Tag Archives: QuiltCon

Artistic Endeavors – Quilts And Real World Issues

Quilts often seek to evoke warm, cozy feelings associated with rainbows, puppies, and holidays; but some are deliberately different. They are meant to make the viewer question assumptions and possibly feel uncomfortable.

Most recently the Threads of Resistance show has been exciting reactions, but quilters were making social and political statements in the 19th century about topics like war, temperance, and women’s suffrage. The tradition has continued through civil rights, environmental issues, AIDs, refugees, gun control and other contemporary concerns.

AIDs quilt

Women’s Christian Temperance Union Bear Paw quilt

I addressed the social commentary quilts shown at 2018’s QuiltCon earlier. Here’s my favorite one, a tribute to Heather Heyer, the activist killed during the white supremacist march in Charlottesville last August.

Juli Smith B4U

I viewed the Threads of Resistance exhibit at the 2018 Sewing Expo in Cleveland, Ohio, after reading the printed warning about the graphic nature of some of the work. The exhibit was cordoned off, with only one entry point. I took photos of ones I thought combined a message and artistry. See all the entries here.

Get Woke – Julie Parrish

Seeking Refuge – Do Palma

Patriotism – Amy Sullivan

My Body, My Rules – Sue Bleiweiss
Nevertheless, They Persisted – Do Palma

The societal/political aspects of quilts are stronger than you’d think if you went only by what’s exhibited at many quilt shows. Part of the International Quilt Study Center’s website, World Quilts: The American Story, is devoted to engagement. Thomas Knauer posted an impassioned editorial about what he calls the whitewashing of quilts’ context

I looked over my work and found almost no topical subjects. I just don’t do what I call message quilts. But maybe I should. Let me end with a quilt I think, and others agree, epitomizes the use of quilting skills in service of a message.

Freedom quilt by Jessie Telfair, 1983


Filed under Commentary, Exhibits

Trad Meets Mod

I hope you’ve had a chance to ogle some of the quilts from QuiltCon.  Lots of attendees took photos and posted them online.  What a diversity of approaches fit under the modern unbrella.  Here’s the one quilt that really caught my eye before I even knew it won best of show.

best of show quilt con 2013 by victoria wolfe

And why did it grab me?  Because my quilting roots are in traditional patterns I really love to see updates, especially when they reimagine the original pattern, not just use contemporary fabric.  This quilt honors the wedding ring pattern yet infuses it with a freshness by paring down the pattern to its essentials while adding an asymmetrical quirkiness.  Not all the blocks are the same.  Some are bare outlines of the block that dispense with the “melon” shape entirely, while others are partial blocks, and the odd complete block appears here and there. And the quilting (by Lisa Sipes, I think) is distinctly modern.  I like how the big stitching pops in and out of the piece.  Of course, the scalloped edge is so traditional though the binding color changes.  I believe much of the printed fabric used is improvisationally pieced, a technique outlined on Victoria Wolfe’s 15 Minutes of Play blog.

closeup best of show quiltcon

detail2 best of show quiltcon


Filed under Modern Quilting

Pix From QuiltCon

EQuilter’s Luana Rubin has posted her pictures from QuiltCon in Austin, Texas.  I think the intent of the modern quilting movement is summed up by this quilt made by Elizabeth Hartman.


I’ll leave you to browse the pictures, but here are some that struck me.


I’ve made this up in very different colors, but I do love yellow and gray together.


This quilt is the quintessence of negative space to me.


For me these two quilts sum up what’s different about modern quilting.  The one on the left takes the traditional block structure and fills each block with unique asymmetrical symbols.  The bubble one cuts off edges and uses the darker gray to give weight to the composition.  Both use solid color fabrics.

I’ll be interested to see how this movement evolves.  Some of the quilts exhibited seem like traditional quilts made up in non-traditional fabric while others are more like art quilts with unique original designs.

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Filed under Modern Quilting