Festival of Quilts and Modern Quilt/quilting

finished boxes quiltOh what joy The Festival of Quilts was!  I was so glad I went on Saturday.  It was a lovely day. I drove over to Birmingham with my daughter-in-law, Nicola from Market Harborough – and easy drive.  So many gorgeous quilts – although by the time we left and now that I have had a chance to see some coment about it, I obviously missed some super ones that were in special areas.  Not good news for the punters but it didn’t seem that busy, either.  I came across some of my previous students.  What did I like best?  The Tentmakers of Cairo – such gorgeous work and so meticulously done and a delight to speak with the men making them.

Some months/a year ago I wrote about What is Modern Quilting and did struggle a bit to define it – other than saying that is an approach to quilting that includes traditional blocks but maybe with tweeks to them (improv); often using solid fabrics; simple approaches; not necessarily symmetrical; and in some way easier without the discipline traditional patchwork/quilting requires.  Many would argue with me on that but the British is what I know – Many of the quilts at the Festival, I felt were modern or/and arty.  There were fewer traditionally blocked quilts but many with gorgeous free-motion quilting.  Most of them I really enjoyed.

I thought you would be interested in the comments by Luana Lubin – who is a well-known fabric designer and quilt shop owner (www.equilter.com).  I find her newsletter really informative when it comes to discussions about fabric and  like their sales as well.  Sign up for a newsletter and you also will be bitten.  In any event, she came to The Festival of Quilts last week and here is what she said about modern quilting!

“Tonight I am at a hotel near the Birmingham UK airport, and when you read this I’ll be flying home after my week as a sponsor and speaker at the Festival of Quilts. I am thinking about trends in quilting – UK/Europe compared to the US.

When I speak to quilters here, most of them really don’t understand the Modern Quilt movement yet. The few that have seen the modern quilts – mostly in magazines – are interested but not clear what it’s all about. In the exhibit there were lots of traditional quilts, lots of embellished quilts, and several with 3-dimensional elements or painterly treatments pointing toward more of a fine arts perspective.

susanafterwright

In the image above I’ve created a collage, with Susan Atkinson’s graphic “After Wright” quilt (from the Festival of Quilts) which is obviously inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, with several modern geometric fabrics that we have in stock right now. In case you have a hard time distinguishing the difference – her quilt detail photo is in the lower right hand corner of the collage above.

Although I did not see a clear quilt design trend emerging from this show, I did get a sense that it was a boiling pot of energy, looking for a new direction. Maybe a European version of modern quilting will emerge. Perhaps the painterly/abstract/geometric contemporary fiber arts will develop more and emerge as more of a mainstream quilt trend. There was a lot of interest in Luke Haynes giant portrait quilts, and Lea McComas’ threadpainting techniques. Whatever happens, I would say that it is a very pregnant time for the creative quilters of the UK and European quilt scene! I can’t wait to see what happens next! (Photos coming in the next week.) ”

But I would like to know what she thinks Modern Quilting is – her link sends us to geometrically designed fabrics, not to quilts but they are asmall part of what Modern Quilting is.

Below is what the Modern Quilt Guild, U.S. says they are:

“We define modern quilts as quilts that are functional, include bold colors, and are inspired by modern design. Minimalism, asymmetry expansive negative space, and alternate grid work are often a part of modern quilt compositions, as are improvisational piecing and solid fabrics.”

But I really think they are more than that!

Here is a quote from Angela Pingel who went through a similar questioning about Modern Quilting two years ago (I’m a slow learner):

Modern quilting is a new twist on the traditional art of quilting. This may mean something as simple as using a traditional quilt block and updating it in a fresh, fun new way. That includes using modern fabrics, modifying the block arrangement or even the scale of the block. The piecing could be improvisational and wonky, or it could be very exact and measured, following a pattern or creating your won. The quilting could be traditional stippling, clean straight lines, or a very “free” have fun and quilt-as-you-go style. Fabrics could be upcycled vintage sheets, custom digital printed fabric, a yummy selection from one of the new modern fabric designers, or an old fabric from an ever growing stash.

Modern quilting is sometimes difficult to define because in many ways the definition is as individual as the quilter – changing from quilter to quilter. In addition to reflecting the individual personality and personal style of the quilter, it also reflects the current aesthetic of the day. 

Modern quilting is also about the attitude and the approach that modern quilters take. It respects the amazing artistry and talent of the tradition of quilting, while allowing the quilter to challenge the “rules”. In fact, if there were one rule in modern quilting, it would be that there are no rules.

The concept of modern quilting is not meant to divide or segregate. It is meant to welcome new quilters, of all ages, to the world of quilting in a style that they can relate to. In many ways, modern quilting takes us back to the basics of the early quilters, when women of the day used the colors and styles of their time to express themselves creatively”

So I can feel comfortable about the above but it is Not the official definition – it is an old definition from 2011.  So where do we go from here?  Your turn:

 

 

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So many things going on in my head!

Do you have that problem – I really do have a butterfly mind – I sit down at the computer – to check emails, or surf for something specific and something catches my eye and away I go.  Tutorials, bags, lessons – I belong to several sites which require payment – The Quilt Show and QNTTV or something like that.  I love watching and learning AND stretching myself and my knowledge. I keep learning new things AND keep buying things as well.  My friend from the U.S brought me so many goodies that I had bought and sent to her to bring over here.  – oh such a wonderful mixture of everything!! The best – a bag of 1 pound of hand dyed scraps from Ricky Timms and the fabrics are so beautiful – a total of 3 yards of fabric strips – minimum 4.5″ x WOF.  Any suggestions as to what I could make with it?  I will come up with something.

It has been a while since I wrote and really life has been hectic.  I have been trying to decide if I am a Modern Quilter or a Traditional Quilter.  Between my teaching and my quilting – I really love spreading the word about the joys of quilting.  Therapeutic is the word for quilting.  Recently read on Missouri Star of a woman who was born with a serious birth defect which required her to spend 2 months in hospital every year for her whole life, which was predicted to be early 20s.  She learned to sew as a teenager and started around 17 to sew while she was in hospital.  Well she has been making quilts ever since – particularly in the hospital – the sewing distracts from the pain she suffers – but she is now 62 – what a star – and she blames the quilting and the joy of both distracting but also so much happiness in what she is doing.

Back to my subject —

  • Well I prefer quilts which are NOT regimented into the same block in the same colours across the entire  quilt.
  • I prefer patterned fabrics – traditional or modern or reproduction or whatever – all fabrics attract me –
  • I think I prefer blenders which have been printed in a tone on tone way to solid colours – but also
  • I see the virtue in the dullness of solid colours to liven up the other fabrics in a print.
  • I have the feeling that modern quilting seems to choose the easy patterns BUT
  • I really enjoy some of the short cuts to make life easier – and different – well you know – nine patch to disappearing nine-patch and so on.
  • Other than matching point detail and my strict quarter-inch seam, I tend to do my own thing but still follow either a pattern or an idea. – Is that modern or me?

Over to you –

Ann

What’s the difference? Traditional, modern and contemporary quilting

cissy's quilt

So what’s the difference and is there a difference?  There certainly is a trend towards Modern Quilting and possibly away from traditional quilting.   I understand there has been a marked reduction of traditional quilts of entries to both the Festival of Quilts and National Quilt Championships and certainly at Ardingly last month most of the quilts were either arty or modern with a few traditional from Sandy Lush .

Why is that?  Today – a traditional quilt tends to be a series of same blocks or a couuple of blocks, which work together, made with same or different fabrics which together make a quilt.  The blocks are quite often standard blocks and occasionally is often a series of repetitive tasks to make it with the key to being a very wonderful quilt is the workmanship in making it AND the quilting – be it hand or machine – is outstanding.

So what is Modern Quilting?

Really difficult to answer.  Over the last few years, manufacturers and designers are creating fabrics that are modern and inspiring by being very different from traditional fabric patterns.  Such designers as Kaffe Fassett,  Amy Butler, David Butler and  Aneela Hoey have brought fabrics into the 21st century and about time to.

Here is what the Modern Quilt Guild says:

“We define modern quilts as quilts that are functional, include bold colors, and are inspired by modern design. Minimalism, asymmetry expansive negative space, and alternate grid work are often a part of modern quilt compositions, as are improvisational piecing and solid fabrics. . . .The growth of the movement was facilitated by four factors: the cultural shift of quality design being recognized by the general public, affordable digital cameras, the changing fabric industry and the rise of social media.”

What I do know, is that some modern quilts are inspiring as are some traditional quilts are.  I personally do not like to use solid colour fabrics, only when I make a modern quilt while I believe the solids have a very important roll to play in all quilts.  Above is the quilt I made for my granddaughter – which gave me great joy to make.  It is called a Wonky Circle of Stars

Contemporary Quilting

Comtemporary quilts tend to be Art Quilts, I believe and often contain other media besides fabric (Lutrador and other fabric like items).  I believe they are made for show or for sale and why not!  Most good quilters traditional or otherwise, would like to sell their work and make a decent amount, given the amount of time it takes to make any quilt.

Would love to hear any ideas and comments are welcome!  Hope to hear from you!