I recently entered a contest put on by Generation Q magazine. The question was, “What is modern quilting?” The debate is not new and maybe we don’t need more opinions on the subject, but I felt compelled to submit an essay. We had to do this in 350 words or less. This does not come easy for me since I am a naturally wordy person who likes to over explain. I did not win, but I thought I would share what I wrote…
I am fairly new to quilting. By this I mean I have not grown up with a needle and thread in my hand, but learned to sew and quilt in 2007 at the age of 28. I was taught by traditional quilters who loved to tell me the endless rules of quilting. These rules included border sizes, color and fabric choices, and that one should never use anything but cotton or God help you. To be fair, I learned a lot from these women and still seek their advice. I also began to seek out alternative ways to quilt and groups who would encourage this type of behavior.
In my search I came across I modern quilt guilds and was introduced to modern quilting. After reading several blogs and looking though several resources I believe there is a definition for modern quilts. Much like modern art, modern quilting throws out the rules. Bold prints, exclusive use of solids, geometric patterns, negative space, and borderless quilts are all elements that I commonly see in modern quilts. Modern quilters have a different perspective and do not mind experimenting.
Modern quilts have many inspirations from the past. The quilts of Gee’s Bend are brought p often and for good reason. The quilts of Gee’s Bend are amazing in their use of recycled fabric and bold patterns. They also have unusual fabric combinations that turn off a traditional quilter. These women were modern quilters before there were modern quilters.
The Amish communities also were a big inspiration for modern quilters. The Amish use primarily solid fabric and create fantastic geometric blocks. Traditional quilters favor calico or small prints and find solids to be too flat.
What I like best about the movement is the acceptance to anyone. The guild I belong to is a very diverse group of people from all backgrounds. Some enjoy traditional quilting. Others have more of an art quilt background. Others have been stretching the limits of what fabric can do in order to create really amazing pieces. Everyone gets along!