June 3, 2010

My new fascination




Okay, so 42 quilts never happened, but let me tell you what did happen in the 42nd year of my life. I have discovered modern quilts. I know, I know, I am a self-described traditional quilter living happily inside the box, but about a year ago (hhmmm, coincidence?) I started browsing the web looking for inspiration.

I went to http://www.flickr.com/ and searched “quilt” just to see what would come up. Wow! There was picture after picture of these quilts that were nothing like I had ever seen. Lots of white with bright colors (yum!), simple repetitive shapes and large-scale prints cut into huge blocks to capture their full visual impact. Small in size, simple in construction but yet so complex and full of life and energy. I hadn’t heard the word “modern” at that time, so I didn’t realize that this was a wide-spreading trend.

I looked and looked at these wonderful images for a long time – months – and thought I can’t do that. I’m all about craftsmanship (no hidden points), intricacy of design, colors that “go” together and, well, tradition. So the more I resisted, the less I felt like quilting – anything. That’s when 42 quilts just stopped. I knew I couldn’t move forward in the direction that had gotten me to that point, but I didn’t feel comfortable jumping off the traditional ship completely.

Then, seemingly out of the blue, I started designing again. I guess all the months of searching the internet, studying these quilts seeped into my subconscious. These latest designs are full of new fabrics that I thought I’d never buy, new concepts of appliqué that I never thought I’d use (wooden spoons!) and new blocks of original design (not adapted traditional blocks). I’ll show you pictures as I get them completed. I’m happy with the results, and I’m old enough to realize that that’s really all that matters in the end.

I don’t think I’ll ever be comfortable calling myself a “modern” quilter. I still love all the things about traditional quilts and quilting that I always have. I just want to move toward something novel and fun and inspiring for me. If it’s “modern” or “traditional” I don’t care. I’m tired of labels. I just want to make a quilt!

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