For as long as we have recorded history, humans have collected and curated art. In the 18th and 19th centuries, tapestries dressed many of the cold stone walls of Europe. In modern times, art has become more accessible to the masses in the form of museums. But quilts? It’s difficult to fully track the history of fabrics because they deteriorate rapidly compared to other mediums of art and craftsmanship. While coverlets became popular bedpieces in the mid 1700s, somewhere along the way quilts became part of the landscape of life for the common person. The preservation and display of quilts as art is a relatively recent phenomenon.
Why do we have quilt shows? Art shows are a common way for working artists to make a name for themselves and sell their work. Quilt shows often offer quilts for sale, but they don’t function in quite the same way as many art shows do. Traditionally, the primary purpose for quilt shows hasn’t been to sell quilts, but rather as a way to display them. Shows arose to fill the void when quilts weren’t adorning the walls of museums. As quilters, we’ve always known the value of our work, even when it is used in a utilitarian way. We wanted to share our talent and out of that quilt shows have provided the venue to do so.
Karey Bresenhan, the founder of the International Quilt Festival in Houston saw this need to appreciate quilts and the people who make them and began an amazing tradition with theWorld of Beauty quilt competition. Here we offer you the opportunity to enjoy a few more of the quilts that hung at Festival in 2021.
The Blue One by Teresa Duryea Wong @third_floor_quilts
This quilt was inspired by antique improvisation quilts and the fabric of Marcia Derse. All 2,475 pieces are quilted individually using free-motion, no computer, with silk thread. The subtle directional shifts Wong used creates an interesting visual effect from a distance.
Theme and Variations Quilt, No. 2 by Naomi Hughes @park.lane.studio
Hughes says about this quilt, “My children are Suzuki violin students. Now that my son is 16, it’s hard to believe I’ve been a music mom for over a decade! The first piece all little violinists learn is Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star in six rhythmic variations. I was remembering that early season and thinking about the musical theme and variations motif when I designed this quilt. I was curious to see how many stars I might make using a single template in various ways.”
Renew Anew by Elizabeth K. Ray @elizabethkray
This quilt was derived from a quilt Ray made for the Curated Quilts Stripes mini-challenge.
“The stripes, like blinds, create shading and expose the different colors as they interact.” Ray used the Pantone 2021 colors of the year for her palette.
Watercolor 1by Carolina Oneta @carolina_oneto
In addition to quilting, Oneta also loves to paint with watercolors. With fabric as the medium in this piece, she worked to create a garden full of flowers and light. Oneta expertly created a gradual movement across the quilt from light to dark, The shading within each of the color segments creates depth.
Neurodiversity/Back Light by Kathy York @kakiyork
Kathy York had an exhibit of quilts that hung at IQA that invited viewers to see both sides of the quilt. The front of the quilts told one story, while the back told another. Her quilts are the ultimate twofer. One of the particularly impressive aspects of York’s quilts is her invisible hanging sleeves. Unless you inspect the quilt closely, you may not be able to identify which side of the quilt is actually the backside of it.
Front of Quilt =Neurodiversity
York says about this side of the quilt, “Neurodiversity is a term that means a lot of different kinds of brains. This makes for an interesting world but is sometimes hard to remember when dealing with people who think in black and white.”
Back of Quilt =Back Light
York says about the backside of her quilt, “I share a love of color with my son. This work refers to colorful, backlit, interactive museum exhibits that we enjoyed together in our younger days.”
By Brittany Bowen Burton