Lines and Shapes

Triangles are one of the key shapes in traditional geometric patchwork, but patterns in natural landscapes can also suggest triangles. Think mountains, volcanoes and deltas, and there are probably more, as Nature is infinitely complex, and I know, I am rather preoccupied with Landscape.

I take photos of patterns in the sand as I walk along our beach, and this favourite photo can be summarised as ‘triangular’ cliffs and wadis fanning out to deposit eroded sand onto the next flat part of the beach. I was standing with my back to the water’s edge. Below the ‘cliffs and the deltas’ there is a different pattern of wiggly lines, the fine trails left in the smooth wet sand by little bivalves following the moisture as the tide receeds.

The footprints at centre bottom and right edges of the photo demonstrate the scale of this beautiful mini-landscape, but editing removes them, raising questions:

  • Is this an aerial view of a little section of a sloping beach?
  • or a section of a landform out in a vast desert?

The pattern then, is a plain area above a line of triangular shapes, beneath which is a ‘segmented’ zone, beneath which is a zone crossed by intertwined lines. A rough hand drawn diagrammatic analysis is shown inserted between sections of the photo:

As I mentioned in a recent post, I’ve been inspired by this favourite photo for a while now, and yesterday put my hands to work on it, coming up with this partial sample:

sample of top sections of beach ‘cliffs’ pattern; width approx. 30cm.

Just because I love triangles didn’t mean I could whack them out and achieve the same kind of organic look my diagram based on the photo has, and as I did a bit of unpicking and reshaping, I learned that

  • I really need to cut each triangle deliberately, individually, to guarantee different sizes and variations on ‘triangle’ result. More haste less speed.
  • As I lay each triangle edge to edge with the next to sew, I may need to reshape slighly with a slight curve to achieve the organic look I love. For the segmented section below that, depending on the scale of the work, it may be important to organically shape each seam, but it would be very important to avoid any regular, repeat orientation of these vertical segments or stripes.
  • In using natural landscape colours for this design, the result is something pictorial, which I don’t want in patchwork, as I believe there are other, better ways to make pictorial art.
  • But focusing on the shapes in non-landscape colours plus black or other background fabric will highlight the shapes I’m so intrigued with.

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One Response to “Lines and Shapes”

  1. Claire says:

    I made a quilt with improv triangles (Urban Chickens #2)last year and also realized I had to work really hard to get the variety I wanted. I was quite surprised.

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