalt roofing, fabric and all sorts of other materials. During the time I was working as a designer I 'discovered' the traditional craft of quilt making and after making a few utilitarian quilts I knew I wanted to use the techniques to make more personal statements.

While I have been working with these process for about 10 years I only began to exhibit my work about 4 years ago. It has been exciting and fun to enter work, have work accepted and see this new body of work hang in excellent spaces. My biggest joy has been meeting and making friends along the way. I have begun doing some teaching and will be teaching a workshop entitled, "Ask: What If?: Building Creative Pathways to Creative Work" at the Crow TimberFrame Barn in the spring of 2011. Check it out. Should be fun and would love to have you join me.

Those of you who have been following my blog know that for the past year I have been doing a good deal of exploration relating to surface design techniques. Most of the work I have been exhibiting is however focused on shape, composition and piecing. Please visit me at : to view more of my work.

Here Comes Trouble - 2008 - 14" x 18"-
In collection of Bob and Sue Whorton

The Mysterious Stranger - 2002 - 88" x 84"

Joy and Sorrow -2008 - 59" x 38"
Selected for Art Quilt Elements 2010 - The Wayne Art Center -
Wayne, Pennsylvannia

To see more of my work, please visit:

Monday I will be presenting an Artist Profile of Sylvia Einstein and later in the week will present the final article on Compositional Conversation. As always, thank you for your interest in this blog and your comments are appreciated.


  1. Thanks for your bio, Terry. It's so interesting that you worked in much more "manly" media before graduating to textiles. Your textile compositions are very inventive and interesting and I love the titles you give them - so fun and so evocative.

  2. The CC task highlights in 15 steps how very difficult it is for a large group of people to speak with one cohesive voice!! In a microcosm you reveal the problems of the world! Maybe the answer is to chop it into 15 pieces!!
    I wonder how it would have worked had you all been in the same room at the same time....
    nevertheless a fascinating exercise!

  3. Thank you Nancy and Elizabeth. I am planning another article to talk about the project as a whole and the results. I'll tell you in advance, that for me, the interesting thing is was the process.

  4. Terry, you needn't have been nervous, this is wonderful.

    It's been many weeks since this piece was in my hands and I'm feeling a little distant from it, emotionally, which is frustrating but not unexpected- I detach from my own work to a large degree, once I'm finished with it.

    I would definitely get involved in another co-operative art project like this, it was a lot of fun and a huge learning experience. Thank you again, Terry, for the opportunity.

    Are you going to stitch this and turn it into a wall hanging/quilt/whatever?

  5. Hey Judi, That is an interesting comment about feeling distant from this piece as well as your own. I often experience that myself. I have always believed it is because it is the experience of making art and not the resulting object that keeps me interested. I have tacked the piece together but will not do anything further. I had thought I would stitch all over with a running stitch but I now think it is more 'authentic' just the way it is. You have been wonderful to work with! T

  6. So, Terry, your "baby" came home to roost, and still you got to enjoy the "surprise" of the project as it hung in your studio. This is terrific! It is amazing that, watching the piece develop and change, and thinking about that, when your turn comes, in the end all you can do is RESPOND!
    Judi's comment is also correct: there is a separation that occurs once a piece is "done". Lisa, I have also wondered what would have happened if everyone were in the same room. I suspect, in that case, personalities would win out, since that is how group dynamics tend to work. It has been fascinating and fun. Thanks Terry!

  7. A couple of people have mentioned to me the idea of how it would work if everyone was in one room to work on a project such as this.. That would not appeal to me at all because, as you said, personalities win out, aka type A personalities. Despite what some might think, I am a type Q personality, I made that up. I don't want to have to fight for the floor, I just go find my own floor space and do as I like. Psychologist are not invited to participate in the exchange;)

  8. Terry, It's so interesting to see how much of "you" comes through this piece in the end. Looking at it beside the construction "Passion" and below the banner image at the top of your blog, I can't help but be struck by the similarity in shapes, gesture, and organization of space. I mean, look, the red shapes, the little bits of blue...the strong gold many similarities.

    I appreciate your documenting your process so well. And I agree, the learning for me was all in the process, and the amazing priveledge of getting a glimpse of the way in which each artist works.

  9. Thank you Leslie. It's true, my hand is there. The fun thing is that most of the shapes were already in the mix, I just rearranged them or repeated them. I'm not prepared to say we have 'proven' anything but about personal voice, but it certainly showed up in the work of many of the participating artists.

  10. Thank you Leslie! This piece was purchased by a collector in my area so at least this "baby" has a home!