Design Exercise 1: Joyce O’ConnellMar 30th, 2011 | Category: Design
We continue our series this week with the third of our five designers, Joyce O’Connell. Our group is working on exercises from the book Fearless Design for Every Quilter, by Lorraine Torrence and Jean B. Mills (C&T Publishing, 2009). For this first exercise, we chose a shape and used it to created four compositions utilizing different forms of visual balance. If you are just joining us, you can go back and see the results from Hilary and Marnie by clicking on their names.
Joyce chose to work with an arrow, which could be classified as a complex rectilinear shape if you think of it as a combination of the two simple geometric forms of a rectangle and a triangle. A straight arrow would be symmetrical along one axis but not the other. Joyce enjoyed working on these compositions but felt she would like to do them again since she learned so much during the process about working with visual balance.
Although Joyce set out to work with asymmetrical balance, she was unsure if her piece truly reflected that. We felt that it was asymmetrical and balanced for the most part even if the sense of asymmetry could have been stronger. Hilary wondered if it might have helped had the arrows been in different sizes or materials. I actually saw quite a bit of symmetry in the composition, with the two corner arrows mirroring each other and the remaining three distributed fairly equally from the center.
It is clear, by following the arrows, that each quadrant is equal but rotated by 90 degrees. We liked the strong color contrast, the excellent sense of movement, and the focal point created by the central squares. Marnie questioned the impact on the overall balance caused by the unequal distance between the arrows horizontally and vertically. Many of us commented on the narrow red borders. Karen believed they made the four quadrants no longer equal and I felt they gave the piece a rectangular feel. Having one end of each strip extend to an edge would have reinforced the feeling of rotation.
Again, there was no doubt about the radial balance in this composition with its obvious central point and the double-headed arrows spinning outward from it. Good movement is produced as the eye follows the arrowheads out and in. We were intrigued with the choice to present this piece on point and were mezmerized by the stark contrast of black and white.
We all agreed that this was an excellent example of crystallographic balance. The arrow heads move all over the black background equally without the eye focusing on any one in particular. The strong contrast in color is effective and the border acts as a strong boundary. Wonderful!