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Friday, February 13, 2015

Sew Happy Friday– Where Is the Modern Quilt Movement Going?


Next weekend the Modern Quilt Guild will be hosting QuiltCon in Austin, Texas again.  Two years ago my husband and I visited the first one.  There were a lot of amazing quilts, the vendor booths were interesting and it seemed like it was pretty much a success.  I saw a few of the classes later on Craftsy.com and some of them sounded interesting.


There were a few quilts at the show that I really didn’t like.

First there was the pixelated image of a bleeding hand gun.  A quilt entitled Bang, you’re dead which was created by Jacquie Goring.  This was raw activism – really raw.  I mean here we were in TEXAS, for crying out loud, and they’re prominently displaying a patently anti-gun quilt.  Now, I’m not a gun rights activist by a long shot.  In my mind handguns **unfortunately** have a place – due to the sinfulness of humans, primarily.  But, I don’t espouse the idea that guns equal freedom and that “everyone should be a member of the NRA”, as I heard a man once say in a church testimony service. (Yeah…really.  You hear amazing things in church sometimes.)  Personally, I think that a lot of Christians have gone too far in supporting and promoting handguns and other weapons that are obviously for the use of killing people – not animals.  I consider myself a pretty moderate moderate on the subject actually.

That said, I REALLY hope that the Modern Quilt Guild will not allow activism of any sort to take over their quilt shows.  I would have been just as disgusted to see a quilt depicting aborted babies, even though I am pro-life!  Why?  Because quilts traditionally stand for comfort, warmth, kindness, love, sharing, giving, compassion…well, you get the picture.  Using them as a method to address the hard, ugly aspects of our culture seems really insulting to the true meaning of quilts and quilting.  I would hate to see the modern quilt genre invaded by a lot of activists trying to push their own favorite causes – particularly causes that involve volatile and repulsive subject material.

The other two quilts that I objected to were ones which had bold profanity emblazoned across them.  I realize that there are a lot of young quilters in the modern quilt movement – we’re talking tattoos, body piercings, and a lot of other stuff.  But, seriously?  Profanity?  Does the Modern Quilt Guild want to reach the widest demographic or do they want to limit their reach to just those who will tolerate seeing nasty language boldly spelled out across a quilt top?  If they’re OK with offending the people who don’t appreciate that type of language and wouldn’t bring the kids along to see it, then that’s the direction to take.  If, on the other hand, they would like to reach the largest group possible and have a family friendly environment by various standards, they better rethink the profanity aspect and leave such quilts out of the show.  After all, isn’t the point of these shows to keep the quilting movement moving forward, growing and prospering?  You don’t do that by offending people to the point where they won’t participate.

Now, I did not see all of the quilts at QuiltCon 2013.  There may possibly have been more than those few that were objectionable.  Also, in retrospect, I realize that I should have written a letter to let the hosts know what I thought soon after the show.  (As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not good at actually writing those type of letters!)  But, as QuiltCon 2015 comes to pass, I will be interested to see where they go with the modern quilting genre this time around.  I consider myself a vintage modern quilter.  I have one foot firmly planted in each world.  But, I sure won’t be interested in associating with the modern quilt shows or guilds if they are going to embrace obnoxious subject material, and I know there are others like me.

So, here’s hoping that they rein in the free radicals who aren’t afraid to make a warm, cuddly quilt into a platform for confrontational or insulting messages!  Here’s hoping that they have the foresight to see that there are some of us out here in the modern quilt world who won’t put up with obscenities forced upon us in that manner.  We’ll stay home from their conventions and from their guild meetings and do something more interesting.  Maybe work on a modern quilt. :-)


  1. I love modern quilt design and at our annual quilting fair I saw some amazing ones and like you, some questionable ones!! I love all the bright colours used rather than the more traditional colours. But certainly the ones your describe sound very disturbing - less about an art form and more about getting a message out there. I must google and see if I can see any of the quilts from this collection.

    1. I like some of the more traditional and vintage fabrics, myself, but I love bright colors and I'm all about faster and easier methods, so a lot of the modern patterns and methods really appeal to me. :-)

      If you didn't see them before, you can see some of my own photos from QuiltCon 2013 here:

    2. Thankyou for sharing - I certainly like some of these but not all!! I have just bought 3 different layer cakes from Missouri Star and can't wait to make simple but bright quilts from them .One will be for our bed. I do love layer cakes and they make quilt making so much quicker!!!

    3. You're welcome. I don't like them all either. :-) They are interesting to look at, though.

      I have gotten some layer cakes too and am hoping to work more with them. I think it's great that precuts make it easier and quicker to get a project done. In fact, I should be receiving a layer cake from the MSQC soon - except...they had a power outage from the snowy weather this week, so they may be running behind. Ah well. :-)

  2. Some quilts are beautiful. Some just don't appeal to me... It's a form of art, and like with all other art, some are great, some are not! I haven't personally seen any insulting or confrontational quilts yet though - thankfully!! The one you saw sounds weird and horrid.

    1. Clara, I agree about the variety in quilts! Sometimes they are beautiful and sometimes I just wonder, "What were they thinking?" :-) As an art form I think quilt artists should respect the tradition of kindness and/or comfort associated with quilts, especially when they make a traditional, bed size quilt. From my viewpoint, some various other art forms seem more suitable for addressing more difficult subject matter (within decency, of course).