Formstorming: Isabella Troiani

The quilts of Gee’s Bends have a lot of similar designs, most noticeably the log cabin and housetop, yet the diverse quilts they were able to make by simple variations creates interest. This log cabin design by Loretta Pettway is a great example of variation. Her piece

Log Cabin”—Twenty-Block Sampler Variation by Loretta Pettway, 1958. Represents balance, pattern, and abstraction. 

creates a pattern of repeating log cabins, all different. Because the quilt has a pattern of repeating tiles, the piece comes off as very geometric. The log cabin is created by reflecting similar-sized strips of cloth into a square shape, all shapes of geometry. Along with this, the space in between each log cabin square is very uniform and mathematical. We can also see that the quilt is organic. The uneven siding, the left side in particular with its red strip of cloth, show that this was made by a human and gives a natural sense. The variation of sizing in each tile also demonstrates this organic feel. The artist creates balance by using the prior-mentioned uniform spacing. The blank space in between each tile is fairly similar and helps the audience understand what they are looking at.

The log cabin design in essence is representational because it was inspired by architecture. However, Loretta’s own choices for this design are purely abstract. The pattern she created with her own choices (of fabric, sizing, spacing) is not necessarily representational of any other object. This repetitive pattern is very similar to formstorming. It reminds me a lot of  “A plus” by Yiangxi Zhou on page 15 of Graphic Design: The New Basics. Loretta used formstorming in the sense that she tried to make as many different designs from the log cabin pattern as she could. She changed each square by changing fabric, orientation, and color combinations. You can see that she put each strip of cloth there intentionally, playing with the stereotypical log cabin design and how our mind sees color.

About isabellatroiani

A 20 year-old student who loves all things food, art, and travel.
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