I must admit that this is a question of which I have been a bit dismissive of in the past.
I would think:
"What does it matter?"
"Why are people getting so upset about quilting genres and their definitions?"
"If I make what I like, what does it matter if my quilts fall into the modern category or not."
Recently however, I have begun to get a better insight into the importance of this issue.
I absolutely adore my latest quilt design. I've called it Hunted.The Owl element is inspired by this amazing photo by Graham Jones.
I am really super proud of my own version of the quilt and I wanted to enter it into an exhibition- but the question was which exhibition should I enter it into and into which category does it fall into?
Understandably, quilting exhibitions want to compare like with like, so they like to place quilts in nice neat boxes.
But what if the quilts don't fit in those boxes. Take Hunted for example.
It's not traditional
It's not modern traditional
It's not improv
It's not an art quilt
It's not a contemporary quilt
and I'm pretty sure that it's not a modern quilt either!
As a quilter, I identify with modern quilters. I generally use bright, colourful modern fabrics, I don't like being restricted by a grid layout, I often use a solid background (but not always). My style while erring on the realistic side, is often quite graphic. All of these things would push me towards the modern category.
Another reason that I identify with modern quilters is that I learnt my craft from the internet. I followed blogs, used online tutorials and adapted techniques so that they suited me and my personality. Again, these are things which put me squarely in the modern camp.
But how I learnt my craft is not something that can be judged when my work is hanging in an exhibition. It is not something that can be seen just by looking at my work and as such it is not relevant when entering works in an exhibition.
This quilt is a wildlife quilt. The colours are realistic, as is the unstylised depiction of the animals. The subjects are depicted in a variety of low volume fabrics in addition to shades of tan and brown. I regard the background as negative space, but you might not agree with me as I have used a blender fabric, not a solid.
While I stressed about this question, I noticed that the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham has a "Pictorial Quilts" category. Perfect I thought! Then I saw someone state that it is widely regarded that pictorial quilts are almost always applique- hmmmm- really? I know of an awful lot of foundation paper pieced quilts that fall squarely into the Pictorial Quilts Category. We'll see if the judges agree with me!
If you are going along to the Festival of Quilts, keep an eye out for my Hunted Quilt. I hope you like it as much as I do!
As for me, I'll keep pondering whether my quilts are modern or not. I guess the answer is that some of them are, others aren't. Just to be clear, it doesn't bother me one way or the other, I'm just curious what others around me think. Sometimes it is super hard to be subjective about your own work.
For those who are wondering, the wee hunted mousie was the original inspiration for the woodland quiltalong. Sorry that I forgot to take close up photos of the complete mouse after it was quilted, this photo is the best that I have for the moment...