OK, so I might have lied earlier this week when I said I was making my last post related to QuitlCon. However, I am trying to look at this post about Modern Quilting Trends as a larger discussion topic and using trends I have seen online (Instagram, blogs) as well as at the show.
After QuiltCon last year, I would have been able to list off a handful of things that were clearly trending in modern quilting (at least as indicated by the quilts on display at the show): drunkard’s path block piecing, low volume, and rainbow color still come to mind.
I had lunch with Leanne @she can quilt last Friday. During our conversation, she asked if I had noticed any trends or if anything really stood out to me over the past year and at the show. I pretty much didn’t answer her at all and diverted with some kind of crappy answer instead (at least, that is how I remember the conversation). Even in retrospect now, looking over photos of quilts that inspired me, I don’t know if I have a very clear idea.
All that being said, I am taking a stab at some current modern quilting trends. I welcome a discussion about this and would love to know what you think if you were at QuiltCon, if you watched from afar, and/or based on what you are noticing trending online or at your own local guild.
- Not only was there a beautiful improvisation category on display, but many quilts in other categories (including other winning quilts) used improvisation as a technique. (Note: for a full list of all the winners from the show, visit the Modern Quilt Guild’s blog post: QuiltCon 2016 Winners.) One of the judges this year was Cheryl Arkison, who is well known for her amazing improv work and teaching. But there were many more quilts than just the winning quilts that employed improvisation, so I see it as a clear trend (but still probably tied to her recent book and hard work!)
- Improvisation is not just a trend I have noticed at QuiltCon. It is a technique that is great for stash busting, and guilds are bringing in instructors like my friend Jess @Quilty Habit (for example) for lectures and workshops on the topic.
- Clearly this is a technique that both of my quilts that were in the show displayed, but there was quite a grouping of quilts that used transparency and color value in striking ways. Others with a clear command on this technique are Stephanie @Spontaneous Threads, Krisi @Initial K Studio, and Jenn @Ginger Peach Studio.
- Statement Quilts
- By far, I believe that the most powerful quilt to have been made that I have seen in the past year is The One For Eric, by Chawne Kimber @Cauchy Complete. There were several other very powerful statement quilts (that don’t necessarily have to include text, by the way) in the QuiltCon show, and good roundup about them can be found in an LA Times article about QuiltCon.
- Modern Art Quilts
- Now this, this is where I am throwing caution into the wind and making a statement that might be a bit more controversial. For me, when the MQG awarded Renee @Quilts of a Feather‘s beautiful quilting work the best machine quilting (frameless) ribbon, it opened the door to considering how to include art quilts in the modern arena. I am not saying that there really is a foothold here, but I believe that this is a discussion worth having and a topic worth exploring more in modern quilting.
- The MQG likes to refer to the triad of quilting categories: Traditional, Art, and Modern. I believe that there is a blending between each category, and to date, quilters who lean more toward art quilting have felt left out of the modern discussion. We (the MQG) recognize how there can be a blending of modern with traditional through the modern traditional category and it is supported by many modern traditionalism books and patterns.
- I believe that exquisite modern quilting could potentially be one bridge between the Modern / Art continuum that the MQG might start to embrace more.
- Also, how many modern quilts draw inspiration directly from art? Quite a few. Many descriptions at the show referenced artwork as their inspiration, and clearly the re-interpretation of an art piece into fiber and textile form can make a stunning modern quilt. So should a quilt that draws inspiration from art be considered a modern art quilt or placed in a modern art quilt category? Definitely food for thought.
Observing quilts at QuiltCon and reflecting is a good way to understand trends. The trends from QuiltCon 2015 were not the same as for QuiltCon 2016, so while understanding how the movement is evolving and growing is a good discussion, I do not think it should not overly influence you and what you want to make. The trends for QuiltCon 2017 will be based on what we joyously and passionately create this year, so what do you want your story to say? My friend Jess @Quilty Habit summed it up beautifully yesterday in her post Originality and Individuality: An Editorial.
These are just my thoughts and observations. I can’t wait to learn more from my very talented and insightful readers, so be sure to check out the full discussion that will develop in the comments below. <3