The emphasis is on Unity

Emphasis – Force or intensity of expression.
I hate unfocused work. When you look at something you shouldn’t have to wonder,
Where is the focus?”

The focus in Organic Leaves, one of the projects in my book Fun Fast Fusies, is in the leaves. This whole quilt measures 24”x24” and was constructed using ONE yard of my hand dyed rainbow fabric.

This was easy to do because I used contrasting colors to create the focus of the piece, orange on blue or pink on green, and all of the colors I needed to that were in one yard of the hand dyed rainbow fabric.

Of course this is a fused wall quilt, but you could also make it as a pieced quilt if you like to work that way and really my table runner which is pieced, Aspen Leaves,  is just a variation on a theme.

Instead of all the colors in the rainbow I restricted my color palette to browns and oranges with an accent of blue/green (orange and blue are opposites on the color wheel).

The background fabric on this project is one of my gradated fabrics similar to Pumpkin Patch or Forest Floor. The kit for this pattern has the exact fabric you see, a gradation from navy to orange.
Something else that needs to be considered when working free style like I have in Organic Leaves and Aspen Leaves is –

Unity- Coordination of the parts into a complete composition.
This is a question you should always ask yourself when you are working on a new piece, is there Unity?

The unity of Laughing Leaves and Aspen Leaves also lies in the use of similar but varying leaf shapes. Repetition

But for Aspen Leaves there is also a unity of color, the color in the background and the leaves moves through a range of one color to another so that there is a “smoothness” in the movement or a unity.

Sometimes I think people just slap thinks down and think they can call it art.


Take your time, be proud of what you make and always, always sign your work.

4 responses on “The emphasis is on Unity

  1. connie

    Your color choices are always so wonderful. Thank you for sharing more on your process. I have been reading so much on color these days so I can improve my quilting fabric choices. It seems to be one of the most important choices you can make in designing… Thanks

  2. Cornwoman

    So is the emphasis in Organic Leaves created then by the combination of the high contrasting colors with the warm color being leaves AND having the leaves be the only really identifiable objects in the piece, which also creates the unity? Or was the emphasis created by the color choices alone? In other words, would the emphasis still be the objects if using the same colors but having a variety of organic objects instead of all leaves? Or does it need the color AND the unity for the leaves to have emphasis? Are emphasis and focus the same thing?

    I definitely can see the unity in the Aspen Leaves, with the color and that there is repetition in the similar shapes of the leaves.

    Recently I created a piece where the majority of it was one large yellow calla lily surrounded by green leaves on a blue background, using a photo for inspiration. The piece was simple and the focus was the flower…I think because of the warmer contrasting color as well as it’s size.

    But the photo had a dead tree stump next to the flower, which I added to my piece because I found it to be really interesting and gave a different texture and added a darker rusty/coppery/brown color on the left side. My artist SIL told me that the stump should have been left off for balance and because it pulled the focus from the flower.

    I had almost felt compelled to put it in because without it, it was such a simple piece and seemed a little…boring. Also, it showed, in my mind, opposites….dead wood vs very alive flower…which was what I focused on when looking at the photo. Did it take the focus and emphasis off the flower in that case? Or should I have done something more to better convey the focus being the dead vs alive? How do you know with something like that, whether to leave it in or take it out? Can the focus or emphasis be on more than one item in order to convey a concept? I’m really confused on emphasis and focus, as you can probably tell.

  3. sewmuch2do


    I am catching up on posts…can you explain a little more about unity and harmony. Color, construction, and I think balance are strong points for me, but I am not sure about unity and harmony, particularly when it comes to my own designs in art quilts. Any thoughts you have are much appreciated.


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