Friday, February 27, 2015

"Modern Materials, Quilts of the 1970s" Web Seminar Endnotes

Today I presented a web seminar "Modern Materials, Quilts of the 1970s" in a live broadcast, and afterwards I had a few more thoughts to share. I showed the following series of slides toward the end of the web seminar, and they launched a new discussion about the relevance of 1970s quilts today.

In comparing "You Can't Rush Art" by Amanda Jean Nyberg to the 1970s polyester Rail Fence quilt, I pointed out similarities and differences between vintage and modern. The overall image, use of color and design share distinct similarities. However, the finish in the modern quilt is far more refined and polished.

Sometimes antique and vintage quilts have a sense of anachronism. They seem to predict the future. This vintage, 1970s Double Wedding Ring has a deconstructed appearance, and layers. The sense of peeling back the layers is also evident in Victoria Findlay Wolfe's masterpiece Best in Show quilt from QuiltCon 2013, "Double Edged Love". Not surprisingly, Victoria is inspired by antique and vintage quilts, and slept under polyester quilts made by her grandmother while growing up in Minnesota.

"Lite Brite" by Marie Shell is a direct reference to a popular toy first marketed in the late 1960s and hugely popular in the 1970s.

It is thrilling to see the similarities in color palette between Shell's quilt and the vintage 1970s Tile Block, and even more exciting to see the title refer back to the vintage inspiration.

The construction and finishing details in modern quilts also have roots in quilt history, but not the 1970s-- more like the middle 19th century. At the beginning of the web seminar, I talked about collecting antique quilts for 20 years before falling in love with my first 1970s quilt. The quilts from the middle 19th century are among my favorites, and they are thin, crisp, cotton quilts with great quilting-- a finish you could also expect to see in a lot of modern quilts.

At the end of the web seminar, I included a small tribute to Spock, Leonard Nimoy. Just before I went on the air, I heard he had passed away. He was part of my 1970s experience. Star Trek was on after many of my other favorite shows, such as Batman, Gilligan's Island, Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie. Today, I still love Star Trek. To quote longtime friend Chris Vacek of Boulder, Colorado who posted about Spock on Facebook today, "RIP Spock. Your passing is....illogical."

For those who missed the live event, and even for people who attended my morning tours and lecture on the 1970s at QuiltCon, I recommend checking out the web seminar because it includes some epiphanies such as the relationship between vintage and modern quilts. As soon as it is available for rebroadcast, I'll make sure to announce it. 


  1. Beautiful quilts - it is great to see the similarity between the 70's and current themes. 1970 however does not sounds that far away :) - Thank you as always!

  2. Thanks for sharing the insights even for those of us not attending your webinar!

  3. Looks like you had a great event! I was also saddened by the news of Spock's passing.

  4. I would love to know when you re-boadcast your seminar! Found a great quilt of Spock by an unknown maker. Posted at if you are interested:)

  5. If you can --- have the close caption feature imbedded in the webcast - as I don't hear and all this is new material that I want to know!!! Thanks