For this post I chose a work by Lucy T. Pettway called “Birds In The Air.” What really caught my attention for this piece was the patterns established throughout. I love how the quilt is made almost entirely of triangles and Lucy establishes form through the placement of key triangles that are bigger than the rest around them. You really see this in the diagonal line established from the top left to the bottom right. It really helps establish direction and helps the audience see the abstract birds. With the help of contrasting bright colors, it acts as a rhythm and as a form. This form being, of course, a bird.
The pattern is easily geometric but copies the forms of natural bodies. This makes the quilt abstract because the representation of these birds is mostly powered by our association with triangles and flight. The colors also remind the audience of feathers with its bright reds and purples and, its almost shining, whites, blacks and yellows.
I imagine the formstorming for this included looking up at the sky and seeing some birds fly through the sky or maybe even studying the colors and texture of a feather. It mentioned in her bio that she would plan out quilts by drawing initial patterns on paper and this is how she was able to develop such intricate geometric designs. It also said that she’d take inspiration from patterns in books, which might explain the bright colors of the quilt. The colors had to be a creative choice because it would be difficult to make this without planning ahead and collecting these bright pieces of cloth on a whim.
This pattern is surprisingly modern and I think it stands as a strong reason why these women deserve to be called artists.