Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What is Modern Quilting?

The Modern Quilt Guild has asked people to define what modern quilting means to them, and I've been turning it over in my head for the past few days.

Finding a good way to start to describe it has been difficult. I'm not a trend forecaster, and I can't really say what styles or colors will emerge as definitive of this era of quilting. Any attempts by me to name them run the risk of seeming silly ten years from now, when all my guesses were wrong.

I do feel safe in identifying some factors that to me, make quilting, or any sort of art form modern.

1. Materials and manufacturing: The materials and manufacturing of any given art movement or era greatly influence the work that is made. How fabric is made and printed, and what it's made from will have a big impact on the look of modern quilting.

2. Technology: Thanks to the internet, quilting is globally accessible. Fabric can be bought and delivered anywhere. There aren't any limits to what/how much you can get. Feedback on quilts and ideas in quilting are instantaneous.

3. Trends in Society: What's happening in fashion, art, and politics will put a mark on quilts. Color trends bleed into quilting.

4. The people who make the work: Not everyone is a quilter. Not even everyone who would want to be, is. Quilting takes time, money, and space, and not everyone has that.

5. The final purpose/intent of the work: The original purpose of making quilts has changed. Quilts are no longer necessary. Fabric goods are cheap and plentiful. Bedspreads can be bought anywhere, and mass produced quilts are available to buy. Quilts are now a hobby, which removes limitations of quilts as bedspreads. You can pick up this bedspread set below at Wal-Mart for under 50 dollars, which, depending on where you buy your fabric, less than the cost of buying fabric for a twin size quilt.

I really believe that a clear vision of whatever this modern quilting era is all about will only emerge after it's been established. As we are now in the middle of it, it's still a time of experimentation with colors and patterns, as well as sizes and purpose.

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