Thinking About “Negative Space”

“Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery” anonymous

"Negative Nines" was inspired by a quilt Leeanna Walker brought to the July 2105 Modern Quilt Guild meeting featuring vintage butterfly blocks and lots of negative space.

“Negative Nines” was inspired by a quilt Leeanna Walker brought to the July 2105 Modern Quilt Guild meeting featuring vintage butterfly blocks and lots of negative space.

I hope Leeanna Walker is flattered when she sees this small quilt top (24″ x 38″) because her Butterfly quilt inspired my pulling together my wallhanging named “Negative Nines”. Leeanna sent me this picture of her quilt as she is working on the binding. I first saw this quilt when she brought it to the July meeting of the Modern Quilt Guild last week. She had grouped the twenty-one vintage appliqued butterfly blocks worked on plain muslin in the bottom left corner. The upper right corner section was composed of bright teal plain blocks except for one more butterfly block in the extreme upper right corner. All that negative space created a sense of drama and balance making it visually intriguing. At least I was intrigued!

Leeanna Walker set her vintage butterfly blocks in this asymmetrical way which features large amounts of "negative space" . Her quilt inspired me to try this technique.

Leeanna Walker set her vintage butterfly blocks in this asymmetrical way which features large amounts of “negative space” . Her quilt inspired me to try this technique.

At home forty-eight hours later I was searching through my vintage blocks looking for candidates to try this technique. I found eleven pieced nine patch blocks (from Linda Hancock) that seemed to be a possibility since they featured a variety of solid color fabrics. After arranging and rearranging them on my portable design wall I felt like I had a satisfactory grouping and began looking for fabrics to work with the nine patch blocks. I came across the bright blue scrap of dupioni silk and knew I wanted to include a strip of that saturated color. The batik blue triangles added a texture I valued. But the star of the piece is the Daiwabo taupe used in the upper right area making the negative space shine. Every other piece of fabric I auditioned for that space seemed drab.

I’m including two pictures of this wallhanging because in the smaller version (below) you can see the power of the negative space more clearly. Once I quilt it there will be new textures to appreciate.

negative-nines-2

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