Monday, October 1, 2012

Square Peg - Round Holes

Square Peg - Round Holes #1 ©2012 Brenda Gael Smith
In life, as in art, we are often attracted to a kind of natural order - compliance with written and unwritten rules to create familiar lines and patterns. Reassurance can be found in conformity, repetition and predictability. Then along comes a maverick and messes things up. Or does it?

I had already settled on exploring the concept of a square peg  in a round hole, when I came across the Apple advertising campaign from the late 1990s - Think Different - which celebrates the maverick with the words:
Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
I had fun exploring circle and square imagery in stitched resist shibori and am happy to include a shibori piece in my 2012 series. I started with a quick sketch on a piece of paper lying around:
When it came to translating to fabric, I had to be a little more precise with measuring so that my circle elements fitted into the 20x12in area.  I explain the process in my  Shibori tutorial #1 - Karamatsu–Japanese Larch Stitch Resist.  My original plan was to embellish the square element with bright hand stitching but it didn't look right.  Less is more sometimes.
 I machine quilted horizontal lines in variegated thread to create an overall embossed effect:  
I also made a second piece on a larger scale.  Here are some before and after quilting shots:
 
Square Peg - Round Holes #2 ©2012 Brenda Gael Smith
I favour the first piece as my official contribution as it looks more like a peg board. Do you agree? Vote if you like!
Which piece should Brenda put forward as her official contribution to the Maverick 2012 challenge?
  
pollcode.com free polls 
I look forward to seeing what the other Twelves come up with and what Terri sets for our final 2012 challenge.

14 comments:

Sandy said...

I like the first one. Voted.

It works better visually that the square is still inside the whole rather than on an edge.

But the main reason is that it feels to me like the square is having an influence on some of the circles - the ones which are not as pronounced. So, it begins to have a story.
If you know what I am trying to say!
Sandy in the UK

Terri Stegmiller said...

I voted for the first one too. I have always been fascinated with negative space quilting and you did it superbly. Your shibori grid turned out great! Love it!

Deborah Boschert said...

This is some masterful shibori to get all those shapes so lined up and symmetrical. Wow! Great job. When I first saw that side view shot, I thought you had needle-turn appliqued the shapes onto the background because they pop up so beautifully. Your quilting did a really great job of making them stand out.

Amy Parra Morusiewicz Fun from A to Z! said...

Not just that it looks more like pegboard....In the first one, I really see the loner-ness of the square surrounded by strangers, I think the quantity of circles is part of it, not specifically the size. In the second one, Mr. Square being near the edge of the quilt and the border, has made friends with the squareness of the binding and whole quilt shape. It doesn't read the aloneness and invisibility of being lost in the crowd and feeling like a square peg.

Now, I also have the image in my mind of Sarah Jessica Parker in overalls as a teen in the 1982 TV show, Square Pegs.

Love your work, thanks for the close ups and in progress photos!

Gerrie said...

Definitely the first one. Amy said it so eloquently, but design-wise and story-wise, it works. I love how you can turn shibori into a story.

Kristin L said...

Square peg, round hole -- of course! I am smacking my hand on my forehead. Yours is the quilt I WISH I could have made. I voted for the first one for all the reasons Amy so eloquently stated in her comment. Really, really, well done in concept and execution.

Karen said...

I vote for the first one also, and this is really a beautiful piece Brenda. I love the shapes and the placement of te square. Your shibori is spot on.

Diane Perin Hock said...

Brenda, your shibori skill always impresses me, and in both of these pieces the uniformity is just amazing. They are both very strong pieces. Like most everyone, I prefer the first as the placement of the square emphasizes it more, as does the dark circle next to it. In the first, the square is clearly featured -- in the second, it feels more accidental. The quilting sets of the shapes so well -- I'd love to see these in person!

Françoise said...

Well done! I vote for the first one.
It's funny, one idea I had was to make a quilt with lots of squares and just one circle...

kirsty said...

I think I'm the only person who has voted for the second one and, typically, I did that instantly without thinking so that now I find myself persuaded by everyone else! You have created beautiful textures with both of these quilts. And that rich blue sucks me in!
You and I were both reminded of the Apple campaign ;)

Helen Conway said...

Yeah,no point being a maveick on the edge, you've got to get in there and mix things up!

Nikki said...

I voted for the first, mostly because of the scale (maybe because it's closer to mine?). I do like the the texture on the close up of the second. They seem much more active. Beautifully done!

Terry Grant said...

Well, I am the maverick I guess. I like the second one. Why is it good that the square peg blend in with round pegs? The second one has a square peg that hangs, proudly at the edge of the action. It is also a much bolder square peg, although, like in Nikki's I'd like to see that square peg be even more of a contrast and not so matchy with the boring round pegs.

Brenda Gael Smith said...

Terry, so far the poll is running 2 to 1 in favour of the first version but Kirsty has seen both pieces in the cloth and I think she agrees with you! My original plan was to colourfully stitch the squares in both pieces but it didn't look right...