What does “modern quilting” mean to Jacquie Gering?

This is Jacquie Gering’s answer to the question, “What does modern quilting mean to me?”  Read more about our modern quilting blog meme here.

It’s been an interesting week, reading the responses of my fellow planning committee members and those of you who are responding on your own blogs and in the comments, and each day thinking more about this question.

I am a mid century modern girl.  I squeal at the sight of an Eames chair; I had to be dragged out of the modern architecture exhibit at MoMA; and I could live in IKEA if they would let me. Two years ago when I rescued my sewing machine from the depths of the closet, it was natural for me to want to make quilts with a modern feel.  It took me awhile to figure out how to accomplish that in a quilt, in fact, I’m still in the discovery phase.  For me, modern quilting is about a ‘look’ and a process.

What I have discovered as of today is that for me, modern quilts have clean, simple lines, be they geometric or organic.  I find simple to be beautiful and deceptively complex. Modern quilts are visually dynamic with color, form or both.  That modern quilt ‘look’ can be accomplished through fabric choices and other times through block and quilt design.  When modern fabric and design come together…well….I get a little giddy.

While the ‘look’ of modern quilts excites me, modern quilting is more than the ‘look’ of a quilt.  I began quilting after seeing the Gees Bend quilt exhibit and the words of the quilters struck a chord with me. I felt joy being surrounded by quilts that expressed freedom in design, whimsy, unpredictability and at the same time utility. I love quilts that are offbeat, but it’s the opportunity to create and think out of the box in terms of design and construction that gets me up in the morning.

While I usually work improvisationally, some of my modern quilt buddies use patterns or do a combination of patterns and improvisation.  What we seem to have in common is we feel free to trust our inner visions and we express those visions in our work.  I strive to innovate, find new construction techniques as well as innovative designs that scratch my modern itch yet maintain a connection to tradition.  It’s a process of experimenting, learning, revising, and trying again.

I never thought I would be part of a movement.  I am excited to have the Modern Quilt Guild as a place to connect with quilters with a modern aesthetic and as a stepping stone to grow the movement.  I’m thrilled to be a part of it.

10 thoughts on “What does “modern quilting” mean to Jacquie Gering?

  1. We are indeed bosom buddies in terms of that mid-century modern feel.

    I’ve never really thought of a “look” for quilts. I need to ruminate on that thought for a while. Personally I like not having a style, so I hear look and think the same thing. And thank-you for acknowledging the connection to tradition. That is something, I fear, gets lost in discussions about modern quilting.

  2. What you said about innovative designs with a connection to tradition is exactly what I am striving for. In so doing, I’m stretching my fabric stash (although it already impacts four rooms in our house…) by adding more white and more solids. And I’m trying to work more improvisationally, while still being inspired by traditional quilt blocks and construction techniques.

    And mid-century modern? The “blond” wood I grew up with and despised at the time? Well, now if only I could afford to fill my home with the clean lines and beauty of Heywood Wakefield furniture and couple of those Eames chairs….and my modern/traditional quilts.

  3. Thanks to you Jacquie – this is a ‘freedom’ in quilting that I am embracing – though some may not appreciate it just yet (eg: when I emailed Mum a photo of my recent completed front flimsy, she asked if there would be more blocks 😉
    But I’ve enjoyed working on this top so far and enjoy the element of ‘make it up as you go’ in piecing
    I just hope the back turns out as good
    Thanks for the inspiriation Jacquie, (and advice) and thank you all for expanding the boundaries.

  4. Jacquie, I enjoyed reading this and seeing your beautiful quilts. I don’t know if what I do really fits in the modern quilting category but I enjoy improvising, using scraps, and making up my own designs. I really love the modern look that so many of your quilts embody.

  5. Jacquie: I have been an antique/vintage textile dealer for years, and a few years ago took another look at the beautiful textiles I was selling and thought, what if I approached the whole idea of antique/vintage quilts from another point of view? Not simply bed covers for obvious use, not simply a time specific decorating item, but instead as artwork, utilitarian as it is at times, which is really an added bonus. Modern color palettes and designs yet infused with that special ingredient that only antique/vintage textiles can offer: old fabrics, colorways and designs. The resurgence of antique/vintage textiles in modern decorating is a refreshing change from years of “it must be authentic 1920’s or it will not match the rest of my decor” to appreciating the textile for it’s inherent beauty. Please take a look at the website and let me know what you think.

  6. Are your patterns available for sale or do you have a book for sell. I love the traditional quilts which I’ve always made but now I’m leaning heavily toward the modern designs. If I have a pattern I can make anything but I simply can’t design. Can you help me.

  7. I,m looking forward to your upcomming program and workshop at our guild meeting in august. thanks so much.

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