Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Not just a quilt

Once upon a time quilts were only used on the domestic scene. They covered beds, served as wall and window coverings, were draped over pieces of furniture, and could be wrapped around a human body for both warmth and comfort. Today quilts are still used in these traditional ways, but the definition of a quilt is quite broad, no longer being limited to a bit of soft filler sandwiched between two fabrics.

The art quilt has been born, and is evolving as quickly as artists can locate and experiment with new materials. Their world is peppered with phrases such as rust dyeing, sunprinting and burned-edge applique. Yes, quilt layers can still be stitched or tied together, but they can also be fused or stapled or buttoned. Instead of fabric, an artist might use newspapers, paper bags or even upcycled metal beverage cans or plastic soda bottles. Fabrics are just as likely to be painted or distressed as they are to be dyed.

A burgeoning world of new fibers, textiles and techniques is available for experimentation, and a number of BBEST artisans are leading the way in this exploration. Marion Barnett of artmixter, for example, writes about a textile called Lutradur in her e-book called “Lovely Lutradur,” available both in her Etsy shop and through her blog.




Rust as an artistic medium is explored by Liz Plummer. In her Dilapidation wall hanging, for example, she describes the “rusted silk habutai fabric which was originally hidden underneath linen squares, stitched in a grid pattern which was then cut back to reveal the rusty fabric underneath.”






Gunnel Svensson
has mounted her art quilt on a wood gallery frame. It consists of handpainted fabric, with a thick carpet of embroidery fibers.










Finally, Margaret of libertybelle melds together fabric, embroidery, buttons, and a photo transfer on Lutradur to create a fabric post card.

Today's quilts are not just for comfort, color or home decor. If you are interested in learning more about any of the techniques these BBEST artists use to create their version of a quilt, you may wish to read Fabric Art Workshop: Exploring Techniques & Materials for Fabric Artists & Quilters, by Susan Stein.

10 comments:

ZudaGay said...

Art quilts are beautiful and so interesting to look at. Wonderful article, Judy!!

~*~Pearl~*~ said...

Awesome Judy! I love art quilts!

Liz said...

Lovely article, Judy - thank you for including my rust dyed wallhanging.

On a Whimsey said...

Great post!

Chauncey said...

jn, some great choices there. wonderful post, thank you!

The Filigree Garden said...

Great post. There is still so much to learn about textile arts!

Libertybelle said...

Thank you for a great article Judy. I am really flattered that you have included my postcard alongside such beautiful work.

Pam said...

This was a wonderful article! I really enjoyed reading about it. The talent among those who create the art quilts is awesome! I love the colors and textures and the examples you showed. Nice post all around!

Brett Ward said...

Great post! Nice to know a little about art quilts!

Gunnels blog said...

Great article! I have missed it !! Thanks for including my embroidered / art quilt !!