Contrast, make your art quilts POP!


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?

Contrast, make your art quilts POP!

The Race Is On or Would You Care For a poppy?

Barbara Harms Fiber Art Two Poppies

Pleas allow me to make excuses

I have to admit it, lately I’ve been a little neglectful of my blog, posts have been a little sparse. The problem is, I’m running around in circles, like a dog chasing his tale.

Recently I received a copy of the final edit from the editor of Art Quilting Studio magazine. Having a small feature is exciting. It will include links to follow for anyone who would like to see more of my fiber art.

The magazine comes out on June 1st, that will be here in no time. As I thought about it, something occurred to me. If anyone has an interest in seeing more of my work, I need to have plenty of work to see. I’ve gotten a little on the low side. Possibly, I’m obsessing a wee bit, as I am prone to do. After all, I do have work to show, ” Yet I ask myself, is it enough?” So the fretting and worrying begins, I need to make art quilts immediately, more art quilts and even more quilts. The race is on!

Making an art quilt takes a serious amount of time, “no matter, I can do it” I told myself. I was off and running. My sewing machine and I have become very close lately. I’m working hard. I’ve finished a new one and am racing onward. Next”…..Below  I’ve posted the newly completed poppy quilt. I’ve yet to give it a real title, so for now it’s poppies.

Then there’s the other thing

The other thing that has kept me jumping around and blogging less, is something I’ve  been talking about for the longest time. I think that it’s about time I have a website.A real website which displays my work, possibly offering it for sale, although the jury is still out on that one.

I have began to think about it again, the article will have  links that people can follow to see more of my work, one of those

should lead to a respectable fiber art website.

I do have this blog, I have an Etsy store and I have  two, count em, two Face Book pages [ one too many, but that’s another story] None of these are what I  would consider a respectable fiber art website, which represents who I am as a fiber artist and the work I create.

Since it’s unlikely that I’ll find a fancy smancy web designer, who is willing to work for free or would accept quilts in payment for his services, I am left with my final option. This is as likely to occur, as finding a web designer who works for free. The time has come, I knew would. It has come down to my last option, it’s up to me to  to build a good ole do it yerself  template kind of website. The kind that “they”, the  possessors of the skills and knowledge, are “selling”. “They” claim these websites are so easy to build, that any idiot can knock one out in a couple of hours. Well not this idiot!

“They” find it unimaginable that people exist who are so inept that they are unable to turn on a computer without calling tech support. [“What’s this button for? How do you turn this thing on? What’s the TV screen for? Are we going to watch a movie?” ]. The possibility has never crossed “their” minds that not everyone has knowledge of computers, look at your customers face and age, that can be an important clue. A fact which becomes immediately evident the moment they open “their” mouths.”They” could be speaking Chinese for all I know. I have no idea what “they” are talking about, what do these strange words mean? Anything beyond “Hello, I’m Brad. Can I help you” is unintelligible. Apparently not Brad.

So…build a  website, me really? Me? Ha, Not going to happen in this universe or any other, for that matter.

One down on to the next

I apologize for my neglect, but you can see what I have been facing, so please bear with me.

Here is one of my finished art quilts. I do want to state for the record, I hope you don’t imagine my hasty agenda has resulted in fiber art that I have skimped on.

After hand painting the background fabric and silk poppies, I appliqued my silk flowers onto the fabric backdrop. The scene  consists of a green mound covered with low flowering plants, the  poppies have grown from this area. A  sky that although blue, has begun to darken, suggesting an upcoming  storm. The  mound, is covered with low growing plants, having delicate mufti colored flowers. Poppies  have sprung  up in this field.

The final step is the thread painting, or what is often called free motion machine embroidery.Thread is used as a paint and brush, You may wonder why this step is necessary, since much of the composition has been painted already and  most of the flowers are going to be covered anyway by  extensive thread painting? The reason? It adds so much to the over all look. It provides the base to build on. The layers of color, are deepened. The thread painting enhances the under painting. Thread painting offers the opportunity to create additional detail, texture,  pattern and dimension.

So here is my art quilt, poppies.

Barbara Harms Fiber Art Two Poppies  020









Barbara Harms Fiber Art Poppy art quilt 019 copy

















Barbara Harms Fiber Art Poppy art quilt 004 copy
Barbara Harms Fiber Art Poppy art quilt 020 copy






Barbara Harms Fiber Art Poppy art quilt 024 copy










Barbara Harms Fiber Art Poppy

Lunar Eclipse Art Quilt

This in my latest art quiltLunar Eclipse“, it’s going up on Etsy in a couple of minutes. I thought an eclipse would be a cool idea. I chose lunar, the silk I had already painted was dark blue and purple.

To create my eclipse, I played around with metallic paints and other colored paints to add shading. I was having a great old time on this one, later, I experimented with a crystal glue gun adding crystals to mimic lights.Fun.

After I had finished appliqueing the moon on and had thread painted the metallic rays, what next? There was rather a lot of empty space under the eclipse to be filled.What sort of elements would enhance the eclipse scene?That was a challenge, it had a rather off the beaten path sort of subject matter, thinking, thinking & making mental pictures, well?How about a city skyline? I like it, yes that’s it! Keep it simple, not too busy, a stylized cityscape. I wanted the eclipsed moon to be the real focus of this piece.

The next choice was quilting design. On many art quilts I need to roll that around in my head several days. Consider the context, this was a bit harder, the subject was a little off the beaten path. Obviously the quilting done on a landscape quilt is different than one chosen for a traditional quilt.

Were we speaking of art quilting? you may ask? Well of course we were. For a visual treat, have a look at the art quilting section that Karen McTavish included  in her book, “Quilting For Show”. A wonderful book. There are several which left me with my jaw on floor.Two particularly impressed me by Hollis Chatelai’s, utterly exquisite.Their titles are “Blue Men” and “The Grandfather”.

You will enjoy this book, loaded with great info and of course Karen’s beautiful heirloom quilting.

If you love quilting & in particular art quilting you will be treated to the work of some of the best of the best, Diane Gaudynski, Sharen Schamber, Caryl Bryer Fallert, Ricky Tims and so many more I couldn’t possibly name them all.

Well, back to my subject, here is my finished quilt,”Lunar Eclipse”.

Lunar Eclipse
Lunar Eclipse
A closer view of the moon
A closer view of the moon

Lunar Eclipse

Detailed view of Ecipse
Detailed view of Ecipse

Well, that’s it, the finished quilt.