There are no rules in making a modern quilt, but just in case. Five Things you should know.

In case you want some guidance in your modern quilt making, here are the top five things you need to know:

  1. functional.
  2. use of expansive negative space.
  3. improvisational piecing.
  4. bold and graphic.
  5. minimalism.

For an explanation of modern quilts, I turn to the Modern Quilt Guild. They say:

Modern quilts are primarily functional and inspired by modern design. Modern quilters work in different styles and define modern quilting in different ways, but several characteristics often appear which may help identify a modern quilt. These include, but are not limited to: the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, and alternate grid work. “Modern traditionalism” or the updating of classic quilt designs is also often seen in modern quilting.

I. FUNCTIONAL

This means you can throw the quilt in the washing machine. I see a lot of modern quilts used as wall hangings and they function as art, but you could still throw them in the wash and they don’t need to be sent to the dry cleaners. I take this “functional” label to mean they aren’t embellished with beads and such.

II. EXPANSIVE NEGATIVE SPACE

The key word here is “expansive.”. Traditional quilts use negative space. My Vintage Moments quilt uses negative space but it isn’t a modern quilt:

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Expansive negative space uses large areas of the same color of fabric and it seems to use minimal piecing.

I like the use of large areas of solid fabric in a quilt, but to make it functional, that negative space needs quilting and all that free motion quilting seems to me to be no different than piecing. Either way there is a design in that space. Thread versus piecing — I don’t know the answer to what is negative space. Maybe it has to read as a solid background and it has nothing to do with negative space design. The blog, KnitNkwilt, has a discussion about negative space in modern quilts. I’m still trying to figure out what this means.

III. BRIGHT AND GRAPHIC COLOR PALETTES (HIGH CONTRAST AND GRAPHIC AREAS OF SOLIC COLOR)

Again, my Vintage Moments quilt uses high contrast with the black and white. High contrast in a modern quilt must mean something more than that. The following photo is a quilt which won third place in the QuiltCon show for best handwork.

allocca_fillthevoid

Fill the Void by Cinzia Allocca Pierrefonds, Quebec, Canada Pieced & Quilted by: Cinzia Allocca

This quilt (right) uses high contrast and graphic areas of solid color. I like bright and graphic colors but I’m also in love with muted colors which I think could be modern.

IV. IMPROVISATIONAL PIECING

I love improvisational piecing.  I think “improvisational piecing” is akin to my understanding of “liberated” quilting. Last year I made a quilt from pieces of scraps from previous projects and quilts, mostly traditional. I made wonky log cabins but the “logs” were white or white-on-white fabric, also left over from previous quilts. I call it Sentimental Soup.

sentimenal soup

V. MINIMALISM

This category seems the easiest for me to understand. Perhaps it is because I see it as Modern Art.

This is a painting by Brice Marden. I recently saw it as the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The work is titled, “Meritatio.”

Meritatio By Brice Marden ,1978

This painting looks like a minimal quilt.

I recently finished a quilt, titled Muppets Minimal. I know I named it ‘minimal’ and so it must be minimal. Right?

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This quilt is my husband’s favorite and is perfect for long naps. Functional – check. Expansive Negative Space– check.  Bright and Graphic– check. Minimal– check.  Improvisational Muppets– check. This must be a modern quilt. The LOVE quilt at the top of this post checks some of these blocks — improvisational, graphic, functional but not minimal and not much expansive negative space. This quilt is called, Love is messy, and is my tribute to the LOVEWorks sculptures throughout Virginia. The point is that a modern quilt doesn’t have to be all these things at once, and that just isn’t possible.

VI. TRADITIONAL WITH A TWIST

I’m drawn to quilts which use traditional blocks in a new way.  The Modern Quilt Guild recognizes these quilts as “modern.” The Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild explains:

Modern quilting is a new twist on the traditional art of quilting. This may mean something as simple as using a traditional quilt block and updating it in a fresh, fun new way. That includes using modern fabrics, modifying the block arrangement or even the scale of the block. The piecing could be improvisational and liberated, or it could be very exact and measured, following a pattern or creating your own. The quilting could be traditional stippling, clean straight lines, or a very “free,” fun, quilt-as-you-go style. Fabrics could be upcycled vintage sheets, custom digitally printed fabric, a yummy selection from one of the new modern fabric designers, or an old fabric from an ever-growing stash.

 [….]

Modern quilting is also about the attitude and the approach that modern quilters take. It respects the amazing artistry and talent of the tradition of quilting, while allowing the quilter to challenge the “rules.” In fact, if there were one rule in modern quilting, it would be that there are no rules.

I like this description. THERE ARE NO RULES!

VII. FINAL THOUGHTS

I believe art, and modern quilts, must have some connection to the person who is creating the art or the quilt. Merely producing a replica of a piece of modern art is hollow. I have to find what speaks to me and what I want to create. I want my quilts to have a story.

Telling stories one quilt at a time,

Wanda

Update: after writing this post I realized I completely forgot about Alternate Gridwork which was the requirement for the QuiltCon Charity Quilt I helped make.

Road Trip: ‘There’s No Place Like Home’.

The Wizard of Oz is the ultimate road trip. My husband and I took a road trip this past week to see our daughter in Southwest Virginia, traveling five hours by car. She’s working at The Barter Theatre this summer in the marketing department and taking summer classes at Emory & Henry College.

THE FIRST PIT STOP:

On any road trip, potty breaks are the most interesting. My husband says I have the bladder of a four-year-old. We stopped at Goose Creek Market. They are located off Interstate 64 in Fishersville, Virginia. They have donuts made fresh daily:

Goose Creek Market

THE SECOND PIT STOP:

After stopping in Fishersville, we soon entered one of the worst interstates in America for traveling because of the concentration of trucks and very few three-lane stretches. It is like avoiding Flying Monkeys. Our second stop was off Interstate 81 in Pulaski at the Exxon gas station. I did goof off some:

Pulaski Exxon

THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME:

We arrived in Abingdon, Virginia, safely, and around 5:30 p.m., we took our daughter out to dinner. While there, my husband ran into a friend he hadn’t seen in more than 20 years. We haven’t lived in Southwest Virginia since 1997, but we still call it our “home” when anyone asks, “Where you from?”

TIME FOR THE THEATRE:

The Barter Theatre is a wonderful place, and we saw The Wizard of Oz that night.

Outside The Barter Theatre

Inside The Barter Theatre

The creation of the tornado was inventive with the use of fabric and dancers. The Munchins were entertaining and just so darn cute. Of course before we see the Wizard I needed to pee and was grateful for the intermission.

Intermission

My husband, waiting for me:

Husband waiting for the show to start

Overall it was a very fun experience. It was a great road trip with a happy ending. Spoiler Alert: Dorothy makes it back home from the Land of Oz.

GOT TO HAVE A T-SHIRT:

The gift shop was packed with people the night of the performance so we went back the next day to buy a t-shirt and take some photos. This “cardboard toto” was located inside the lobby:

cardboard toto

On the other side of the street from The Barter Theatre, they had taken the LOVEworks art from the Virginia is for Lovers and added OZ to promote the show:

LOVEOZ

I modeled my new t-shirt:

OzShirtBack of Oz shirt

We eventually made our way home. It was a great road trip with a happy ending.

The Chicken Run: LOVE DOVE is on her way to Montana, USA

The Oh Sew Tempting Chicken Run Giveaway Sort Of is off to Montana, USA.

Sarah at Here We Are was the lucky winner, and the chicken pincushion has a new name, LOVE DOVE. Check out her wonderful blog for the next leg of the Chicken Run.

Sarah suggested I de-stuff LOVE DOVE and send her that way. So smart!

Even though LOVE DOVE looked deflated in leaving her birthplace, I know she’ll make new friends out West:

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The good thing is I don’t have an empty nest. Lucky Stripper and I are planning our next sightseeing tour. Over Mother’s Day weekend, we visited our daughter in Abingdon where she is interning at The Barter Theatre. Lucky Stripper and LOVE DOVE had a great time. Oh the memories.

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Take care, LOVE DOVE,
Wanda