Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Eggplant Trilemma

I am so relieved that this challenge period is over. I love the rich palette of deep purple, burgundy and emerald but I found the dark values tricky to work with. I've lost count of the half-started pieces but these are the three that I actually finished (shown in order of completion):
The first and third pieces are a continuation of my grass-inspired series (see Grass, Tussock, Savannah etc). They are abstractions of the rushes of Cochrone Lagoon near my home in their glistening glory after the lagoon was drained in mid-2010 (more photos on my blog):
In my own estimation, the first piece is technically better executed than the last piece but suffers a little from being too similar to other works in the series.  I was most unhappy mid-way through the third piece but persevered. The composition needs tweaking but the spiky shoots are a new development for me and show promise for a larger lagoon-grass work. It was also fun to mix more commercial prints into the third piece.

Originally I resolved to only use fabrics from my stash for this challenge but that didn't last long.  I've had fun experimenting with tray dyeing techniques as outlined in the book Tray Dyeing: Exploring Colour, Texture and Special Effects by by Claire Benn and Leslie Morgan. This is what can happen when you mix emerald, violet and burgundy dyes:
I had this piece up on my design wall for a few days trying to work our what to do with it.  Then I squinted and somehow discerned irises vaguely reminiscent of Vincent Van Gogh. Serendipitously, the green and purple section in the middle just happened to measure 12x12 inches and so I quilted in an iris motif. It's kind of subtle but it looks better in real life.

And so I have an "eggplant trilemma".  Which piece would you select for my "official" contribution to this Colourplay challenge?

15 comments:

cait said...

Oh Brenda, I love them all. But my fave is the centre piece - it has a sense of freedom and energy about it. Second choice is the first one. You can almost feel the ribbons blowing in the breeze! cheers, Cait

Gale, pursuing as much as I can as fast as I can! said...

I really like the 3rd piece; I think the spikey parts add lots of visual interest.

Comment on the tray-dyed fabric: I see an oasis (green house) in the midst of an enchanting forest of purple trees.

Paula said...

So hard to choose! I really appreciate the technique in the first, but I adore Iris'. They were my wedding flowers. But the third was the one that really jumped out at me, and definately the one that I would Love to have in my Lounge room!

Deborah Boschert said...

"Trilemma!" I love this new word.

It's a nice problem to have since they are all quite nice. Great job! I agree that the first piece is very much like some of your other pieces. That's not all bad. There is certainly something to be said for consistency and recognizable style. I like the concept of the second piece, but I think it's missing burgundy and I don't think the irises stand out enough. (It might be interesting to explore ways to create more contrast in the flowers, if you are drawn to the idea.) I like the third option best. I think it references your other work but adds the exciting detail of the spikey shoots. Though you may feel that it is less technically masterful, I think the fresh elements of pattern and spikey shapes make up for whatever errors you may perceive. Of course, I can't identify any errors at all.

Terri Stegmiller said...

Gosh Brenda...all three of these are beautiful. And I really do like all three, but if I have to vote for one, it would be the first (far left). I love it's simplicity and the curviness of the lines are grabbing me.

Helen Conway said...

I see we have no consitency in our reader views! I like the right hand one. The first is a nice quilt but is does not push your series any further. The right hand one has more interest. The middle one is lopsided to me. I want to push the bottom right corner up and square off again. Sorry.

JB said...

I really like the one on the right for its linear approach interrupted by leaves, however, I feel the middle piece shows growth and experimentation and I vote for it.

Gerrie said...

I like the left hand one, best, but I also like the one on the right. The middle one does not look finished to me. It is missing burgundy and looks very much like a piece of shibori that I have in different colors. It needs something - to be cut up and re-pieced. I don't know. But the other two are spot on for color and are very much your aesthetic.

Kristin L said...

Add me to list of supporters of green spikey shoots! I ditto the others who like the first one, but don't find that it expands on what you've done before. I think the irises are a fun find in the fabric, but a somewhat trite interpretation of the theme. On the other hand, the third one is in keeping with your method of working, uses the colors well, and adds an exciting new element in the spikes. Compositionally it also has a depth that the others lack.

Diane said...

These are all really strong pieces, Brenda. And as usual I am impressed by how you take an idea and pursue it with wonderful results. How nice to have three successful pieces to choose from! I think my favorite, looking on screen, is the third -- it's abstract but I like the "y" of the grassy fronds. The tray dyed piece is gorgeous but probably would speak to me best in person -- I suspect the full effect of the stitching isn't as apparent on screen.

Karen said...

I like them all too, and the iddle one is so different from what I usually see from you, I hope you continue to work on it. My favorite of the three is the one on the right, the leaves add so much interest.

Jenny Bowker said...

I like the third - it feels like you but the little spiked pieces add excitement and the darkness behind feels really appropriate. It feels like the centres of cane fields. While I like the dyed piece it feels too like some of Dijanne Cevaal's forest pieces to be really comfortable. Google "Dijanne Cevaal Forest" in Images and you will see what I mean. I know yours is original - but it is just and odd echo for me.

Terry said...

OK, I like the middle one. For some of the same reasons that Helen did NOT like! I love the un-squareness and tippiness of the forms. Squared up would be too static. It really has a lovely wateriness to it and unfussy drift-y quality. The third one (on the right) is a great design and nice continuation of your grassy pieces. I would like it much better in a different color scheme. The colors in this one seem VERY dark and one dimensional. The brighter green is a start, but not enough to save it from flatness. Not enough push and pull. It could almost be a swatch cut from a continuous pattern fabric.

Delia (Del) said...

Lovely as always but the middle one is my fav.
Delia

Nikki said...

My vote is for the third (even though I know the decision has been made). I like the addition of the spiky leaves -- they add such energy. The colors of the first are my favorite though. They have more energy and luminance. I love how they glow in places.

I think when setting this challenge, I was thinking of emerald as a brighter color to be a proper foil to the darker shades.