|Strong Centers - Good Example|
|Strong Centers - Bad Example|
My design group of 6 fiber artists has decided to study one of Christopher Alexander's principles each month. Happily, we discussed Strong Centers in November. We brought examples of the principle we're studying to kick start the discussion. Some examples were challenges. Does the example have a center(s)? What constitutes a center? What makes a center strong or weak? We had a lot of opinions. We dug back into the source book. My understanding of Strong Centers was too limited upon my first reading. Group discussion broadened my thinking. The piece of the left is just a bullseye sitting in the middle of open space. Yikes! This did not result in beauty or wholeness to my eyes. The idea that multiple supporting centers can strengthen a design and build to a strong center made the piece on the right much more successful. I used 4 small orange circles in the corners bisected by a partial frame and additional circles around the small black circle to achieve a Strong Center. I purposefully did not center the design on the postcard sized paper to remind myself that's not necessarily the kind of "centering" we're seeking. I can identify several more principles in this design - Roughness, Levels of Scale and Contrast. I suspect this design also qualifies for Positive Space and Echoes. I'm looking forward to revisiting these pieces as I learn about each principle to see how many of the properties I've used unwittingly.
- light and dark
- odd and even
- shiny and matt (hard to discern in the photo!)
- open and closed shapes
- thick and thin (1/3 to 2/3 proportions taken up by shapes)
- overlapping versus non-overlapping shapes
- filled versus unfilled shapes
If you've read this far, you'll know I'm way over my word count goal:-) I'll just finish by saying how valuable it is to view design from a new viewpoint. It's interesting to contrast the traditional elements and principles of design with Christopher Alexander's vision.