Friday, June 24, 2011

Design Focus Friday - Harmony and Unity

Using continuation of an element to create harmony and unity in a piece many times uses line as that element. Drawing a line through various elements on a page as shown here in cut paper helps to unify the elements and draw the eye from place to place in the design.
 Some styles tend to use continuity as part of the style itself. Art Nouveau and Celtic designs have flowing, curving lines that tend to curve back on themselves. This gives a sense of harmony in the overall design.

One way to use line in a piece to create harmony and unity is through quilting or free machine stitching over the entire piece. Many times, this draws diverse elements together and puts the finishing touch to unify the piece.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hand Stitch Course

 Finally, a post that isn't about design! I got my notebook back from Gail Harker after it was graded for the Level One Hand Stitch course. She made some very nice comments and seemed pleased with my work. I know there were several pieces that I didn't show you because I forgot to take photos before I sent the notebook off. The piece above is my fly stitch sample. Not my usual color selection but I like how it turned out.
 This is chain stitch used as a filler. This one took a while. I followed the lines of the dyed material to achieve an organic design.
Here's a little closer view. I used mostly hand dyed threads but some were ones I purchased. It is hard to find a good gradation of colors in this subdued color palette. I enjoyed this class and I hope that I can take level 2 hand and machine embroidery the next time it's available.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Design Focus Friday - Harmony and Unity

 Using repetition to create harmony and unity is often seen in traditional quilt patterns. Shapes are repeated and colors are repeated to give a pleasing unity to the quilt. I don't make many quilts and the piece above is made from selvages that are repeated. Often the quilting is repeated over the quilt's surface and that may create a unifying factor.
 Any of the design elements that I have discussed before can be repeated. This is a simple pattern of repeating lines based on frost. Think about how to use the different elements in your composition and how you can repeat them to create harmony. Should you use repetition of line, shape, color?
And the shapes or lines that are repeated do not have to be the same. Similar shapes and lines that are related still give repetition and a feeling of unity without being too boring. Do you use repetition in your work? Let me know and leave a comment.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Design Focus Friday - Harmony and Unity

 To use proximity to increase the harmony and unity of a piece, you need to keep the elements clustered together. If the elements are just scattered over the surface, the piece will look very random and chaotic.
Instead, keep all the elements close together. The piece above made with all French knots is an extreme example of clustering the elements together. This piece has the stitches crammed together with only a few scattered down from the right corner.

How do you use proximity of the elements in your work? Leave a comment, I love to hear what you are doing.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Design Focus Friday - Harmony and Unity

 This month on Design Focus Fridays I will be discussing the principles of harmony and unity.
Unity is the presentation of an image that is integrated; an agreement exists between the various elements and they look as if they belong together. Another term for this is harmony. If the various elements are not harmonious, if they appear separate or unrelated, your design is not cohesive and lacks unity. An important aspect of unity is that the whole of the design should be dominant – you should see the whole before seeing the individual parts. Creating visual unity is made easier by the fact that the viewer is looking for some sort of organization, something to relate the elements. Viewers tend to group objects that are close into one unit; negative spaces will also be organized. Objects of similar shapes will be grouped together by the viewer’s brain. Our brain looks for similar elements, and when these elements are recognized, we will see a cohesive design.

Unity can be achieved by the following methods:

  • Proximity – put the elements close together
  • Repetition – repeat various parts of the design to relate the parts to each other
  • Continuation – continue an element from one form or another to draw the eye
  • Continuity – the planned arrangement of various forms so that their edges are lined up i.e. using a grid to create serial designs

However, you don’t want too much unity as it can be boring. Thus you must consider adding variety. Shapes may repeat, but perhaps in different sizes; colors may repeat, but in different values.

Questions to get you started:
Can you produce a design that is only of one subject repeated many times? How do you keep this design from becoming boring?
Practice making small compositions with a variety of geometrical shapes. How do the elements look scattered randomly across the surface? What happens when you move the items into groups that are close together or overlapping? What does your design look like with similar shapes repeating in a pattern? How can you move the viewer’s eye from one shape to the next? If you use a grid as your format, how does this affect the design?

I'd love to hear how you are using the principles of harmony and unity in your  work. Leave a comment or a link and thanks for visiting!