The very day I wrote about what exactly is modern quilting I picked up a library copy of Quilting With A Modern Slant by Rachel May. I had anticipated studying this book for further clarification/definition. Well, I’m still wondering, but I suspect that modern quilting is best defined as a reflection of the present moment, as opposed to the past. This is certainly the spin Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr put on it.
May credits Gee’s Bend quilters and Nancy Crow as the progenitors of the modern movement. She casts a wide net in name checking quilters she considers to be modern. Some, like Rashida Coleman-Hale and Jacquie Gering, have been instrumental in the Modern Quilt Guild. Others, like Lee Heinrich, have become known through their blogs. Still others, like Valerie Maser-Flanagan, are art quilters, in my opinion. Her City Walk #1, below, seems a better fit for a gallery than a bed.
The book’s organization is a bit hit or miss, as profiles of quilters are interspersed with tutorials and sewing/quilting tips. Personally, I would have dropped the latter and listed good how-to sources. I was dismayed to see a tutorial that had you sewing on a freezer paper foundation. That’s a great way to discourage paper piecing, as removing stitched down freezer paper is a bear.
My point is this book tries to do too much. It’s like a scrap quilt that doesn’t quite gel. You spend too much time identifying the various fabric lines used rather than viewing the composition as a whole.
And the profiles vary in detail and up-close-and-personalness. I realize that the author was dependent on the willingness of people to provide information, but perhaps the lengthier profiles could have been presented together, and the other sketches grouped by topics such as fabric designers and bloggers. Right now the book is grouped by broad topics such as improv, quilting from tradition, for the love of color; but this structure seems tacked on after the fact to me.
Websites/blog addresses are given for everyone profiled that has one. That way you can find out more about folks whose work catches your eye. I appreciated the comprehensive index, an often overlooked nicety.
This book is a great resource if you’d like a compendium of well known people in the modern quilting movement. By my guesstimate, at least 70% have a design/art background. I think that helps make their quilts and fabrics distinctive and original. As this movement filters through the quilting community I’ll be curious to see if their work is simply copied or if it becomes a springboard for other original work.