My 2018 Word of the Year: Balance

Rather than making new year’s resolutions, a few years ago I switched to Christine Kane’s suggestion to selecting a word of the year.  Just one word, nothing fancy or hard to remember, and then apply that to as many parts of your life as you want.   It’s such a simple suggestion but it works very well.   My word this year?  Balance.

Doing Tree Pose in my weaving studio, circa 2016. To do it correctly, I should turn on my R hip muscles to create a straight vertical line. Oops.


Balance will work in so many ways for me for 2018.

Tibia Plateau Fracture Post-Surgery

First, I need to relearn balancing while I walk.  Last fall, I fell off a log and seriously shattered my right leg tibia plateau.  In addition to surgery, I needed three months of no weight bearing to knit my bones together around some serious hardware.  It was imbalance that got me into that situation.  It is fitting that I work on balance to become stronger in the new year.  Yoga will be my main activity for regaining my balance and strength, and hopefully keep me from falling off any logs in the future–if my family ever lets me near a log again.

Balance will help in many other lifestyle activities: eating, shopping, traveling, sleeping, exercising, spending time with my family.  There are so many benefits to having more balance in one’s life.

That brings me to Creating Balance in Design, perhaps as important to me as a balanced body.   Balance is considered a design element, as much as unity, perspective, emphasis, movement,  rhythm, contrast, and pattern.   Cornell University defines balance in design as “the reconciliation of opposing forces in a composition that results in visual stability.”  Within that one has symmetrical and asymmetrical balance.

Wayne Thiebaud, “Around the Cake” 1962

Another definition of balance in art is:

“…the sense of distribution of perceived visual weights that offset one another. We feel more comfortable–and therefore find it more pleasing–when the parts of an artwork seem to balance each other. Imbalance gives us an unsettled feeling, and that is something that for most artists is not the desired effect. Some artists, however, deliberately disturb our sense of balance.”  Sophia Learning Tutorials.

The symmetry of a piece is not the only element that needs to be balanced.  Colors, scale, unity, pattern and more must be in balance to have a successful design.   Perhaps some of my designs over the years have achieved balance, perhaps not.

Tucson Runner, handwoven by Donna Cooper
Tiny Houses Art Quilt, 2016

Regardless of the balance in your design style, be it in quilts, paintings or rocks on a beach; whether you stumble into a good design or work hard to achieve balance in your design, balance cannot be overlooked.  One thing I know about a balanced design is that it is not …

Staples Easy Button

Balance is not a very original or unique Word of the Year.  Yet it is the word that best fits all parts of my life for 2018.   Once you select a Word of the Year, you can then write a plan to match your goals.  Here’s the plan I wrote for my 2014 word of the year — stretch.

My plan for 2014 Word of the Year: Stretch

The plan included more than stretching–but it all adds up to aspiring to a more fulfilling and enjoyable year.  I will write a plan for this year, and will, periodically throughout the year, revisit my plan to keep me balanced.

Balanced Rocks

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