Saturday, April 13, 2013

Happy Violets and Elements of Design

 I went for a long walk this afternoon. Spring is really and truly here.

I love this time of year. The baby leaves are just starting to emerge and every where you look...violets!

I know that some may think of them as a weed...popping up in the pristine green grass...but to me they are so cheery. It reminds me of when I was young and my mom would always buy the domesticated version--Johnny Jump-ups! I spotted these white and violet versions on my walk. It just cheered me up.

This morning, I was across the river in Maryland to see a lecture by quilt artist and teacher, Carol Soderlund. She was giving the program at this month's  Potomac Fiber Arts Guild meeting. I don't normally get to the meeting; I'm often teaching a workshop. But the workshop didn't fill and I decided to head on over, especially when I heard the topic: The Fifteen Elements of Design based on architect, Christopher Alexander's writings.

I've only just recently been introduced to Mr. Alexander, thanks to Lisa McGarry over at arzigogolare. She has been blogging regular installments about some of his design principles from his book, A Pattern Language, and then going about Florence to record visual representations of those principles. It's been very enlightening.

Christopher Alexander was not happy with the architecture popping up in the 1960s and so decided to examine and analyze objects that he considered beautiful to figure out what it was about them that made them beautiful. After examining thousands of objects, he distilled his findings down to fifteen elements of design. Carol Soderlund used quilts from Quilt National 2012 to illustrate all fifteen principles. It was a beautiful, colorful and educational program. It got me wondering if I think enough about design principles when I work.

It was something to contemplate while on my walk this afternoon.


  1. I would have enjoyed that lecture . You are lucky to be able to go to things like that without having to book flights.

    1. Hi Judy- I do feel lucky to have such a strong community of fiber artists that can unite and bring in interesting lectures and workshops. I don't always have the opportunity to take advantage (since I often teach on the weekends), but felt privileged to see this particular lecture. I plan to get my hands on one of Christopher Alexander's books. Between Lisa McGarry's posts and this lecture, my interest has been piqued!