Sunday 16 October 2016

2016 #20 Squares and Grids {Challenge}

 2016 Topic 20: Squares and Grids
Jane Davies
Well hello everyone, Darcy here, time for a new topic. This time we will be going all geometric with squares and grids. These are very basic shapes and have been around throughout history. From ancient Greeks and Romans using geometric designs in their floor and wall tiles, to most areas having a central town 'square', to all forms of art. 

There is not much I can tell you about the history of squares, being so basic they cannot be traced back to one person or time period. The best we can do is realize that squares have always been used for their functionality, such as the already mentioned 'town square' and animal enclosures such as sheep pens. Once humans moved out of caves and round houses, sturdy, squared  structures appeared. First we had simple square buildings, which over time became more elaborate  as we began to explore and understand geometry. 

As for decorative items the most affluent would have had beautiful mosaic floors, constructed with tiny square tiles and artwork would be framed in a square or rectangle. 

Grids too are not modern, though we do think of them as such. A grid's purpose is to divide an area vertically and horizontally. These spaces are modular and consistent. Documents, even ancient ones, would have employed a grid system, though looking at them you may not see that. But think of the components of a page, the columns, the title, the margins, the spacing between text... these are all done using a grid system. 

Before we start, let's see who won the Topic 19: Die Cuts Challenge...

This was a great challenge, you revisited all those long forgotten dies and made some fab stuff. Abstract shapes and cogs,  Autumn shapes and batty bats, there were a great selection, I hope you had fun finding new ways to use them. 

The winner of Die Cuts is Chris from Pearshapedcrafting

Email Darcy to claim your prize.

Andrea Chebeleu
So why squares and grids, why are we drawn to these shapes? Both squares and rectangles ( we should include those as they are so similar and form many grids) are first and foremost familiar shapes and as humans we take comfort in the familiar. 

These shapes are stable, solid and as such they are trusted shapes. We like boundaries, they help us shape our lives and we like to see artwork held within its own boundaries too. How often do we hear about edging a piece of work with ink or paint as that 'grounds' it. No surprise then that the symbol for 'earthbound' is a square. 

Marjie Kemper
Squares are precise {though in art they don't need to be, there are no 'precise angles police}, they are regular and suggest organisation and efficiency. In an increasingly chaotic world a little bit of order is comforting. This is no more evident than in documents and text, how difficult would it be to read a book if the words were all over the place. The title, chapter heading, spacing, alignment are all ordered in a form of grid to make reading much easier. 

On the other hand squares,rectangles and grids can be seen as boring, perhaps we are over-familiar with them. With this in mind make sure to experiment with size, colour, placement and layering. Alignment, whilst useful in text can also be crucial in creating interest in art. Try out symmetrical and non symmetrical compositions, add texture, and don't forget to make use of the negative space. 

Barbara Hepworth
Within the art world there were two movements that focused on squares and rectangles, both of these were in the early 20th century. 'De Stijl' {The Style} was a Dutch art movement and made great use of straight lines, squares, rectangles, simplicity and abstraction. 

This style used limited colours, mainly the primaries plus white,black and grey, it also avoided symmetry. It was used in Architecture, artwork, and even furniture and to this day you can still see many pieces heavily influenced by this style. 

Another movement of that time was Cubism, this was a hugely influential visual art style and is credited to Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. They took a new approach to representing reality,breaking objects down into distinct planes,  this resulted in paintings that appeared fractured. 

Bottle and Fishes c.1910-2 Georges Braque 
Squares and rectangles do not need to work alone, when formed into a grid they can be very impressive, such as this photo collage by Hugh Shurley. 

Patricia Forbes  explains more about grouping squares in this short video. 

Individual pieces do not need to conform to a theme, there are many ways to make very different small pieces work together as one large piece like this collection on wood by Karen Michel. 

However if you wish to have more uniformity, then a repeating pattern, within gridded squares, works brilliantly. 

Quilts and blankets have often made use of squares, think of 'Granny squares' used in knitting and crochet. 

by Haafner

Now imagine the same done using mixed media supplies, like this beautiful piece by Frances Solar. 

Thinking of squares as not just a frame but an integral part of the project is what makes this piece really stand out. 

Don't feel that your piece just has to be flat, why not inject some texture into it, like this great piece by textile artist Lee Ann Walker

While grids may seem quite harsh and linear in their construction there is nothing stopping you from introducing nature into the project. See how the organic shapes within soften the squares of glass. 

Staying with organics and nature, even garden spaces can make use of squares. Perhaps you are planning a garden makeover, this might be something to consider, especially if you are limited for ground space. 

Squares and grids are all around us, just take a look, see how many you can see even in your own home. This is a photo I snapped from the window of a coffee shop. The pavement squares outside looked nothing special until it started to rain. All of a sudden they looked pretty and suggested ideas for a background layer. 

Don't worry about your squares being perfect, nobody is going to come along and measure them. I think this following piece if one of my favourites, I love the layers peeking through and the non-perfect edges. 

Scott Bergey
Squares are also found in edible art, I am only including this as I am actually eating these as I type this intro. However there is nothing to say that food cannot be beautiful  to look at before you eat it. See Little Sugar Snaps for the recipe. 

Finally a video tutorial from Michael Lang. 

Have a great two weeks playing with squares and grids, see how you can make them look different. 

Don't forget to follow Darcy and Leandra's Pinterest boards if this topic pushes your buttons, you will see plenty more examples to whet your appetite there! 

I am really looking forward to seeing what you create over the next 2 weeks!


Topic 20: Squares and Grids PaperArtsy Blog Challenge

We'd love you to share your ideas and link up your creative response to our current blog topic. Take a minute to read the challenge guidelines below.

All links go in the draw to win a voucher to spend on products of your choice from the PaperArtsy online store. The Squares and Grids link will close 17:00 (London Time) Sunday, Oct 30th, winner will be announced 2 hours later at 19:00.

1. The challenge is a for you to show how you are inspired by the current blog topic.

Your entry should contain:
- a mention of which post inspired you and why, and 
- a link in your blog post to that original post on the PA blog.

The whole concept of this challenge is 'play along with us'. You are encouraged to put your own twist on ideas you see on our blog, do your own thing - whatever grabs you!

2. The link you put on our linky page must lead directly to the specific post on your blog where you have explored the technique/ idea mentioned in point 1 above. Don't link to the home page of your blog.

3. We prefer your challenge blog post is created exclusive to our challenge, but if our topic fits perfectly with another challenge, then you may link to both if appropriate.

4. You are most welcome to use stamps/ products/ substrates you have to hand from a variety of companies, we do not expect you to exclusively use PA products - it's lovely when you do though!

6. You can enter as many times as you like. We don't want to restrict your creativity! 
NB. Link closes at 17:00 Sunday Oct 30th  (London Time)

7. The winner of the random draw will receive a £50 credit voucher to be redeemed on the PaperArtsy Website. The credit voucher includes VAT and postage. We request that one of your purchases is an A5 rubber stamp. You can add any other items to your basket, but the final total should not exceed £50.

8. Each fortnight on Sunday, the winner will be announced at 19:00 (London time). In the same post, the link for the next fortnight will be posted. 

9. It's your responsibility to claim your prize coupon from Darcy. 

Good Luck! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask!


Julie Lee said...

As usual, a great, inspiring post! I never imagined squares and grids could be so fascinating! xx

Helen said...

wonderful topic, can't wait to get started! Michael's video is fantastic!

Jane said...

What a great theme and awesome inspiration, I love that gridded heart card x

Deborah Wainwright said...

Great theme, I do love a square!

Craftyfield said...

Glad you included that last photo Darcy... yummy looking! Interesting theme, full of possibilities.

Craftychris said...

Ooh what a wonderful theme! I am so inspired to play! Awesome inspiration , thank you! It's been fab learning all about the subject. Patricia's video is cool and will watch Michael's another time - such talented artists! I am so glad I found your challenge blog last month. It's going to be a learning journey which is so cool! Thank you! xxx

craftimamma said...

Awesome post as usual Darcy! Lots of amazing inspiration and it made me look at some bits and pieces I've made that are in my craftroom. It's surprising how many times squares and rectangles come into play. Limitless topic once again!

Lesley Xx

craftimamma said...

Awesome post as usual Darcy! Lots of amazing inspiration and it made me look at some bits and pieces I've made that are in my craftroom. It's surprising how many times squares and rectangles come into play. Limitless topic once again!

Lesley Xx

Kirsten said...

A great challenge & the examples are wonderful.

Etsuko said...

Stunning topic Darcy. This is very interesting that is the basis of the constitution. Have a go!! xx

Marjie Kemper said...

Thanks for the shout-out, PaperArtsy! Lots of eye candy here!

Miriam said...

Such a great topic! Hope I get time to play!