Friday, March 2, 2012

Thoroughly Modern Quilters

This past Friday evening I had a most enjoyable outing.  My hubby and I attended the Lincoln Quilters Guild’s 39th Birthday Party at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum.  And, yes, there were cupcakes.  Yummy work of art cupcakes!

There were three very diverse exhibitions in the gallery.  My favorite by far was the late great Jean Ray Laury’s exhibition entitled Getting It All Together.  This talented author, illustrator and quilter chronicled the lives of women who came of age in the 60s and 70s and struggled to balance work and family.  Her quilt Barefoot and Pregnant, voted one of the 100 Best Quilts of the 20th Century, was on display.  Jean’s wit and social conscience are evident in most of her work.  Here is a link to Barbara Brackman’s tribute

Another exhibit was a tribute to Ardis James, a Nebraska native, avid quilt collector, and benefactor to the International Quilt Study Center & Museum.  Several art quilters donated quilts to IQSC in her memory after her death, and those incredible art quilts were on display.

The final display, What’s In a Name, displayed signature quilts from the IQSC collection spanning many decades and quilting styles – from homey hand-lettered blocks to fundraising quilts with celebrity autographs, to a beautiful album quilt. 

A display of quilts from the little guild comprised of UNL faculty and staff adorned the stairwells, and an impressive trunk show of modern quilts from Modern Quilt Relish in Des Moines, IA provided the backdrop for the featured speaker, Ellen Rushman.

Ellen is a graduate student in UNL’s quilt study program.  She shared a preview of her thesis, Modern Quilting: DIY Discourse, which chronicles the Modern Quilt Guild from its birth in Los Angeles in 2009 to the current online and “real world” community of over 100 modern quilt guilds. Ellen personally interviewed several Modern Quilt Guild members and compiled a profile and demographic of the self-proclaimed “modern quilter.” 

Modern quilters share an attitude – no rules, anything goes, improvise and enjoy the process. They also share an aesthetic -- minimalism, large scale, asymmetry and white space.  They tend to value functionality. They are inspired by the love of fabric and design.  And they aren’t all thirtysomething, although two of my very favorite modern quilters, Maureen Cracknell and Samelia's Mum, fit that demographic.

It was an interesting talk with images of inspiring quilts, and a refreshing perspective. 

I have a “taxing” weekend ahead….hoping to carve out a few hours to sew.  Enjoy your weekend!

LeAnn aka pasqueflower


  1. I love it when someone comes to you with fresh perspective! Try to relax a little this weekend, you deserve it:)

  2. What a fun trip!
    I like that modern quilters go with the flow and break all the rules :)