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Same But Different

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By Michelle Wilkie, Triangle MQG

In early 2015, a photo of a dress went viral on the Internet. It drove so much interest, as people could not agree on the color of the dress. Some saw black and blue, while others saw white and gold. Neuroscientists have studied human perception for many years, trying to identify why we all see and interpret things differently.

What would happen if you tried a similar activity with a group of quilt designers? As a challenge, give a group of people an image with a defined color palette. Ask them to create a quilt design inspired by the image. 

Photo Credit: Michelle Wilkie

That was the challenge that was undertaken by members of the Facebook Group, Quilt Design a Day. A single image (taken from the New York Highline), and a color palette were provided to the group for inspiration. The makers were drawn to the angles and the stark contrast of the black and white elements, the prominent orange signage and the varying subtle changes of color from the windows on the right of the image.

How each of the makers interpreted these elements, though, created very unique original quilt designs. To illustrate the similarities and differences in the interpretations, we asked the makers to share a picture and give a brief description of what elements inspired them.

Karen Foster: Bend, Don’t Break

“Bend, Don’t Break was inspired by the layering of buildings featured in the spark image and the visual depth they give to one another.   For me, being flexible in design and construction is key and also a good reminder in life.  Rather than use a predetermined line on a ruler or specific degree for the angles, I chose what felt right and simply built from there using two templates.  The design also mimics the windows in the photo and how they are similar in shape but varied sizes and colors. Some are high contrast, others quite subtle.”

Karen Stevens: Doors
“For this design I focused on the angles, of both, the black and white buildings and their windows.”

Yvonne Fuchs: Downstream
“The left hand side of the image inspired me. I was struck by the angles formed by the white and charcoal building and the bright orange sign, which reads: “We live downstream from our stuff.” I based my design around sharp angles and the idea of influence and “downstream” relationships between elements in the quilt. I used dense straight line quilting to emphasize the “downstream” nature of the interaction between the design elements and their neighbors.”

Carolyn Goonrey: IndustrialChic

“I focused on the triangle aspect and the white and black intersection along that angled line. I loved the bright orange of the sign and included that as a key rectangular shape in the design. For the final design, I kept the elements of the angle, the contrast between white and black (adapted to light grey, white and dark grey). “

Tiffany Baxter: City Squares
“The image inspired a minimalist quilt block: a square with a border on two sides to reflect the regular and linear shapes of the city windows and buildings. The spark prescribed the bold colors and high contrast, and the placement of fabric and thread colors mimics of the colors of the buildings in the image. The architectural features from the foreground inspired regularly spaced, angular straight-line quilting converging at the single orange square.”

Rebecca Severt: Reflective Windows

“I was inspired by the windows of the office buildings.”