Quilting as a traditional costume has been around communities for centuries; in fact, there are records of different ways of quilting in many countries. As a matter of fact, there are quilting regions in India and Pakistan where is usual to find functional and traditional artwork that dress houses and covers both people and animals.
The curios question among travelers that find themselves shocked by the lack of documentation or readings about this craft comes from an undeniable reality that surrounded traditional quilting. There was not much view to this particular art. The main reason why this traditional costume has not been visualized at a worldwide level is due the lack of exposure that lead to a lack of recognition of the practice.
In the beginning of the new millennium, quilting began to have recognition and exposure due to an early movement back then called Modern Quilting. New modern quilters began to expose their craft and in consequence people started to see this artistic ability dressed in colors, shapes and designs that went hand in hand with what was seen in other artistic scenarios such as movies, architecture, plastic arts and visual arts.
A Defining Moment
After a Martha Steward show in 1998 featuring Denise Schmidt’s quilting, the terms “chic, inspired and modernist” defined her work to the nation, the consequence for quilting after that show was the early beginning of the Modern Quilting Movement. In fact, that was the key inspirational push this movement needed. This emerged to be seen, and not many years later that window would be an international one.
In 2002, exhibitions of modern quilting at the Museum of Fine Arts and a book by Yoshiko Jinzenji’s book “Quilt Artistry” were the very first elements after that defining 1998 interview that assured the creation of an important place the quilting industry was creating for itself in the market.
Online Platforms and International Events
In 2005, two more books were the first tools that gave the online international community a reason to create blogs, forums and later on websites for Modern Quilting. The first of these two books was authored by the very Denise Schmidt and the second one was published by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr.
Three years later on, in 2008, the first social media that allowed venues for quilters was the Flicker Group Fresh Modern Quilts. By that year, there were many more online blogs about modern quilting; consequently, after the new acquisition of this social media input for the modern quilting movement, the online community was well-stablished and more influent.
A year later, the Modern Quilt Guild’s website was launched to give quilters the opportunity to form in person connections. This tool gave birth to events such as Quiltcons, gatherings and connections that was useful to an international community that started to connect and share their patterns, opinions and experience at a worldwide level.
Events such as Quiltcon, created and hosted by the Modern Quilt Guild was first celebrated in 2013, and has become the largest modern quilting event in the world. In this yearly event, Modern Traditionalism, Minimalism and Bold proposals have a place to be displayed and appreciated. On the other hand, this event has a jury panel of 400 members that ranks the best artwork presented. In addition to it, there are lectures, workshops, vendors and exhibitions that go along for four days.
Inspirational and Groundbreaking Designs
The key element of this movement is a mixture of inspirational mundane elements such as architecture, films, visual arts, experiences and a rebel spirit to break the rules that nurture traditional quilting. In fact, when comparing traditional quilting designs and modern quilting ones there is a clear different that not only time has passed between them, but people and generations also have.
This means that different eras have left a recognizable trait in these quilts, and luckily modern quilters made sure to stich their own personal taste and modern inspiration in each one of those quilts. The way to create a quilt still goes through traditional sewing techniques such as appliqué, embroidery and patchwork. However, the modern twist shows itself in the fabrics and rule breaking characteristic that stick to every modern quilting design. Likewise, another modernist trait to quilting is the use of technology to design and cut the layers to give a different illusion depending of the concept.
Additionally, many modern quilts are minimalistic in design but functional in use. Also, modern quilters took traditional quilts and have done a modern version of them in order to show the world what a traditional quilt would look like if they were designed today, through a modernist view. In consequence, this different styles and modernist twists to traditional designs do give the movement a distinctive attraction that catches the eye to more worldwide quilters as years go by.