Friday, April 6, 2012

Using negative space

    I mean we all need or want more space.  But exactly....What is negative space?   Think in-between space.  The space that fills in and around applique for instance.  The applique would be the positive space and the background would be the negative space.   We need both positive and negative space.  And as a quilter, negative space could be filled with quilting,  or it could be the sashing between the blocks.  Or it could be a  space that unifies and makes the color jump out.
  These 2 doll quilts--I told you I was inspired by them--are great examples of negative space of white.  The ticker tape quilt, from a Mrs. Claus at HGTV Message Board for South Carolina, has a lots of negative white space in the background and in the ticker tape bits of fabric she selected.  It works so wonderfully because the eye is fooled and sees the bright colors instead of  only seeing the bits of fabric sewn down.
Note:  Ticker tape quilt is done raw-edge applique style.  The background is one piece.  The top is layered with the batting and backing.  Then the selected fabrics are arranged and stitched down with a straight stitch or a zig-zag stitch through all three layers.
  And the  little bow tie quilt  What a great idea to do bow ties in pinks.  Mrs. Claus in Iowa created a precious quilt that lets the bow ties take center stage on the white background of negative space.

 So where would I find negative space in a watercolor quilt?   I mean the entire project is filled with fabric that is loaded with color and prints with lots of values.  There is no negative space........or is there?
   I was sorting through my cut squares  and realized that I had a lot of dark squares with negative space.  Why?  They tend to be harder to place in a watercolor quilt when you are trying to blend square to square.  I needed to figure out how to reduce their presence in my stash.

 This is in the beginning stage.  I decided to use the squares with all the black negative space  to create a dark--very dark--area at the base of this banner.  And since black to black is boring, I am trying to cluster like color edge to like color edge and create very large blooms here.

This close up photo shows what I mean better than the words.  Once this is sewn and finished the large flowers should pop out against the negative space of the black.

   Fabric selection is probably the hardest part of beginning a watercolor quilt.  You need fabrics with different values and different scale prints.  Here are 2 examples of fabric with negative space of black that I have used in this project.
  So what I have just said and shown about the black negative space is also true for the fabrics with the light or white negative space.   But that will have to wait until I reach that point in this project.

Report on the star struck variation:  I cleaned off a mini-bolt of fabric--yea, stash reduction--- for the sashings and binding.  The top is together and ready to be batted and quilted.   Just in time too.  I heard today that Amanda got a very nice job promotion this week.  This quilt was promised to her and Barry--OK,  to Barry really because he begged---for their next "life event".   I think the promotion qualifies and I think  the quilt  will be called "Life's Events".
Have a very special and blessed Easter weekend.  Happy stitching.  


Mary said...

Very interesting post. Thanks for explaining the concept of negative space. I'll have to give it time to soak in.

Janet O. said...

Looks like a lovely beginning for another great watercolor quilt!

Lynne said...

What a great post that clarifies for me the things I had been thinking about what to do with scraps that don't fit in my "rainbow" blocks.


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