In the past two 100 Day Projects, I have created a four part series around a theme. In 2016, my theme was the Four Elements. I created a 25 day piece sewing together 25 daily squares for each of the elements; Fire, Sky, Water and Earth. This year's theme was Trees and Windows. Since I just finished the 100 Day Project last week, I decided to give some insight into my creative process by sharing, and maybe rambling a bit, about what I was thinking for each piece in this four part series.
This year I was inspired by the art of Elizabeth Gourlay. In particular, I was drawn to her geometric art with color strips around the outside of a square and pieces with vertical and horizontal lines made up of small strips of color within the line. I envisioned the vertical strips as trees and the square piece as a window frame. Hence the name of the series is Trees and Windows. I knew I could have these two pieces compliment each other with the design. For the other two pieces in the series, I thought I could just reverse the design concept and call them Inverse Trees and Inverse Windows. Instead of color strips on the edges of a square like a window frame, the second piece would be full of color strips on the inside of the window and then grey as the window frame. For the tree series, the inverse would be a grey vertical strip amongst strips of fabric as the background.
The color palette for the entire series is a play between warm and cool colors. The Trees and Inverse Trees series use cool colors like blue, green and purple in varied color intensities. I added in a very light green color to contrast with the dark grey background. These light green pieces really stand out and I am glad I added them. To vary the design, I used different widths for the trees for the straight lines. Later in the series, I decided to deviate from straight lines because when I thought of real trees, they are rarely straight. I added in some conical shaped trees. The different grays for the background give an added texture like varying shades due to sun filtering through the trees. The neutral grays are darker in the Tree series. For contrast I used lighter grays for the Inverse Trees. I was looking for more contrast so the trees would really stand out in the Inverse Trees series against the bold colors in the striped sections..
For the Windows series, I used a wide range of warm colors like yellow, orange, and red in various intensities. I used different size rectangles and squares in warm colors surrounding the gray square. Things got really chaotic in the Windows series. And I really like it. One of my favorite ways to work is piecing intricate designs which radiate lots of movement even in a small 6 inch square. Then when these 6 inch squares are lined up in 5 rows or 5 squares, there is an explosion of color and movement.
I have always been partial to the cool colors of green blues and purples. However, this Windows piece has helped me see the value of warm colors. Now I can say I like all colors, even pink. I used pink in the Inverse Windows piece because I envisioned the striped internal square to be a view from a window looking out at the sunrise or sunset. I relented and decided to use some pink to make it look more like a sunrise. The medium bright pink added a good contrast with some of the darker purples and reds. The Inverse Windows piece reminds me of 25 small Mark Rothko type of images. I tried to keep the striped inner squares simple and horizontal. But I couldn't help but add some angled stripes and then I couldn't help but add some more complicated designs in the last two rows.
In other past series as a nod to my favorite way to design with intricate interlocking small pieces, I save the most complicated design for the last square, which is the one in the last row on the right corner.
If you look at each 25 day piece in the lower right, you will see that I try to outdo myself each time on the final square and challenge myself to make something totally different than all the previous 24 squares. The Inverse Windows' last square includes my favorite purple fabric as a mini frame around an intricately pieced square as a fitting conclusion to this fun Four Part series, Trees and Windows.