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Thread: Modern quilts, abstract art quilts, and the grey area in between

  1. #1
    Senior Member Tashana's Avatar
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    Modern quilts, abstract art quilts, and the grey area in between

    I make lots of drawings and skatches of quilts but they take a long time to percolate in my head and even longer time to end up on my design board. Recently, I decided to break all restraints and rules of quilting and use whatever technique necessary (even those frowned upon) to make a quilt from my designs. Here is the problem, this quilt will be entered in a modern quikt competition, and the more I look at my drawings, sample blocks, and sketches, the more it looks like an abstract art quilt rather than a modern quikt. Where in this huge grey area is a fine line between a modern quilt and an abstract art quilt? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. I cannot post a picture, because there is no cohesive unit yet. Help shed some light on this question and help me avoid entering my quilt in a wrong show and risk being disqualified. Thank you and happy quilting!
    I've got a smile on my face, I've got four walls around me
    The sun in the sky, the water surrounds me
    I'll win now but sometimes I'll lose
    I've been battered, but I'll never bruise

  2. #2
    QM
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    Super Member QM's Avatar
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    From what I see, I am not sure there are firm differences, although grey, beige, black and white are used more commonly in modern quilting. since you are representing your own ideas, I suggest you just do what you are pleased with and ignore the "rules", either modern or traditional.

  3. #3
    Senior Member bunniequilter's Avatar
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    Thankfuly the quilting world has expanded its horizions over the years. There was a time when art quilts would have been overlooked in preference for the more traditional quilts. I know what you mean when you say methods that are frowned upon. A vast majority of the quilting world had severe tunnel vision, but that did slowly change. Just do what makes you feel good, it will be appreciated! Enter your quilt and be proud!
    Quilt outside of the box!

  4. #4
    Super Member PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    Who the heck is going to frown on a technique? You haven't been talking to the quilt police, have you?
    Just enjoy the process and do whatever makes you happy. Then post pictures!!!

    Here are some definitions I found:
    http://www.cincinnatimodernquiltguil...-quilting.html
    http://www.naplesquiltersguild.com/2...efinitions.pdf
    Last edited by PaperPrincess; 04-03-2013 at 05:36 AM.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
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    Well abstract paintings are considered modern art so maybe you are okay? It is a very personal interpretation by the judge of the category. I always puzzle over contemporary and modern? Is a traditional pattern made from contemporary fabrics, contemporary? Is a modern big blocks of colour quilt still modern if calicoes are used? I'm no help at all, am I?

  6. #6
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    It seems that anything that isn't traditional is considered modern. Even using modern looking fabric with a traditional pattern seems to count. I personally would consider artsy to be modern. Do they have a website that you could look at to see what their idea of modern is?

  7. #7
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Tashana, use the function to define the line between Modern and Art quilts.

    Modern quilts are primarily functional quilts. Their main purpose is function, not art. It's a key part of the movement's raison d'Ítre and is included in the category description for the shows that are starting to have separate categories for Modern quilts. An example from the HMQS in Salt Lake City:

    Modern: 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 fabric.

    Art quilts, no matter the style, are primarily NOT functional quilts. Their main purpose is art, not function. It's the key part of their esthetic.

    If your quilt is functional, includes bold colors, and is inspired by modern design (keeping in mind that mid-century modern and many other art styles are included in that), then I'd say you're good to go.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  8. #8
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    I'd love to see it after it shows!

  9. #9
    Senior Member Tashana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghostrider View Post
    Tashana, use the function to define the line between Modern and Art quilts.

    Modern quilts are primarily functional quilts. Their main purpose is function, not art. It's a key part of the movement's raison d'Ítre and is included in the category description for the shows that are starting to have separate categories for Modern quilts. An example from the HMQS in Salt Lake City:

    Modern: 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 fabric.

    Art quilts, no matter the style, are primarily NOT functional quilts. Their main purpose is art, not function. It's the key part of their esthetic.

    If your quilt is functional, includes bold colors, and is inspired by modern design (keeping in mind that mid-century modern and many other art styles are included in that), then I'd say you're good to go.
    Thank you for clarifying this murky issue for me. As I read it I had a "Duh.." moment. I was so wrapped up in the design process, that the function completely slipped my mind. It is becoming obvious to me that most of the quilt designs twirling in my head are abstract art quilts, and their primary function is not utilitarian. Back to the design board to make an abstract art design into a utilitarian quilt. I really work backwards, don't I? But, I am having loads of fun. Thanks so much for your help and happy quilting.
    I've got a smile on my face, I've got four walls around me
    The sun in the sky, the water surrounds me
    I'll win now but sometimes I'll lose
    I've been battered, but I'll never bruise

  10. #10
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Glad to be of help. Artistic abstract designs can easily be made functional. One easy key is to keep washability in mind when planning your construction techniques. I always seem to fail that criteria, but I'm more than happy on the art quilt side of things. LOL Enjoy your journey and don't forget to show us what you come up with!
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

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