Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Progress, with thanks.

What an interesting thing this stage of the lighthouse project has turned out to be.  Last time I posted about it I was struggling with how to fill the sections between the individual lighthouse blocks.   I had tried twice (here) but still wasn't completely happy with what I had.  I had started playing around with a range of solids, trying to find something I liked as much as I had liked the conservatory or kitchen floors.  

Then two comments sparked a train of thought for me, that seems worth sharing here.

The first comment was from Doris  and went something like this

i always have problems with words in quilts or paintings. My brain is always reading these words and my focus is on these so I do not really appreciate the beauty of the other parts.

I had to think a bit to answer this, but here's what I came up with:

I like the idea of text in quilts but have only very recently tried it. I have never much liked stuff with overt messages or statements but love words so am groping towards a version of quilt&text that I feel comfortable with.   I have a sort of theory that if you can get it right, the words create a rhythm of their own, but shouldn't detract from the rest.  Like an extra, unexpected colour almost. 

Looking at what I had done, I realised that I was far from achieving what I was describing.  Part of reason I wasn't happy was precisely because the words weren't working: they just sat in the middle of all those horizontal strips but didn't have the impact I'd liked when I lay them all out on the floor.  They needed to be doing a job of their own, not just playing a minor part.  Things gelled completely for me when Monica added this:

Well, this is another interesting exploration of horizontal and vertical lines, I think! It looks like the one that feels better is the one with a clearer vertical line of contrast in the "sashing." I think that line keeps the lighthouses from overpowering their setting, and helps to put them into context. 

She was completely right - the balance between the horizontal and vertical is what keeps the eye moving and gives things structure.  I had way too much horizontal stuff going on and, for my eye, the result was bland.

So, what I have done is this:  added more words and focused on creating structure with them.  I started to think of them as little towers, echoing the shape of the lighthouses and making much stronger verticals.  

This is where I've got to.

Of course you may read this, think I'm spouting gumph and that there is no improvement, but it makes sense to me! (And I have just realised I put a disclaimer on the end in case I have accidentally been horribly pretentious, which for some reason I always worry about when I try to explain my thinking.)  

In any case I am always grateful to people who take the time to tell me what they think - it's not just about seeking affirmation; the conversations can be genuinely enlightening and, for me at least exciting and stimulating, so my thanks go out with this to Monica and Doris, but also to everybody else who bothers to comment.

Linking up today with Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts.


  1. I can definitely see how the comments have influenced the direction you are taking the piecing and I really like where it is going now! Hurrah for helpful feedback and comments!

  2. This feels really strong to me over earlier and I appreciate you working through the process above as well as the photos!

  3. I like where this is headed ..... comments can be a great source of inspiration and give a real pause for thought. A few things I have read over the last couple of weeks are still ticking around in my brain being made sense of.

  4. Yes! Sharing your process and acknowledging inspiration when it pushes us along -- so worthwhile and so much more meaningful. Bravo for the way this is progressing. I like it a lot!!

  5. Oh I totally like reading about thought processes behind quilts--And I like your new layout...I don't think, at least for me, that the words take over but seem just right....hugs, Julierose

  6. Well, I am very happy to have been of help! Isn't it great how blogging can let us workshop a quilt and clarify our own thoughts about it? You don't always have to agree with a comment for it to be helpful. I'm struggling with my Gwennie medallion this month -- I should take some photos and try the same thing!

  7. Me too, I´m happy to help. I love how you share your process and I love to "hear" what you think. For me it is very interesting how the words put in a block are more a part of a pattern than something with a meaning. Does that make sense?

  8. I know that the comments really do make me think sometimes wrt my own posts, and also reading others' comments can be enlightening too! How interesting that you and I are on the same wavelength here...although my lips are sealed regarding what I've been up to. I do like the way you have this set now, and love the bits of sand and rock you've included with the skies.

  9. I don't think your comments have come off as pretentious at all! I think you're very brave to put it all out there and accept the critiques. And I think - you're on the right track. I love the improv"ness of it. Structured yet a little improvy - it looks great!

  10. Gosh yes, the words coordinated like that make a more cohesive layout!
    Love it. Lighthouses and Wordhouses : )

  11. You received such great comments. I love how it sparked something for you and I agree that more words grouped together is better and also defined columns.

  12. I like this new version with the words in scrappy backgrounds. Helps the quilt flow better.

  13. Aha! That's it isn't it? Looking great.

  14. I like the way the blues are working together. The words--especially in this shade of off-white--really do work. But I think the blues are what's doing it. If you look beyond the words at just the blues, it looks a bit like the ebb and flow of water. It's not splashy or harsh, it flows. Maybe I'm not really describing it, but hopefully you can see it, too. Regardless, I agree that this is the answer.

  15. A great improvement, for me, it is the background of the words as much as the words themselves, the plain background didn't do anything for me. It is coming together lovely though. It reminds me of a painting.


Feel free to comment away! I read everything and welcome all feedback. I seem to be getting a lot of comments from no-reply bloggers at the moment - if you don't get a response, that will be why.