Thursday, August 25, 2011

NYMM #30 Show Quilt

Title:  "Back in To-Day"
Size:  20" wide x 14 1/2" tall
Fabrics:  Cotton
Techniques:  Photo printing, applique, free piecing, fabric painting, thread painting, and machine quilting

Quilter's Statement (this will be included with the displayed quilt):   (Yikes it may be too long..I don't know...biting nails now..smiles - update i have shortened it..)

When I first thought about what modern quilting meant to me, I immediately researched the word “modern”.  I harkened back to my art history days in college, and remembered that Modern Art began with the Impressionists, Romanticists, and those genres that used bold colors and graphic patterns.  As I researched the term modern quilters, looked at the conversations that were being had on quilt blogs and discussion boards, what modern is to me was born.  Modern is anything created To-Day/To-Date.  It is any thing that is created recently, contemporaneously, that expresses our world today.  In a world that is so fleeting and fad oriented, modern is anything current and may no longer be viewed as modern, in as little as a year from now.  And thus the idea for my quilt was formed. 

I became fascinated by the fabric that was used and the functionality of quilting in contrast to the way it is used today, as an expression and often times its own art form.  That is when I searched the library of congress for photos from the U.S. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information.  I specifically looked for images of people quilting in this country in the 1920s through the 1940s.  I found a number of images; however this one struck me the most: “Woman who has not yet found a place to move out of the Hinesville Army camp area working on a quilt in her smokehouse. Near Hinesville, Georgia.”  Call Number: LC-USF34- 043775-D [P&P].  This woman did not have a home at the time and quilted in her smokehouse.  I realized how fortunate I was to have a room that I can dedicate to quilting…my own personal smokehouse. It too has a dual purpose, as a guest room. 

It is from here that the idea began.  I wanted to show that she was modern in 1941 just as I am modern in 2011.  I am depicted creating a modern quilt, just as she was making her modern quilt.  I focused on using colors in the back ground that was more representative of the 1940s because they are still in use today, and can be considered modern because I am creating them in 2011.  I created a mini quilt using bold and bright colors as symbolic of the fabric in use today and the evolution of the textile industry.

While working on this piece, I was most amazed at the way in which it evolved.  I very rarely begin with a sketch, image or idea before hand, and I did for this piece.  I originally thought that this piece would have more color and use more fabric that is indicative of the patterns, prints and colors used today.  However, as it evolved, the piece spoke in its own way, and decided to remain a bit more neutral in scope.  It developed into a framed art piece.  As I began putting the images together, it started to look like the old photos that were framed in both of my grandmother’s homes.  I remembered the photo of my grandmother that appears to be black and white with a hint of color, sitting next to the framed picture of me that had more color in the photo.  This is what this piece began to remind me of.  As I continued to work on it, I decided to keep some of the retro fabric and use more of the Japanese vintage printed fabric.  The Japanese printed fabric reminded me of the feed sacks from the 1920s through the 1950s.  I also like that this fabric depicts advertisements of sewing items from that time as well.

I found this piece to be challenging because I was filled with so many thoughts and ideas for it.  However, I was limited by time and size, and knew that I needed to complete it.  I was unsure of where I would end up in the creative process and had to remind myself that I must be satisfied with it no matter what it finally looked like.  So I would work on it, step away a week, come back and work feverishly on it, then be forced to take another step back.  As I reached the final stages, the real challenges began.  I began to ask, “Is it completed?  Does it need something more?  Do I write on it?  Do I add more color?  How do I bind it?  What do I use to bind it?”  Finally, I just jumped in to finish it.  I hope to continue working on this idea, perhaps on a slightly larger scale and play with some other ideas, embellishments and “modern” techniques. 

I hope you enjoy what modern means to me…As I take a look “Back in To-Day”.

For more pics click here.


  1. Love it! Your personality comes right through. Can't wait to see it in person.

  2. I love that you incorporate photos!

  3. Love the feel of this piece ... everything about it is really interesting!


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