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Principles of Design: Balance – Terry Grant

This past week there has been a discussion on the QuiltArt list about the elements and principles of design. Several people asked for information or “lessons” on the elements and principles. I thought it might be interesting to discuss some of the principles here. I’ll start out with balance. If anyone else wants to tackle another, feel free!


The scale, above, represents balance at it’s most elementary—matching the contents of the two sides of the scale in weight, so that the scale balances. It is also a visual example of formal balance in art. The object is centered and each side of the composition is a mirror image of the other side, with the exception of the shadows. This is the easiest kind of balance to achieve, known as formal balance or symmetry. You can liken it to an actual scale, knowing that the easiest way to balance the scale is to put identical objects in each side. But we also know that in addition to using two identical apples to balance the scale, you can achieve balance with an apple on one side and an apricot and a handful of grapes on the other side. Continue reading ‘Principles of Design: Balance – Terry Grant’

Ann Johnston’s new work (Terry Grant)

I waited until this evening to post because June, Gerrie and I went over the river to Vancouver, WA this afternoon to see Ann Johnston’s new show at the Vancouver WSU campus and to hear Ann talk about her new work.

Ann is a Portland, OR fiber artist, but is well-known nationally and internationally largely for her excellent books on dyeing. She is prolific and as we were driving home tonight we were talking about how Ann seems to continue to explore and grow and just when you think you have seen her best work she takes off in a new and exciting direction.


This show is called “Line vs. Shape”. That’s June and Gerrie looking. Continue reading ‘Ann Johnston’s new work (Terry Grant)’

The power of an image

Jane’s post and the ensuing comments got me thinking about how certain images become attached to ideas, movements, people, philosophies and take on a kind of power that is sometimes as great as the power of words, greater than the idea, in fact. This is a topic that interests me both as an artist and as a graphic designer. Designers of logos, for example, hope for (pray for!) an image that will wield that power, but sometimes it just happens in an unplanned way.

I’ll bet you have seen this image:


You probably know that this is Che Guevara, an Argentine Marxist, and one of the guerilla leaders of the Cuban Revolution. I am fascinated, not so much with Che himself, but with this image. While very familiar here in the US, it is ubiquitous in Latin America. At one time I thought I might start taking photos of every instance I saw in some of my travels and took these two photos in Mexico. Continue reading ‘The power of an image’

Ben Shahn, by Terry Grant

Several weeks ago I was trying to remember the name of an artist and the name of Ben Shahn came into my head. It was not the artist I was trying to remember, but I suddenly remembered once loving Shahn’s work, though I hadn’t thought about him for years. That set me off on a search for images. I thought you all might enjoy a little glimpse of the work of Ben Shahn.

Portrait of myself when young

That’s him, standing way back there. The painting is Portrait of myself as a young boy. Continue reading ‘Ben Shahn, by Terry Grant’

Fiber Art—It’s not just about you and me by Terry Grant

It occurred to me recently that most of the Ragged Cloth readers are also members of the QuiltArt list and we have been hanging around together for a long time. We know each other’s work, we know the artists we all talk about and read about in the magazines we all tend to read. We go to the same shows and we read the same books and take the same workshops from the same teachers. Pretty insular, don’t you think? I went searching the web for fiber artists with whom I was not familiar and found some pretty interesting and inspiring stuff. Because I wasn’t familiar doesn’t mean you don’t know about them, or, irony of ironies, perhaps they are lurking on that same list we all read, but just haven’t spoken up.

I contacted each to let them know I was writing this post and ask permission to use some of their images here. I hope you will follow the links to their web sites. I think you will have a lot of fun looking at some work that you may not have seen before.

Kathy Weaver

img0070.jpg Kathy Weaver’s quilts are filled with an imagined world of robots. She says, “My work addresses aspects of the intersection between technology and art”. Her background in painting is evident. Continue reading ‘Fiber Art—It’s not just about you and me by Terry Grant’

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