What IS An Art Quilt, Anyway?

As you know, I’m intrigued by categorizing, why we do it, and what category names really mean, if anything. Here is a great post by my friend Joanna the Snarky Quilter on “art quilts.” What is an art quilt, anyway? Don’t we all make art? What do you think? Please post comments and questions on the original post. Thanks for reading this interesting piece.

The Snarky Quilter

This month my master class assignment was to find examples of good and bad art quilts and critique one of each.  Since it’s all to be anonymous and confidential I won’t be sharing this exercise with you. However, it got me thinking about the definition of an art quilt.

Here’s the definition used by the Art Quilt Association:

An art quilt is an original exploration of a concept or idea rather than the handing down of a “pattern”. It experiments with textile manipulation, color, texture and/or a diversity of mixed media. An Art Quilt often pushes quilt world boundaries. An Art Quilt should consist predominately of fiber or a fiber-like material with one or multiple layers which are held together with stitches or piercing of the layers.

SAQA defines an art quilt as:
a creative visual work that is layered and stitched or that references this form of stitched…

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6 thoughts on “What IS An Art Quilt, Anyway?

  1. jessionthego

    How does one define art? I was recently at an art museum in Montreal and there was a canvas painted solid blue, completely flat texture. That thing was probably worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. How does one manage to sell that?

    If a quilter tells me her quilt is an art quilt, I agree.

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      1. Melanie McNeil Post author

        Thanks. I try to do that, too, fully aware not all quilters are female! But yes sometimes they get by me. As to the “art” designation, I am comfortable with either craft or art. I don’t think they mean the same thing, and I won’t personally categorize everything indiscriminately. But craft typically includes much artistry, and art requires craftsmanship. As to the flat blue painting, I don’t have an explanation for that!

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