Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Finding My Modern Way

Putting labels on things is so difficult.  And I've tried to avoid this labeling.  However, as the Modern Quilt movement gains momentum and as I've become increasingly involved with the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild, I must declare that I am a modern quilter and am finally able to state why.  Years ago I was attracted to Nancy Crow and her work - I think that's when my path as a modern quilter started.  What has finally made me able to articulate the following was going to QuiltCon in Austin in February 2013, the first Modern Quilt Convention.  Two speakers especially touched me - Heather Grant and Yoshiko Jinzenji.
A modern wonky pillow, thanks to Erika M's label

Heather Grant helped me to understand what can be contradictions in the Modern Quilt world.  She likens the modern quilter to a diner approaching a salad bar.  The Modern Quilter, beginning a project, goes to the salad bar of modern quilting techniques.  These techniques include but are not limited to:
  • use of often expensive negative space
  • no borders
  • minimal or low volume
  • graphic color palettes
  • improvisational piecing
  • grid and alternative grid work (Jacquie Gering is the master of this...)
  • asymmetry
  • exaggerated scale
  • pixelization
  • modern traditionalism
  • texture
Seriously, low volume vs graphic color?  Sure.  Both of these are aspects of modern quilting.  As a modern quilter I can pick and choose from the above and also go out on my own.  Seeing the quilts at QuiltCon in the above context helped me make sense of this movement.

A bag in process, thanks to SewSweetness's pattern and Emily L for bringing it to my attention

 And there's an attitude involved with Modern Quilting.  This attitude values workmanship and embraces a freedom from rules balanced with freedom in construction and respect for tradition.  Jacquie Gering refers to herself as a "proud maker."  That there are quilters across the nation and world embracing the modern movement is exciting.  Mary Fons At QuiltCon observed that there are young women coming to quilting with no sewing machine experience or knowledge.  And it's these people that modern quilt guilds need to embrace and welcome.

work in process, based on a class by Jacquie Gering at QuiltCon in Architectural Piecing
Modern Quilt guilds, the Chicago group included, are making the decision whether to be a part of the Modern Quilt Guild.  For a group the size of Chicago's modern guild, it's a financial decision that will be about $14 per member.   I'm crazy about so many of the women in this guild.  However, the Chicago girls - including Jacquie Gering and Robbi Eklow and Ebony Love (three with national recognition) - are not enough for me.  I want to be a part of the larger movement and continue to have my passion for quilting in a modern style nourished while - well, let me just use the mission statement of the Modern Quilt Guild:    supporting and encouraging the growth and development of modern quilting through art, education, and community.

Fabrics, waiting for me to channel my inner Yoshiko Jinzenji
 I love that quilting involves finding one's own path.  And I love that my path has intersected with so many quality people.  And while I may go through moments when my sewing or creativity is stuck or blocked, I am excited by the projects in front of me - and by those projects I haven't even dreamed of...

A double-sized hexagonal quilt, in process for six years now, just waiting to be finished...



Emily said...

I"m glad to be a part of your journey Donna - and glad that you're a part of mine too! This was an excellent post! Also - I'm going to laugh if you make your Aeroplane bag before I do mine! :) I'm thinking of making one with a stamped vinyl (fake leather)... that might be a crazy idea though, considering I've never used the vinyl before.

debbi d-w said...

Wonderful post Donna. Can't wait to see that last quilt in person - it is fabulous!

Mary Colter said...

Donna - I love your bridges piece - can't wait to see where you take it next.