Formstorming: Cody Li

The Gee’s Bend quilts are very unique and are great examples of formstorming. Formstorming is defined as “an act of visual thinking.” We definitely can see how the Gee’s Bend Quiltmakers apply formstorming when they craft their quilts, the amount of thinking and sense of direction is displayed in their quilts show how much effort and thought is placed into them. Even when working with limited fabric or scraps of textiles, they used only pieces that would best fit whatever design they had on their mind. Loretta Pettway talked about how she HAD to make quilts in order to keep her children warm because no one would give her any. Even when caring for her kids, she didn’t randomly piece together a bunch of different fabrics to quickly create something for warmth. She took her time and effort to carefully piece out a sense of rhythm and balance, just like all the other Gee’s Bend Quiltmakers.

“Hexagon Mosaic With Multiple Borders On Three Sides, Tied With Yarn” by Mensie Lee Pettway of the Gee’s Bend Quiltmakers. Created in 1975.

The quilt I’ve chosen to examine was created by Mensie Lee Pettway, titled “Hexagon Mosaic With Multiple Borders On Three Sides, Tied With Yarn.” I really liked this quilt because of how well Mensie did with the color choices and the overall flow of the design. In terms of Rhythm; the visual balance is amazingly even throughout the quilt – despite the fact that it consists of 817 hexagon pieces. The eyes don’t instantaneously gravitate towards one part of the quilt over the other, the hexagons all share the same dimension; which gives it that nice overall balance. I also like how there’s a form of symmetry in which Mensie had laid down her hexagonal pieces, but the way she decided to randomly place the colors evenly throughout the entire quilt gives it that allusion that the quilt itself seems as if its asymmetrical. But as we closely examine the rows and columns of the hexagons, they’re placed in a sense of similar symmetry. Mensie’s use of analogous and contrasting colors fights against the hexagonal rhythm. Hexagons are nice evenly-sided shapes that allow for people to easily combine them together and create a constant pattern without kinks. But the color scheme that Mensie had chosen, displaces that sense of balance and is what creates that sense of asymmetry that I had mentioned earlier.

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