Decide what to be and go be it.

And the winner is….

That’s a good question!

I just received the latest issue of the AQS magazine and it showcases the winners at the recent shows at Paducah and Lancaster.  The quilts were beautiful.  So certainly, all of us were winners for having been able to see them.  Not having seen them first hand I can only image that the level of workmanship was superb.  But, looking at these photos, I felt a twinge of sadness.  The greatest majority of them could be considered art quilts…or at least modern.  Not many would be considered traditional.

I’m going to stop here and say that I love art quilts!  I don’t typically make them but I like them and I admire those who can express themselves using cloth instead of paint or clay.  They are stunning and worthy winners.  There is a place in the quilting world for every type of quilt.  I only wonder this….is it possible for a traditional-in-the-true-sense-of-the-word quilt to win an award at one of these major shows?  If it were meticulously pieced and gloriously quilted could it stand up next to a beautiful, stunning and modern quilt and win?

I wonder if in judging quilts, we’ve gotten so far away from our roots that the traditionals are hardly considered.  Or is it that in the recent past so many of the winners have been more modern and artful that the purely traditional quilter doesn’t even enter?

In this magazine I saw so many quilts that were drop dead gorgeous and I drooled over them and almost coveted them.  I knew they were out of my skill set and I envied and admired them.  But I still couldn’t see them on a bed keeping someone warm at night.

I guess I’m just saying that while these winners are beautiful and deserving of awards, I just wish there was more of a place in the winner’s circle for more traditional quilts.  After all, they represent our roots.  It’s kind of like forgetting Grandma.

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22 thoughts on “And the winner is….

  1. quilt32 on said:

    I absolutely agree with you. Of course, I’m elderly and love the traditional quilts.

    • I don’t think age has much to do with it. I say that for a reason… 🙂 🙂

    • I have recently started doing some art quilts. I have a plethera of traditional quilts that I’ve made and love!!! I drool just as much at the intricate applique with hand quilting as I do with the art quilts.

      Of course, I would never use an art quilt to keep my tootsies warm while watching a movie. (Of course I’d be leery to use a handquilted applique quilt also!) A simple pieced quilt is perfect for that, and if it has minky on the back, even better!

      I guess I just love to see them all, and drool over the styles I can’t do!

  2. I have thought about this also. There has been a renewed interest in the two-color quilt, specifically the red and white, and that is wonderful to see. Even so, I think the beautiful traditional quilts are taking a back seat to technology. The long-arm has come along way, Baby!

    • I like the resurgence of the red and white quilts…beautiful in their simplicity. I think sometimes we forget that more is not always better.

  3. Sybil on said:

    I know what you’re saying, Candy….and I’ve heard others expressing the same sentiment. Add to that – I’m one who would like to do an ‘art’ quilt – but yet my most favorite pattern is the simple nine patch.

    At the Canberra quilt show last year – there were some absolutely stunning quilts – but they were long arm quilted to within an inch of their lives – and like the magazine you reference – they were the award winners….none of the more traditional quilts were winners.

    I guess I just hope that the quilters that do more traditional quilts continue to enter them into shows – whether they win or not – because I enjoy seeing them.

    • That’s a great sentiment. I hope traditional quilters continue to enter also. Be ause as beautiful as many of these abstract quilts are, sometimes there’s nothing. Ore beautiful than a wonderfully quilted traditional quilt.

  4. Elisabeth on said:

    Hi Candy! Your last sentence “It’s kind of like forgetting Grandma.” touched my soul. I agree. In Europe many quilters consider art quilts as advancement in quilting. But this will be a endless source of discussion. Warm Greetings!

  5. I have to say that I enjoy seeing art quilts but give me a good old fashioned traditional quilt that will keep me warm and cozy anyday. It seems a shame that traditional quilts don’t get much recognition when it comes to being judged at shows.

  6. It’s really a tough balancing act! I think quilters (creative creatures that we are!) can see possibilities “outside the box” when they look at everything. I have a tendency to take a pieced quilt pattern and, when finished, look at it as a “canvas backdrop” for applique/embellishing. Does that turn it in to a more ‘art quilt’ style? Sometimes yes, but always the element of traditional does remain. Just as in the art world (painting, sculpture, music, etc) some will go the direction of ‘contemporary’ and some will have more of the traditional elements/feel. We, who create, must continue to do so staying honest to ourselves and let those who view say what they will. The viewing public will ebb and flow on the style popularity but the choice must always be provided…..and that’s where we, who lean toward the more traditional, come in. We are ‘fickle’ creatures who pursue the “newest, latest, greatest(?)” product/design. Enough of my little “soap box” speech;-) Thanks for listenin’…….hugs, Doreen

    • I find your comments interesting and so very true! I’m not sure where the line is between traditional and “artsy”. I guess in my head I know where it is for me. We all have our own little creative path that we follow and on occasion we take a fork in the road. But I think that for most of us we usually end up back on our original path…in our omfort zone. And even though I’ve ventured outside of that zone from time to time, there’s no place like home for me!

      • I am reminded of the line that Public Radio uses that even the Classical music pieces were once new. Some day, in the future, these ‘modern/art’ quilts will be viewed as something ‘old’ & reflecting “that day”…LOL! Years ago, quilts had a more utilitarian purpose (even if it was a wedding quilt)…..to cover a bed and keep peeps warm! Today, perhaps, the definition/idea of a quilt is broadening because of today’s culture. Just another thought! D

        • All so very true! All things were at some point contemporary. And I guess classical music has taken a back seat to modern sounds and rock and roll….much like tradtional quilts have taken a back seat to art quilts. I guess it’s just that in my little brain (very little!!), quilts just smack of tradition that seems to be forgotten in judging. I’m thinking as the discussion on this post progresses, I’m seeing that my gripe isn’t with the quilts themselves. They are all beautiful and the quilters are extremely talented. I wish I had the creativity to make them. As I’ve said before, there’s room for all of us here! My gripe, it seems is with the judges who seem to overlook the traditional. You know, I’m kind of thinking about Susan Boyle. People snickered when she came out on the stage….until she opened her mouth to sing. Traditional quilts are kind of the same way. I feel like judges ignore them or don’t “see” them and they aren’t allowed to sing. Wow…didn’t mean to get so deep!!! 🙂

  7. I have had the same thoughts, Candy, and I am in my 30’s. 🙂 But then, I am a bit out of touch with my generation. All that said, I also think art quilters are impressive in their own right.

  8. mary on said:

    I love to do traditional quilts. I have made a handful of modern quilts but they just don’t hold my interest. And, I often get that look of “ewe” when I tell people that I like to make traditional quilts. I do enjoy looking at many modern quilts-I just don’t prefer to make them. And…I felt the same way about the winners of that show. And, our quilt show is the same way. Traditional hardly ever bares a ribbon of any color.

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