Today I want to focus on the design concepts of repetition & rhythm, and how we can put these to work in our quilts. This content was covered in the last session of my Color & Composition class. If you are interested in joining us for future sessions, I’ll put a link at the bottom, but for now…
Repetition, Repetition, Repetition
Repetition is about using a design element over and over. A repeated element gives a sense of familiarity and comfort. This could be a repeating line, shape, or pattern.
Repetition is something that we are naturally drawn to; something we bring into our world. Here are some examples that I found in my own environment.
Many artists will repeat an element in every piece.
It becomes their signature move, something that makes their work easily recognizable to viewers, and fans. My signature move is to take an element off the edge of my work. See more examples in my genre gallery.
Within a composition, repetition can be as simple as repeating a line, shape, color, texture.
As I’ve been working in recent months to update the online galleries for the Border Wall Quilt Project, I’ve found many wonderful examples of repetition. Here are a few.
Pattern is created when more than one element is combined and repeated.
Here are examples from the BWQP where I think this idea of pattern is used effectively.
Rhythm, Rhythm, Rhythm, Rhythm
Conversely, Rhythm is about the space between repeating elements. It adds interest and excitement..Today, let’s look at 5 types of Rhythm:
- Random Rhythm has no regular interval between repetitions. They can be all over the place.
2. Regular Rhythm occurs when the interval between repetitions is the same. For example, your heartbeat is a regular rhythm, or, at least it should be. Here is a quilted example.
3. Alternating Rhythm is the switching back and forth between 2 regular rhythms. Chess board is a simple example. However, these rhythms can be much more complex.
4. Flowing Rhythm exists when repeated elements follow a curved or undulating line. Here are some examples.
5. Progressive Rhythm results from changing a characteristic of an element as it is repeated. These next examples show different ways that rhythm can progresses.
This sample shows an increase in size and color change.
This next brick shows multiple scenes of a story. This is called simultaneous narrative.
Put Yourself to the Test
Look at the examples below and identify the type of rhythm in each. The answer key is below.
Monthly Color & Compositions Class
If you would like to join us, my Color & Composition class is sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum on the 4th Saturday of every month through the end of 2021. In each session we explore a color scheme, a color concept, and a concept related to composition.
Answer Key: 1. alternating, 2. Flowing and progressive. 3, random