More block talk - Sharon Boggon

Ever see a block and you just can't stop looking at it.  What about the block makes it so captivating?  I was asked to feature more blocks, specifically brighter blocks and I will.. But before I do I must lay out the basis for how I look at blocks...  Several years back I took a three-day workshop from Sharon Boggon and before she addressed technique, fabric choice, seam treatments, etc.,  she talked about design elements of a harmonious block and to this day I use the notes from her workshop.

It is mainly four parts...

1. Contrast - not only light/dark but also rough/smooth, shiny /dull, soft/hard, quiet/bold etc. (Contrast adds interest.)

2. Echoing - repetitions and variations

3. Movement including directional elements and rhythm. 

4 Focal point and/or theme.. not all blocks have either a focal point or theme..

And my definition of a harmonious block is when all parts complement  each other and the whole. 

And what better block to look at but one of Sharon's.  If you follow her work you see she rarely uses printed images.  I can only think of two examples.  The best word I can use to describe her work is BOLD!!!

Here the focal point of the block is the mass of embroidery lower right.  She uses these large floral clusters on a lot of her blocks and I love them.

But since it covers such a large area Sharon chose to have the entire upper left with quiet unadorned space to balance out the block...  The large print upper right look like a heavier weight and it is contrasted with the pinkish satin/silk and the gray linen.  Not everything needs to be silk... a point to keep in mind.

And the elements in this floral mass are not random.. each flower and bead works to move your eye around the block.

All the little floral beads are like musical notes whisking you along.

Notice the large print of heavy decorator fabric upper right.

This had to be her inspiration piece as all the colors of the fabrics, thread and ribbons are drawn from this one small patch of fabric.  It is a very bold print and Sharon leaves it open.

This is a great way to pick a color palette for a piece of needlework.  Just find a print that speaks to your heart and use it as a guide.

So this is a limited palette and very soothing.  But a limited palette can also be vivid and energized as I will show you soon.

We don't have to look far to see echoes and it is the flower in the  inspiration fabric.. it is repeated in various forms all over the block.

And the triangle/fan shape is repeated again and again in the seam work...  I swear Sharon can do a bullion in 2 seconds..

Her style is very unique and different than most stitching in the United States.. She wrote a wonderful article for cqmagonline and not only should you read it but print a copy as well. As I show you more blocks I plan to show you many different styles of CQ but you can find contrast, variation and movement in all of them.. 


margaret said...

so interesting I can`t wait for her book to come out, also have her stencils which reminds me it is time i did some more crazy blocks more hours n the day please

Marilyn said...

Oh fantastic. Tips from 2 of my favourite stitchers. I have learned so much from both of you :)

Bren said...

Thanks so much for disecting Sharon's blog. With the photos accompanying your writing I could tell exactly what you were talking about. Going to print your blog & keep it with my CQ material for the next block I start. Thank you again.

Marjorie Hair said...

I too love looking at Sharon's stitching. Thanks for breaking it down for us. I have enjoyed your last two posts very much and am glad you will be doing more of those.

sharonb said...

Thanks you sure learnt how to analyse in order to apply those key design elements -great to see

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Another great analysis Gerry - I love these because I learn something every single time.

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