Modern Quilting in SA
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A Stitch in Time – A Taste of Modern Quilting
You’ve probably seen the result of quilting in your life. You’ve held it in your hands or run your fingers along the rows of stitches. Like me, you’ve likely wondered at the amount of time, love and effort that goes into hand it.
I don’t have the wherewithal to tackle such a huge task, but I have such admiration for anyone who does.
Ask any hand quilter and they’ll wax poetic to you about the labour of love that creating such an artwork by hand can be. This quote by a quilter puts it into perspective:
“I do think creating a quilt is a means of creativity, self-expression, a blessing to others. I also like the tie it has to the past. Even though colour combinations have changed, colours are more vibrant, and newer designs are delightfully outside the box, there are patterns from years ago still in use, and the art itself harkens back to those early artisans.”
Stitching The Past
How early do these artisans go? Well, the earliest surviving reference to a quilted garment is a carving of a Pharoah from 3400 BC. The ivory statue is depicted wearing quilted attire.
The oldest example of a quilt closer to the ones we’re referencing here is a quilted floor covering found in Mongolia dated sometime between 100 BC and 200 AD.
To quilt, as a term, harkens back to the Latin word culcita which means to bolster or to cushion.
A Modern Quilt
Modern quilts straddle the line between embracing the roots of traditional quilting and pushing shoots into the newest technology and techniques.
Traditional quilts rely on patchwork, repeating designs, symmetry and the use of borders or sashing.
Modern quilts push toward asymmetrical designs, bright and bold colours and minimalism.
The Modern Quilt Guild has this to say:
“Modern quilts are primarily functional and inspired by modern design. Modern quilters work in different styles and define it in different ways, but several characteristics often appear which may help identify a modern quilt. These include but are not limited to: the use of bold colours and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid colour, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, and alternate grid work. Modern traditionalism or the updating of classic quilt designs is also often seen.”
Visit their gallery for a more comprehensive view of modern quilting.
Quilting in South Africa
You would be forgiven for thinking that the modern quilting movement is mainly a popular hobby in the USA, but South Africans are showing their colours!
Odette lives in Durban and works as a textile artist and teacher. Her vibrant quilts are inspired by Africa and all that that entails.
She teaches modern quilting classes at conferences and guilds. Her classes don’t merely focus on the brass tacks of quilt techniques but deliver an immersive and hands-on exposure to art and design principles.
See more of her masterful designs here.
Diana is a quilter and textile artist, originally from Australia. She expresses her talent with the use of modern techniques mixed with bold colours and traditional designs.
She uses quilts to raise awareness of social injustices. Two of Diana’s quilts have been purchased by the Michigan State University Museum.
Modern Quilting Trends
The trends that are popping up focus on slowing down and being more eco-conscious. See if any of these get your inspiration flowing.
This year is showing a big boom in patchwork clothing and accessories. Quilt yourself some colourful patchwork jackets and bags and skirts. There is even the option to make bowties and boutonnieres for any upcoming nuptials.
Everyone is trying to go greener these days, and one way of helping out is by upcycling used clothes. This means that you are not buying any new fabrics, nor are you sending pre-loved garments to the landfill. It also helps to infuse a bit of sentimentality if you use a piece that reminds you of a loved one in your design.
FPP and EPP Pets
Foundation Paper Piecing or English Paper Piecing refers to when an outline is printed on a paper foundation and fabric is sewn together on the paper using the outline as a sewing guide. Paper pieced patterns that immortalise pets allow you to achieve gorgeous reminders of the furry members of your family.
As the name suggests, these pieces create a quilt without the use of a pattern. You rely on the fabrics to inspire you which is very zen. You allow the colours and textures to tell you which pieces should be fitted together and how.
Add some interest by incorporating fabrics that you wouldn’t usually use. Chenille allows for some denser and warmer tactile sensations while satin draws your hands down towards its softness.