Thursday, February 21, 2013

Modern Quilting

Look what Mary Bywater Cross handed to me at the Columbia-Willamette Quilt Study Group Retreat earlier this week. It's a book she found at an estate sale in McMinnville, and it's called Modern Quilting!

I thought today would be a good day to post it since QuiltCon is going on right now in Austin, and I'd love to be there. Victoria Findlay Wolfe and McLisa Tangerine Starfish Sipes won Best in Show with their stunning double wedding ring. I've never seen anything quite like it- it's like a DWR deconstructed. Another quilt getting some attention is the one with numerous playfully done word blocks, each with the "f" word. Some might find it shocking and vulgar. I find it extremely witty. If it was for sale I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

The exhibit I'd really love to see is Roderick Kiracofe's Modern Historical Quilts, which includes modern examples from the second half of the 20th century. The idea of drawing connections between the past and the Modern Quilt movement is brilliant, and the exhibit should be seen as groundbreaking. A couple years back, he and I started talking about the quilts of that period, and I think we both agree it is exciting, relatively uncharted territory for quilt historians and quilt lovers alike.

Back to the book, it's a very thin volume of patterns published in Quilter's Newsletter Magazine back in the 70s. The book was first published in 1977, and reprinted in 1979. It's funny to look at these quilts and see how vastly different they are from our current idea of a "modern" quilt. Maybe modernized would be a better word. Just like we saw in other periods of quiltmaking revival, pattern designers drew much inspiration from the past, but updated certain things in the designs, and gave new pattern names. They even offered a new one, the Jonathan Livingston Seagull pattern.

So, definitely a fun little book, and something I thought would be good to share today. Wish I could be in Austin, but I hope everyone will take lots of pictures, especially of the Historic Modern Quilts exhibit!!


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