Well, actually, I have always thought quilting is awesome, but I love that the modern quilting movement has made quilting seem hip, urban, and ultimately cool.
In my recent blog posts here and here, there have a been a bunch of discussions about modern quilting. In fact several of my blog followers have asked me how I would define modern quilting, so I thought I would try. Remember, these are my opinions and of course you are also entitled to your own, even if we disagree.
To me, modern quilting is part attitude, part aesthetic. If you think you are a modern quilter then you are, no matter what “style” of quilts you like to make. I think technology plays a huge role in the spread of quilting in general because we are no longer limited geographically. I have sewing friends all over the world, and what one blogger may discover in the Netherlands, her fellow blogging buddy in Japan may carry over to her sewing friends in her (or his) country. How cool!
As far as aesthetics, the look of modern quilting runs the gambit from highly traditional to very artistic. You can make hand pieced, hand quilted modern quilts as well as machine pieced, quilted, and bound modern quilts.
And whenever someone comes up with a “rule” for what modern quilting is, someone else is sure to break it. I have seen modern quilts with borders, made from low-contrast fabrics and small scale calicoes, the use of feather quilting and batiks; all characteristics that just a year ago modern quilting “wasn’t”.
I think modern quilting is very inclusive rather than exclusive. Sure, you can have wonky piecing and improvisational styles, but that is not an excuse for poor workmanship. Modern quilts are meant to be functional rather than being seen as priceless heirlooms, but that doesn’t mean a beautiful quilt hanging on a wall has no purpose – its function is art.
For those of you that would really feel better with a concrete definition, here is how the Modern Quilt Guild defines modern quilts. Notice that it is not an absolute, but rather an evolving definition.
“Modern quilts are primarily functional and inspired by modern design. Modern quilters work in different styles and define modern quilting in different ways, but several characteristics often appear which may help identify a modern quilt. These include, but are not limited to: the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, and alternate grid work. “Modern traditionalism” or the updating of classic quilt designs is also often seen in modern quilting.”
Not everyone is going to like all modern quilts, just as not everyone will like all quilt styles in general. The important things to remember is that there is room for everyone, and modern quilting is such a boon to the entire quilting industry which I, for one, am truly grateful for!