Geometrics and florals, I can probably point those out pretty easily. But what is a “conversation print?”
In fabric terms a conversation print is any print that is not a floral or a geometric. While we, as stitchers don’t think about our canvases in these terms, it’s good to understand what fabric and design people mean by these three classes of prints. Then we can more easily apply them to our own work.
A geometric design is anything that is an abstract or non-representational design. These can run from stripes or polka dots to a complex painting by Alexander Calder.
What is common to all of these is that they don’t represent anything. As stitchers we love them. Many of our pieces fall into this category.
A floral design is one that pictures flowers or, more broadly, vegetation. The Autumn Leaf ornament pictured above is a floral, and so is the far more abstract Bargello by Jeannette Clark pictured below it.
Florals can be small or large, realistic or abstract. What is common about them all is that they depict plant life.
In fabric everything else is a conversation print. I used to think that this meant only those prints which might spark a conversation, such as the fabric with a cricket playing billards pictured above. But, in reality, this is an “everything else” category.
For us, as stitchers it is also the least useful. We stitch so many other things: people animals, clothing, teacups, trains, and on and on. That gets to the heart of what makes needlepoint more like painting than like sewing or quilting. In needlepoint we are depicting something. No matter how we are finishing our canvas it is often a picture in the same way a painting is a picture. So conversation prints don’t make much sense to us. We are stitching landscapes or elephants not using a conversation print.