Good Balance

The newest piece for my Safe and Well series is called “Good Balance”. I was thinking about order and chaos when I pulled fabrics from my stash. I cut my background from dark blue fabric and established the size and shape of the piece. Then I started composing, placing other pieces on the dark blue, sometimes overlapping them and sometimes placing them in the manner of tiles, with dark blue “grout” showing through. Fabrics were pinned and then appliqued with hand stitching. The result: unusual color combinations and patterns placed in a disorganized mess – a rather ugly piece! I didn’t take a picture. I’m not sorry.

I kept going. I added more fabrics to a circular area of swirling bright blue and purple and increased a subtle band of muted purple that runs up the middle in the background.  I covered up some of the blue grout bits and created new grout details around the edge of the piece. I integrated a variety of grays  outside the central area.  A loose circle of purple and pink embroidery loops encloses the central area and ties the elements together.

These changes added needed order to the piece and made it much more agreeable to look at! There are still plenty of “wildflowers” (perhaps weeds) in the piece below but in the end, there is a balance of order and chaos.



Good Balance in the many aspects of our lives contributes to feeling Safe and Well.

Parenting. Is it best for a parent to take a free-range approach to raising children? Or be more of a  disciplinarian? Or a balance of both?

Gardening. Both artwork and gardening naturally involve a balance of order and chaos. Each has literally or metaphorically, volunteer baby trees, wildflowers, weeds, and children’s toys, but also has paths and repetitions of shape and color. I admit that I think the garden looks best after it has been weeded and clipped!

Education. A fixed curriculum can be balanced with opportunities for self-discovery.  Practice working with others can be balanced with working independently. Mentors can be invaluable allies in a give-and-take that responds to the interests of the learner. 

Play  Keeping track of progress is important some of the time but not all the time. We have scheduled activities, but we also need to daydream and commune with nature. We need to play with others but also alone. Play involves both body and mind.


I bet you can think of many examples of good balance in your lives. 


Examples of abstract art with good balance.

Women of Color Rise, 68 X 43, $1,500



Monsters, 52 X 36, sold

 Good Balance (detail)

Each month I share a recipe. Delicata With Topping: I use Delicata squash, but any winter squash will be fine. Cook the squash and cut it into small bite-size chunks. In a pan saute chopped onion, chopped mushrooms, (optional chopped cabbage), and ground meat in olive oil. I use ground buffalo, but beef, lamb, or turkey would also be delicious. Add salt, pepper, and thyme. Warm the squash and put in the bottom of bowls. Top with the mixture.

3 Responses to Good Balance

Nina-Marie Sayre

Ohhh Joan, thanks so much for sharing your process with this piece. I definitely understand what it means to start a piece in one way and think – OMG – What was I thinking?!?! Only to restart it into something quite pleasing!! I stumbled on your blog through interest – I wanted to invite you to share any creative post you have on my blog link up Off the Wall Friday which I started for art quilting – but – shrug – really any art driven post is allowed! It runs every Friday – Monday!


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