Tuesday, November 20, 2012

a new week

Still coughing, but feeling better.
Despite feeling blah all last week, Thursday was a somewhat busy day.  As my mother used to say, "I won't feel any better if I stay home."  So I went to the studio.  This is what greeted me.
I parked my car out of range, went around the tree, through the door, and up the stairs.  I stayed for about an hour and then went home to rest up for the evening Modern Quilt Guild meeting. I was still not feeling well but managed to snap this one picture.  Our new member, Diane, made this original design that just bowled me over.  Beautiful!

 Over the weekend I rested and even took a nap on Saturday afternoon. I still have not visited my mother because I didn't think it was a good idea to walk into a facility sounding like Typhoid Mary.
I will go out tomorrow to get a few ingredients I am missing for my contribution on Thursday, but that is about it.  Working at home.  I will even dye some scarves at home tomorrow and then hope to print them next week in time for the craft fair on December 1.  Oh, dear.  Not much time!

I finally finished sewing down the facing on my green quilt, which I have called Renewal, and am ready to stitch another piece that I have been playing with.

Also, I received my premier issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited, which they kindly sent me after my issue did not arrive (because of the hurricane and the NJ post office disasters). If my original ever shows up intact, I will have a giveaway.  It's quite a nice magazine: visually attractive and full of quilt patterns and projects geared for the most part, for confident beginner to intermediate.

The words fresh (whatever that means), clean lines, stylish color, and sophisticated modern design come up again and again when people describe modern quilts.  But then there are the traditional patterns that are in Ruby McKim's 101 Patchwork Patterns (the only book on the market in 1974 when I started quilting) and in the old issues of Quilters Newsletter. These are still traditional, just done in different fabrics. But somehow, they are perceived as modern.

The first quilt I made was a Spiderweb pattern. 1974. The fabrics were different but the colors were consistent.

I found some modern spiderwebs on the 'net today and  woud like to share them with you.

Does any of these these strike you as modern?  Why? Why not? Let's talk.


sheila 77 said...

What a great question. It seems that a quilt is called fresh and modern if it includes a lot of white, uses modern, bright, larger scale fabrics and the seams don't always meet at the intersections.
It will be interesting to read other comments. I remember reading in the 70'? 80's? that if you had several alike applique flowers they had to be the exact same shape and size, does anyone else remember that?

Jill said...

Your examples of 'modern' quilts can only be described as such as they were made recently as "relating to the present time". However the definition of 'modern' I prefer in this creative situation is "one who advocates or practices a departure from traditional styles or values." I cannot see that the quilts you show here do that.

sheila 77 said...

Just to add to my comment above, my own idea of a "modern" quilt would be one that includes a new design or at least presents an old design in an entirely new way.

thesewinggeek said...

The 70's I missed But quilting in the 80's was VIP cottons and templates for me. That was how I learned to quilt.
Everything was very matchy, matchy and all lines had to meet.

Some of the "Modern" quilt movement is what someone else said which is "cleaner lines", bolder and brighter prints and the lines do not have to meet.
Most of what I see in the Modern Quilt books, magazines to me is a mix of traditional blocks used in the above way with a mix of GeeGee bend and I don't have to follow the quilt police.
It is also driven by the fabric designers and the general trend setting decorating.
Each era has it's influence via colours and designs. "Modern" will become a "tradition" when our grandchildren take over quilting and then there will be a new norm.
Does this make sense?

Debra Spincic said...

I'm pretty confused by the whole modern movement.
I see a lot of reinventing the quilt wheel using poor sewing skills to do it.

I am, however, going to enter a quilt or two in the upcoming QuiltCon. Maybe I will know then!

Cathy Bargar said...

Attractive enough? Maybe. Modern? Not so much, except maybe the last example. I have to say that my own Spiderweb quilts, made c. 1974, look much more like the first of the 3 "modern" ones you show than like your own - wilder mix of fabrics, randomly sewn (that was what I loved about making them - once you had your base pieces, you didn't have to measure or match - they really lent themselves to exuberance!)

But as I understand it, "modern quilting" is more a term of art, not meaning "quilts made in this contemporary time period" but more specifically, "quilts made within a certain esthetic including the style of fabrics used - bright, clean, often large-scale, often 'designer' fabrics, maybe more solids thatntraditional patchwork might have used - lots of white (not necessarily white in color, but sometimes) space, larger, un-fussy strips or blocks or whatever the component units are".

I think, using a definition for modern to mean something like the above, that a modern quilt can certainly be made from the traditional blocks that most of us know the names of (trad quilt block names are almost like music to me, so evocative of the women that made them), or from no pattern at all, or created like living things as the quilter envisions them. Perhaps the blocks are bigger than traditionally, but not necessarily. As I am beginning to understand it, it is the overall look and feel of a piece that makes it "modern" or not, not any of the individual components.

I don't see any point in blowing them off as being less than any other kind of quilt. I have heard lots of people (not necessarily anyone here reading this!) make what sound to me very sneery, snide comments about the oversized squares, the relative simplicity, the poor workmanship, the use of too much white, the fact that they look like beginners' work or unskilled work, and so on. Well, anyone can think whatever they like about any piece of work, but I think that the blow-it-off snotty comments about "modern quilts" are derogatory to ALL of us who use fabric as our medium, whatever style or skill level we may work at. Why should we deride another woman's creative work, just because we think that we as "art quilters" or skilled "traditional quilters" have gone farther, moved to a superior level of artistic expression, have stronger technical fabric-wrangling skills, whatever? What on earth does that get anyone, beyond a little feeling of smugness?

I am interested in this "modern quilt" thing, and plan on being active in a brand-new Modern Quilt Guild in my town, just to see where it leads me and to see if I can get any more clarity in my understanding of the meaning. I am not really sure yet whether I *like* the esthetic; some of the Modern quilts I've seen I love, and others look like kind of a bungled mess, or incomplete, or maybe a little cookie-cutter, to me. Same could be said of my own work, or of any field of creative endeavour I can think of.

I am finding it most useful to keep my eyes and my mind open and see what I see, taking value from it if I find it and letting it flow around me if I don't. I don't find it very useful to have to parse the world of quiltmaking, or the world of art for that matter, quite so finely. Who wants to be stuck in a box labeled "art quilt" or "modern quilt" or "traditional quilts", any more than we want textile art of any kind to be kept in a box separate from "fine art"? We know what we do, and we know why we do it, and each of us has our own feelings about how we would like our work to be perceived, but to be derogatory about what others do is unnecessary, and only hurts us all.

End of soapbox rant for today!

Connie Rose said...

Wow, that circles quilt is awesome. The last image you posted is definitely modern, imo ~ a real design upgrade from the original.
Glad you're feeling better, hope you all have a lovely Thanksgiving. Much love. xo

Helen said...

Modern music and modern art are often defined after time has elapsed. Hard to define a period when you are living in it. Looking back is easier.

Kit Lang said...

I think the "modern quilt movement" is a misnomer - but that ship has already sailed, too late to argue. ;)

The quilts that you have shown are recognizably part of the aforementioned "modern quilt movement", and so are "modern" in that sense; although in no way are they modern in the true sense of the word, as they are re-visiting the old patterns, tweaking them a bit and then using contemporary fabrics/fabric designers lines.

The "modern quilters" make very pretty quilts, some of them very beautifully made as well as looking lovely - but there's nothing new about them.

But that said, if I see one more "wonky" anything, I'm going to scream! lol

Elaine said...

What I really don't understand about the modern quilt movement is the driving need to define it, to marginalize it. Don't we all love the same thing? Aren't we using the same skill set? Don't we have much to learn from each other?

I think all types of quilters bring brilliance and insight to the discussion, and my experience as a quilter is enriched by the variety of styles that I admire.

I choose certain styles of quilting for myself just because that's what I want to make right now, but I admire the talents/skills/vision required for all types. And I celebrate new quilters because that means more friends! More sharing! More inspiration!

Can't we all just get along? :D

Eva said...

Feeling encouraged by Cathy to post an essay...
The 60s/70s never seemed "fresh" to me, even during the years when they were contemporary, maybe due to the German interpretation of the style which was definitely stuffy and dark. Even buildings influenced by Bauhaus were inside painted cream and brown instead of white and light blue as the architect's intention had been. (Haha, brown inside!) -- Today, a lot of designs -- which the younger generation of quilters sees as fresh -- come back to shapes and colors of the 60s/70s, so I rather associate a forgotten kitchen towel box in the attic. What I see as ever fresh is the style of modern classics, Bauhaus, De Stijl, Sonya Delauny, Josef Albers. But "modern design" started earlier. I have always been amazed at the contrast between a 19th century furnished room, flower wallpapers, curved furniture and the clear and daring geometry of the quilt on the bed. I wasn't used to associate this with tradition, because we did not have this tradition before WWII. Our 19th century bedrooms were decorated with oriental carpet-like velvets and rugs, geometrical, but different from quilt geometry.
That's why a quilt definitely looks modern to me, whether it is traditional, modern traditional or a modern art quilt. Freshness to me is defined by an unorthodox, individual approach, not by orange and turquoise chickens, walking under huge brown flowers.
Glad you feel better. Please keep to hot drinks.

MulticoloredPieces said...

Hi, Rayna. Great discussion you have going on here and interesting quilts that you show. I would tend to agree with "the sewing geek" and Eva, among others. Indeed, I refuse to put a name on anything these days. From my academic research, I know that the labels that turn up in public discourse carry so much baggage, especially negative connotations, and "modern" is one of them. The problem, it seems to me, is that "modern" is strongly linked to "traditional", and is generally a value judgement. Who decides who is modern? Every generation feels modern. There have been amazing quilts throughout history that command our respect because they are fresh and bold. OK, I'll get off the soap box.
And have a happy holiday season with lots of stitching!
best, nadia

Unknown said...

I'm coming late to this discussion but I have had trouble with trying to figure out what is "modern" about the modern movement. The thing I see is lots of white and clear colors. Me, I'm more into the abstract as I can never make corners match, or maybe that doesn't matter with the modern movement.
Glad that all is well with you finally. Wish some of that snow would come to Western Colorado. The drought goes on.

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