Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Who is the "modern" quilter?

And what is "modern" quilting? I realize this topic is a point of contention in the quilt world. I also realize much has been said on the topic. I've been encountering it a lot more lately, including from within my guild, so it seems like a worthy topic to explore further. By the way, this is not to comment on traditional quilting in any way, but instead to discuss the modern quilting world.



The Modern Quilt Guild defines modern quilting in several ways: "the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, [...] alternate grid work, [and] 'modern traditionalism' or the updating of classic quilt designs." It's good to have a definition; it gives us a sense of the movement as a whole.

 

My definition of modern may be different from others'. I believe "modern" can mean a traditional design using modern fabrics (solids, bright, saturated colors). It can be improv piecing and/or lots of solids as a background. It can be changing a traditional design to be more scrappy or improv-y or unsymmetrical. It can be a totally original improv design with lots of lines or curves or both. It can be any and all of these things put together.



I happen to be a modern quilter who loves dense quilting, deviating from the pattern, and modern fabrics. I often piece traditional blocks and I enjoy precision; lately, though, I've been dabbling in improv and I'm enjoying it immensely.

Botanics quilt top - yet unnamed

As long are we're making things, does it really matter whether or not we are definitional "modern quilters?" Heck, no! So let's quit the negativity and go make stuff!



I think it's the most beautiful thing: that we all have our own style. What kind of modern quilter are you (if you do, in fact, consider yourself modern)? What do you think modern means? I'd love to know!

I've been writing this post in my head for a while, and I hope it came out clearly. Thanks for reading, and seriously, in case you missed it - just go sew!



25 comments:

  1. I'm with you, who cares as long as we create! I love all of the bright saturated colors but I like the look of traditional quilting too. I'm new so I haven't tried traditional yet but it won't be very dark colors. I think everyone should be applauded for continuing the craft and no one likes everything. Even when I see quilting I don't really care for, I still see all of the labor and love that was put into it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I consider myself a 'quilter'. I don't think style matters until you decide to enter a quilt in a show. I've made quilts of all descriptions depending on who they were for. I would consider myself a modern quilter too in that I'm not a member of a face to face quilt guild or group but only online groups, I tend to fabric shop on line (as well as in a bricks and mortar store), I'm inspired by all the wonderful blogs out there in internetland moreso than books. I love bright bold fabrics but that doesn't mean I wouldn't use only 'modern' fabrics. I think labels are too limiting but I can understand that in a competition sense things need to be defined so you can compare apples with apples so to speak!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Such a timely post. There seems to be such ugliness going on lately about what is modern. I truly feel more accepted these days in the traditional guild although I enjoy more improv piecing. Maybe we should start a mid-modern guild.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I haven't figured out my style at all. Every quilt I make is different from the other. Dunno what is modern and what is not. As a matter of fact I love some vintage quilts. They look as if they were designed yesterday.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The only reason I consider myself a modern quilter is because I am so unable to relate to a lot of the old ladies in the quilter's association, haha. Maybe because I am young and haven't taken any formal classes. The thing about the term modern is that is constantly changing, so I don't get why it needs a definition or why people fight over it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I definitely call myself a modern quilter in the [Improv, Negative Space, Alternate Gridwork-type of way]; but that does not mean that I do not appreciate and respect what has come before. In fact, I actually collect vintage quilts, and came from a very traditional history as I learned from my Mom and Aunt.

    In my opinion, I think the reason for all of the modern talk and definition lately is because there are LOTS and LOTS of people/companies who are trying to market to an audience that they in fact do not understand themselves. As a guild leader, I cannot tell you how many times I have had conversations with or emails from vendors and companies regarding products they are calling "Modern" because to them Modern = Trendy = $$ and they want to be a part of it; which is all well and good if they properly understood the market. Yet when these products are for fabric paints, batik fabrics, appliqued sweatshirts...it doesn't work, and a lot of people do not understand why.

    I definitely agree with you...Just Go Sew, Make and Create...be who you are, that is what matters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well said, Kristy! I'll add my comments below :-)

      Delete
  7. So. I actually started quilting BEFORE "modern quilting" was a thing so I've seen modern quilting develop. I started quilting in 2004 when I was in high school --- before some of the "big" modern quilt bloggers and designers even started quilting!!

    I think some modern quilters have a real superiority complex when it comes to them and their craft when they narrowly define modern quilting. I love modern graphic fabrics and simple modern designs, but I also love classic/traditional fabric and patterns too.

    I've always made what I wanted to make regardless of the trends and will continue to do so. I made an all-solid mini-quilt in 2006 before all-solid quilts was a thing claimed by modern quilting. I'm planning to make a uber-floral romantic quilt this summer because it's something I want to make for myself because the fabric is gorgeous.

    Too many times recently, everyone is just making the same modern quilt across the modern quilting universe and not actually exploring what they personally like and don't like and that's not something I'm interested in doing. I want to develop my own style and push my technical skills to a more advanced level and grow as a quilter.

    In 25 years, the tides will likely change. Modern quilting could become passe and things could turn back to defined patterns and traditional fabrics. Our daughters might look at our wonky stars and economy block quilts and think that they are soooo 2014.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Holy crud, I'm sorry for the tome of a speech!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have wondered lately if part of the reaction to the definition lies in the word itself....'Modern'....everybody wants to be 'Modern' because the opposite connotation is old fashioned, out of date, traditional....... So when someone says, 'your work is nice, uses modern fabrics, etc... but it's not Modern' no matter how many other superlatives are used the hearer stops listening at 'not Modern'. I agree that the definition should be important to those who want to submit their quilts into a judged competition. If you are not working toward that goal, then make what you want and enjoy the ride!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I just call myself a quilter and avoid all the fuss.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hey I compose posts in my head all the time, LOL! Now if I just had time to write them down....

    I definitely consider myself a modern quilter although I may choose to work in other "genres."
    I've been quilting for nearly 20 years, always loving the process but never quite satisfied with the end result. It was like I was searching for my style all this time, but couldn't quite find it. However, once I found the modern movement I immediately connected with it and finally found my "voice".

    So for me, there was a distinct change in my style and my attitude towards quilting once I jumped on the modern bandwagon. :-) And I've never looked back! The thing I've always loved about quilting, then and now is the really open acceptance of everyone I've met - modern or traditional. Call me naive, but I really don't see what all the fuss is about. There's room enough for all!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I don't know that I would label myself as anything but a quilter. I love bright colors, and new designs - but at the same time, quilting has been around for ages and ages and ages. To think that we can "reinvent" quilting is maybe a little egotistical. Right now at the MFA in Boston there's an exhibit of quilts - so of which look exactly like "modern" quilts being made today, except they were made in the early 1900's (an economy block and a triangle quilt are the first I think of).

    At the same time, there is an aesthetic to modern quilting. My husband likes to say you know it when you see it. And at the extremes I believe that's true. But in the middle? It gets very very blurry. I think as long as we all keep making quilts that we, as an individual, love, and support the time, effort, and skill that go into what others create - we'll be fine.

    I hear far too often both "Modern Quilter" and "Traditional Quilter" (and sometimes "old lady quilter") used derogatorily. And it breaks my heart. Truly it does - because everyone else in the world thinks we're crazy for wanting to spend time cutting fabric apart only to sew it together again. So why would we alienate and ridicule anyone, anyone at all, who thinks even remotely like us?

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm having hard time to consider myself quilter. I still see it as an hobby but I enjoy looking at quilts that are ranked "modern". Anyway I usually go by feeling I either like something or I don't no matter what others calling it.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I've seen the phrases "modern quilting" and "modern quilter," but never really paid much attention. I love the range of styles and methods that we use. The first few quilts I made (almost 30 years ago) included a little bit of hand-quilting but were mostly tied. In the last 10 years or so, they were just tied with a little bit of "in the ditch" machine quilting.

    Just last month, I did my first machine-quilted quilt, and I loved the look. It was something I never wanted to tackle before I got my old industrial Singer with a nice big throat (from 7.5" to 11.5"). Quilting the whole thing made me feel like I was a "real" quilter, as if I wasn't before!

    Why do we judge ourselves like that? I make 3 - 5 large-ish (~65" X 90") quilts a year to be raffled/auctioned off for good causes. I have a zillion yards of fabric (Really! I counted!) including my two late grandmas' stashes. In a recent addition to our house, I figured out where we could add a small-ish but dedicated sewing room (off the master bedroom, so no one is likely to steal it as a bedroom or guest room) and included in the design a heavy-duty shelf to hold many bins of fabric. I see quilting ideas in strange places and I've had quilting dreams. I can call myself a quilter, darn it! :)

    If I had to say what makes me a modern quilter, I'd say the lack of hand-piecing, but I'm sure there are people who hand-piece who use amazingly modern fabrics and/or designs, so that would make them modern quilters, too. It's wibbly-wobbly -- we're modern quilters if we think we're modern quilters. :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. I don't want to pigeon hole myself. I do what I like when mood strikes. Through the years I made "traditional" quilts. My taste has changed many times during the years. I love modern too and these days find myself drawn more often to modern quilts. I love solid quilts but haven't made one, yet. I love to work with "cheerful" fabrics. A few years ago my quilts were "put you're glasses on bright." Now they are a mix of bright and also spring or summery would describe it best I guess. In the fall I always have the desire to make a Fall plaid quilt (traditional all the way) which is very opposite of the fabrics I usually use. I made one plaid quilt 15 years ago and will likely make one again. I've never made a quilt with fabrics from one line. I've been quilting for 37 years and there is and always has been so much to enjoy, learn, explore and have fun with in the quilting world. There are beautiful options for all of us.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Great post! I don't think my quilts fit in the 'modern' category, though my traditionalism leans toward the modern a little. I do think I'm a modern quilter in that I'm young and (somewhat) active within the online community, which is something the quilters of yesteryear could never have imagined. And I agree...who needs definitions? Let's just sew!

    ReplyDelete
  17. i like to think of myself as a contemporary quilter, not quite as defined as modern. i love the bright bold saturated colors, the "new" use for solids, though if you look at quilting books from the 70's 80's and early 90's you will find a number of 'modern' quilts in them. i started quilting about 3 years ago, everything i have learned in that time has been on the internet, i shop online and i interact with other quilters online i learn online. i am doing 1 'traditional' quilt, Women of Courage bom, but other than that everything is fresh and contemporary. although to me the best thing about modern quilting is no more borders on everything, nit even a whole star if you don't want to.;) i like this conversation. on the Modern Quilt guild blog they have a great read 100 days of modern quiltshttp://themodernquiltguild.wordpress.com/category/100-days-of-modern-quilting/ very informative and great eye candy

    ReplyDelete
  18. I've had fun reading the posts. Love quilting, love brights and solids. The quilts I make now are quite different to earlier ones. Seldom use a pattern and tend to go with an idea. Often quilts without borders and sashing. Is this modern? After finishing a quilt I take great delight in using the scraps in an improv way and just get it together.!! Love that and have a few mini quilts on my wall that make me smile! Don't care about the category or definition because they are all very different!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I just like to quilt.....no labels needed....:)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Ooh I posted about this a while back you should check it out. I find this continuing discussion fascinating! I think I'm honestly more traditional than modern, especially by the MQG definition. I like traditional designs quite a lot, but not traditional fabric. But I think I have more in common with people who would tend to join the modern quilt guild over a traditional guild.

    http://sarahquilts.com/2013/10/10/going-post-modern/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I read your post on your blog and thought it was great! I like how you outlined why you do what you do and the joy you get from it is evident.

      Delete
  21. Thanks for posting this Jess, the post and comments have been really enlightening. Sometimes I notice a lot of snobbery in the modern quilting community which is upsetting. I think I mainly lean toward a "modern" aesthetic because I'm drawn to strong use of color and pattern, however I really love traditional piecing and blocks... I've only recently begun exploring solids and wonky improv styles. I definitely don't love the huge negative space/minimalism that I see in some modern designs, so I guess I'm on the fence. I also love 30s and mid-century reproductions too. As long as you love what you create, then who really cares what other people think especially if your work isn't being submitted to a competition.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Lol n Troll Network with the Name of Lols Gag where you can find Videos, Gif Images, Troll Images, Prank Peoples, Funny Peoples, funny planet, funny facts, funny cartoons, funny movies pics, iphone funny, funny jokes, Prank Images, Fail Pictures, Epic Pictures, Lols and Gags.
    LolsGag.Blogspot.Com

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...