Minimalism’s Challenges

I really like minimalist abstract painting, and it seems it should readily translate into quilts. However, I’m puzzled by how to keep minimalism from being boring. And how to handle the empty space so that it looks intended and not just forgotten.

The starter for April’s Masterclass assignment seemed to suggest minimalism:one shape, another similar, another a little bit different, and some lines attaching them.

April's sketch

I liked this one best of the three I submitted, as did Elizabeth. (I’ve made enough instructor comments–not on art–to know that ‘best of three’ is not much praise for the whole set.)

After seeing everyone else’s sketches, I wondered if I had taken the instructions too literally. Almost everyone else had lines through shapes that broke them up into more shapes with shading. After I saw the first five, I almost redid mine, but didn’t really have time or another idea that didn’t feel like copying. So I left it. And I will tweak it according to most of the suggestions.  One I am not sure about: making the rectangle out of small pieces of the same value. I think that would contradict my attempt at minimalism. Or maybe this sketch already has too much to even think minimalist thoughts. I maybe shouldn’t have layered anything so as to keep it flat.

One of the recommended tweaks is to move the bottom triangle left; I can do that with no problem, but I was already concerned about the triangle’s unbalance. Maybe I’ll get an idea as I move pieces around.

I like the challenge of finding and solving design problems.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Minimalism’s Challenges

  1. Claire, I liked this design as soon as I saw it. At the time I thought, “Why didn’t I think of that?” I will have to go back and read EB comments again, but I thought that she liked the design. I thought it was one of the stronger ones in the class. At any rate remember when she said that April’s lesson was going to be easier than the one in March? She lied…I found this one very hard.

  2. dezertsuz

    I like this one as it is. It IS minimal, and to either use multiple pieces of fabric to piece the large triangles, or to remove a piece seems to me to damage the concept of balance and minimal that you did so well here. Instead, why not use quilting in the larger spaces to be sure it looks intended? You can still use small color variations in the pieces that go diagonally from top left to bottom right – shades or tints of lavender with light gray large space, slightly darker for the broken up rectangle, and dark gray outer space, as an example. I really like this one! I didn’t see everyone else’s, but I would say stick to your own excellent vision! Not that you asked for my thoughts. =) And I’m not a master artist. I only know what I like, and I like this.

  3. I really enjoy your design odyssey. I’m trying to catch up since I’ve been caught up in accounting the last couple of months – my real job :(. I didn’t have any particular thoughts about this design except that I think it does have balance, and I agree with Desertsuz that I wouldn’t use multiple fabrics to make up any of your large blocks as I think it would lose the minimalist quality. As with your other projects, I can’t wait to see where you go with this!

  4. The beauty of your design is its irregularity. It is well balanced and I think moving the bottom left triangle would be bowing to symmetrical form. That is fine, but it would remove the charm of spontaneity, which is what I like most about your drawing.

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