Phew! I opened a can of worms with that last post . I’ll admit that I really didn’t expect the response that I received. I kind of thought that a few well meaning souls would pat me on the head and say “don’t worry about that”. But clearly this is a topic that strikes home with a lot of us. I’m overwhelmed with the support that so many of you have poured out. I’m slowly working my way through responding to you all, but it may take me a bit! lol Let me publicly say to all of you that I’m extremely appreciative of your support of my work and my quilts. It has moved me to tears to know how much some of my pieces have affected you.
I didn’t intend that to be a woe is me post but instead a place to voice my confusion over the critique I received from my first juried quilt show. I have learned so much from all of you about the world of juried quilts and what goes into a show like that, traditional or modern. Eye opening all of it. I’m not one to shy away from a situation just because it might be hard, (no regrets right?!) and this is no exception. It’s turned out a bit harder than I planned but the bonus outcome has been the love that you all have shown me and fellow quilters like me who received baffling and confusing feedback on our work. Feedback that makes us question our strengths and abilities.
I want to reiterate that I harbor no ill will towards the judges. The identity of the judges really makes little difference to me. Again, it wasn’t something that particular people said to me, a particular person, to be mean. I frankly think that the task of judging the competition was unenviable and overwhelming. And I can’t help but think that they were hindered by their own lack of experience in judging a show like this. I think it would have been tough for the most seasoned of judges. Not to back pedal my experience with the whole judging experience…but merely to remind us that they too are people with feelings and in the end this is a small quilting world. I was hurt and confused by my critiques which I’ve come to learn was the experience of many at this show and others.
After some investigation into the Modern Quilt Guild’s definition of Modern Quilting, I found some enlightening information for myself. I’m not entirely certain when this became the guild’s official position on what modern quilting is, but it is highly reflective of the judges selections and comments.
“We define modern quilts as quilts that are functional, include bold colors, and are inspired by modern design. Minimalism, asymmetry expansive negative space, and alternate grid work are often a part of modern quilt compositions, as are improvisational piecing and solid fabrics.”
This is extremely interesting to me because that seems like just ONE portion of what modern quilting is. In fact the previous definition by the Modern Quilt Guild seems much more what I would have said it is now. Found on the less updated New Orleans Modern Quilt Guild site ( I was part of that guild when I
lived there), their previous definition of the Modern Quilt movement was:
“Modern quilting is a new twist on the traditional art of quilting. This may mean something as simple as using a traditional quilt block and updating it in a fresh, fun new way. That includes using modern fabrics, modifying the block arrangement or even the scale of the block. The piecing could be improvisational and wonky, or it could be very exact and measured, following a pattern or creating your won. The quilting could be traditional stippling, clean straight lines, or a very “free” have fun and quilt-as-you-go style. Fabrics could be upcycled vintage sheets, custom digital printed fabric, a yummy selection from one of the new modern fabric designers, or an old fabric from an ever growing stash.
Modern quilting is sometimes difficult to define because in many ways the definition is as individual as the quilter – changing from quilter to quilter. In addition to reflecting the individual personality and personal style of the quilter, it also reflects the current aesthetic of the day.
Modern quilting is also about the attitude and the approach that modern quilters take. It respects the amazing artistry and talent of the tradition of quilting, while allowing the quilter to challenge the “rules”. In fact, if there were one rule in modern quilting, it would be that there are no rules.
The concept of modern quilting is not meant to divide or segregate. It is meant to welcome new quilters, of all ages, to the world of quilting in a style that they can relate to. In many ways, modern quilting takes us back to the basics of the early quilters, when women of the day used the colors and styles of their time to express themselves creatively”
THAT is the Modern Quilt movement that I want to be a part of. That is what I thought this group was still about. It’s helpful for me to know that they have defined themselves more strictly. I am more sure that I need not put myself in the box of “modern quilter”. I don’t put myself out there as a “traditional quilter” either.
I am, without any other label, simply a quilter.
*shutting down the comments so we can all move on. Please feel free to email me if you have further concerns. I’m doing well and I will be happily sewing and designing in the future.*