Saturday, May 13, 2006
Vernon asks good questions. Yesterday, he asked about the small embroidery piece I showed yesterday, 'I'm wondering why it became necessary to reduce it down to the bare minimum when repetition is one of the most effective design tools?' He's right, of course; repetition is effective, and it's one of the cornerstones of textile art, especially piecing and quilting. So I thought I'd try to answer his question, and I've put both pictures up side by side today, to let you compare.
When I started writing this, I thought the answer was simple. It was, I thought, a question of space. The canvasses are small, 8" square, the embroideries, 2.5" square. Putting four small squares on a small canvas felt somewhat squashed up, to me. A single square works better.
Or perhaps, a bigger canvas would look better.
And then I realised that that wasn't the whole truth. It is also a matter of where the viewer focusses the attention. In the four square piece, what pulls the eye, I think, is the flow of colour over the four squares, the way some colours and stitch move one way, and others, another. We look at the four, as if they were one. In the single piece, the eye has nowhere to go but the interior of that one embroidery. It is still; there is no movement outwith the edges of the piece. It is quiet, contemplative. I prefer it, though I still like the other piece...and will go buy a larger square canvas, next week, to see if that works better. It may not.
I think this is a wonderful example of working in reverse. I'd love to say that I consciously worked all this out, but it's quite obvious that I didn't. My unconscious was busy, designing, whilst the rest of me thought I was playing with some offcuts. At the end of the day, who cares...the end result is there, to be enjoyed. Which one do you prefer?