Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Second Place? Ok, I'll take that ..

Is anyone subscribed to the Generation Q on-line quilting magazine?  It's a fun read and full of great quilting news.  They had an essay contest last month to try and define what exactly is modern quilting.  I never really thought about it before but it really is an ambiguous term.  What exactly does makes quilting "modern?"

I entered an essay and was the second place winner.  I haven't got my prize yet but am anticipating my second place winnings and imagining all sorts of booty .... new rotary cutter?  super funky fabric?  new sewing machine??  All expense paid trip to the Sewing Summit???  If you are interested in my take on what modern quilting means here is my second place essay. 

To me the adjective in modern quilting has little to do with the aesthetics of a quilt.  Take a look at the primitive solid quilts of the Amish and Mennonites and the free form and wonderfully abstract quilts of Gee’s Bend.  You can’t say that what quilters are making today is new and uncharted territory.

So what is it then that makes a modern quilter?  One common trait I’ve noticed is unabashed creativity.  Originality and untamed lines are applauded over perfection.  There is NO FEAR in the modern quilter.  No fear of shame for not having perfect points, no fear of seam allowances being measured, no fear of angles or colors.  When the fear of breaking rules is gone the creative juices flow with much more force.

But what if you want to make traditional blocks with perfect points?  That’s OK too!  Another attribute is the acceptance and embracement of all styles and methods of quilting.  Sometimes making a classic block is a rewarding challenge.  Hand quilting?  Machine quilting?  Both are cool.  The modern quilter moniker is more about attitude and less about construction.

You can’t overlook the new social networking aspect of quilting either.  Blogs, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook and message boards are the new quilting clubs.  My own introduction to quilting was a blogger’s quilt-a-long with the participants joining a corresponding Flickr group.  I was able to ask questions, show my work, get feedback and see what everyone was doing all while on my laptop in my living room.  I became friends with several people in the group and we became mutual blog followers.  Some of these friends live halfway around the world and, yet, I feel like we are in a virtual quilting guild together.  Even if you live in an area with no quilt shops or associations you can grow in your skills, get advice and tips, and feel kinship within the global modern quilting community.    

So my interpretation in a nutshell:  No fear.  Acceptance.  Social Networking.    Degrees of these three elements combined in one quilter = one modern quilter.  What do you think?

Well ...what DO you think? And if you'd like to check out the other essays go here.  They make some interesting food for thought.  

Since I hate to have a post with no pictures (how sad), I leave you with a glimpse of my almost completed, hand quilted kaleidoscope quilt. 


  1. I love it! Great job and congratulations!

  2. That was a very genuine and true essay:) Congrats to you!!

  3. Very well put! I like your interpretation. After all.. in the 1970's when my mom was making quilts out of polyester and tieing them much to the horror of her mother, she was a modern quilter too!

    lol i dont like to post a blog without pictures either. Cant wait to see the finished kalidescope!

  4. Congratulations on a winning essay! I think your take on modern quilting is great. I hadn't really thought about it before as more an attitude and less about the specifics of the quilt. It makes so much sense!

    I just found the Gen Q blog and hadn't yet subscribed to the magazine, but I will now. I'm looking forward to reading the other essays too.

    Thanks for letting us know about this!

  5. Great essay and congratulations on your win!! I'm off to read some of the other essays!


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