I didn’t get to go to Quilt-Con, but I eagerly read all the blog posts about it and also enjoyed the lectures on Craftsy. I remember it got a lot of people talking about labels and in particular the Modern Quilt Guild’s definition of “modern quilting.” I don’t think it was long until all the hullabaloo caused the MQG to adjust the definition to be a lot more inclusive.
This is the definition right now:
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.
The thing is, I’m not sure this definition goes far enough yet to include quilters like me. I’m not inspired by minimalism and negative space and solids. I admire it, but I don’t enjoy doing it. Clearly that last sentence tacked onto the end of the definition is supposed to make me feel included. They’re trying. :)
I want to make it clear that nothing I’m saying here is meant to be controversial or negative in any way. I recognize the tremendous contribution the Modern Quilt Guild has made and continues to make to the quilting community. I just find this topic really interesting and fun to discuss. Truthfully, this is more about me finding my place in the community than about me making judgments on the kinds of quilts others are making or should make.
One reason I find this so interesting is that I’ve been searching for my own style and I think I’ve been able to narrow it down this year. My goal is simply to make really educated decisions about what quilts I choose to spend my time making. I want to love my quilts when they’re done. Here’s what I’ve learned:
- For me, life is too short to use solids, even for backgrounds. Why use plain white when you can use polka dots or a subtle text print? A huge part of my enjoyment of the process has to do with how absolutely stunning printed fabric can be.
- I prefer scrappy quilts – the more fabrics the better. It’s too repetitive to make the same block over and over in the same prints. I love to vary the background fabrics too.
- I think it’s really fun to “deconstruct” large scale prints by using them for piecing and not just large borders or backings.
- I like low-contrast quilts that need to be really examined for the design to come out. High contrast is good too but not necessary.
- I like really elaborate quilts that take a long time to make: true modern heirlooms. On the other hand, I always like square patchwork- especially when it’s really scrappy.
So the question I’m asking is this: are we going post-modern? I feel like I’m seeing less of the truly minimalist super-modern quilts. Maybe I’m just more likely to follow the blogs of people who make quilts like mine. But I’m really curious whether you guys think the tide is turning back to more traditional designs.
And just because I know you don’t want a post with JUST WORDS here are my latest Penny blocks:
Thoroughly post-modern if you ask me!