Thursday, June 26, 2014

Design Week #9: Results

This week my challenge was to design a quilt around an architectural element or detail. I have been gathering photos of interesting details for some time and decided it was time to buckle down and do something with them.

The element I chose was this hinge on a door at my hairdresser's shop.   I don't know how many times I must have passed this in the years I've been going to Valerie's shop, but one day a few months I finally saw it.  Wow!  Don't you love this sort of attention to detail?  I'm absolutely in love with it. (It seems like it must be something from Craftsman days?)

First, I deconstructed it and started playing with just the bars.  (Yes, perhaps you noticed that the hinge is full of my favorite design elements:  bars and circles.)   As a weaver, I especially appreciate the woven effect.   Honestly, I don't think this would be a bad quilt (or block) on its own.

It creates an interesting effect if you put them side by side....

or stack them.

As I was doing the copying and pasting for the side-by-side, the copies layered themselves on top of each other in rather intriguing patterns, too.
Since I like circles, I wanted to introduce them into the design.  Stylizing the design on the hinge just a bit:

Or, shifting things a bit more:
The original design is gorgeous itself, so a design that is quite close to the original, but with just a touch of stylizing to include the screws, was definitely called for.

I think my favorite, though, is more stylized,

and stacks a few of the design on top of each other, for a vertical look on a quilt.  This one might well be on my design wall in the not-too-distant future.

Which is your favorite?   Do you have a favorite architectural feature or element that might be a quilt design?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Design Challenge Week #8 Results

My brother provided the challenge for this week:  Feynman Diagrams.  I had to do a bit of research because, while I'm familiar with Dr. Feynman, I wasn't as familiar with his diagrams.  Mike sent me a link to an  article about an exhibit at FermiLab of Feynman Diagram art rendered in steel tubing.  Quite cool.

The diagrams are, as near as I can make out, about diagramming atomic/subatomic particles' movements and interactions.   It was quite a different topic but a challenge isn't a challenge unless it's a challenge, and I spent quite some time with it this week.  I found that it would be easy to spend a great deal more time with it, but here are some ideas I played with.   I don't know if my brother will laugh, cry, shake his head, or bang his head against the desk when he sees them, but art is supposed to inspire emotion and discussion, right?

It wouldn't be difficult to do a quilt with pretty literal interpretation of the diagrams, and I might do one for Mike--if he sends me some of his favorites. (It occurs to me that it might be fun to do the diagrams in white, on a black background--chalk on slate blackboard.  Old school, I know, but surely Feynman used old-fashioned blackboards in the course of his career and his lectures.)

It could be sylized just a bit, and repeated:
The challenge is to create designs inspired by the topic, not necessarily literal representation, though, so as I was reading a post with "rules" for constructing the diagrams, I thought about the pieces   that seemed to go into them.  In the case of this particular post, there were squiggly lines and straight lines with arrows:  electrons and positrons going in, electrons and positrons going out, with the squiggly lines being where some sort of "magic happens" in the equation.  (Sorry, any physicists who are reading this; I'm going to claim artistic license, even in my understanding of the diagrams!)   Anyway, back to the pieces.  What if you had a toolbox of the pieces or components of the diagrams, sorted and lined up?  That would be more of a "block-y" kind of quilt.

To make something more traditionally "quilty" I used classic quilt piece shapes to construct squiggly lines (you CAN see that in the staggered bands, right?) and triangles for the arrowed lines.   Yes, you Feynman fans may notice that I have particles going in and never coming out.  I don't know for certain, but I suspect that's a serious problem in the physics world.

 I rather like vertical columns of design, so you could set it on its end, too.

Traditional quilts often feature repetition--repeated shapes or blocks--and several of these stylized diagrams make for a rather interesting composition.  It is probably way beyond "approximation" and unless you knew it was a stylized Feynman Diagram your brain wouldn't make that leap but, hey; it's an artistic interpretation inspired by the diagrams.

At some point in the series of posts about diagrams that I was reading, color was introduced.  Hurrah!  Something else to play with.  (The color was a quark thing, I think; different flavors of quarks can be represented with different colors?  Feynman is probably turning in his grave now, and physicists everywhere are developing serious headaches.)  At least I've corrected the problem with particles going in but not coming out.

Expanding my horizons on the shapes of diagrams I found a few more designs that I liked.   You could do a series of improvisationally pieced triangles, with some bias strips for the squiggly lines.  Or, you could stylize them and create more traditional triangles with squiggly lines.

Hexagons are a very popular shape for quilters, especially of late.  I like the hexagon with squiggly lines. It looks a bit like biology meets physics, doesn't it?  (Sorry, I can't tell you what this particular diagrams represents, in terms of particles.)  And goodness knows, I have enough rulers and tools for making hexagons.

 How about a Fractal Feynman?   Hexagon diagrams making up a hexagon?  (OK, it's stretching it to call that a fractal but I'm invoking artistic license and naming again.)

Thinking about the steel tubing art started me thinking about possibilities with more dimension.  I have, for some time, been planning a quilt (or series) that uses quilted strips that are twisted; an example is below.   I think that has potential for a more dimensional rendering of the squiggly lines.

The hexagons could even have more dimension, if I made them separately, using the Hickory Nut ruler. (See my post about Crazy Hexies.)   The center would be plain, rather than the crazy quilting. that I think about it, you could embroider some Feynman diagrams in the middle of each one.   Hmmm.

Or, I could piece together some hexies with plainer backgrounds, and then sew some dimensional twisted pieces over the top of them, for yet another dimensional quilt, albeit it one that is quite far from the original design inspiration.   Hmmm, again...

Feynman is probably laughing in his physics lab in the sky, Mike is probably laughing in a hysterical sort of way, and I am smiling because this was quite fun.   There are many more ideas floating around in my head than I've had time to play with this week and that's the whole point of the Challenge.   Who knows what next week will hold!

This challenge just reminded me of a quilt made for Mike years ago.  The family was talking about Penrose tiling at Christmas one year and we thought it might make an interesting quilt.  My brothers headed off to the library to get some articles about it, Mary Kay headed in to Dad's computer to write the code for a program that would generate diagrams, and Rita and I talked about color, fabric, etc. (Poor Mom was trying to get us to sit down to dinner.  I think her children were quite a strain on her, some days!)  Penrose tiling uses just two shapes, and you have to place them correctly to get them to all fit together.  If you  mess up with one, it throws off every other piece placement from that point out. (You build from the center--or, at least I did.)  I made plenty of mistakes as I was laying it out on the design wall, and I must have reset pieces at least 50 times.   I cut each piece by hand, around templates (this was pre-rotary cutter and rulers),  pieced it by hand, and hand quilted it.  I also used some beads, though you can't see them very well in this photo.    Nowaways, we have many more color options in fabrics and I could probably do more gradation in the darks, but I still rather like this quilt.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Design Challenge Week #8

My brother, a physicist, proposed this week's challenge topic:  Feynman diagrams.   It's not a challenge unless it's a challenge, right?

Naturally, I had to consult the web because, while I'm familiar with Dr. Feynman, his diagrams are something else again.   Time to brush up on electrons and positrons and muons and gluons and quarks and.....There may be some serious "approximations" and stylizing going on this week, but I'm up for it!

Send good and creative thoughts, please!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Design Challenge: Week #7 Results

The challenge this week:  design a quilt around your favorite dessert.   There was never any question that, for me, it would revolve around chocolate.  I explored three different chocolate desserts.

Chocolate cream pie is a favorite of several in my family.    First was a single slice of pie, with a crimped crust.   Now that I think more about it, I might put a thin line of crust around the two plain edges of the pie but, for now, here's my concept of a slices of chocolate pie--sans meringue or whipped cream.  I suppose you could consider the white triangles between to be the whipped cream.

Then I tried a few more arrangements, including one with alternating slices that have whipped cream.

If there's anything better than a slice of chocolate cream pie, it's an entire pie.  So, on to arrangements of entire pies.

And, to be fair, I do like just about any kind of pie.

Chocolate pie is a favorite but, harking back to my childhood and girl Scout camp, S'mores rank pretty high on the favorites list.

I rather like design motifs that are vertically placed, especially along the 1/3 vertical division.

Finally, there is nothing at all wrong with just pieces of chocolate.  Belgian chocolate is fabulous but I don't scoff at just about any piece of chocolate.

I wanted to like the chocolate pie designs best, but I confess that I think the vertical S'mores design and the box of chocolates are my favorites.   What's your favorite?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Design Challenge: The votes are in!

The votes are in on your choice for the challenge design that I should make first.   I'm often surprised by which designs others like most. I first discovered it when designing quilts for patterns; once in awhile I can guess which will be most popular, but often I can't.  in fact, a couple of my favorite patterns are not the most popular ones.  Isn't it grand that there are so many different ideas and tastes in the quilting world?  There are always new things to discover and learn.

Back to the design.  For awhile it looked as if the voting wouldn't be much help, as it was evenly divided but, in the end (you did vote, didn't you??) the design with the most votes was "Different Paths."

I'm starting to work through my stash to select the fabrics.   As this design turned out to be about Iowa, with its green fields and its two boundary rivers, I'm giving some consideration to adding some deep, rich brown to the "fields."   Iowa has rich soil underneath all those green crops, so I might insert a few narrow strips of brown into the greens, for the soil (admittedly, at this point, it is mostly mud) peeking out between the rows.  The background fabric is still in question; originally, I had thought it would be a creamy white but perhaps it should be a little more beige or light gray, for those gravel roads cutting through the fields.  So many choices!

There is also a possibility that the fields will move through the seasons, with some different colorings.  We'll see.  It may turn out that the simpler design is the better design.

Construction won't be too much of a problem; I'll have to work through sizes and proportions, but the primary technique on my mind is the introduction of the river strips.  They'll be bias, but this morning I was pondering the quilting and it occurred to me that I might want to do the quilting BEFORE I applique the river strips.   I suppose the quilt will tell me what it wants as I get closer to that point.

So, though I wouldn't have predicted that this would be your choice, you have spoken and it's on its way!

This week's challenge, btw, is to design a quilt around your favorite dessert.  I fear that it is going to make me hungry for all my favorites.  The sacrifices we make for our art, right?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Getting to Work! Design Challenge Survey

We're six weeks into the challenge and it's time to get to work on a quilt!  Please vote, on this survey on your choice of six designs.  The designs are on the survey form, but I've also included them below.   Thanks for your input!

Boxed Cereal

Rain, Rain Go Away

Friends, Far and Near

Company's Coming!

Different Paths

Lonesome Whistle

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Design Challenge #6 Results

This week Ann presented the challenge around the theme of "Different Paths."   Ann is a fellow quilter, but also an avid gardener so I suspect that she intended it to be paths in a garden or in nature.  I broadened the idea, though I included some that are organic.

The first idea uses stepping stones of various sizes and shapes. (You should be proud of me--no circles!)  The paths wind in and out, and I thought that I could do some sort of transparency effect where they intersect.  I didn't like it as much as I thought I would.

The next idea was a much more structured and regular, with paths working their way around walls.  Originally I thought about doing the walls as a sort of maze, and I suppose these are a very simple, stylized sort of maze.  Of course, there always has to be a smart-aleck that cuts through the maze instead of following the rules.   I don't know anyone like that, though.

In the shower yesterday the idea of bands of color pieced next to other, with paths running across them popped into my head.  At that point I thought I wanted some bright, modern prints for the bands but as I started putting it on "paper" it felt more like a landscape of fields and when I opted for curved lines instead of straight, it began to look like a stylized Iowa landscape.  My subconscious must have registered that because, without even having that in mind, I put in two blue curved lines.  "Iowa" means "land between two rivers."  Voila.

Then I tried the crazy, chaotic curved lines again.  Ugh.  I keep thinking that someday that will look right to me but, apparently, not yet.

So, on to straight lines.   I started paths of different colors, that diverged at the end.  It looks a lot like the Amtrak symbol, doesn't it?   I like overlaying them, however, and I might do a transparency thing here, too, where they overlap.

While I like the Amtrak symbol, it's Amtrak's symbol.   I experimented with the forked path shape rotated around and stacked on each other.  I think I like it.   John thinks it could be "woven" where the paths overlap and I think that's a good possibility.  (He also thinks I could make this into a block that is repeated, with the lines meeting/intersecting when the blocks are put together.  It's an interesting idea, and I might play with that another day, in EQ.)

What if the paths had curves, instead of all straight lines?  Again, rotating the same path in several different directions made for a pleasing sort of pattern.  A transparency or woven effect could come into play here, too.

When I first thought of the concept, in my mind the curves were wrapping around each other, which necessitated some more fiddling.

 In the end I decided it needed a straight line, to better balance it.  Actually, I thought perhaps two or three but I was satisfied after one, and more than that would make it too cluttered.

Which one do you like best?  Later this week I hope to post a survey, asking which of my choices from each of the 6 weeks (so far) everyone would like to see me work on first.   That means I have to choose my favorite from each of the 6 weeks.  I like several this time, so help me out and share your favorite.   :-)