Door Jam quilt, a visual jam session

 

I call it the Door Jam quilt. It’s a small quilt inspired by some doors I saw on my neighbourhood walks. Yellow doors on grey houses. It must be a thing. I like the yellow doors on the grey houses. I think it looks fresh, especially with white trim. 

I like this quilt. It’s based on a pretty simple concept. Take a shape and repeat it. That’s it. Seems simple enough, but it’s the scale and proportion of the shapes and bits, in relation to the strength of the colours and values employed. Like musicians in a jam session, playing with a similar theme, bending and improvising as the song progresses, playing off one another. 

The shape is a staple. I mean, it looks like an actual staple. I made a black and white version of the repeat staple shape, and I made a large quilt top in blues and greens, piecing together the larger pieces to achieve depth in the figure and ground. It’s not great, which makes me a little sad because I spent a few days working on the composition. It lacks punctum, I think. My artist friend Jim was talking about studium and punctum in respect to photography. I’ve caught on to the idea of having an element in the work that adds an enticing visual spark, something that makes the piece unforgettable. Not to everyone, of course – we can’t please all of the people all of the time. Here is a description of studium and punctum, a concept written about by Roland Barthes in Camera Lucida

Studium is the element that initially gets your attention. It can be colors, a cool background, a pose, really anything. But the punctum is what Roland describes as the thing that “pricks or bruises.” It’s that rare detail that makes the viewer feel something and pushes the photo even further.

I dreamed about it. I dreamed about my not-so-great large blue & green quilt top. In my dream, there were large red mountains on either side of the existing composition. So far, I haven’t worked up the nerve to create large red mountains to slide in, but maybe one day. Might be just the punctum it needs. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy this little Door Jam quilt.  

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