Medallion Process — Middle Borders

While you might have forgotten my current medallion project by now, I have not. I’ve been making placemats and a Christmas stocking, attending various meetings, working out, cooking and eating, having a bad cold … And I’ve worked on my medallion.

When you last saw it, it needed a narrow border to define an edge and correct for sizing. I asked for advice on color. The most frequent call was for a strong pink, though my brain was stuck on orange. In the end, I combined the two and pieced a border of both. I love the way it sparkles and adds interest more than a single color would. And a big bonus was that I used a lot of small scraps in my piecing!

Since then, I decided the next frame would be flying geese. [See the tutorial here.] I’m not sure I’ve ever used a border of all geese, beak to tail, but that seemed the right answer this time. The photo below shows all those geese edging the center on my design wall floor. They are not sewn together yet, nor attached to the center. (And it might be a couple of weeks before they are. Other adventures await!)

20161215_155206

I really like it, but it clearly needs more pink next, probably some of that Pepto pink from the center block. (I don’t have much of it. It might call for a shopping trip.) The strong orange and dark pink belong, too. I’ll have to think about how to do this… (Since I have time to ponder, it’s possible I’ll decide to insert some pink and orange geese into the flock.)

In the last post on this project, I noted that inner borders and outer borders play somewhat different roles.

Inner borders

  1. either expand or enclose the center, (or can be neutral,) and
  2. introduce new elements such as colors and shapes.

Middle and outer borders

  1. build the story by repeating and varying earlier elements such as color, value, shape, line, and contrast; contributing to a motif or theme; and
  2. correct problems with balance and proportion; and complete and unify the composition.

In my view, the pieced pink and orange strip is an inner border. It reinforces both the pink and orange colors from the center. It adds a new shape, a non-square rectangle. It stops the eye from outward movement, while encouraging some “circular” movement to notice the different orange and pink scraps.

The geese, however, are a middle border. Here are a couple of things to notice about it. First, geese in formation create a sense of movement. Movement is “interesting,” in that it keeps the eyes engaged. Too much movement is disturbing, though. The next border will need to be calmer. Another thing to see is the colors. I used two of the four blues from the 4-patches on point. The other two were completely gone, and I don’t have anything else close to sub in. I also used two new greens. Did you notice that? Probably not, as there already were three other greens of similar nature. At this point, I could add almost any bright green I want and it will fit in. Finally, there are two purples, repeating the purples used in the corner tulip blocks. Because they show up again, the earlier use is not a one-off, but seems like a natural part of the color palette. This is true even though there is no purple in the center block.

Another element of the geese border is size. It is visually wider than the 4-patch border, even though the measures are similar. The 4-patches on point is 5.6″ wide (measured from the center outward,) while the geese are 6″ wide. However, the tail or base end of each flying geese block creates a strong perpendicular line, while the 4-patch border has no similar emphasis to make an impression of width. In fact, because the blue patches run parallel to the edge, they provide an illusion of a narrower border. Varying the width of borders also contributes to interest.

The other important aspect of the geese’s size is proportion. Remember, proportion is not only a matter of size. It also is affected by visual weight. [See my posts here, here, and here.] Because the center block is large, borders need visual weight to balance it. The geese’s width and the strong direction created by their position and value contrast give that balance.

What do later borders need to do? They must continue the unity of the composition in terms of color, value, and basic style. They need to repeat the bright yellow and vibrant pinks and oranges from the center and first borders. They need to calm the center a bit after the strength of the flying geese. How will I achieve that? I don’t know yet! But it will be fun to find out.

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17 thoughts on “Medallion Process — Middle Borders

  1. katechiconi

    I’d love to see a later border reintroduce some of that lovely floral from the centre, even if it’s not large pieces… The pink and orange pieced border is perfect, and your geese are exactly the foil it needs, especially that strong bright green.

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Thanks, Kate. The more I look at it, the happier I am with the geese just the colors they are. But I will need more of the warm colors again to offset. I do have small pieces of the floral left, so I hope to be able to use some of it again. Perhaps corner blocks, or centers of other blocks like stars…

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      I’d love to have the floral as an outer border! There isn’t anywhere near enough of it, but I can find ways to use small pieces. Or with a stroke of luck, might find something else showy and compatible. Thanks.

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  2. snarkyquilter

    I definitely feel the need for repetition of a strong yellow from this point onward. One way to do that would have been to make the outer sides of the geese yellow. That might work if you wanted to just do one more border after the geese, but I gather you plan to do at least 2 more borders? The orange/pink inner border is a much needed point of emphasis to prevent your colors from wandering too much. Glad that combination worked out.

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      The geese backgrounds are pale yellows, which fade out more in photo than in real life. I’m considering using the bright yellow as a strip border next. I need to check my stash and see what I have left of both the Pepto pink and the yellow. Yes, probably at least 2 more borders. It’s one that will be done when it’s done, and I won’t get much say-so in that!

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