In the 2013 Almanac I identified twelve artistic references. I call them references because I used a combination of the elements of art and the principles of design. Each month has a designated artistic element or an artistic principle which allows the reader to view the featured pieces through the filter of that particular reference. During the month of March, the reference is focal point or emphasis. When I think about focal point, the place to which the artist wants to draw our attention, I think about the much bigger picture of composition.


Before we get too far, let’s take a look at the Elements of Art and Principles of Design. The elements are the building blocks. They are line, shape, form, color, light & value, texture and space. We are familiar with the terms at some level; but I’ve included a couple of tutorials (also in the right hand column next to his post). The principles of art are the way the elements are combined ; it’s how they’re combined that determines the composition.  The principles of art are how the elements are put together to convey what the artist is telling us through their work. It is both the seed of inspiration and the framework around which the artist builds their creative process. Two questions; first, what does the artist want us to look at? And, how do they get us to do that?


Looking at Nancy’s beaded quilt, what are the predominant elements used in this piece? Nancy, who is drawn to circles and derivatives of circles such as spirals, labyrinths, and kaleidoscopes, creates movement with the repetitive spacing of rounds shapes. The different types of forms, both straight and rounded, create symmetrical shapes and areas of calm within the quilt even though the overall arrangement is asymmetrical. The piece is visually balanced so while there is a lot to take in, each circle plays its part and doesn’t overwhelm the whole.


The beads and ribbon create depth and bring the viewer in for a close examination of the many shapes, colors and ribbon textures featured in each kaleidoscope. Wound up ribbon is quilted into place at the center of each kaleidoscope making a bed for a large fancy bead which anchors it into place. It is multi-layered from the quilted base to the show-off beads on the top.

The piece is trimmed in seed beads and follows the scalloped edges of rick rack. It weighs a lot, too!

Tutorials:Judith Willemsma Elements and Principles of Design (long one) The Elements and Principles of Art (short one)