Several months ago I joined the Atlanta Modern Quilt Guild, one of a community of modern guilds across the country. The Atlanta Guild was formed in early 2010, so is still feeling its way, but the group has already attracted 35 members.
Modern quilting isn’t necessarily a radical departure from traditional quilting, but it is more free and open to improvisation than traditional. In some ways it is more about attitude than design.
We give ourselves permission to throw out many of the rules adhered to by traditional quilters. We use modern fabrics, modify traditional quilt designs, and make up designs of our own. The style may be as precise as the work found in a traditional quilt, but not at all symmetric or repetitive. The idea is to include quilters of all levels and styles, so that the most sophisticated art quilter can recognize what she has is common with the good ladies of her grandmother’s guild.
Before I even attended my first meeting I learned about a project the guild had undertaken and wanted to be a part of it. The Georgia Quilt Council is working hard to create the Southeastern Textile and Quilt Museum in Carrollton, GA.
This museum will house both old and new quilts and will serve as a educational locus for quilters in the Southeast region – much like the quilt museum in Paducah, Kentucky. Located in a yet to be refurbished cotton warehouse, there is a great deal of work yet to be done.
Toward that end, a “Friends of” group organized a special event at the Georgia State Capitol on January 31st. The goal was to bring attention to the museum, and to display over 50 quilts donated by guilds and individuals from around the state. These quilts will be auctioned off to raise money for the museum.
What does that have to do with my first guild project? The Atlanta Modern Quilt guild was planning a quilt to donate, and they still needed someone to make blocks in a few essential colors.
Now gray isn’t a very exciting color for quilters, but I happen to work in black and white more than some, so I had a ready stash. The block I came up with was quite freeform as you can see, but it is hard to imagine how it would fit in with blocks of other colors until you take a look at “The Modern Paintbox”. I know that I am biased, but the finished quilt is remarkable, and showcases the many talented members of the guild. Simple white sashing and an all over quilting design don’t detract from the vibrant colors and creative design of the individual blocks. I hope that others will agree and this quilt will fetch a high price for our future museum.