Luminosity and Luster: A Watershed Moment

by Christine Barnes

Watershed horizontal sliceA warm hello to all! I had planned to show you the finished quilt from last month’s post, but I’ll save that for another time. With the retreat fast approaching, I wanted to create another quilt option, one that had both luster and luminosity. My goal was a graphic, easy-to-assemble design that showcases the amazing shift of light and color in the Gelato ombrés from E.E. Schenck.

Open and airy was the look I was after. I started by drawing a horizontal unit that measures 15 by 10 inches when finished. (I do my initial sketches on graph paper, not the computer, because I like pencil and paper. The less time on the computer, the better.)PrintPrinted fabrics are great with ombrés—they add pattern and an organic quality to a quilt design. I chose these three prints: a Kaffe Fasset houses design and two colorways of an Alexander Henry print. (It was love at first sight.)6 three prints The Marcia Desre fabrics below have been in my black-and-white bin for more than a year, waiting for the right project. I love the combination of B&W prints and intense colors—non-colors (black, white, and gray) make intense colors look even brighter and offer a bit of visual relief.5 Marcia Derse b&wBelow are the three units I designed, as mock blocks. I almost always do cut-and-paste blocks—they let you audition fabrics without the commitment of sewing.1 watershed, right unit2 other two unitsTo space out the units and suggest luster (light striking and moving across the surface), I called on my favorite gray, Gelato 714. I wondered, what if I staggered the pieced units? And what if I butted the light edges of the gray ombré against the edges of the pieced units? Here’s the result:

Watershed quilt topThe vertical sections of gray have luster, similar to the effect of the Serenity ombrés in my “Brushed Metal” quilt, another option for the retreat. The colored ombrés have luminosity and luster, thanks to their warm, intense colors and the gradations of color and value. I can hardly wait to see what magic Sandra works with her quilting. Heidi suggested the title of Watershed Moment because she said it reminded her of flowing water. I had my watershed moment when I understood how to use basic color concepts to create light effects like luster and luminosity. It’s too much fun!

I’ll have the gray and colored ombrés with me at the retreat, to play with or to purchase. (I’m also willing to share what I have left of the prints and black-and-white fabrics.) Come to Zephyr, bring you own colorful prints and B&W fabrics, and make it your own!
 

 

 

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