I love the modern quilt movement. The designs, the fabrics – all of it are so fresh and cheerful and free. I don’t know how long it’s been going on – I discovered it about two years ago. There was this blog on the Modern Quilt Guild site – the title was 100 Days of Modern Quilts. I spent a lot of time on that blog, and still use it for inspiration. The Modern Quilt Guild, or MQG even put on its first big quilt show, called QuiltCon, last year. As it was in Austin, Texas (right down the road) I not only went to the show, I volunteered, something I would highly recommend – it was really fun. And the quilts – oooh - I loved them ALL!
I volunteered mostly because I want to be a modern quilter and I don’t know how. I mean, I think I understand it, but when I design, I can’t seem to come up with anything that fits the modern quilt sensibility. I’m not so sure why, but I’m starting to suspect it’s because I’m just not cool enough.
The modern quilt movement seems to be pretty dominated by people in their twenties, thirties and forties although there are people of every age participating. There was a definite hip vibe there – lots of funky glasses, mod haircuts, many body piercings and orange, purple, green and blue hair…I dug these people, they seemed like my own. Afterwards people from the quilt show even shared their tattoos on the MQD blog – many of which were quilting, sewing, or creativity-related! All I can say to that is “Well.” I don’t think I have to go that far, do I? I mean, I don’t have anything against piercings, but I don’t want to have to do it just to be able to quilt modern! (Though the idea of having purple or pink hair is actually appealing to me, but at my age (49) it seems a little “wanna be.”) But I do. I do so wanna be -- a modern quilter!
After seeing the art works in that show, I can say that modern quilts are absolutely a departure from the traditional way of making a quilt. Very few of them use traditional quilt blocks (although some do) and there are definite specific types of fabrics that most modern quilters use. Another thing I noticed was negative space – there seems to be a lot of that, too. Okay, I get it…at least I think I do…but still, I can’t seem to come up with ideas that seem modern.
I’ve been trying and trying to push myself in a certain direction, because I like what I see there. But when I stop and think about it, I have to wonder why. Does it really matter whether my art fits a certain description? Of course not. It is what it is, man.
Oh well - I guess I can’t order up what kind of creativity I want to channel. I’ll just have to make do with whatever ideas come my way, and be grateful for them. It’s not as though I don’t like what I’m creating, so it seems silly to be so focused on trying to create in a certain “genre.” I can still be inspired by and love modern quilts. I can buy books and study them and make other people’s designs. And I haven’t given up hope of coming up with some “modern” designs of my own. It could still happen – I’m not dead yet. I’m just not going to force it. I’m just going to take what comes, and enjoy the ride. Maybe I’m not cool, but I am