Modern Art Quilts Blog Tour Kickoff!

Posted by Deirdre Quirk on Feb 25th 2019

We are so pleased to be kicking off the Modern Art Quilts blog tour today! This book, by award-winning fiber artist Sue Bleiweiss shares her fusible appliqué technique for creating gorgeous modern art quilts. More than just a technique book, Modern Art Quilts also features a deep dive into the basics of art and design, with design exercises to get your juices flowing.

Today we wanted to share some examples of the principles of design, as seen in Sue's own work! Plus, scroll down to the end of the post for a giveaway.


Set the Table (below) is a good example of asymmetric balance. The variety of unrelated shapes and elements (vase, glass, apple, bottle) adds balance to the finished quilt. Imagine this quilt with just the flower vase on it—the design would look unbalanced and lopsided.


Proportion refers to how the images and shapes relate and work with each other when viewed as a whole. The size of the images that are used in your quilt will affect how the viewer sees them and the overall quilt. For example, in Set the Table (above), the size of the wine glass is proportional to the size of the wine bottle it is next to, which is what you would expect the size of a wine glass in real life to be.


This quilt is a great illustration of movement. The eye follows the water drops falling out of the faucet and landing in the puddle below. Movement is created with the blue droplets being forced out of the puddle from the impact of the water droplets splashing into the puddle.


The designs for Moon Over the Concrete Jungle are an excellent lesson in contrast. In the original version, the imagery was good, but the quilt was boring and dull because of the lack of contrast. In the second version, I added some contrast to the buildings by darkening the sky. This improved the quilt quite a bit, but it still felt boring so I added the image of the moon to break up the sky, which also added just the right amount of additional contrast.


Space refers to the area between and around the objects—also referred to as negative space. Negative space can represent shapes by using the areas between objects or lines. In Vase with Flowers, the negative space implies the shape of the vase.


Stacks of Three illustrates the use of pattern in several ways. First is the use of the repeating shape—the elongated rectangle that is repeated in each stack across the surface. Second is the use of the same number of the shapes in each stack. Third is the use of the same color scheme in each stack.


Variety refers to the use of several related or unrelated elements, colors, images, shapes, and so on used to create visual interest. By varying the components in your quilt you create interest and avoid a boring result. For example, in Stacks of Three, if I’d used just one color instead of three for the rectangles or used the exact same layout for each stack, the lack of variety would have resulted in a very boring quilt.


Emphasis refers to the focal point of the artwork that the artist wants to highlight or draw the viewer’s eye toward. In The Dress (below), I used the color red on her lips to draw your eye to her face, creating a focal point that I wanted to emphasize.


Also referred to as harmony, unity refers to how visually satisfying the elements and components of the artwork are; in other words, whether all the elements that are used somehow relate to one another to create a visual whole. This doesn’t mean that the images used must all be the same, it means they should relate to one another in some way so that they look like they belong together. In the quilt If I Were a Tree, the components all relate to one another so the result is a unified image.

We hope you enjoyed our Sue's gallery of the different elements of design! Follow along with the whole tour: 

Monday 2/25: C&T Publishing at - You are here!

Wednesday 2/27: Teri Lucas at

Thursday 2/28: Kelly Nagel at

Friday 3/1: Timna Tarr at

Monday 3/4: Susan Arnold at

Tuesday 3/5: Sue Bleiweiss at

Oh, and did we mention a giveaway? You can enter to win an ebook copy of Modern Art Quilts HERE.

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