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Modern Quilts: Blessed are the Piecemakers

[Wedding Quilt via Purl Bee]

We've had a ken for quilts lately. They are a marraige of everything we love about fabric — colour, pattern, bold abstract design — all stitched together in a comfy covering. And brilliant, modern takes on the classic quilt keep showing up on our Pinterest feeds, so we thought we'd share some of our favourite patchwork pieces, like the amazing zig zag wedding quilt from the Purl Bee, Purl Soho's craft blog.

[Linda Pettway, born 1929, 'Housetop' -- eight-block variation, ca. 1975 from the Quilts of Gees Bend]

The modern quilting movement got its start in the 1960s, modern artists such as Joyce Weiland and academics like Nancy Jane Patterson sought to elevate the themes and imagery in traditional crafts such as quilting and revisted them in their own work to make a statement about what had previously been dismissed as "women's work."

[Annie Bendolph, 1900-1981. "Thousand Pyramids" variation, ca. 1930 from the Quilts of Gees Bend]

[Martha Jane Pettway, born 1898. 'Housetop"--nine-block "Half-Logcabin' variation, ca. 1945]

Even if they didn't see themselves as "artists" in the gallery sense, the traditional quilters of the 20th century certainly took the modernists spirit to heart, improvising on the classic techniques to create masterpieces of line and form.

[Joyce Weiland, 'Reason Over Passion', 1968]

[Denyse Schmidt, 'Yes We Can', 2008]

[from Denyse Schmidt's Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration]

If you've got a hankering to try your hand at quilting, Denyse Schmidt's book Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration offers 20 patchwork designs with roots in tradtional patterns. Also, places like Purl Soho and The Workroom in Toronto offer quilting classes.

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