I do not sew art quilts. It's not because I do not like them but because I love comfy quilts which you can wrap up in. I also like those kinds of quilts which you can put on the wall to warm up the room. Since I do not make them, I do not know much about them. However, when I began receiving issues of Quilting Arts to fulfill my subscription at Quilters Newsletter Magazine I decided it was time to learn some facts about art quilts. I really enjoy being able to appreciate all aspects of the quilting world.
1. What are they - I decided to go to the source, the Art Quilt association. This is how they define an art quilt: "An art quilt is an original exploration of a concept or idea rather than the handing down of a “pattern”. It experiments with textile manipulation, color, texture and/or a diversity of mixed media. An Art Quilt often pushes quilt world boundaries. An Art Quilt should consist predominately of fiber or a fiber-like material with one or multiple layers which are held together with stitches or piercing of the layers."
2. Only definition - Oh good heavens no. Nothing with the word "art" in it is easy to define. This blog post does a good job quoting all kinds of different sources. Suffice to say, it's fabric and it's art.
3. Definition agreement - I am thinking no as this art quilter wrote an interesting post. She maintains that they can agree that an art quilt is hung on a wall. There you go, the beginning of consensus.
4. Roots - According to this post on Studio Art Quilt Association, the art quilt movement grew out of the interest in hand arts and crafts which began in the 1960's.
5. Aren't all quilts art? - I think they are yes, but this question is still being debated. However an art quilt is defined as "Artist Michael James and art historian Sandra Sider have identified art quilts as holding a precarious position at the intersection of art, craft, and design" in this post.
6. Patterns - Traditional quilts have patterns and it seems to me that an art quilt is, by definition, not the outcome of a pattern. However, I did find a post with free designs for art quilts. Go figure!
7. Famous art quilters - It would be hard to say who is the most famous but Ann Loveless would certainly be way up there. She has won the largest monetary awards for her quilts. You can read more about her here.
8. Organizations - Yes, there are. SAQA or Studio Art Quilt Associates is the one with which I am most familiar as they always has stunning displays at IQF in Chicago.
9. More - Yes again! There is also the AQuA - The Art Quilt Association is another important group of art quilters based in Colorado. According to their website they focus on "Specializing in quilts as art rather than bed coverings."
10. Intrigued - If this side of quilting interests you then a subscription to Quilting Arts might be appropriate. Click here to find out more.
11. Confused - Still not clear what an art quilt is? That's because it's art and art is not so easy to quantify. Ralph Waldo Emerson famously said, "Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art."
12. Artist - I think that something hard to define is best understood by experience. I found this quilt artist's website and pondered her pieces. You might enjoy doing the same.
Now that I've done this research I am going to reread my magazines with a better understanding.
And I'd love your take on art quilts.
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I write fact posts from time to time. Here's a link to my last one.