Tuesday, April 9, 2013

QuiltCon 2013 - Part Two, Mary's Two Cents

Pearl and I had such a great time at QuiltCon and we learned a lot about the origins of the Modern Quilt Movement.  I want to share some of things we learned and the quilts we saw.

Modern Quilting is a combination of attitude and aesthetic with a focus on functionality and less of an emphasis on the difference between quilting as art versus craft.  Many in the Modern Quilt Movement participate in on-line experiences such as blogs, flickr, and web-based guilds, however the modern quilt community exsist both on-line and in person - as evidenced by the tremendous success of its first convention, QuiltCon 2013.  Here are some statistics:

QuiltCon had 6,500 attendees.

If you thought Modern Quilting was for the young - check out the ages of attendees:
  • Age 25-34       18%
  • Ages 35-44      24%
  • Age 45-54       23%
  • Age 55-64       23%
  • Over 64           09%
It seems Modern Quilting is for the young at heart!

The categories at QuiltCon reflect some of the differences and similariries between modern and traditional quilting.

  • Applique - quilt includes either machine or hand layering of fabric where the quilt's focus is applique.

  • Handwork - quilt includes at least one element of handwork including, but not limited to hand piecing, hand quilting, emboidery, redwork, cross stitch, crewel, etc. 

  • Improvisation - quilt is pieced improvisationally (without the use of a pattern or templates).

  • Minimalist Design - the design of the quilt expresses the principles of minimalism including one or more of the following traits: simplicity, clarity of focus, singleness, and use of large forms.

Use of Negative Space - quilt design incorporates a significant use of negative space which organizes the composition of the quilt. (BTW - I bought this quilt!)

Piecing - quilts that are machine pieced.

Modern Traditionalism - quilt design incorporates the use of an identifiable traditional block pattern and modernizes it by applying design elements such as alternate grid work, asymmetry, color, scale, etc.

What was also interesting about the quilts at QuiltCon 2013 was the quilting.  Modern machine quilting is focused on using quilt designs in different ways, often combining several designs to give the quilting a different look - like a quilting mash-up.  Sometimes the quilting is used to create a secondary pattern. The quilting is often dense and since a lot of modern quilts have a lot of negative space the quilting takes the stage - but the designs remain simple.  Check out some of these examples from the conference:

Simple long flowing lines draw your eyes across the quilt but the pattern is dynamic, sometimes echoing the piecing and sometimes connecting the piecing, drawing the viewer in closer.

This Texas quilt demonstrates the dense quilting often seen in modern quilts with the added wonderful detail of the Texas star in the upper left corner (detail lower).  Just stunning!

You can see from these photos and categories that QuiltCon was very exciting, stimulating, fascinating, and an overall wonderful experience.  I hope to start a chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild at Bright Hopes Quilting in the near future, adding to the growing 250 MQGs worldwide.  If you are interested in joining please let me know by emailing Mary Green at marytfiberart.green@gmail.com

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