Monday, August 27, 2012

Contrast! Value!

One of the things that really sunk in for me at the show this weekend is that Contrast is the most essential thing in quilt design.  If I may digress for a moment, there are things that I have "learned" i.e. read in a book and can parrot back, and then things that I "know," and when something crosses that line, that's when it really becomes part of me; I guess that's the best way to put it.  This weekend, the point about value really sunk in for me in a visceral way.

I looked at a large number of quilts that had beautiful, gorgeous fabrics in them, and were very interesting designs, and very well crafted, but as I looked at them, I just thought, hmmm, that's nice. As I looked at the "Hmmm" quilts vs. the "WOW" quilts, what was the biggest difference - Contrast!  Value!  Color is secondary, and can be almost anything, but without a range of values properly placed, quilts just look blah.  Wish I'd taken more pictures, but I don't like to feature a person's quilt and call it "blah."

Instead, let's look at an example of some very similar quilts, that manage to have very different effects within each block of the quilt.  Following are two beautiful quilts, patterns available for sale here on "Broderie."  The first is Galaxy.  Even though the range of values is relatively narrow - few super dark or pastel pale fabrics, each piece stands out from the one adjacent to it.

Galaxy by Trish Harper

Now let's look at "Camelot," also a pattern by Trish Harper.  I want to show two versions, see what you think:    This one, I believe, is executed by the writer of Broderie, Elizabeth Wright.

And this is by Trish herself - as featured on Broderie.

For me, some of the blocks in each are fantastic, some not so much.  Which ones jump out at you, and why?  What do you think about Elizabeth's choice of background?   All are beautiful, to be sure!

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