I didn't do a head count, but it seemed like there must have been a hundred or more people there. I've been a member of the guild for a few years so I know many of them, but there were some new faces too. This was my first time speaking in front of such a large group since my college days and it was a bit intimidating, but seeing friendly faces helped!
Unfortunately I experienced some technical difficulties with displaying my PowerPoint presentation through the guild projector (I think because my pathetic laptop is a dinosaur), but thankfully the church also had a large flat screen monitor (more like the size of a tv) that I could connect to. The presentation went pretty well and I got a lot of positive feedback as well as interest in doing a workshop to learn Improv Piecing.
I won't go into details of the entire presentation but I will touch on some of the informative highlights for those of you who also want to know about Modern Quilting.
As some of you may know from reading my blog, my name is Natalie and I've been quilting since 2008. I used to have an etsy shop where I sold cover button jewelry and handmade items. In 2010 I founded the Northern Virginia Modern Quilt Guild which has grown to about 3000 members. I blog here at Threaded Mess about my quilting adventures and sometimes a little bit about my life. One of my mini quilt tutorials was published by TheFatQuarterly.com (with an accompanying Quilt-A-Long here on my blog) and I've shared several other tutorials and projects right here on Threaded Mess (paperback book cover is a favorite). I am currently the Host of the do. Good Stitches Charity Bee Hope group. I'm a wife, a mom of twins, and I work full time in IT Consulting. I may not be a Super Star in the Modern Quilting community like some of my acquaintances, but I certainly have my hand on the pulse that is driving this movement so I think I can do a good job of explaining what Modern Quilting is all about.
|do. Good Stitches Hope Group October Quilt|
Modern Quilting is a combination of traditional quilting and art quilting, but also something more than just the two combined. Technology and Pop-Culture heavily influence both the means of which Modern Quilters share and communicate as well as the aesthetic itself. While construction methods are more similar to Traditional quilting, there's also an element of inventiveness and rule-bending to Modern Quilting that we often see in Art quilting. You won't find many modern quilters referring to 'The Quilt Police'. Modern quilts are often deliberately asymmetrical and deliberately imperfect. That's not to say that we don't aim for perfection when points ARE supposed to meet. We do!
|My Orange Improv Quilt|
There are certain characteristics of Modern Quilting that are true for most who identify with this movement:
- The quilts are functional. For the most part, they are meant to be used and loved, not just displayed.
- There’s often deliberate asymmetry in the quilt design.
- They improvise, reinvent, or create their own designs.
- They play with scale, hue, saturation, and composition.
- They rely less on the repetition and interaction of quilt block motifs.
- They are inspired by modern art, fashion, and architecture trends.
- They often use solid fabrics, graphic prints, and use novelty fabrics for color value.
- They often create edge to edge designs without borders or sashing
- They often quilt in straight lines though free motion quilting and hand quilting with perle cotton is also popular
The following Modern Quilting terms are important to know:
- Wonky – intentional deviation from straight line cuts
- Negative Space – heavy use of a neutral or solid background offsetting pieced elements of the quilt
- Improv/Improvise – random arrangement of blocks on negative space –or- random placement of a fabric
- Scrappy – the use of many prints with few repeats
- Asymmetry – deliberate imbalance of a design; off center
- Functional – to be used, not displayed
Modern Quilters look for inspiration from bloggers, the Fashion runway (designers like Jay McCarroll who also have quilting fabric lines), Architecture magazines (like dwell.com), and Home Decor magazines (like elle decor). Even store displays can inspire! One of my favorite sites to go to is Spincushion where Leigh Ann blogs her "If a Quilt Lived Here" series. I like this series because it shows a fashionable room paired with modern quilting fabrics, and sometimes she even suggests a pattern!
|my Marshmallow Brochette|
|quilt modeled zombie style by my MIL Ann|
|Spiderweb Quilt mock-up in Chartreuse and Raspberry|
I personally consider myself a part of the Modern Mixer group. I combine elements of both Modern Revivalists and Modern Minimalists as I please. I have followed patterns but I have also made my own. I often mix multiple prints into my quilts in a scrappy/patchwork style, but I also use a lot of solids.
There are a lot of misconceptions about Modern Quilting that I touched on during the lecture. To sum some of them up:
- We do have a strong foundation and sense of appreciation for the art and tradition of quilting
- We do care about precision when the design calls for it
- We don't all make 3 fabric, beginner level quilts though the designs may seem simplified
- We do try "fussy old lady patterns". For example, a few years ago it was popular to make a Farmer's Wife quilt. Sometimes we make them the way they were originally intended and sometimes we make them our own way.
- Yes, sometimes our quilts are made with bright rainbow prints, but we also have a sense of subtlety and minimalism.
- Yes sometimes even Modern Quilters just need to get something done quickly, but we do take time to enjoy the process and sometimes spend hours just working on an abstract layout.
- We do have rules but we bend them as needed
- We are not all young. There are men and women of all ages in the Northern Virginia Modern Quilt Guild and I am sure that's the case in other guilds.
- Join a Modern Quilt Guild
- Take a Craftsy Class
- Join a Modern Bee or Swap
- Read some Modern Quilting blogs or e-Zines
- Do a Modern block of the month challenge
- Join a Quilt-Along (QAL)
- Buy a modern sampler book or magazine
If you want to learn more about what is going on in the world of Modern Quilting, I highly suggest checking out the web-lectures available on Craftsy.com from QuiltCon and of course search the web and see what people are talking about from the Fall 2013 Quilt Market. If you are a quilt shop vendor I highly suggest watching these videos of Lizzy House from Spring Market 2010 (part 1 and part 2).
Thanks for stopping by today and checking out my blog, and thanks once again to those who attended the lecture in person. I hope you learned learned something new and that you've been inspired to give Modern Quilting a try if you haven't already.
PS - If you are stopping by my blog because you attended the lecture, thank you! Please know that some of the links in previous posts might not work because my domain name changed. In the URL Field, just add .blogspot before the .com (so threadedmess.com becomes threadedmess.blogspot.com), don't change or remove any other text, and click enter or go. The link should then work.