Archive for March, 2014

Why are Art Quilts small?

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

Surface Design Journal’s reviewer recently commented that art quilts are getting smaller, as she reviewed a gallery show.   Of course, if you need to fill a king-size bed, or a giant wall, you will need a big piece of art, possibly a quilt.  In a time when many of customers are down-sizing their homes, it seems logical that we might choose to make smaller quilts so that we can sell them!

There are also reasons that have to do with making the quilt, as well as selling it.  First, art quilting is a more experimental size of quilting.  Many small quilts allow us to explore composition and color in a variety of ways.   We may be more imaginative with our version of ‘sketch’ that we would be with an heirloom-size quilt.  A smaller piece also prompts the viewer to ask what about the work makes it a quilt.  This is one of the primary goals of art quilting–to draw the definition of quilting to the process of making it, and not to its relationship to a bed.

Parameters defined by the process of making also govern our choices of size.  Our sewing tools are designed for accuracy in detail.  We draw on a small area because our version of the brush–the stitch–is inherently small.     Quilts have a very personal tactile appeal, maybe more like jewelry than like paintings.   I rarely hold a painting, even a favorite one, in my lap.

Scorching Scandal and Emancipation