Thursday, February 26, 2015

Post Quiltcon Impressions II - Trends, Ideas, Reactions...

First, can I say that I'm so sad it's over!  I really really looked forward to it for two years and now its done and I just want to see it all again!  (Luckily I and my friends took many photos so we can revisit it any time we want.) So happy, really that there's going to be another one next year...and the year after that...Quiltcon is a happening, happy place!

In going through the exhibits, several things stuck out to me, trend-wise.  The first is: GREEN!  I saw more green on the wall than I've ever seen before.  I know Emerald was the Pantone color last year, and I guess more than a few people jumped on the leafy bandwagon.  It's funny, I was in a class with Anna Maria Horner and she shared her green fears, which I share.  I love nature, love trees, grass, flowers, but green is not a color I gravitate towards when creating.  Still, I adored so many of the green creations I saw it reminded me that I shouldn't be so afraid of it, and to be open to all color palettes cause you never know what might happen....  I may just have to open my heart to this year's Pantone color - that brown-y purple I call maroon (cause I'm an Aggie) but others call Marsala.  

Another trend I noticed this year was heavy, heavy quilting.  It has of course been the trend at the Houston Quilt Festival for years, ever since the Long Arms came in vogue, but this year it was also quite pronounced in the modern quilts as well, I thought.  As I'm sure everyone else does, I ooooh and ahhh over those amazingly beautiful quilting patterns - there are so many interesting and intricate ones, all I can say is WOW!   It definitely can add a great deal of dimension, interest and a certain feeling to a piece. There were a couple, in fact, that literally blew me away!  I also saw two examples of the most effective use of variegated thread that I've ever seen; an entirely new dimension was added to the pieces because of the variegation.  (I've shied away from it in the past, but it's something to keep in the old back pocket for further exploration, I think...) 

One more comment on the heavy quilting trend - and no hatin' here - I love it all!  I'm simply expressing my thoughts and observations, remember.  But I still feel like I have to say that I don't feel that heavy, dense quilting is always necessary, either.  (I think the people who juried quilts into the show agreed, because there were some less quilted pieces in the show, too, mine being one of them for full-disclosure's sake.)  Sometimes a piece makes a statement just through its piecing or fabric choice and the quilting is more just to keep the thing together and maybe add a little bit of anchoring to the design.  I say this not because I don't like to quilt, but because I guess in my mind, we're creating art and there's room for all kinds of art, including heavy quilting and less dense quilting.  Just because we have the ability to do it doesn't mean it's always called for.  I say this, I guess, because I think a lot about how I'm going to quilt my own pieces and often I feel the designs don't call for heavy quilting...I'm basically giving myself permission not to follow this trend if I don't feel it's right for a particular piece, I guess. That said, I'm totally all for it when it's right - it's sooo beautiful!

Another quilting trend I noticed that I really loved was the use of two small parallel lines, either around a shape, or snaking through a quilt.  Mini-echo quilting - Loved it!  Also heavily quilting around a shape to make it stand out, then no quilting at all in the shape - not trapunto, but a trapunto-like effect - very cool.  

Another big, big trend I noticed was the use of backgrounds that were printed, tonal, and/or pieced.  I thought it was so effective, really added so much depth in so many cases. Yes, we still use solid backgrounds in modern quilting, but a little change-o never hurts, either.  I think people will be following this trend for a long long time...I also really like the explorations of value and transparency that many people did - very challenging, really, and quite beautiful, too.  

I love that anything goes in modern quilting, from pixelated representations of that Cumberbatch cutie to super large oversized "blocks" to tiny little crazy-making pieces to curves, and then back to simple, straight-line piecing.  And fabric - solids, prints, combinations of both - even BATIKS!   And colors - from bright rainbow to pastels to neon to earthy tones, which I didn't see a great deal of at the last Quiltcon, to combinations of both. It's all, just so very


Please jump in and add to the discussion with ideas and trends you noticed here.  I love to look, but I also love to learn and all positive ideas and thoughts help...

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