Friday, October 28, 2022

All about Line (Part I) on Off the Wall Friday

 When I first started quilting, it was all about the basics.  How to get a consistent scant 1/4" seam.  How to get your points to match.  How to get the right tension etc, etc.  As I moved on to designing my own work (and it didn't take long), I realized that the design elements were what was really important.  And I didn't know all....funny how they don't include them in a BS in Engineering.  So little by little, I've been studying them.  This week is line.

Oh good!  I know what a line is ... it's a mark that connects two points.  (And you thought your 2nd-grade geometry was wasted!)  But it's so much more than that!!  A line can express meaning, evoke an emotional response, symbolize thoughts, and create organization and division.  It can create an underlying value that will hold the rest of your piece together.  That's a lot that is merely a mark between two dots!

I know you're saying really, Nina?  YES!  Let me show you what I mean...

Horizontal lines have a calming effect and create stability in a piece....think of a horizon line in a sunset, like the ones Anne Brauer uses extensively in her work.  Truely she's a master of the horizontal line.

Sunset Over Hills, Ann Brauer

The Definition of Red, Anne Brauer

Vertical lines being the opposite of horizontal lines are dynamic and suggest upward motion.  They are perfect to use for division.  A perfect good example, is Patty Hawkins and her love of Birch trees.  I love how the main focus is vertical line but there is still the little horizontal lines that add tension

Colorado Gold, Patty Hawkins

Now my personal favorite, diagonal lines.  Diagonal lines are much more dynamic than vertical because they will move across the whole piece taking the viewer's eye with them.  Both of these examples use diagonals come from two directions.  I chose black and white studies because look how dynamic they both are even without the use of hue....its all line and value.

Figure Ground Study #2, Sandra Palmer Ciolino

Cropped, Nina-Marie Sayre

Arcs are interesting because their meaning changes with the way you position them!  Placing them horizontally with the high point at the top is expected and calming.  Placing them horizontally with the low point at the bottom is seen as a vessel to hold things.  Both seem grounded but placing them on their side makes the line feel unstable. 

WIP, Nina-Marie Sayre (yes I still haven't gotten back to this one LOL)
Vertigo, Gail Parker
(Thanks Elsie!)

This is getting long so I'll continue next week...but I hope it gets you thinking.  It's so easy to think of color, value and pattern when we're designing our quilts but line is just as important!

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Jenny K. Lyon said...

LOVE the one at the bottom that you don't know the maker's name!

Jocelyn is Canadian Needle Nana said...

Another very thoughtful post, Nina Marie. I enjoyed reading it and what is it about birch trees that translate into great quilt motifs. They always catch my eye, I know. Anyway, which ever way you put it-across, up or down, :D hope you have a some great stitching this weekend.

Michelle said...

Awesome post! It’s funny, I’m aware of having different feelings about piece, but I hadn’t really put together why.

quiltingbydawn said...

Thanks for your informative post about lines. I do love lines especially diagonal lines because of the movement created. Besides in the piecing, diagonal lines are effective as quilting lines to create movement across the quilt.

Elsie Montgomery said...

Love this post. Google will search by images and that wonderful piece at the end of your post can be found at with the name of the quilt artist.