Fabulous 2013 Houston Quilt Show (Playing with Color Series by Joen Wolfrom)Joen Wolfrom | November 15, 2013
The 2013 Houston Quilt Show was fabulous! It featured the prestigious IQA Show (the International Quilt Association Show), as well as a wide array of other quilt exhibits. Included were quilts of every style, technique, and theme possible with entries coming from all over the world. In the next several blogs, I would like to feature several of these exceptional quilts to illustrate different ways color and value can be used with great results. It will be interesting for us to see how different people use color, value, and other design elements to tell their visual stories in cloth.
To begin, I have selected one of my favorite quilts in the show. You will see that this quilt doesn’t shout with brilliant colors, demanding our attention. Instead, it’s a quilt that resounds of powerful beauty in its quiet use of color.
In the Bleak Midwinter by Ruth Powers from Carbondale, Kansas
Simplicity is so often the basis of a beautiful and powerful design. The Bleak Midwinter by Ruth Powers well illustrates this concept. The subtle toned hues of winter are beautifully partnered with the striking barren trees and the life-like sky. Ruth has used strong value contrast to accentuate the trees within the landscape. The wintry setting is filled with high-value colors (light) while the striking trees are a mixture of middle to low value hues (medium to dark).
In this detail view, you can see how effective Ruth’s choice of fabrics are. She has enhanced her design by adding the textural quality of the quilting stitches.
When you are planning your own designs, remember that simplicity can be superbly effective, as it is here in Ruth Powers’ In the Bleak Midwinter.
Tuning Fork #11 by Heather Pregger is created in a totally different style than In the Bleak Midwinter. Heather created this design in an extemporaneous fashion, allowing the tuning-fork shapes to be squished, stretched, pulled apart, and interlocked across the design surface. The shapes in bright, warm reds, darkened reds, and blacks call our attention immediately against those background shapes made from soft, subtle neutral hues. Again, color and value work together to create the total design without ambiguity.
Tuning Fork #11 by Heather Pregger of Fort Worth, Texas
The way Heather allowed the forks to freely play throughout the design creates a sense of visual movement. She has used a full range of values, including extremes of light and dark hues. These extremes, along with the vibrant warm middle-value reds, create a strong visual impact.
Here’s a close-up view of this design:
The last quilt featured in today’s post varies greatly in color, value, and design from the other two quilts. Alice’s Kitchen is a charming quilt created by Miki Murakami from Kawasaki-si, Japan. If our memories serve us well, we know that no kitchen scene appeared in the story Alice in Wonderland. Miki decided to correct this oversight. Giving her imagination free range, Miki created the picture-perfect kitchen for Alice. Miki has very cleverly incorporated many details and references from the tale of Alice in Wonderland, as you can see in these three photos. Each time you look at this quilt, you may find something new appearing before your eyes. Alice’s Kitchen is filled with surprising visual pleasures.
Alice’s Kitchen by Miki Murakami from Kawasaki-si, Japan
Miki has used a wide analogous color plan, working in a color range that includes an assortment of greens, chartreuses, yellows, oranges, and reds, including browns, beiges, and rusts. Because Miki uses this harmonious color plan so beautifully, she can incorporate the many kitchen details without our eyes feeling overwhelmed. In other words, Miki provides color organization that makes this scene easy on our eyes. .
Also, notice the excellent use of value in Alice’s Kitchen. Miki has included the full range of values, moving from white to black and everything between. The value changes are so well-defined that they allow our eyes to see each detail clearly. There is no visual ambiguity.
Wonderful details can be seen in both of these images. I really like the way in which Miki has incorporated black into the design. It helps to accentuate certain elements. White, too, plays a very nice role in this design.
I congratulate Miki for her great imagination, design skill, and beautiful workmanship. This is an amazing quilt! I am looking forward to seeing more quilts created by Miki. I can hardly wait!
Theme, color, value—–all are evident in each of these quilts. Which of these three pulls most at your creative soul? What is it that most draws your attention to your favorite quilt? Does one of these quilts get your creative juices flowing? If so, be sure to take advantage of your creative spirit by doodling, taking notes, or playing with your own ideas—-keeping those ideas alive and formable.
It’s been quite some time since I have been able to write a post on my color blog. Thanks for your patience in waiting for me to get back to you. I appreciate it. See you soon with a few more amazing quilts. Happy coloring!
Text, illustrations, and photography copyright © Joen Wolfrom The copyright of each artwork shown remains with its creator.
Joen is a color enthusiast who teaches and lectures on color and design. She has written three color books: Color Play, Visual Coloring, and The Magical Effects of Color. Her Studio Color Wheel is used to illustrate color concepts in many of these blog posts. She is also the designer of the 3-in-1 Color Tool. She is the author of the book Adventures in Designis. Joen’s newest design tool, the Magic Design-Ratio Tool is also available. All books and products are published by C & T Publishing. These products can be found in fabric stores, book stores, and online websites such as C & T Publishing.