Monday, February 25, 2013

Color Blocking: Quilts, Fashion and Art History

Amish Quilt

I don't pay much attention to Fashion Week but here's a look I can live with---color blocking. As far as I can tell this means mixing wardrobe pieces across the color wheel rather than mixing shades or values of one hue. I like it.

Tied wool comforter

Amish quilt
The color is great and reminds me why Amish quilts are so classic.
 I am not doing belts however.

Another variation of the Color Blocking trend is patchwork clothing--- which can be figure flattering or not. Contemplating the above garments I had a flashback to 1965.

When I was in college I had dresses a lot like this

The designer of these museum pieces was André Courrèges
My knockoffs, I believe, came from Macy's basement
but were no less fashionable.

See more about André Courrèges at the Victoria and Albert Museum site:

A major influence on these geometric dresses was the art of Piet Mondrian, here reflected in a series from 1965 by Yves Saint Laurent.

Detail of Mondrian's Broadway Boogie Woogie painting

Kenneth Noland 

The fashion influence was modern art.

Log Cabin, about 1930

Which had much in common with classic patchwork.

Ellsworth Kelly, High Yellow
In the '60s these were called Color Field Paintings. Kelly was the master.

Mennonite Quilt

Ellsworth Kelly, Red/Blue
The paintings were a little too cool for me at the time.
I was in the throes of abstract expressionism.

Amish Quilt

Then I had another flashback.

Sonia Delaunay was doing these 
Rhythme series paintings decades earlier.

Three Graces

And she was designing similar clothing in the 1920s.
Read more about Delaunay here:

I guess all fashion is one flashback after another.

Here are today's Moda Quilt-Along  Bloggers for February 25th:
Kathy Schmitz

Edyta- LaundryBasket

 Lauren & Jessi Jung


  1. Enjoyed your post today. Fun to read how this concept has payed out through different mediums of art and textiles.

  2. That sure brings back memories, lol.
    I have some photos with my sisters and they all had that style dress on.


  3. I love how you wrap up quilts in lessons that show us more about our world and how we got here. In this one, I'm pretty excited to learn of Andrew Courreges. I've always loved that style and now have a name to put with it.

  4. You are so right - funny to think of the Amish as colour blockers! Their restraint in only using plain fabric makes their quilts unique but they do have a wonderful mix of colours - timeless indeed!

  5. Not about colorblocking at all -- but on this evening's Antiques Roadshow there is an outstanding Civil War quilt that I thought you ought to be aware of. Here is the link -- or google "Roadshow Masonic Quilt." http://video.pbs.org/video/2336794071/ It has fantastic symbolism and a great family story. (I don't know if it's been documented in a state quilt project, but it ought to be.)

  6. Thanks Nann. I found it and I'll do a post on it on the Civil War blog since it has a Civil War story. I also found a quilt show at the Masonic Museum of our National heritage in Massachusetts up now.

  7. Your post was a delight to my eyes! Like going to an art museum. Thanks!

  8. What a fun entry. I always thought color blocking meant large solid colored squares and rectangles. I didn't associate it with the color wheel.

    Isn't Courreges the one who popularized go-go boots? Another great memory!