Editor’s note: March is National Quilting Month during which we will be featuring some guest bloggers. First up is Pam Rocco, a regular contributor to Quilters Newsletter. Pam enjoys all types of quilting and, based on her experience, offers her opinion on the differences between modern and traditional quilts. Here’s what Pam has to say:
What is a modern quilt? On its website, The Modern Quilt Guild describes modern quilts as having the following characteristics: bold colors, modern design, minimalism, asymmetry, negative space and alternate grid work.
I’ve made quilts with some of these features, and I bet you have, too, but this doesn’t necessarily make us modern quilters. I belong to two quilt guilds, one traditional and the other a chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild, and I see differences between the work of their members. It seems to me that modern quilts are more likely to break with tradition, to be made by just one person and to be used every day. I heard a founding member of the Modern Quilt Guild say that modern quilters strive for simplicity. I can see this in the materials they use (solid-colored and sometimes recycled), how they make quilt tops and finish them on their home sewing machines, and in how they avoid heavy embellishment and, often, dense quilting.
Traditional quilters, on the other hand, are familiar with a large body of traditional work. They recognize commonly used quilt blocks and styles of quilting (such as repeating block, medallion, sampler, etc.) and may know a lot about the history of quilts. They use prints as often as plain fabrics. They enjoy embellishment, thread painting and machine embroidery as well as handwork. They are more likely to pay a professional machine quilter to finish their quilts for them. They may spend months or years working on a single quilt for display, but not everyday use.
These are all generalizations, of course, and may not apply to you or me. But even if their members make different kinds of quilts, modern and traditional guilds are the same in the most important ways. They provide a safe place for members to meet and share their work. They encourage high standards of craftsmanship and artistic expression. They help their members grow as artists and as people. You can make a modern (or a traditional) quilt no matter what kind of guild you belong to. And if you’re lucky enough, like me, you can belong to both.