Modern quilts are utilitarian art. They are graphic, improvisational, or minimalist. They tell stories, break the rules, and make a statement. Modern quilts are creative expressions made with needle, thread, fabric, and time, expressing today’s aesthetic through a generations-old traditional craft.
The movement traces its inspirations to the bold colors and simple designs of Amish quilts, and the improvisational piecing and use of solid colors of the art quilt movement of the 1960s. Modern quilts generally employ some of these techniques:
• Graphic color palettes – Modern quilters often use only solid fabrics in bright colors rather than jewel and natural tones found in traditional quilts
• Improvisation – Modern quilters forego rulers, straight lines, grids, and blocks and combine pieces of fabric without a pattern to create organic movement
• Minimalistic – Modern quilters distill quilt construction of basic parts to their fundamental aspect, using negative space for most of the quilt
• Negative space – The area between design elements is used to organize the subject, capture attention, and create movement in the quilt
• Scale – Modern quilters increase or decrease the size of a classic quilt block or other design to create a dramatic look that ranges from miniscule to larger than life
• Alternate gridwork – Modern quilters incorporate uneven rows and columns in traditional grid structures; this is the most common modern quilt design element
Experience the power of modern quilts firsthand in this exhibit of 60 innovative and inspiring quilts that represent the best modern quilts and quilters of the past decade. This exhibit showcases the work of modern quilters past and present and tells the story of modern quilting from its earliest roots and influences to today.
Above: Detail, Score for Strings, Sherri Lynn Wood, 2014.
At left, top: [The American Context #68] Double Elvis, Luke Haynes, 2012.
At left, middle: Knot Stitch, Dorie Schwarz, 2014.
At left, bottom: The Other Side, Carson Converse, 2015.