Am I a Modern Quilter?

/ Tuesday 23 February 2010 /

I ride a Vespa motorscooter, which was made in 2007.  It is called a "modern Vespa" because it has an automatic transmission, unlike the traditional, or "vintage Vespa", which has a manual transmission, requiring shifting, like most motorcycles.  With so few Vespa riders in North America, you would think we could all be friends, wouldn't you?  But, no, the human urge to classify and establish Us and Them reigns, and there is significant factionalization between twist-and-go modern sorts and shifties who ride vintage scooters. Crazy and unnecessary?  I think so.

"Modern quilting" guilds are popping up all over the place.  Not everywhere, not here, in the smallest outport of Ontario - but in bigger centres.  And a question that is being asked of members is "what is modern quilting?"  I'm sure you've seen this meme on many blogs over the last few weeks.  Although there is no modern quilting guild for me to join here, I do think it's an interesting question, and one that I have considered off and on since I started quilting again.  I read a lot of answers to the question that seem to be various riffs on "it's something new and improved over what they used to do in the old days".  Personally, I don't think that's true - I think there are many more dimensions along which modern and traditional quilts are similar than they are different.  And I'm left wondering why it seems to be important to draw this dividing line between modern and traditional quilting, when in fact all quilters together represent such a small fraction of women throughout the world.

The question at the top of this post is a trick question.  Yes, I am a modern quilter.  And yes, I am also a traditional quilter.  I make what I like, and I like a lot of things.  Quilting makes me feel connected to the generations of women who quilted before me.  And it makes me proud to know I am leaving a legacy for my daughter and family members who will have something made by my hands when I am no longer here.

What about you?  Do you see yourself as a modern quilter?


{ Crafty Maine Mom } on: 23 February 2010 at 15:35 said...

I figure I am a quilter and that the quilts i make are either modern or traditional.

{ My Life In Stitch } on: 23 February 2010 at 16:47 said...

In my opinion the definition of modern means of this day, don't know if that is what the dictionary says, but that is my thought so therefore yes I am a modern quilter but I also like the traditional designs and fabrics of yesterday's quilts. I, like you, feel a connection with needlewomen every where, past and present and I am sure that women of the past would embrace all our modern ways if they were around today. Phew glad I got that off my chest!!

{ Rene' } on: 23 February 2010 at 19:08 said...

Lesly, so glad to read your post. Great conversation. I read the blog posts on this theme at The Modern Quilt Guild. I found all their stories interesting and respect the varying perspectives on this subject.

There are so many facets of quilting and various points of view, but I'd rather focus on the one statement on The Modern Quilt Guild's website that states "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." As someone who is involved in the Orlando branch of The Modern Quilt Guild I sure hope this "label" will not cause dissent among quilters.

To answer your question, I consider myself a quilter...period. I am so thrilled to find a guild that is welcoming to all...something that I have not found before in my area...modern or traditional or any other label. I hope others in my guild will feel the same way. I am all about inclusiveness not divisiveness. "Why can't we all just get along" kind of attitude. So....there is my two cents worth. Good for you for posing this question for us to answer. I look forward to hearing more opinions on this recently controversial topic ;-)

{ wishes, true and kind } on: 23 February 2010 at 19:22 said...

I think we're all modern quilters. We use new techniques and technology, but we stand on the shoulders of other quilters who were in turn modern in their day. I don't know why people have to make some sort of separation/division between traditional and modern. I have lots of books of historic quilts, and there are many that if viewed out of context might be considered new and innovative even by today's standards/ideas.

I didn't realize there were any opposing feelings out there until I posted that I had joined a modern quilt guild. I just wanted to meet and share with other quilters and it has been wonderful so far -- and we have yet to have our first meeting. And the tastes and quilts in the pictures posted on our group site are fairly eclectic. I am a quilter -- some may see me as modern and some may see me as more traditional. I'm just happy to quilt.

{ elle } on: 23 February 2010 at 22:09 said...

I, too, am a quilter and I'm just like the gals way back when who used 'modern' patterns, fabrics, and techniques. I agree with the definition that modern means of this day. They were of their day and I am of my day and what I do today will become the traditions of tomorrow. Let's all quilt in a manner that expresses 'us' whatever the label.

{ The Calico Cat } on: 24 February 2010 at 08:02 said...

I am both. I do not care for fiddley piecing or intricate applique so I gravitate more towards "modern."

{ The Calico Cat } on: 24 February 2010 at 08:04 said...

& by that I mean my "idea" of modern.

{ Allyson } on: 24 February 2010 at 21:19 said...

Does "Modern Quilting" involve seam ripping? Because if so, then I am one heck of a modern quilter! :)

{ Claudia } on: 25 February 2010 at 17:59 said...

I consider myself a contemporary quilter who likes to dabble in various styles, traditional to modern. I'm a huge admirer of Denyse Schmidt quilts who I think had a lot to do with the start of the so-called "modern" quilting movement, although I have yet to attempt any of her designs.

Whether modern or traditional, I'm not a big fan of quilts that are all about the fabric designer/line and not so much about the quilter.

{ Cheryl Arkison } on: 3 March 2010 at 01:50 said...

Yes, I do consider myself a modern quilter.
And I am so jealous of your Vespa!

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