I admit, I've had a bit of trouble understanding this movement until recently. I've certainly seen a lot of modern quilts, but then I've also seen a lot of quilts that look quite traditional, but are labeled "modern." It's all a bit confusing, which is why I haven't really pursued understanding this movement better until now.
With a quick search of "modern quilts" you will find the Modern Quilt Guild. On this website you can find the following list that describes modern quilters or modern quilts:
- Make primarily functional rather than decorative quilts
- Use asymmetry in quilt design
- Rely less on repetition and on the interaction of quilt block motifs
- Contain reinterpreted traditional blocks
- Embrace simplicity and minimalism
- Utilize alternative block structures or lack of visible block structure
- Incorporate increased use of negative space
- Are inspired by modern art and architecture
- Frequently use improvisational piecing
- Contain bold colors, on trend color combinations and graphic prints
- Often use gray and white as neutrals
- Reflect an increased use of solid fabrics
- Focus on finishing quilts on home sewing machines
This is obviously a decorative quilt with dense stitching that prevents it from being a functional quilt (i.e. you can't snuggle with it). It's not simple. It's very symmetrical and it's not minimalist.
But what about this?This is just a solid piece of black fabric with my big bold, simply stippling design stitched over the surface. It's functional. It's simple. It's quite asymmetrical. There's a TON of negative space. It's one big bold solid colored fabric. Is this a modern quilt?
I guess that's one of the underlying things that slightly bothers me about the modern quilting movement - it creates an opening for criticism. Is my quilt modern enough? What counts as modern and what exactly is traditional now?
And what is up with the quilting on these quilts??? The most intricate design I've seen so far was lines. Lines, lines, and more lines. Hey, lines can be really cool, but is it possible to use some neat free motion designs and the quilt still be a modern quilt?
These have been the questions that have swirled around my head whenever I saw or thought about modern quilting for around the last year or so. I've asked a lot of questions, but I wasn't willing to just TRY to make a modern quilt to see what it was like.
So yesterday I came into my studio needing to piece a simple, very speedy quilt for a Christmas gift. Actually I really need to make 2 quilts, not just one.
I need the tops done right NOW so they can be quilted right NOW so what better time to try my hand at an asymmetrical quilt where the seams don't have to match?
And thus, my affair with modern quilting has begun!
I call this an "affair" because piecing this quilt top was so enjoyable, it has to be a sin! For 3 hours I didn't obsess about cutting strips 2.5 inches wide, perfectly square, perfectly matched up with the ruler. I just wacked them out of my scraps and guess what???? I DIDN'T EVEN IRON THEM BEFORE PIECING!!! LOL!
It was just fun. I can't think of a better word for this style of quilting. FUN! I haven't had much FUN in my quilts lately. I've been bogged down this year with too much...I don't know...too much everything. Too much perfection, too much detail, too much attention.
The simplicity of just piecing two simple strips onto a single, roughly cut 6 inch block was extremely freeing. I decided to frame each colored block with two strips of black fabric to make "L" shapes. I didn't let myself obsess about it. I didn't even plan out the pattern. I just made the blocks, cut them down to a square size, then lined them up in this arrangement and sewed them together. Ta Da!
So am I officially a Modern Quilter? I'm still not sure about the label or defining myself as any one thing. Keep in mind, I don't even call myself an "Art Quilter" so I personally I'm most comfortable just calling myself a QUILTER and leaving it at that.
Let's go quilt!