Sunday, March 18, 2012

Attempting Balance

'Attempting Balance' began as one of the two finalist from my balance brainstorming. The idea that didn't make it to fabric was based on Itten's 'contrast of extension'. I enjoyed studying Itten back at school and thought the idea of using one of his theories to create a color-field-like quilt would be fun. I did a few sketches in my sketchbook of several ideas and then tried a few in my Nook. I need to find a better app or just improve my sketching skills! The following are sketches from my Nook.

 I ended up choosing my original idea which stemmed from my yoga practices. Balance exercises are often a challenge and I wanted to portray this in my design so after starting out with a very balanced figure, I realized I needed to throw this figure off balance as one often ends up after trying to hold a pose beyond our balance limits. This idea is not limited to yoga and I think of it as the attempt we make in all areas of our life, trying to find balance with what we need to do, what we want to do and the time and resources we have.

I had never made a whole cloth quilt so decided to use paints for this piece. I mixed old acrylics with fabric medium and did the background of red swirls on a commercial yellow print. Then lots of chaotic swirls of stitching. Then to create a figure I was happy with was much more time consuming than I expected! I cut out paper pieces and moved them around, trimmed them, etc and finally painted a figure that I hoped conveyed 'attempting balance'. More wild stitching and finally more swirls of stitching going over my figure as well as the background to 'tie' the figure into the swirls.
I thought a raw edge would work best with this concept but decided I did want a binding so created a raveled edge binding. I liked how that worked out and will use it again.
Thank you Judy for a great challenge!


  1. Life keeps us constantly off balance, doesn't it? I think you've portrayed it very well, Gina. I like how you've blended the background and figure by doing the swirly quilting over top.

  2. Such a lovely quilt Gina! I’m constantly swept of my feet lately, so I can refer to the image! Love the colours and quilting too!

  3. I liked reading your thought processes, and how you chose to interpret it. You have really portrayed the feeling of being off-balance, and the "swirl" of life that conspires to keep us that way!

    I love the effect you got with raw edge binding--

  4. I love the effect of the raw edge binding - tell us more.
    This is a wery dynamic and symbolic quilt and I love the colour contrasts as well. I love the swirls and the swirly quilting.

  5. Love your thoughts on the process.. and your step-by-step photos! Wonderful edging too!!!

  6. A wonderful piece Gina! The imagery in this piece does gives me the impression of off balance, and the swirling reminds me of the vortex we sometimes find ourselves in when things get out of whack. I like the finishing edge you did. Care to give a bit more detail about how you achieved it.

  7. Yes, do tell us more about your frayed edge binding. Is this a technique you invented? Your idea of adding machine stitching to integrate the figure with the background was very successful.

    P.S. I really like the bold colors and black dots from your Itten inspiration.

  8. Gina, I'm starting to appreciate the depth in art pieces and I am very much appreciative of your process for this great piece.