Working in a limited two-color palette presents an artist with an interesting obstacle. While black-and-white thinking hinders progress, the two-color palette on the other hand pushes the maker into the in-between space where the maker is forced to reach beyond color and into thinking about how to manipulate space, shape, and dimension to create a masterpiece.
It would serve all of us to see beyond the black and white and into the space between. Here are some black and white quilts from Houston International Quilt Festival 2021.
Dresden by Lisa Parker @goodmorningsparkler
Inspired by the art of El Anatsui, Parker’s goal with this quilt was to use a traditional block in an updated way. She added hand-stamped images of washers and other machine parts to herDresdento add depth. Parker submitted the quilt to QuiltCon 2019 and QuiltCon 2020 but received rejection letters both times. She persisted and submitted it to the Houston MQG Showcase. It was accepted and will also hang at QuiltCon 2022 in Phoenix.
Repelling Radialby Audrey Esarey @cottonandbourbon
Repelling Radial is the fourth quilt in Esarey’s Offset Quilt series, which focuses on bold, asymmetric, and balanced quilt designs. Esarey says about the quilt, “The quilt creates an optical illusion of connected white bars, however, the bars hover next to each other, just like repelling magnets. A limited palette forces focus on the composition, with specific attention to where I can omit arcs of pieced wedges to create negative space while maintaining overall visual balance.”
Lines by Kim Mullen
Mullen’s son designed this quilt for her. It was originally burnt onto a piece of wood. When Mullen saw it, she immediately saw its potential for becoming a quilt design. The lines of this quilt create a sort of moving zipper effect.
Cubes by Nancy Lambert
Cubes is full of intricate movement. Despite using only two colors, Lambert has created endless interest in the multiple ways in which she has intertwined lines together. Each cube pops out in a 3D visual effect that makes us want to climb up this quilt.
Ritual by Miyoung Kwon
Kwon says about this quilt, “Some of the ideas we believe must be followed, have a sort of authority to them, regardless of their origin, and we have to blindly devote time and effort to them. The color of mourning clothes was initially used to express one’s grief but has now become customary beyond the individuality or mood of a person. Behind that, there can be a desire to abandon somber and meaningless procedures and ‘Fly freely in the blue sky.’” The blue flying geese blocks in this quilt add a softness to the heaviness of the black lines in it.
Wings by Hope Wilmarth @hlwilmarth
Wilmarth says about this quilt, “The sky is full of flying things… birds, dragonflies, kites, airplanes. All with wings… all aerodynamic, balancing lift and drag and the pressure of air above and below… all soar and glide and capture the imagination of poets and dreamers.” This quilt is incredibly dynamic. The way Wilmarth has used shading creates a spinning effect that draws the viewer in while the sharp points convey a harshness that warns of danger.
By Brittany Bowen Burton