A Study In Minimalism I and II


Lately I’ve been sharing art pieces started while in attendance at Pam Beal’s Minimalist Design, Maximum Impact class. The art quilts I’m sharing today bring my series to a close. Let’s take a look back at the other projects. Click on any of the photos to view them as a slide show.

Let’s turn now to today’s specimens. Known as A Study in Minimalism I and A Study in Minimalism II, these two were created to hang together.

A Study In Minimalism I and II, AP # 91 & 92

Of the fifteen projects created at Pam’s class I would have to say that these two are my favorites and here’s why.

  • I like their overall color schemes.
  • The colors used work harmoniously with one another.
  • Their subject matter is simple yet elegant.
  • The quilting compliments the natural lines of the units.
  • They were created to hang together.

I had a great time creating these quilts. Both started with scraps leftover from other art pieces. If you have been a follower of my blog you are aware of my fondness for raw edges and fabric fringe. The quilt on the left has three fabrics with raw edges and one even has fringe. The art piece on the left measures 19 1/2 x 9 1/2” and the quilt on the right measures 19 1/2 x 8 3/4”.

I learned so much from Pam Beal! Thank You Pam for sharing your methods and insight. Your influence will always play a role in my thought process.

Thank you for following this series!


Cobblestones II, AP # 90


Have you ever named an art project and then realized that you have already assigned the name to something else? Well, I have! Twice! The art piece I am showing you today, Cobblestones is the name I gave to Cobblestones, AP # 80.

Cobblestones, AP # 80

Both pieces were designed with the same photo in mind.

Cobblestones Street In Columbus, Ohio

While they both had the same inspiration their outcomes are totally different.

I am a spreadsheet person. By that I mean that I like to use spreadsheets to organize my life because they are much more reliable than scraps of paper. Of course their reliability hinges upon actually using the app.

After experiencing hurdles in maintaining a reliable list of my art pieces I decided to design a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet would be readily available because I could access it on all of my electronic devices—I almost always have one at my side. I was so proud of myself once the data was entered. While very few things are perfect I had high expectations that this would eliminate duplicate names.

In order for the spreadsheet to reach foolproof status one has to utilize it. Sometimes I’m lazy and resort back to pen and paper. In this instance that is exactly what happened. I was not aware of my dilemma until I sat down to bring my spreadsheet up to date. When I did, I had to make a decision—should I allow them both to maintain the same name or should I change one of them. In the end I chose to change one of the names ever so slightly. Today’s piece was given the modified name, Cobblestones II.

With the explanation for this project’s name revealed let’s take a look at the construction and design. I created my art piece while attending Pam Beal’s class Minimalist Design, Maximum Impact. Cobblestones II, as mentioned earlier, was inspired by a photo I took while attending QSDS.

Unlike it’s very colorful predasessor this art quilt was constructed using only three colors—a soft shade of blue, navy blue and bordeaux. Looking at the photo you will see that the cobblestones were fashioned from navy blue. The process of cutting and stitching the fabric back together created a woven texture or three dimensional appearance. I rather like that look. A border of soft blue was added to surround the cobblestones. Wrapping around all four sides is the bordeaux. The bordeaux creates a large negative space. This negative space creates a generous place for your eye to rest.

To finish my piece I added hand stitching using color coordinated threads. In the upper most bordeaux section I added three simple X’s. In the bottom area I echoed or replicated the cobblestones by stitching a grid pattern.

Cobblestones II, AP # 90

Cobblestones II has a very striking yet minimalist appearance. I think Pam Beal would be very pleased. Cobblestones II measures 14 1/2 x 8”.

Thank you for visiting.


Purple Passion, AP # 85


I am very excited to share another finished art piece. Measuring only 14 1/2 x 8 1/4” today’s addition to my portfolio is titled Purple Passion, AP # 85. As with so many of my other recent art pieces, this one began to take shape, on my design wall, at the Pam Beal Minimalist Design, Maximum Impact class.

Creating small works of art gives me the opportunity to use a variety of materials and techniques in a shorter amount of time. While minimalist in both size and design these new additions are not lacking in style. Let’s examine Purple Passion.

I’ve titled this piece Purple Passion because it reminds me of the passion fruit. Here’s why:

Both have

  • An outer purple layer
  • A green center
  • Black seeds (represented by the black circles in the center orange fabric strip)

Purple Passion has many stylish features. Among them are:

  • Raw edged fabrics secured with decorative stitching.
  • Color coordinated hand stitching
  • Three diamond shaped purple seeds represented by the three beads and
  • One very special, sparkly bead.

See for yourself.

Purple Passion, AP # 85

Thank You for visiting! Be watching for my next reveal.

Once In A Blue Moo, AP # 81


“Once in a blue moon” is a well-known idiom. The phrase refers to the occurrence of a second full moon within a calendar month. This phenomena only happens about once every thirty-two months.

The phrase “Once in a Blue Moon was the inspiration for today’s art quilt. Initially begun at the Pam Beal Minimalist Design, Maximum Impact class, this project took on a whimsical nature with the addition of an unusual embellishment and fabric strip.

Once In A Blue Moon Moo, AP # 81

A quick glance at the above photo reveals the presence of a vertical navy blue section of fabric with the word Moo repeatedly printed on its surface. This piece of fabric gave me the idea to call my project Once In a Blue Moon Moo. 

A careful tour of the 7 3/4 x 7 3/4” art quilt will reveal:

  • the presence of a multi-colored barn with;
  • a stylish, wood-grained, teal door;
  • sporting a teal zipper pull to act as the door’s handle;
  • a chimney fashioned from a tiny teal fabric scrap;
  • a grassy base represented by the fringed, teal, horizontal, fabric strip;
  • cleverly applied hand quilting using both matching and coordinating colors (note the stitches used to represent smoke arising from the chimney);
  • as well as a machine applied zig-zag stitch to secure raw edges.

All of these added elements helped to make this special art quilt a great addition to my portfolio. I hope that after you have examined each of my design elements you too will be able to grasp my vision.

Thank You for sharing your time!

Tropical Punch, AP # 79


What comes to mind when you think of tropical punch?

How about bright colors and a fruity taste.

I titled today’s art quilt Tropical Punch because it reminds me of the bold colors often found in the tropics. This sparky little specimen measures 8 x 4 1/4”.

Tropical Punch, AP # 79

Started while in attendance at Pam Beal’s class Minimalist Design, Maximum Impact this petite work of art features:

  • curved lines of fluorescent orange fabric,
  • two lime green buttons,
  • three shiny orange beads,
  • random rows of hand quilting,
  • unusually pieced sections of lime green fabric,
  • and a vertical strip of floral fabric.

All of these elements help to accentuate the quilt’s flashy name.

I think Tropical Punch, AP # 79, in spite of it’s small stature, delivers a huge punch!

Thank You for visiting!

Hoo Knows? AP # 77


While attending Pam Beal’s class Minimalist Design, Maximum Impact,I began a number of small art pieces. Some of them have already been shared.

Blue Door, AP # 66

1973, AP # 74

X’s and O’s, AP # 75

Wise Old Owl, AP # 76

Today’s small art piece was also started in that class. Titled Who Hoo Knows?, AP # 77, the quilt measures 15×10”.

Who Hoo Knows?, AP # 77

Keeping with the theme of minimalism, this petite specimen has a limited color pallet. The soft minty teal (how’s that for a technical description) adds a pop of color that grabs your eye and draws it toward the center.

Of note are several special embellishments. Except for the zig-zagged raw edges of the sparkly grey fabric the rest of the quilting was hand stitched. Added for surprise elements were three teal and black beads along with a sassy, teal owl. The colors of the items were chosen to mirror the minty fabric frame.

Naming this mini quilt proved to be a challenge. Often times a name will come to mind while I am creating my art. In this case I wasn’t inspired until I added the owl. Given the difficulty I had in choosing the name I decided to select Hoo Knows?. Hoo, because of the sound associated with owls and the added owl bead. Knows, because of the phrase, “Who Knows?” I know it seems kind of corny but that’s ok! Who cares!

Hoo Knows was added to a background of black fabric. A layer of Warm & Natural batting is sandwiched in-between. To the quilt’s raw edges a binding of matching black fabric was added.

What do you think of my latest art piece?

Thank you for visiting!

X’s and O’s, AP # 75


Sidetracked

Before heading to Woodland Ridge for Pam Beal’s class, I stopped in Menomonie at the cutest little fabric shop called Thread Lab. The art piece I will share today incorporates three of the fabrics purchased during my shopping spree.

Undivided Attention

This is the third post featuring art quilts resulting from my attendance at Pam Beal’s class Minimalist Design, Maximum Impact.

One of the concepts I learned there was

“L” Shape Balance.

What??

Those that read and write the English language are familiar with the letter “L”. The “L” begins with a downward swipe of the pen, then continues on toward the right. These two lines form a ninety degree angle.

The English language is read from top to bottom and left to right. This top to bottom, left to right flow is replicated in the letter “L”. When viewing art our eye travels along the same path.

Lets Review

If you recall, I mentioned earlier one of the traits Pam said was important for a successful art piece. The term I am referring to is “L” Shape Balance. If my quilt were to achieve “L” Shape Balance then my eye would begin in the top left corner and proceed across and down the surface.

I believe my mini art piece achieves that balance. The blue fabric, situated to the left of the center, echoes the downward movement of a pen creating the first part of an “L”. The grey fabric directly below can be identified with the left to right swipe.

Did I loose you?

In other words, my eye first travels from top to bottom down the surface of the blue fabric. Next it makes a right angle and follows along the grey strip to the outer right edge.

Is that better?

X’s and O’s

X’s and O’s are often used to signify a hug and a kiss when writing sentiments in, say for instance—a card. I’ve titled today’s art piece X’s and O’s not because I’m sending you a kiss or a hug. Instead I’ve chosen this reference because of the fabrics I used to create it.

X's and O's
X’s and O’s, AP # 75

If you look closely in the body of my piece you will see skinny strips of fabric accentuated by the letter “X”. You will also notice a blue fabric decorated with black dots. The “X’s” and dots, or “O’s” were the inspiration for my quilt’s name.

What’s Left?

Let’s look at the remaining features of my art piece. This small art quilt was made using three different colors—black, grey and blue. The

  • blue fabric with the black dots;
  • the grey and black fabric with the x’s; and
  • the darker grey and black near the bottom

were purchased during my fabric shopping trip. The balance of the other fabrics were harvested from my stash.

Hand Quilted

Years and years ago I tried mastering the art of hand quilting. After several attempts I threw in the towel and turned to machine quilting. Hand quilting is Pam’s preferred method. After seeing Pam’s masterpieces and how lovely they looked with her stitching I decided to give it another try.

Thread Colors

I chose three thread colors for my stitching.

  • The grey fabrics were accented with grey thread.
  • Black thread was my obvious choice for the two black border pieces.
  • In the remaining sections I used a soft blue.

After achieving a workable rhythm I actually grew to appreciate hand quilting. The somewhat uneven appearance of my stitches gives my small project a more rustic texture.

Surprise!

Strategically placed stray stitches along with random beading are Pam’s go-to-method for adding elements of surprise. Using this for my inspiration I added a few stray stitches along with four French knots in the quilt’s right, grey panel. These two elements add a little sparkle.

The Little Things

Now that we have examined the obvious details let’s take one last look at the unmentioned features.

  • X’s and O’s measures 14” L x 8 5/8“ w.
  • Surrounding my quilt is a binding made from black fabric.
  • In between the quilt sandwich is a layer of Warm & Natural batting.
  • The back is protected by a layer of black fabric.
  • A hanging sleeve and label have been attached as well.

That’s A Wrap

With so much to share, this has been a very long post. I think you would agree though that it was well worth the read.

Thank you so much for sticking with me. Let’s do this again!

logo_101417_2

1973, AP # 74


A Strong Desire

The older I get the stronger my desire to explore and experience the many forms of art. I’ve been very fortunate to have the opportunity to attend numerous classes—each one exposing me to techniques or philosophies I have not tried.

One of the classes I attended was Pam Beal’s Minimalist Design, Maximum Impact. If you click on the link attached to the class name you will be taken to the blog post she shared once our class was complete. Within that post is numerous photos of her own work as well as the work of her students. Photos # 7, 8 and 10 show a few of my projects. Photo # 8 is the subject of today’s story.

Let’s Begin!

1973 was the year I graduated from high school. My graduating class contained 400+ students—way too many to remember them all by name.

Our official school colors were cardinal and grey. Often times they were referred to as red and grey by our cheerleaders. I can still recall one of the chants—

Red and grey,

red and grey,

fight, fight!

The Name Is

Recently I put finishing touches on a small art quilt started while attending Pam Beal’s class.

After adding the last detail I always give my art quilts a name. Sometimes the process turns very slowly—in this instance it was quick and painless.

My Assistant

My husband is very familiar with my class colors and the year of my graduation. When I proudly shared my finished piece he instantly named the quilt

1973

in honor of my high school graduation and my class colors.

1973
1973, AP # 74

Distinguishing Features

Pam Beal’s quilts primarily contain straight line piecing. On occasion she adds an element of surprise through circles or curved pieces.

Following in Pam’s footsteps, 1973 was assembled with geometric, straight-line shapes. Added for pizazz were two gently curved strips—one each in the upper and lower quadrants.

These wavy lines add interest and movement by drawing your eye from one side to the other. Pam emphasized that a well-balanced piece will

keep your eye moving.

One way of providing movement is to

bring your elements (i.e. colors, piecing, quilting) off the page,

or in this case, off the mini quilt.

I think 1973 has achieved that feature through the addition of those strips.

Color Pallet

Since the theme of the class was minimalism I kept my color pallet simple. Chosen were grey, both light and dark; fuchsia; white and black. The grey tones are not part of my normal color family. In fact, grey is one of my least favorite colors. Given that this class was supposed to help me reach outside my comfort zone I made the decision to challenge my norms by adding colors unusual to me.

Another Door

Minimalist Design, Maximum Impact taught me the qualities of a well-balanced art piece. Learning these traits opened my eyes to new opportunities to analyze my own work. These revelations, in essence, swung open another door.

Doorway Features

Just as with Blue Door  this mini art piece also reflects the imagery of a doorway.

  • The doorway was assembled using strategically placed rectangles of color.
  • Standing outside looking in you will notice a window made from fuchsia cotton fabric.
  • Radiating from the window is additional rectangular shapes fashioned from a soft grey, more fuchsia and white. These added fuchsia and white fabrics give the door interest.
  • Emphasizing the image of a door knob is the oversized silver snap.
  • Strips of fuchsia colored cotton lead your eye to the outer right edge of my piece. By leading your eye in that direction I am enticing you to reach for and turn the door knob.
  • To add even more interest and encouragement of motion I added hand quilting. The stitched lines in and around the door bring your focus to the opportunity for discovery. An open door can lead to new and exciting experiences.
  • The grey stitches reaching from the left edge outward to the right give my piece even more movement. A movement that should also tease you to open wide the door.

The Final Details

1973

  • Measures: 11 7/8” L x 9 3/8” W
  • It Contains: Cotton fabrics
  • Is bound and backed with: Black fabric
  • Is sandwiched with: Warm & Natural Batting

In Conclusion

This was the second of many art quilts to develop during the Minimalist Design, Maximum Impact class. I will continue to reveal the other ones in future posts.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading about and seeing my latest art piece. Perhaps the tips shared will help you when analyzing your own works of art.

Please Share!

If there were aspects of my quilt or techniques that you found interesting, please share those thoughts. I learn so much from your comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for visiting! I look forward to our next opportunity.

logo_101417_2

The Blue Door, AP # 66


Being Stretched

Since May 2016 I have had the amazing opportunity to attend classes at the Woodland Ridge Retreat. While there I have studied under Rayna Gillman, Lisa Binkley, and Pam Beal. Pam taught the class Minimalist Design, Maximum Impact.

Opening oneself up to new ideas can be scary and exciting at the same time.

Pam’s class stretched me in ways that made me feel uncomfortable. She nudged me to think outside the box, use unconventional materials and incorporate blank or negative space.

The small expressions of art that developed from those trying moments will be the focus of my attention over the next several postings.

First Up

The first to take shape was Blue Door.

Blue Door, AP # 66
Blue Door, AP # 66

Near the center is a stitched together grouping of blue and teal strips. The denim colored pieces were the inspiration for my small quilt’s name. They are the doorway to my new adventure.

By attending this class I was in essence opening a new door.

A door that led me into a hallway filled with apprehension, inspiration and intrigue.

How fitting to name the first minimalist art quilt to evolve from Pam’s class

Blue Door.

A Closer Look

Let’s take an even closer look.

Immediately surrounding the door are two thin strips of a soft gray fabric. Those slivers of light surrounding the door represent the opportunities just waiting to burst through and enlighten my exploration.

Apprehension

Next to the rays of light are black fabric. The black symbolizes the apprehension I often feel before I open new doors. As my heart beats faster and my muscles begin to tighten I feel as if I’m surrounded by darkness…unable to focus.

The Handle

In the lower right corner is a small green rectangle. This added pop of color is the handle to my door.

Stitched on top of the green fabric is an iridescent bead. The bead, with its shiny facade, beckons me to open the door.

Aha Moments

I reach for the door and turn the knob. As the door creaks open the fog or darkness begins to fade and is replaced by an even brighter light. The bright light that expands my way of thinking is represented by the two larger strips of the same soft gray fabric.

Filtering through the bright light are the “aha” moments when the uncertainty begins to unravel. Understanding new concepts is not something that happens all at once. The learning comes slowly. Those glimmers or breakthroughs are identified by the blue and teal print fabrics.

Hand Quilting

Throughout the entire miniature art quilt you will see rows of carefully placed hand stitching. The thread colors selected were meant to quietly compliment the fabrics without drawing unnecessary attention.

Finishing Touches

Blue Door, AP # 66 measures 12” long and 8 3/4” wide. A single layer of cotton batting secretly rests between the quilt top and the black cotton backing. A sleeve for hanging and a label were added to the back.

New Opportunities

The process of creating my small art quilt took me on a journey that opened opportunities for greater growth in my exploration of the arts. I’m very pleased with its outcome.

Your Reaction Please!

Now that you have met Blue Door what are your thoughts?

logo_101417_2