* This is a detail shot of Pamela Johnson's quilt "Paper Shredder" from QuiltCon in Austin, presented by the Modern Quilt Guild.
My trip to QuiltCon in Austin Texas
was rather surreal - traveling through snow to leave town - and flying back home
in another snowstorm. I flew on
a small plane both ways, and an old friend of the family (our family doctor)
was on both flights, going to and from a medical conference in Austin! Small
world. We shared travel photos on our laptops on the way back, serendipitously
having adjacent seats on the small plane.
The long weekend in Austin was a neat little package tied up with a plaid bow. Many of my friends from the industry were there too... all of us were there to check it out and see what's up with this new Modern Quilting movement. I managed to have some business meetings that would have otherwise waited for Quilt Market in May, so it was great to get a jump on the Spring business season. The weather was mostly mild, so I went from winter storm, to mild sunshine, and back to a blizzard. (Lucky to land Sunday during a brief window of snow cessation!)
We were all surprised at how many mature ladies were at the show! We quickly surmised that there is such a huge population of quilters in Texas, that many local quilters were able to pop over to Austin to check out this Modern Quilt phenom. My industry friends and I had the most fun standing in the rows of the quilt exhibits, listening to the frank comments from visitors. They ranged from "I don't get it." to "Wow, this is so fresh and inspiring!" It was especially fun to hear all ages of quilters saying "I can't wait to get home and start sewing!"
I came to the show as a sponsor and a presenter, so I could learn what Modern Quilting is really all about. I left feeling that this movement is growing and changing as rapidly as it was formed - and in another couple years we might not recognize its exponentially changing mutation.
There are some who have tried to define the movement with guidelines that some might find narrow or rigid. At the same time they are very welcoming to newcomers and beginners, and they encourage newbies to just get started and don't be intimidated.
There are those who are super-creative, who have been chafing at the bit and pushing the boundaries of the "Modern" definitions. One of them won Best of Show! Because of that top award-winning quilt, I am no longer concerned that those writing the Modern guidelines will limit the movement. It has taken on a life of its own, and the creative conversation is being crowd-sourced online as I type these words.
What I can tell you is that the Modern Quilting movement is a fresh clean design aesthetic, inspired by Modern architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright, Mad Men, Gee's Bend and Nancy Crow's quilts.
Instead of using layers and embellishment, it uses simple shapes and a lot of negative space. The negative space is often filled with dense or complex quilting, often stitched by brilliantly talented young longarm quilters.
It reminds me a lot of the spare design aesthetic I saw at the Tokyo Quilt Festival... except where the Japanese quilters are using Indigo and Taupe... the Modern quilters are using bright colors and white. It was fun to see yarn-dyed plaids being used at this show too... one of my favorite fabrics used at the Tokyo show.
My Russian translator friend Marina was there from St. Petersburg, and she had a modern red quilt hanging in the show. She plans to start a Modern Quilt Guild in Russia when she returns. (You may recall I was at the Moscow Quilt Festival in September.)
I can't wait to see what happens next!
I also want to mention that there was a glitch in the payment system for the Tentmakers of Cairo documentary fundraiser, so if you tried to make a donation and it didn't go through, please try again!
* Hurricane Sandy Quilt Relief Info *
(YES! - We are still accepting donated quilts!)
* Sandyhook Elementary Memorial Quilt Project *
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