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Archive for October 19th, 2006

Simple is Hard

Thursday, October 19th, 2006

A while back, Mr C and I were watching a show on his HD TV called Rides. It is on the learning channel. On this particular show, they were judging all these beautifully rehabbed cars to choose the best one. The judges were looking at one that had a beautiful red paint job and exquisite chrome work. One judge looked up and said, “Look how simple this design is. Simple is hard!” I loved that and have been thinking about it quite a bit. Last week Gabrielle had a Short Treatise on Design. Her first principle was:

It is more important what you leave out than what you put in. Think
about it we can’t use every technique we know or every beautiful fabric
we own in a single quilt…..so focus and simplify.

My son, the landscape designer, says that a work of art is best just before it is finished. In other words, we tend to overwork a design, at times.

This hit me last week when I was trying to make a gift for Terri, who has moved to Washington DC. She is an avid hiker, skier and biker, and loves the Oregon countryside. I wanted to make a little landscape of Mt. Hood, which looms in the skyline of East of Portland. I started working on it the day of our dinner party for her. I was jet-lagged from my trip to New York and felt very rushed.

I had a beautiful piece of fabric that I think I got from Liz Berg. It was perfect for the snow covered Mt. Hood. I wanted to put some trees in the foreground to represent the tree covered hills leading up to Mt. Hood. I didn’t like the way the trees looked and I was running out of time so I decided to cover them with couched yarns. Bad idea. I ran out of time and decided to wrap up some hand-dyed fat quarters. Here is the sad result. I am almost embarrassed to post this photo – it is so bad.


Now, that is a beautiful piece of fabric that I used for MT. Hood and I was determined to fix this. Last night, I removed the “furry” trees. Today, I cut some simple triangle tree shapes in a variety of fabrics and fused them to the front and did some simple machine quilting. This is the new piece and I think it is much better. More complex and still a simple design.


So, now, we have a nice landscape from our new home.

You can probably tell that I am feeling better. Thanks for all the support and commiseration regarding SAD. I think that talking about it was a big help. We went to Wednesday Weal at church last night. I always enjoy that. We are taking a class from a woman who is a Jewish scholar. We are studying the Gospel of Luke from the Jewish perspective. This woman could be a comedian. She is so funny and a wonderful story teller.