Art vs. Tradition in Quilting

My-Oh-My.   It appears traditional quilting has been overtaken by a new contagion called the “Art Quilt.”   Gone are the days when our ancestors created necessities from their discarded clothing, feed & flour sacking or other textile items no longer useful to their original purpose.   Today we buy yards of the most splendid fabrics imaginable…cut it to tiny little intricate pieces….sew it back together to create an artistic rendition of wild animals in their natural habitat, waterfalls, forests, picturesque landscapes, geometric labyrinths that boggle the mind, self portraits, or a myriad of life views….and we call it Quilting.   Even the so-called scraps that I treasure and am addicted to are nothing less than pieces of new fabric no one else wants to use. I happily and proudly piece them together on my fancy state-of-the-art electric sewing machine and call it “Traditional Quilting.” I wonder what my Grandmother would think…. She who scrounged and saved portions of worn-out garments, hoarded the scraps from friends and familys sewing projects, and traded pieces with friends and neighbors.   She hand pieced these together in a haphazard manner called “Krazy-Quilting,” at social events called “Quilting Bee’s …then, utilized another cast off, a sheet of newspaper to square her blocks before hand sewing the blocks together.

Today in the numerous quilting venues across the nation and around the world it is the Art Quilt who reigns supreme.   The poor traditional quilt might as well sit in the bleachers and watch the show because they just can’t compete with the new fangled creations entered by the “Art Quilter”…..