Friday, December 24, 2010

Balance, Proportion, Rhythm, and Scale




Heart Note Alley began with an idea of the colors and the feeling I wanted to create in a band sampler. The next step was accomplished when I found the floral image that captured the sense of flow and movement that I was seeking.

Now it's time to begin gathering and crafting the images and lines that will help to balance the design and give it proportion and rhythm.

Years ago I took a beginners quilting class. I never made many quilts, due to it involving one of my mortal enemies - a sewing machine - but I did learn some important principles. Beginning with the importance of choosing the right fabrics for your design. Quilting inspiration can also begin with color but it is most important that the choice of colors contain contrast. Varying intensity of shades, a light, medium and dark, not necessarily of the same color, is what will give the design interest.

The other important ingredient is scale, everything can't be the same size. A really great quilt will have patterns of varying sizes. These will all relate to each other - shades & patterns, but they need to balance and compliment, not war with each other.

I have a friend who I believe is truly the most talented quilter in the world! She wins all of the prizes at the county fair and anyone who has seen her quilts are in awe of her abilities. What makes her quilts so remarkable is not only the obviously excellent stitching, but it is the sense of motion that she creates. They are positively dynamic! She achieves this by her exceptional ability to combine the right colors and the right scale of the fabric and then place them in ways that make your eye move from one part of the design to another and back again. Their rhythm is something to behold.

You are seeing Heart Note Alley midway through its evolution, it has already gone through multiple revisions as I placed the bands together, and may still change before it is completed. After each adjustment I hit the image reduction button so I can see the whole piece from a distance and that is what helps me know if the scale is working for me.




The image to the left shows one of the main bands in Heart Note Alley containing the iris, initials and date as I first put it together. However, as the design grew this band felt out of proportion and so I've changed the band increasing the number of iris and changing the size and placement of the date and initials. It now works for me and I hope you can see below how such a change improved the balance of the design.

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