Posted on May 19, 2014 by A Piece of Cloth | 0 comments

Ok, i'm getting a little confused....is it just me in my old age? I don't know. But a question to pose...what exactly is a 'Modern Quilter' instead of just a 'Quilter'?

I had a few people pop past and they told me how wonderful and nice all the fabric is, but they told me they were "Modern Quilters" and its not for them. That's all good, I respect that, I know what I do and the fabrics I source don't suit everyones taste. But to have someone say to me "...I'm a Modern Quilter, I just don't know how I would use this fabric..." confused me somewhat....well I do sell fabric...it's pretty nice stuff, interesting, one of a kind, amazing quality and a dream to work with.... I thought you could make a quilt out of any fabric you fancy?

This "Modern Quilter" thing was perplexing me a tad.  So I googled what a "Modern Quilter" definition was. And I thought, yep, I get that, in fact perhaps I might even be one, in the "modern traditionalist" category, I like old school stuff, it really floats my boat... but I have never thought to put what I do into a category except that I'm a quilter of sorts. I just love to muck about with fabrics and quilts and love the history, technical development, the visual language of the decorative arts and how it relates to the history of design. How print and pattern have developed over the centuries and how it is reflected in the items that are designed and made. How textiles, especially the concept of a quilt has travelled through the ages from ancient times to today. The history of textiles, their technology and design are fascinating to me.

This is the definition of a Modern Quilt, but to an extent I still don't really understand the definition...here it is...from www.moq.net

"Modern quilts are primarily functional and inspired by modern design. Modern quilters work in different styles and define modern quilting in different ways, but several characteristics often appear which may help identify a modern quilt. These include, but are not limited to: the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, and alternate grid work. "Modern traditionalism" or the updating of classic quilt designs is also often seen in modern quilting".

Ok...So this is my reasoning....

"Modern quilts are primarily functional..."

Yep, mine end up on the bed and the couch, so they are functional. 

 "...and inspired by modern design."

Yes, they are inspired by modern design. Mid century is my favourite period but I also reference the 1920s. The design theory of those eras is incredibly important in many areas of expression. Johannes Itten and his colour theory. Josef and Anni Albers and their geometric theory compositions to name a few of my design heros and influences. I see the influences of these designers in many quilts I see, perhaps too much influence...

Itten Colour wheel 1961

Josef Albers - Homage to the Square

Anni Albers, DR XX, 1974


"Modern quilters work in different styles..."

I machine piece most things, but do still hand piece if the project I am working on lends itself to it. If i'm working on a partial project if it was started by hand I continue that way. I am also a hand quilter. My introduction to quilts was seeing amazing hand quilted pieces when I was travelling in the USA and to the historic ones that I had studied from a graphic design and technical history of printed textiles angle. So for me, hand quilting was the look I wanted to create. A softness of the organic stitch to the hard angles of the geometry. But I just love the pull of the thread through the cloth. It's my meditation. 

"...and define modern quilting in different ways...

I like a good quilt, I like a good quilt if it was made 100 years ago or 100 days ago. I like making quilts, but I like to make them out of vintage and antique fabrics that I source from the USA. I like to do that because its more special to me to have prints and fabrics that really unique, ones that reflect my love of this that I do. I love the experience of travelling and meeting people of all ages and walks of life that share this common interest that I have. I like to hear the stories and to hear other perspectives of the experience of a life with textiles. I like the challenge of finishing off a quilt that is 100 years old so it can live on again, giving it a new life. I like to salvage something of the past and re-work it. I like to create a new response to an old tradition...is that my definition? 

"...but several characteristics often appear which may help identify a modern quilt. These include, but are not limited to:"

"...the use of bold colors and prints," Past and Present Examples are being used.

1920s Broken Chevron Quilt - Laura Fisher Quilts

Fletcher Quilt from http://www.shinyhappyworld.com

















"... high contrast and graphic areas of solid color..."


L: 1920/30s Graphic Quilt-GB Best Quilts R:'Modern Hipster Black and White Starburst Quilt' -True Love Quilts Etsy

"...improvisational piecing..."

Gee's Bend Quilt 1940s

Denise Schmidt Quilt 2010's

The examples I have selected here are to show that a 'quilt' with a graphic or modern or improvised style has been a part of the decorative history language for a very long time. It is a reflection of the tastes of the times they are made in. That they reflect the design theories that were first published in the first half of the 20th Century by early practitioners of design. The men and women who pioneered the first documented texts and studies. Ones that today are still referenced in design education world wide that underpin most of what we know today of design. But what they also show is how they have evolved as a visual language that quilt makers reference today.

That this definition of a 'modern quilt' can be applied to many quilts that are 100 years old as well as ones that are 1 year old. Are we not all quilt makers if we make a quilt? As someone dear once said to me, I am a 'glorious fabric joiner'. Yes I join random snippets of fabric together or fiddle with things partially started and the end product is a 'quilt'. Do we really need to define and put things into categories that make us question where we fit? Because if thats the case, I have no idea what category I fit into. I'm making up a new one, just for me. A Whatever Way it Rolls kind of Quilter!

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