Lesson Two - Barbara I.

Examples of Contrast and Relationship

I am always interested in art quilts done in a series. I recently saw a presentation about a new exhibit done by ARTful Women titled, “The Classical Elements in Fiber & Poetry.” I ordered the catalog and received permission from Lin Schiffner to use her images in this post. The artists developed four pieces representing Earth, Water, Fire, and Air. All four of Lin’s pieces demonstrate “Relationship” through:

            Color – Monochromatic (primarily) and representative of each specific element.

            Shape – Circles and lines, which bring a sense of movement (in the circular elements) but within a stable environment provided by the slender lines (lots of luscious fabrics and strings).

            Value – lights and darks again create depth and movement.

            Thematic – the artist has used the same elements in all four pieces to connect them in a presentation of earth, water, fire, and air.

            Stylistic – when the exhibit is viewed in its entirety, each artist brings a different interpretation of the theme through a selected style. This artist took great care to keep the four pieces unified.

From: “Gee’s Bend, The Women and Their Quilts”

Artist: Jessie T. Pettway, “Housetop” – nine block “half log cabin”

The quilts from the Gee’s Bend community evoke an immediate emotional response from those of use who use all kinds of rulers and gadgets to get our pieces perfectly cut and sewn with ¼” seams and machine accuracy. We follow patterns and allow our work to be judged. These quilts force us to consider the true art of quilting – making something beautiful with scraps and an eye for developing patterns.

In this quilt I noticed:

            “Contrast” through

Color – the black and yellow POP and force the eye to move around the quilt, while the prints provide a place to rest.

Shape – it appears that a log cabin block was constructed, then cut and turned to create a new design. The squares and rectangles  force the viewer to try and match the various components.

Texture – prints and solids are used to enhance the movement in the quilt top.


                        Thematic Relationship  - The log cabin “theme” is evident throughout the quilt.

                        Shape – Each strip is a distinct element, but in combination, they for a strong graphic relationship.

Joseph Cornell – “A Pantry Ballet”

Although Cornell created his pieces as 3-dimensional, I wanted to include this piece as one that has a great sense of humor. The longer one looks at it, the more interesting it becomes.


            Texture – There are a variety of textures within the piece; plastic lobsters, printed shells, wallpaper background, suspended silverware, and tulle (I think) skirts on the lobsters.

            Stylistic Contrast – The variety of materials, while dissimilar, come together to tell the story of the piece.


            Thematic Relationship – All of the images have to do with things that live in the sea, and eating things that live in the sea.