Working with Line and Shape

First a little background on an Art/Crit Group I belong to. There are five of us; Judy, DeLane, Jean, Christine and myself, who meet once a month to crit each other’s work and work on any new techniques one of us might be interested in. One of the things we decided to do after each session was try to create piece of quilted art out of the small samples we produced.

At Judy’s house we had a fantastic session the other day (okay…so it was a few weeks ago), where she has us working from Katie Pasquini’s book “Colour and Composition for the Creative Quilter“, in particular, the Line and Shape chapter. Following the directions in the book we proceeded to produce six pieces, four of them in black and white only.

Our first piece we had to use linear lengths cut from a fused black fabric which was then subcut into different widths. There were no restictions on how long or short each shape had to be but you had to choose one of the compositional arrangements from the “Nine-Patch of Composition” suggested in the book. I came up with the piece at left.

It was extrememly hard at first to think of what to do and I just sat there for a long time waiting for something to come to me. The pieces I design are usually not so off the cuff and therefore it takes a little longer for me to produce a finished piece. That’s one of the reasons this particular session was so good for all of us…more of a don’t think, JUST DO kind of mentality. Something I want to do more of in my work.

Working with fused fabric helped because you didn’t have to think about how you were to get it onto the background. There were some anxious moments though trying to get the completed piece over to the ironing board to fuse it in place. Minor expletives were uttered by some.

The second piece was to have no lines parallel to the edge of the foundation and have some form of diagonal placement. When I finished this piece I was not overly enamoured with it. Can’t place my finger on just why yet. Sorta boring I’m thinking. You can see where a fused black shape that was part of the semi-circle in the lower left was lost in transport somewhere from Judy’s house to mine.

The third piece had to be created solely out curved shapes. By this time I was more confident that I could produce something fairly quickly and was really pleased with what I came up with. It was easy to guess my circular composition layout. If you turn it so the large black shapes are on the bottom it looks like a burning fire. Real cool this one.

At this point in the process I was impressed with what could be produced from different lines and shapes. The shapes I used in the composition were not strictly curves (though not the straight linear pieces I was using before) but their placement suggested a curved shape which I think enhanced the design. I learned a lot from this piece in particular.

The last exercise had us combining any or all of the shapes we’d previously cut but using a fourth composition layout. I wanted to make use of an asymmetrical composition with a negative space without creating unbalance or tension. The heavier shapes at the top add the needed balance (or anchor) to the whole piece that the bottom doesn’t have. I also noticed that the curved shape in the lower right and the thinner strips in the bottom center helped to balance the piece as a whole, as well as creating movement, so your eye goes to the negative space and back up to the undulating thick strips. This in turn moves your eye around again. Pleased as punch you could say I am.

Here is a preview of everyones pieces. I think we all did a slam-up job…now to put it into a quilted piece…mmmmhhhh. The coloured pieces were the second part of the exercises we did composing with shape alone and a focal point. these we chose not to include in our finished black and white study. I’ll post those as soon as everyone gets them to me.

Jean’s and Judy’s work

Christine’s and DeLane’s work

See ya ‘In the Hayloft’,


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