The more things change the more they stay the same, or perhaps they inspire a counterrevolution. The magazine of the American Quilter's Society came a few days ago. I must congratulate the editors on their open minded approach. This national organization, headquartered in Padukah, Kentucky produces three [maybe four now?] big competitive shows a year. The winning quilts are somewhat "traditional" in style, that is to say they are not "art quilts". Rather they celebrate consummate skill by individual quilters. The July issue is fat with pictures of prize winning quilts. As I look through them I feel, as I've felt at quilt shows lately, that quilters aiming for prizes are making more and more baroque quilts. The complexity of design, quilting [whether hand, home machine or mid/long arm machine] is sometimes stunningly complex. Many are lavishly embellished with crystals, metallic threads, and three dimensional work.
Near the front of the magazine is an article about a new nationwide quilt organization with local guilds called The Modern Quilt Guild. Go to their website themodernquiltguild.com. The photos on this post are by their members and give you an idea how UN-baroque they are. The pink is by Heather Jones and the green one is by Marylene Burns. These are young women, mostly in their 30s who have been quilting a short time in most cases. They chose to produce what they think of as a "modern" simplicity. Their quilts often use a great deal of white and solid color fabrics with extremely simple geometric designs. They seem popular with the shelter magazines for I have seen similar quilts both advertised and used in decorating rooms in such publications as Elle Decor.
I find this a refreshing change. I've been a watcher of changes in the quilt world since the early '70s. I am sometimes distressed by the "baroque" quilts although more often awed at the skill. I love the strong statements of these modern quilters. They remind me of my oldest books of "new quilts" that were printed in the '80s with strong designs not so very different. Didn't someone say "what goes around comes around"?
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