Thursday, March 4, 2010

Quilt National

Postcard image: "City" by Paula Kovarik
(click on the image to see the quilting stitches!)

The caption on the back of the postcard:
"Marking its 30th anniversary this biennial juried show and traveling exhibit has been called "the premier international showcase for contemporary quilts" by the Wall Street Journal. The works are rich with metaphors, stories and fresh, original interpretations of a traditional medium. The techniques used include all manner of fabric manipulation: printing, painting, embellishing, dying, and more.

Quilt National was intended to demonstrate the transformations taking place in the world of quilting. Its purpose was then, and still is, to carry the definition of quilting far beyond its traditional parameters and to promote quilt making as what it always has been --an art form."
--Visual Arts Center of Northwest Florida Panama City, Florida

My words:
There were no traditional quilts here! The exhibit was well done and the quilts were amazingly detailed and high quality. I was surprised, however, that the number of quilts shown was small,
(maybe 24? I didn't count) so I am not sure if this was a partial (traveling) exhibit, or if the number
of high quality quilts being submitted has decreased dramatically. When I first saw a Quilt National exhibit years ago, at the Dairy Barn in Athens, Ohio, there were hundreds of quilts, both traditional and contemporary. The majority of the 2009 quilts were machine-quilted, and the designs and technical expertise were phenomenal. No photographs of the quilts were allowed, so I am only showing the promotional postcard I picked up during my visit. This was contemporary painting with fabric and thread, and I am pleased to see that
quilting is alive and well in contemporary art. The colors, textures, and variety of treatments were stunning!

The exhibit continues through March 14, so time is short.
If you are in the area, it is worth a visit! For more info, visit


  1. Thanks for this post, Dianne. The traditional quilt and the art quilt are so much different, I'm not surprised that they are not shown at the same venues. However, like you, I was surprised that the number of quilts was small. I guess I'm also confused as to the definition of "Contemporary" quilt, too, and especially as opposed to "art" quilt.

    Although traditional quilt artists can, and often do, make very detailed quilts, lining seam up to endless seam, they all share one thing in common. They use a pattern to make their quilts.

    On the other hand, art quilts often don't use a commercial pattern, often are open, like modern art, to interpretation, often use free form stitching, and often are made using hand dyed fabrics, as well as unique embellishments and found objects.

    Thank you for showing the postcard and sharing your thoughts. I hope this inspires some traditional as well as contemporary quilters to explore this venue further when it comes to their town.


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