Continuing our exploration of how the principles of design cross from music to quilts and back, we will look at Rhythm and Balance today. Appropriately this morning my husband had on the movie, The Blues Brothers. It holds up pretty well, in part because of all the amazing cameos in it, but also because the music is wonderful. A good rhythm gets your toes tapping even before the morning coffee. And that is the whole point of rhythm, to keep things moving. Feet, hands, and even the musicians keep time together because of rhythm. In the visual arts, drawing, painting and quilting, rhythm is a word that can be harder to understand, but it is still about how something moves, in this case, your eyes. When we talk about a print or pattern being too busy we are really saying that our eyes have no place to rest between stopping points and the rhythm is too fast and irregular. Regular steady rhythms are stable and solid, but can be boring. Great for all over patterns on a bed quilt where you will sleep under it, or a march where the band needs to step in time. Introduction of an accent or syncopation can liven things up but you need to keep things from being overwhelming and that is where the principle of balance comes in. Balance is like rhythm, but zoomed in, balance is the overall distribution of elements, and again, regular and centered is the calmest.
Lets look at Flow ( you can still take this workshop, call to make an appointment ) It is very balanced, there is a clear center and the elements are arranged equally around it. This pulls your focus to the center, which is slightly different from the other blocks. The rhythm is slightly syncopated, because the green squares are off-center in the block, and this keeps things interesting. This piece is perhaps like a piece of slow jazz, regular but slightly off rhythm, a bit of improvising, and then back to the established rhythm, nothing too discordant, but enough to keep you engaged.
Our Row by Row has been picked up by people from as far away as Florida, and California, and one lady who isn’t even doing the program saw our block online and drove all the way from Buffalo just to pick it up so she could make a few for her local guitar society. How cool is that? I hope she remembers to post photos when they are done.
Lastly a reminder that we will be closed on July 4. Listen for the rhythms when you watch the parade!!, and stay balanced!!