I posted several weeks ago about a quilt I was making from this paper collage:
I liked several things about this piece -- first, that it had fairly bold (and piece-able) graphics, and secondly, it had a sort of a tuning fork in the upper left hand corner. I never can resist a tuning fork, so I decided to give it a go.
I decided to replace the green in the collage with red and the white with yellow/gold, keeping the black black. So I pulled a range of values of red and several yellows. Why use one fabric when you can use 20?
I was stuck, so I posted a picture of the collage and the picture above on my blog. And I asked blog readers for help. This just wasn't going well. It was disjointed and overly fussy. It was really, really awful.
I know I'm not the only artist who feels this way about his or her work. My friend Maria Shell, who has a fabulous blog called "Tales of a Stitcher", just wrote about a large quilt she's been working on that isn't going well. It happens. And I don't expect every piece I make to be a masterpiece. Honestly, if I make one masterpiece during my life I'll be doing really well. But art, like life, is a progression. I learn something from every piece I make.
Several blog readers e-mailed me with ideas to salvage the quilt. And the consensus was something that I had already realized: I used too many shades of red. The collage is pulled together by the single color of green. By adding all of the different values and some tones of red I had chopped up the piece and made it chaotic.
I decided to spend one more day maximum putting this quilt together. And I edited it a bit. A little better, I think, but not my best work. It's about 30" wide by 50" high.
|Red Means Stop!, 30" x 50"|
So, what did I learn from this quilt?
- A piece that has many different elements must be unified in some way. In this piece, a good choice would have been a limited palette. A single red would have made it more cohesive.
- I did enjoy matching up some of the lines in this quilt. I haven't had to match a seam in a very long time. Good to know I can still do it!
- Don't waste time on a project that is going south. I spent hours and hours trying to tweak the piece, adding even more bits that made it even more fussy. It was frustrating. It would have been better to put it aside. At least for a few days. A fresh eye can help you find solutions.
- When in doubt, turn it upside down. I did, and I think I like it better. A little.
|Upside down. Marginally better.|
I still don't love it, but I did learn from it. So it was worth it!