Chihuly Reflections by Chris Boersma Smith

Chihuly Reflections by Chris Boersma Smith

Many quilts, especially art quilts, are successful because of asymmetrical balance, where the elements on one side differ from those on the other, but visually the two sides have equal weight. I see analogies here for our lives. Unevenness, with areas of rest, create interest. Intentional placement of dark and heavy objects, often in the lower section, with lighter objects and colors above is typical, but someone could reverse that to rivet the eyes to what’s unexpected. That’s why I put the orange ball almost dead center — breaking a rule on purpose to grab the eye of the beholder. Whether you like the orange ball in this quilt or not, I do believe the composition is balanced.

My point is that asymmetric compositions give the artist a wide variety of intentional ways of creating balance. Likewise, there’s no one right way to create a balanced life. Yet we do seem to intuitively recognize the need to balance our large and small commitments in life, and we sense when it’s time to draw attention to specific aspects of the overall composition of our days.

Design expert Joen Wolfrom says it sometimes helps to move a large shape (I’m thinking of a big time-consuming project) closer to the vertical center, while moving a small object farther from the center on the opposite side. Alternatively, you could counter-balance several small objects against the heavier object on the opposite side. This reminds me of time management concepts, including the idea of rewarding yourself with certain activities after completing other more demanding ones.

Visual resting areas remind me of our need for not only relaxation and physical rest but also quiet time with Spirit.

Color affects visual weight in art. Similarly, mood, music, faith, and beliefs affect how we perceive our multi-faceted lives. And like a complex visual design, our lives in today’s busy world have become quite a balancing act. To me, this is a matter of Spiritivity: Spirit + Creativity coming together and showing us important principles in the art of life.

I’ve been intrigued to experience an intriguing phenomenon in a Hollis Chatelain workshop with many of us TRYING (as a learning experience) to create off-balance compositions. We noticed how much the inner-designer in each of us strove to create balance without our even consciously thinking about it.

I love knowing that there’s an inner mechanism to help us balance everything. It happened with this Chihuly Reflections quilt when I intuitively knew I had to create a less intense teal green curvy shape in the lower left corner to render the bright blue globe less weighty and to achieve better balance.

Now I just need to remember to let my innate balancer do its job in other parts of my life! That’s what I’ve been doing this week on retreat! In fact, my first ARTbundance™ creativity warm-up exercise on retreat yielded this collage:


Thanks for pondering the art of balance with me! Please feel free to comment and/or to share this post with your friends.