Contrast, make your art quilts POP!

Deep Woods Barbara Harms Fiber Art


Put two opposites side by side, what happens?

How do you stand out in a crowd of people dressed in black?

Wear whit

I make art quilts for sale and  I do silk paintings. I want my work

to get noticed. Do you want art work that stands out on your walls?

Contrast can make a big difference.

Strong contrasts make things  stand out, they are noticed  immediately, commanding  your attention. A strong contrast will intensify the impact of the contrasting items.

The definition of the word contrast is the state of being strikingly different from something else, typically something in juxtaposition or close association.

Why my interest? I’ve been thinking about contrasts lately and more to the point, how can they be used effectively in to create interesting fiber art quilts.  I’ll get to that query later. But first I have one of my little stories to relate.

   Sane or insane? Earthling or alien?

 This  subject brings to mind an image of an elderly woman with brightly dyed red hair, pulled into two pigtails, one on either side of her head..
She has a lollipop. Even stranger, she’s wearing adult sized jellies. Do you remember jellies? That 70’s fad? They were silly little neon bright colored plastic  footwear made exclusively for very young girls and only worn by little girls. Which is why they only came in tiny sizes.

Under her neon pink jellies, she is wearing pink ankle socks, the kind that have lace attached all around the top of the opening for your foot, the kind of socks that  little girls might wear with a party dress.

This strangely dressed elderly lady presented contrasts aplenty.

My point with this example is that contrasts as strong as this one, make quite an impression. Yes, she was a real person & I knew this delightfully eccentric woman. Her many contrasts were so strikingly different from other people I knew, that my mental image of her, has remained in my mind for some 30 years, and can still make me smile when I think of her.

She was what people refer to as a corker. A little odd funny, colorful [in dress & personality], interesting, outrageous, delightful,  uninhibited and unforgettable.

She was “mostly sane ” , but just wasn’t interested in conforming to the expectations  of  what other’s thought she “should” be;  a little white haired lady, dressed discretely, living a yquiet life, often sadly overlooked by others. Not this woman, she would be noticed, that’s for sure. I was mesmerized by her, certainly one of the most interesting persons I’d ever met.

Apparently this was how she had lived her entire life, She had the most interesting adventures and stories to share. One involved herself, as a younger woman, seated on the back of a camel who was standing in front of one of the pyramids.There was quite a story attached.

The next time I saw her, she brought a photograph to show me. Yes it was true. There was the camel, the pyramid and herself. She was uniquely different from other woman from that time period. I don’t think they were as tolerant of unique women back then.

 Correct me if I’m wrong, but how many young ladies who lived  some 120-ish  years ago, roamed around the world, unchaperoned, doing and going where ever they wished? That’s certainly not the impression I have of a women’s lives back then. This all goes to show how memorable contrasts can be.

I took a photo which had strong contrast between white flowers set against a dark backdrop. These deeply saturated backdrop colors made the white in the white flowers simply POP!

I just couldn’t stop staring at those white flowers. The wheels were turning. I couldn’t wait to start playing around with this effect in an art quilt. After painting my stylized version, I did a lot of free form thread painting to give the background deep color. I was swirling  and curling and mixing those blue and greens together while trying to retain some of their individuality.

The flowers were the final touch and I like  how it all worked together in juxtaposition [I love dictionaries, you can pick up some pretty smarty pants expressions].

Here are pictures of the finished work. for me I think the resulting art quilt demonstrates the power contrast can lend to art work.

I included a few to show how the right art quilt mounted on stretcher boards can fit beautifully into a variety of décor styles. I think some persons may think it wouldn’t work. Especially with more traditional styled rooms. I think it works great! Just needs to be the right subject matter as would any art selected. It also needs to be mounted on stretcher boards as any painting is.

The biggest difference is most art hung are framed prints since originals ae usually out of the budget. Prints can certainly look nice, but you’ll see it everywhere you go and likely get tired of it. But with many pieces of fiber art you can afford original work for a slight bit more than a framed print at a furniture store. You’ll enjoy original work far longer if you purchase pieces you love. You won’t see the same image of it at every Walmart or Home Stores you pass. It will continue to be joyed for many years.

The color in the room setting pictures are off, duller & washed out.Lighting was unnatural. not contusive to accrual color. Naturallight is better.

Deep Woods,an art quilt in a home setting
Just to show how it would look in a traditional style room, a style some might not expect art quilts to fit into.

Art quilt for sle Deep Woods in a room setting

Deep Woods,an art quilt in a home setting
Demo Demo, How it would look in a traditional style room, when mounted on stretcher boards. It fits many décor styles, not just  contemporary, modern themes


It’s still available on my website and etsy shop. Woods Barbara Harms Fiber Art

Published by Barbara Harms Fiber Art & More

Barbara Harms-Up Close and Personal I've been a painter most of my life. When I was introduced to quilting, I fell in love, jumping in with both feet. I loved quilting, but began to miss the creative freedom painting offered. Then, I discovered mixed media art quilting, I was finally home. My Process & Approach For me, it's the process of creating that holds the strongest attraction. I love starting with a tiny seed of an idea; vague and blurred around the edges, then I follow where it leads. My style is fairly loose and instinctual. I don't a great deal of pre-planning.The creative choices are made as I work on a piece, are based on my gut feelings at the time. This can lead to quite a few changes in direction. The outcome can come as a surprise. I love that element of surprise. Sometimes everything just comes together & I think that this is one of my better ones. I can’t wait to show someone. I feel like a six year old, running home from school, a drawing in hand, excited to show Mom. At those times I'm smiling like the Cheshire cat.

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