Monday, November 4, 2013

My Very Educated Mother Just Said Uh-Oh, No Pluto: an art quilt which focuses on the design principle of Unity

"My Very Educated Mother Just Said Uh-Oh, No Pluto," 15" x 15.5", made by Pam Geisel, Oct. 2013

This quilt came about because my art quilt group, the Miami Valley Art Quilt Network, is working through the book "Adventures in Design" by Joen Wolfrom. We were working on the design principles of Unity. We were focusing on Unity through Repetition, Rhythm, and Harmony; Unity with Variation and Contast; Bridging Extremes through Gradation; Unity through Proximity; and Unity through Movement.

My idea was to have a 4-part piece with each part detailing one of the five focuses although the focuses can also be found in the piece as a whole.

Unity through Repetition, Rhythm, and Harmony :
Repetition is repeating one or more element. Repetition that flows fluidly allows rhythm to come forth. When repetition and rhythm work together, harmony is created.


Obviously the use of circles is repeated throughout the whole piece in the planets and also in their orbits. There is a rhythm to the placement of the orbits, and harmony with the placement of the planets. The beads that hold the piece together also provide unity through repetition and rhythm.

Unity with Variation and Contrast :
Variation is created by shifting the motif shapes and contrast by altering the value, color, or size.


Mars is small and a dark red while in contrast, Jupiter is larger and a lighter red. The tight micro-stippling quilting in between Mars and Jupiter, representing the asteroid belt, contrasts with the space between the other orbits where there isn't any quilting (other than the couching holding down the yarn). 

Bridging Extremes through Gradation :
Bridging is gently moving from one extreme to another, most often with color, value, and shape.


Yes, there are four parts to the quilt and five design focuses. I thought the most obvious place to use bridging was on the sun and the sun is on all four parts equally. Instead of having the orange sun directly on the navy blue background, I "bridged" it by going from orange to yellow to white to light blue to blue to navy blue.


This part was the most fun to make and I did it in a style similar to how I made my fabric mosaics. I worked on the piece as a whole and cut it into four parts later. First I drew center lines and my inner and outer circles. I fused the blue and light blue pieces first, then added the white and yellow pieces. The orange sun had folded edges and was fused to the top.

Unity through Proximity :
Proximity is arranging the visual elements close enough to have a visual bond.


In this section Mercury, Venus, and Earth and close together, giving them a visual relationship. Neptune is farther out, making it more it's own design element. The proximity of the stars also bind them together. 

Unity through Movement :
Movement is created when there is a visual pathway for the eye to follow.


All of the pieces have movement with the couched yarn that are the planets orbits. I believe this section best represents movement with the comet. It is made with silver fun yarn that was couched to the background and a clear bead. It stands out because it is one of the few elements that isn't round.

A note about the title :
When I was working on this I had to decide whether or not to include Pluto. When I was growing up Pluto was a planet. In 2006 Pluto was demoted to a dwarf planet. I decided to include Pluto because nine makes a more interesting design layout than eight. (There are also nine stars in the four outer corners).

I was wondering what effect demoting Pluto had on the mnemonic device used to remember the names of the planets and I found many wonderful mnemonics to remember the names including the title I used, which does draw attention to Pluto's demotion.

As always, you can see a larger view of any of the photos by clicking on them.

3 comments:

Terry Aske Art Quilts said...

Pam, I love this quilt! It's so interesting to see your inspiration and design process.

DownHome Designs said...

I love this piece! Thanks for sharing your process. : )

thebutterflyquilter said...

Just beautiful! Love your process!