I will start my reflections on QuiltCon with the categorization system itself, and then my thoughts on Negative Space. The categories are problematic in that they are neither consistent nor exclusive. Some categories are about method (piecing, applique,improv, bias), others about design (minimalist, use of negative space, modern traditional)–immediately creating overlaps. That within the design categories a quilt can feature negative space and be a minimalist design adds to the confusion. Even though the categories were confusing, it was frustrating not to be able to choose which one to enter a quilt in. It seems they could have let quilters say their preference and still move a quilt if they felt it filled an empty spot elsewhere. It would have been nice to know that the first glance was where the quilter preferred.
I especially enjoy seeing creative uses of negative space. I have a few photos of quilts I especially liked and a couple that show I need more information. Only a little off from the judges who gave it a third, I would have given first place to Stephanie Ruyle’s Read Between the Lines.
Also appealing to me, and with understandable negative space, were Cheryl Brickey’s Pikes Peak and (I think I have the name right–my photo of the tag isn’t clear) Amy Dame’s Wake Up, Wake Up.
I have a fondness for flying geese, but even without that, the overall design impact would have caught my eye. The quilting that emphasized the lines moving toward a point with its varied widths added interest. There was a clear unity between the piecing and the quilting, something I strive for but don’t always accomplish.
I was drawn to the upper half circle “calling” to the two rows and to thinking of various wake-up scenarios: parent to child, sun to plants, and so on. Again the quilting seemed appropriate to the piecing. That the quilting echoed the lower rows and not the upper half circle placed the emphasis on the waking more than the calling.
You can see that both of the above could easily also have been placed with minimalist design (something I like almost as much as creative use of negative space). And Pikes Peak could have been placed with Modern Traditionalist.
Now to the two that raised questions for me. Phoebe Hamel’s (another unclear photo of tag) Transmission and Heather Pregger’s Tuning Fork #12. (Remember, the quilters did not choose the categories.)
Where is the negative space? It all looks like design to me. Or does each row take its turn being design and then space? Or instead of seeing six rows am I to see four rows and space? Inquiring minds want to know.
I really like all that I have seen of this series (three in person, several in photos). The controlled busyness appeals to me as does the subtle color variation in the background sections. The energy. My questions are these: To what extent is “background” synonymous with “negative space”? How much design can negative space hold and remain negative space?
Now it would be lovely if I could ask the judges directly, but I doubt they read my blog. So I’ll link up with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday (button in sidebar) in the hopes that readers there will comment to clarify the concept of negative space.