Two for May

Despite the attention I’ve been lavishing on collage and Gelli printing I managed to get two small quilts completed, to my surprise. As usual, I chose to complete the low hanging fruit (i.e., the easiest to quilt) first. The two tops that remain to be quilted are much more challenging; one because of its size, the other because I haven’t the faintest notion what to do with it.

First I dealt with “Ovals All Over,” my modern table runner. Most of the quilting runs the length of the piece, with horizontal stitching where the striped bits create the effect of a weave.

As I quilted it, I listened to a Textile Talk about the modern quilt movement. It was a video, but I don’t know how anyone can sew and watch something else at the same time. Anyway, one question asked was, what’s the difference between an art quilt and a modern quilt. The answer seemed to be that you can wash modern quilts as they’re functional, though the responder acknowledged that many quilts shown at QuiltCon are made to be exhibited, not slept under. My view is there’s a group of quilts that are both, like the overlap in the Venn diagram below.

Since “Ovals All Over” is washable and functional, I suppose it’s a modern quilt.

However, the label for “Mind The Gaps” isn’t so clear cut. It meets the washable criterion and is an improv quilt, but isn’t very functional unless you want to use it as a cat door flap. Let’s call it an art quilt. It’s quilted with diagonal lines in a variegated thread, and is edged with single fold binding.

I don’t usually show the back of quilts, but I’ll make an exception here as I used a novelty ruler fabric I haven’t been able to find a place for.

Neither of these quilts is designed to be exhibited, but they gave me a chance to work with fabrics I enjoy. After all, if I didn’t enjoy it why on earth would I cut up perfectly good fabric and then sew it back together?

I’m linking to Off The Wall Fridays.

8 Comments

Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects, Modern Quilting

8 responses to “Two for May

  1. Gwyned

    I had to sit on my hands, as professed art quilter, when the answer was given about the difference between art quilts and modern quilts. When the Modern Quilt Guild first originated it was of paramount importance to the founders that the “Modern” aesthetic was upheld. Nothing was said about functionality. There was also the implication that it was something totally new. In fact art quilts and modern quilts all have deep roots in with traditional quilts and there examples of aesthetically pleasing quilting for clothing and bedcovers that go back hundreds of years. Over time Modern quilters have branched out to explore their own thing, just as traditional quilters have. You were quite correct to say there is an overlap, like a Venn Diagram.

    Excellent quilting choice for your table runner. What a fun backing fabric.

    • Sounds like you watched the talk as well. I was bemused by what I saw as a non answer to the differences question. I was surprised that original work wasn’t mentioned as a distinction, since many modern quilters use patterns. And, cynically, I believe that there’s been a lot more marketing of stuff associated with modern quilting than with art quilting.

      Glad you enjoyed the quilting and ruler fabric.

  2. They are beautiful! Love the table runner, those strippy fabrics are wonderful!

  3. Ovals All Over looks great on your table. That is fun ruler fabric, I think it would be had to use in the front of just about anything, but made a good back. I like how the quilting works on the design of Mind the Gaps. Congratulations on getting more finished!

    • Thanks so much for your kind words that give me incentive to keep on finishing up projects. Yeah, that ruler fabric was an impulse buy that hung in the closet for 5 years. I’ve finally realized that any use, even on a back, is better than no use at all.

  4. I am not sure why everything has to be put in a tight little box. There are many modern, contemporary, traditional quilts that I consider art even if they are slept under and washed. Some art quilts I suppose can’t be washed because of embellishments. The borders of these categories seem to shift all the time. For me if my eye and heart considers it art for me that is good enough. I have been enjoying all the on line sharing that is going on in these times. Mind the Gap is an art quilt to my eye and I love it.

    • Glad you like “Mind the Gaps.” The comment in the video was in response to a viewer’s question, but I was amused that the rationale given in the response didn’t make a compelling distinction between art and modern quilts. As you point out, art quilts can often be washed and used. I do make a distinction between original designs and patterns, with the former being art in my book.

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