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In this, our last lesson on Balance, we look at the term Radial Balance, meaning a design where all of the elements are equally balanced around, toward or away from a central point. Unlike other forms of balance that use either a horizontal or vertical axis, radial balance has all of the interest radiating out from the center like the rays of the sun or spokes on a bicycle wheel. The examples below help to illustrate the definition.

Aurora by Mary Lidstrom Larson. (Image Road2CA)


Bilateral Fabric Examples.                                       Radial Fabric Examples.

Designs can be round or square, including Kaleidoscope images, which are radial. A Radial design can be very effective, as it draws the eye into the center of the design. Examples of Radial balance found in nature and man made objects include:

Cathedral Rose Windows (e.g. Notre Dame Cathedral)
A halved orange or grapefruit
Merry go round
Bicycle spokes

Let's use the example of Dad's Lonestar by Ricky Tims. Did you notice how all of the elements spin around as your eyes move from the center outward? The brilliant yellow star in the center vibrates, enhancing this same outward movement.

Dad's Lonestar by Ricky Tims. (Image by TheQuiltShow.com)

Examples of more quilts featuring Radial Balance:

Mediterrani by Rosa Rojas (Show 1912 and Show 2702). [Image by TheQuiltShow.com]

Força Barça by Rosa Rojas & Olga Gonzales Angulo (Show 1912). [Image by TheQuiltShow.com]

Bubble Ballet by Birgit Schueller. (Image AQS)

Red Hot Radial by Audrey Esarey. (Image by QuiltCon)

Vertigo by Elaine Wick Poplin. (Image by QuiltCon)

Lunar Gazania by Robbi Joy Eklow (Show 1008). [Image by TheQuiltShow.com]

Vermillion Circles by Judy Mathieson (Show 707). [Image by TheQuiltShow.com]


Practice Exercise: Create Your Own Radial Balance Design:

Design your own Radial Balance design with just a few simple tools.


Design your own Kaleidoscope Name design. Click here.

Click here for more topics related to The Art of Quilt Design program.


Teresa Duryea Wong was inspired by an unknown quiltmaker of the 1880s to recreate a traditional quilt using her bold colors and design. The result is a striking quilt with a modern graphic appeal.

Cheddar, Charcoal and Cherry by Teresa Duryea Wong of Houston, Texas was featured in the Balanced Piecing and Appliqué category at Houston 2019.


Pixeladies, Deb Cashatt and Kris Sazaki, create fascinating quilts with messages hidden in the text. They also teach wonderful classes in Photoshop to help everyone craving to create those illusive images. Learn more about Making her Mark in this interview with Lisa Walton.



The American Quilt Study Group is having their first virtual show of antique quilts. This is one of several shows they have planned to provide viewers with an insight into their rich quilt heritage and to give everyone a  glimpse of quilt makers from the past.

The American Quilt Study Group is a member-supported organization that connects quilt enthusiasts engaged in research and learning.

(Note: The video has no sound.)

Ricky opens the completed, hand quilted, Lizzy Albright quilt and shares the excitement about TWO books are on the printing presses at the same time. Let’s talk about getting a new generation to start quilting. If you have youngsters in your life - this is for you!
Be there to see the quilt revealed. Thursday, July 23, at 1PM Eastern, Noon Central, 11AM Mountain, 10AM Pacific, &  6pm London time.

To see the LIVE it is best to go the home page, scroll down and then click to see the playlist. You will then be on YouTube and will be able to comment during the LIVE. Or go the TQS Facebook page.



The Houston quilt show has been cancelled so it is time to reveal his quilt he is making for that show. Be the first to see the quilt he has been working on and hear him talk about the techniques, challenges, and ideas he used to create it. This fun event will be LIVE Tuesday July 21 at 10am PST, 1pm EST, and 6pm London Time. Can't make it? It will be recorded.


It's time to start your mystery quilt. Alex will help you get prepared. Call a friend and do it together. The quilt will be happy, bright, fun, and....mysterious. You need to smile and you need to keep quilting. 

Alex is LIVE Monday, July 20, 2020 at 10am PST, 1pm EST, and 6pm London time.

(All classes will be recorded.)


The elegant appliquéd border on this quilt looks like a lattice fence surrounding Taeko Kozuka's Elegant Rose Garden.

It is so intricate, it almost looks like lace.

The "garden" itself is made up of hand pieced hexagons and Dresden plate designs and is highlighted by beautiful hand quilted roses. The stunning work will take your breath away.

Elegant Rose Garden by Taeko Kozuka of Akiruno City, Tokyo, Japan was featured in the Balanced Piecing and Appliqué category at Houston 2019.


Barbara Black will be working on Alex's Mystery Quilt as well and has set up a Forum topic where you can ask questions, post photos, and enjoy the process more with like-minded friends. This is especially helpful for those who don't do Facebook: Forum--Kaffe Mystery Quilt--Learn with Alex.

Click here to read more about Barbara and the mystery quilt at Barbara's website.



Three Easy Steps To Save This Lesson As A Pdf:
-Make sure you are logged in.
-Click on the small triangle next to the tool wheel in the upper right hand corner of the page (you'll find it above the Like button).
-Select the pdf. option. Wait a few minutes. It's a large file due to the number of images.
-Your file should appear with the title of the lesson.

In this lesson, we continue our focus on Asymmetrical Balance, where the visual arrangement of elements (color, texture, space, etc.) is balanced, but with a more energetic and exciting feeling.

Let's look at the example Bath Balloon Fiesta by Miyuki Humphries. Both the balloons at the top of the quilt, and the Royal Crescent building in the lower portion, use almost the same amount of space. There is a real sense of movement as the building's curve sweeps across from one side to the other. The motion of movement is repeated by the curved balloon floating up and away. This arrangement of two sides that are different (balloons and a building), create a sense of balance and real interest for the viewer.

Asymmetrical balance can be achieved using a number of different methods

- Place objects directly opposite each other in a composition

- Place lighter colors higher than darker colors in a composition

- Emphasize motion to move the eye along across your composition

- Introduce a pop of color

Bath Balloon Fiesta by Miyuki Humphries. (Image by TheQuiltShow.com)


Let's look at some excellent examples featuring these principles:

Weeds Are Flowers Too by Terry Grant (Image courtesy of Terry Grant)

Kaleidoscopic XXXVII: The Artful Non Sequitur by Paula Nadelstern (Show 307, Show 508, Show 2010). [Image byTheQuiltShow.com]

Dandelion by Kate Themel. (Image courtesy of Kate Themel)

Splat! by Dawn Siden. (Image AQS)

Pauline's Ford by Rod Daniel. (Image courtesy of Rod Daniel)


Fiber artist Linda Beach (Show 1409) is known for translating naturescapes into stunning quilted works of art. From sketch to finished work, Linda's works evoke feelings that transport you along her magical journey.

Asymmetrical Balance

by Linda Beach (Show 1409)
(All images courtesy of Linda Beach, unless otherwise noted)

Asymmetrical balance can be defined as when elements on either side of a composition do not reflect one another, as opposed to symmetrical balance where elements on each side of a composition mirror each other or closely match. When you are using asymmetrical balance in a composition, you want to make sure that the visual weight of the work balances even though the actual elements do not mirror each other. While a composition with asymmetrical balance may not be as easy to design as a symmetrical one, it can often be much more visually interesting. Many times something more complex and dynamic is created as a result of the visual tension when asymmetrical balance is used.

So how do you achieve asymmetrical balance? Understanding visual weight is important. Which leads to the next question of what is visual weight? My favorite definition of visual weight is the ability of an area or element of art within a composition to draw attention to itself. Some of the ways to direct a viewers’ attention to an area include the use of color, value contrast, line or shape.

In my piece Marking Time I used asymmetrical balance in the composition because I wanted to convey the feel of the immense open space of the rolling hills or prairie as the setting for an old, abandoned farmhouse. The landscape needed to have a large presence to give that sense of endless space even though my focal point was going to be the farmhouse in the grove of trees. With that in mind, I needed to find a way to make the landscape compelling and interesting but not so that it overwhelmed the farmhouse.

Working within the parameters of my concept of a farmhouse and trees in a landscape, I decided that the house and trees would be of a dark value with the surrounding area in light to medium values. This eliminated the use of value to achieve asymmetrical balance as well as shape or color as I did not want any other objects on my imaginary landscape to distract from the farmhouse and trees. My decision was to use line to achieve the asymmetrical balance. When looking at Marking Time, all the lines or contours of the landscape run between the house and trees in the lower right to the opposite end of the piece in the upper left corner. Your eye, after taking in the focal point of the house and trees, is drawn into the rest of the landscape by following the lines upwards into the hills. The number of running lines and differing shades of yellows and golds create a compositional shape in of itself so that a counterweight is provided and asymmetrical balance is achieved between this area and the farmhouse and trees. 


 Symmetrical Design                                       Asymmetrical Design

Practice Exercise:

Using a shape of your choice (i.e. circle, square, triangle, hexie), create a symmetrical AND an asymmetrical design based on what you have learned in this and the previous lesson (Lesson 32).

Click here for more topics related to The Art of Quilt Design program.


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