Thursday, March 15, 2012
House Hunting and Modern Quilting...a Parallel
As I'm looking for a place to live, I have a picture in my mind of the perfect place. It's modern, minimal, open, but with character. The more I look, the more I've come to a place where a house carries an aesthetic with it. Sure the decor makes a difference, but the bones of a house have an aesthetic as well. Modern is not simply built today, it's a specific, definable aesthetic.
So what does looking for houses have to do with modern quilting? Maybe it's a stretch, but I think about quilting all the time and there are a couple of things that I hear repeated often in the quilting community that I don't agree with and my house search has clarified a couple of those for me.
"There is nothing new in quilting."
I see this phrase all the time and I think the opposite. There are new things in quilting all the time and I believe that modern quilting is contributing to the options available to us as quilters. There are new designs, new techniques, new tools, and new ways to run a guild. It's like in homes, there are sinks in every kitchen and bathroom, but new shapes, sizes, materials, variations and installations are fresh and add to the "sink culture." It's still a sink, but in its own way it's new. In every art we borrow from or are inspired by the the past and reinvent, revise or tweek to make something new. That new ideas are being added to the "culture of quilting" is a wonderful sign that the art and craft of quilting is vital and growing. Quilting has a rich and varied history and tradition and isn't is wonderful that we as modern quilters are a part of that.
"Modern simply means made today."
I looked at a house that is new construction, in fact it wasn't even finished yet, but there was nothing modern about it. From the layout, to the choice of windows, trim and fixtures, it wasn't the modern aesthetic. While I'm not sure we are finished defining the modern quilt movement and what a modern quilt is, I do believe modern is an aesthetic. Some houses have elements of modern combined with elements from other styles. I think it's the same with our quilts....I believe there is such a thing as a modern quilt. That doesn't mean a modern quilt can't have a link with the past and that their aren't variations on modern. It also doesn't mean that one is better than the other...they're different. It's ok to be different.
Some folks tend to see defining a modern quilt as limiting, I see it as freeing, as an opportunity to push further and explore new ideas. Quilters don't have to identify themselves, I choose to, but that doesn't mean I reject other styles. My hope is to see quilting continue to evolve and change and develop more styles. When I read these words I see pictures of each in my mind: Amish quilting, crazy quilting, traditional quilting, modern quilting...the possibilities are endless.
The pictures have nothing to do with this post, but a post without pictures....boring! I've been doing some experimenting with matchstick quilting trying to develop a method that will work with my home machine on large quilts. I'll keep you posted on how it's going.