Tag Archives: Self-expression

What is a Modern Medallion Quilt?

Or more to the point, is there such a thing as a “modern” medallion quilt? What characteristics would make a medallion quilt “modern?”

To define one more time, a medallion quilt is one which is designed with a central block or motif, surrounded by multiple borders. Borders may be plain, elaborately pieced or appliquéd, or a combination of plain and fancy on the same quilt.

First, do me a favor and google “modern medallion quilts.” Look at Images. What do you see? I’ll wait…

My questions about modern quilts have to do with how those called “modern” break from the definition above.

To try to answer that, I checked again on the website of the Modern Quilt Guild, to see how they define the term “modern” as it applies to quilts. Their definition has evolved over time, which is natural and right. Currently it says this (emphasis in bold added by me):

… 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.  …

The growth of the movement was facilitated by four factors: the cultural shift of quality design being recognized by the general public, affordable digital cameras, the changing fabric industry and the rise of social media.

Let’s take this apart, starting with “bold colors,” “high contrast and graphic areas of solid color,” and “minimalism.” This quilt was shown in 2012 on the See How We Sew site. It is an antique Amish medallion quilt in the pattern called “Diamond in a Square.” It was made around 1925. Modern…

What about “improvisational piecing“? The Modern Quilt Guild site gives a nod to the quilts of Gee’s Bend. Many modern quilters also are inspired by Gwen Marston’s “liberated” quilting. But in her book Liberated Medallion Quilts, Marston argues that liberated medallions are traditional. Her book begins with photos of a mid-1800s Welsh quilt and of a Martha Washington quilt made around 1800. Want more examples? See the search results from the Quilt Index on medallions from 1800-1849. Or look for examples on the Smithsonian site. Many early examples of medallions could be described as improvisationally pieced. Modern?

So perhaps what we are left with, at least with regards to modern medallion quilts, is that they are related to the use of digital cameras and social media.

I make medallion quilts. I do not think they are “modern.” Nor do I think they are “traditional,” by and large. They are expressions of me, not of an aesthetic imposed by a particular time or trend.

I do not accept the label “modern” as it applies to medallion quilts. I haven’t seen one yet that is new in that regard.

When we are willing to stop labeling our work to fit genres, trends, or styles, we are more free to express ourselves. When we are not dependent on public opinion, we can delve into and expose the deepest parts of ourselves. When we don’t care about whether our quilt will win at an AQS show or an IQF show or a QuiltCon show or a bloggers’ quilt festival, we build our artistic power.

Are you willing to stop labeling quilts? To stop labeling your quilting? To build your power?

Your comments, agreeing or disagreeing or questioning, are welcome. You are welcome to share or reblog this post as well. 

 

Power Builders 03.06.15

This is Week #5 of my Power Builders creative links. If you’d like to see last week’s, you can find it here.

I call this series “Power Builders” because that’s what these little items do for me. They make me more powerful in my art and in my life. I hope they do the same for you. Some of the links will be about how other creative people use their time, structure their work, find inspiration. Some may be videos, music, or podcasts to inspire you. Some of it will be directly quilt-related but much of it will not. What you see in Power Builders will depend on what I find. Feel free to link great things in comments, too.

1) I’ve seen this announced in multiple places. John James Audubon’s Birds of America displays the beauty and artistry of these Audubon prints. They are also available to download for free in high resolution. Here is my lovely catbird:

2) Here’s an interesting post from Hyperallergic. It discusses research into the colors that are shared most in Pinterest photos. Admittedly Pinterest may have a unique demographic. However it’s worth considering what impact colors will have on your audience.

3) And in a related note, take a look at this link to see how many different colors you can identify. It may be an indicator of your sensitivity to color, including how many receptors you have.

4) Austin Kleon again, this time with a post on how to draw, even if you don’t know how to draw! Looks like fun to do with kids, and even grown-ups should try it! (Scroll back to the top of the page, if it doesn’t load that way for you.)

What has inspired you this week? Let us know in comments.

Power Builders 02.27.15

This is Week #4 of my Power Builders creative links. If you’d like to see last week’s, you can find it here.

I call this series “Power Builders” because that’s what these little items do for me. They make me more powerful in my art and in my life. I hope they do the same for you. Some of the links will be about how other creative people use their time, structure their work, find inspiration. Some may be videos, music, or podcasts to inspire you. Some of it will be directly quilt-related but much of it will not. What you see in Power Builders will depend on what I find. Feel free to link great things in comments, too.

1) This story tells of one woman who developed her power through an outreach program at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. Yes, women’s prison. The women had the opportunity to create quilts, expressing themselves in ways they’d never before experienced. Here is one woman’s story. Seven more interviews are available here.

2) A few of Austin Kleon’s comments about sharing your work, your time, your inspiration with others. My take: sharing is part of what makes you powerful.

3) Want to boost your creativity? Take a walk! Here’s a link to the research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology. For a quick summary, read the news report from The Stanford Daily.

4) If you are a quilt artist, you may be familiar with Elizabeth Barton. She’s written two terrific books on quilt art design. I own them both and think they apply well to any two-dimensional design. This blog post of hers on dissonance discusses something many of us avoid: conflict. Yes, I avoid conflict in my personal life, but tension is essential in good design. Take a look.

5) My post from this week on trusting my own creative process.

6) And the quilt top that results from that process so far:

DSCN2966

It will get another border before it is finished. Current size is 44″ x 50″. The center panel was designed by Julie Paschkis for In the Beginning fabrics.

 

Get inspired by the world around you! What has inspired you this week?

Power Builders 02.20.15

This is Week #3 of my Power Builders creative links. If you’d like to see last week’s, you can find it here.

I call this series “Power Builders” because that’s what these little items do for me. They make me more powerful in my art and in my life. I hope they do the same for you. Some of the links will be about how other creative people use their time, structure their work, find inspiration. Some may be videos, music, or podcasts to inspire you. Some of it will be directly quilt-related but much of it will not. What you see in Power Builders will depend on what I find. Feel free to link great things in comments, too.

1) Have you heard Jake Shimabukuro on ukulele? This young phenomenon is just as charming and talented in person as he is on YouTube. Linked for you, both the short clip that brought him world attention, and a 77-minute concert.

2) A walk through an exhibit of Matisse cut-outs.

3) This is just cool: thermal imaging of a robotic quilting machine.

4) Many of you have heard Ira Glass speak on persistence in developing your skills. It’s worth hearing again: do a lot of work; fight your way through that.

5) All of those are pretty absorbing and time-consuming, so I’ll finish here with a picture inspiration of the week. These beautiful women are in Taos, NM.

DSCN2681

Get inspired by the world around you! What has inspired you this week?

Power Builders 02.13.15

With Power Builders, I’ll be providing creative links each week. This is Week #2. If you’d like to see last week’s, you can find it here.

I call this series “Power Builders” because that’s what these little items do for me. They make me more powerful in my art and in my life. I hope they do the same for you. Some of the links will be about how other creative people use their time, structure their work, find inspiration. Some may be videos, music, or podcasts to inspire you. Some of it will be directly quilt-related but much of it will not. What you see in Power Builders will depend on what I find. Feel free to link great things in comments, too.

1) I loved this story of how a children’s book’s illustrations came to be. Note the discussion about how the illustrations have their own language.

2)  Here is an article about an amazing artist who decided to draw our worst fears. And here is the direct link to some of her art at the Fear Project.

3) Speaking of fears, Tara Mohr writes about what feedback can teach us, if we listen.

4) How to make toast. Most importantly, please watch the TED talk.

5) My post from several months ago about using your gifts.

6)

Photo by Jim Ruebush. Aran Islands, Ireland, 2011.

This is one of my all-time favorite vacation pictures. I love the brilliant yellow contrasting with vivid red; the textures, smooth glass, feathers, peeling paint, bumpy stucco; long shadows cast from chicken butts by the high mid-day sun. The signs in the window, one commanding us to “GET INTO IT.” I even love the proportions of the photo, with how Jim cropped it to frame the chickens in the center.

Get inspired by the world around you! What has inspired you this week?