My mini-landscape quilt with the tree added. It’s pretty cute. I like it.
If you watched my last YouTube video, Free-Motion Quilt Midground | Part 5 Landscape Quilting Tutorial, you know that after quilting the background of that larger work, I realized (and my husband agrees) that the quilt doesn’t really need the tree and other foreground elements that I was planning to add.
While that question is still up in the air, I have decided to add a tree to this piece now. While I like my little landscape quite a bit, I feel that the various elements do not visually cue the subject matter quickly enough. I am hoping the strong tree element will say immediately: mini-landscape quilt to whoever sees it.
A Word About Composition—apart from the subject matter of a work of art, composition has to do with the arrangement of your elements. Good composition generally seeks qualities like balance, unity, rhythm, contrast, movement, etc. Personally, I tend to experiment with the shapes in my pieces and tune into my emotional responses, because when a design works, we feel it. But terms like rhythm do help us describe what is happening in a piece, as well as describe why we think we are reacting the way we are.
If you have never taken an art class or spent much time visiting galleries and museums, you might enjoy reading up on the elements of composition, the rule of thirds, and related topics. Then spend some time looking at art you like and see if you can put words to the qualities that speak to you. This process will feed your confidence and empower your artistic voice as you work on your own fiber art. It will also help you understand better what you are doing when you decide to be a renegade and try to create successful pieces in opposition to accepted principles of good design.
STEP ONE: Study Your Elements
Consider spending a few minutes out on the street taking a few inspirational shots of trees you like, or go through your photos looking for ideas. Consider how a tree looks when you crop a panoramic view down to just the area of your current project with a strong, sculptural tree trunk—with or without branches, leaves, or even pine cones—in the foreground. I’ve included some sample photos here. Most of these images will enlarge a little if you click them.
Park Lake, I think
Pine cones…love this idea…
At the ranch. I just had to include this
Livingston, MT – also below
Near Central School
Pick a tree…any tree…sail boat.
Love this bark
Our linden tree
Our pear tree
I tend to photograph the tree trunks intuitively the way I want to use them, but you can also crop a tree down to an area of interest and layer it over your background. I have indicated in aqua and orange two ways that you could use the trees in one of the photos. And of course you can also quilt an imaginary tree.
So this is what I do. I was immediately smitten with the tree below. But the houses, and the concrete and the SUV had to go. In this case, I used two layers of white fabric, to diminish show-through of my background. I also used grey scraps stitched with teal thread. I embellished the tree trunk with teal seed beads after binding. Are you thinking of ideas for quilts you want to make?
GIANT image: 14 x 22″ actual.
If you become an avid landscape quilter, you will likely find yourself stopping to photograph little bits of interest everywhere. Luckily, it is easier than we ever could have imagined to always have a camera Read More …