Modern Quilting Trends: What I Learned from QuiltCon 2015

I left my heart in Austin…

QuiltCon, the show put on by The Modern Quilt Guild (MQG), might be smaller in number of attendees and the amount of quilts on display than some of the larger shows. But what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in spirit and quality.

The more than 300 fresh, modern quilts on display were juried with expert eyes: This is a show where quality of workmanship counts. The winning quilts all were not only beautifully designed, but expertly executed.

What I noticed:

The crowd on opening day was excited and chatty. I LOVED trading pins with excited Modern Patchwork contributors and fans. What a thrill it was to sit next to winners during the award ceremony and to meet artists and designers whose work I admire. This is an open, outgoing, sharing, and supportive group!

lori miller catherine redford quiltcon 2015
Quilters Lori Miller, left, and Catherine Redford participate in the popular pin
exchange that helped modern quilt artists get to know each other at QuiltCon.

Matchstick quilting is “IN” in a big way. Whether it was meant to be arrow-straight or purposefully undulating, the tight lines of quilting were spotted on a number of exquisite quilts.

breathe modern quilt Leanne Chahley
Detail of ‘Breathe,’ a modern quilt design by Leanne Chahley of
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. This quilt, which won 1st place
in the Minimalist category, features matchstick stitching.

Portraits anyone? From the pixelated images of the Mona Lisa and Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes, to Conan O’Brien’s hairline, capturing an image in cloth was done expertly by a number of artists. What fun to see so many different portrait quilts displayed in a variety of categories, from appliqué to piecing.

The Conan Quilt by Allison Chambers modern quilt design
‘The Conan Quilt,’ by Allison Chambers of San Antonio, Texas.

The Improvisational category was VERY strong with excellent composition of modern blocks, beautiful use of color, and tremendous secondary designs in the quilted stitch.

tody towns modern quilt Steinbrecher
‘Tidy Towns: Irish Houses,’ by Andrew Steinbrecher of Cincinnati, Ohio, was in the Improvisational category.

Last QuiltCon, the big “Issue Quilt” said “F— Cancer.” This year’s quilt that stopped me in my tracks was “Self-Portrait: Year Two (Beneath the Surface) by Penny Gold. It said in in large, bold letters, “I am a woman whose child is dead.” This was a moving piece that shocked and stunned, always with a crowd surrounding it to read the statement.

Penny Gold modern quilt self-portrait
‘Self-Portrait, Year Two (Beneath the Surface)’ by Penny Gold of Galesburg, Illinois, drew crowds.

The vendors were full, the classes all sold out early, hotel rooms were hard to come by, volunteers were enthusiastic, and the MQG staff handled all situations with style and grace. It was a classy show.

If you couldn’t make it–or you were there and want to keep reveling in the glow of all things modern, we have the next best thing: QuiltCon Magazine, presented by The Modern Quilt Guild and the editors of Modern Patchwork magazine.

Inside this brand-new publication you’ll find quilts from the show; quilting, binding, and piecing tutorials; a feature on modern quilters of Austin, Texas; quilt patterns; and so much more.

Immerse yourself in the world of modern quilting with QuiltCon Magazine, now available!

P.S. Another big hit at QuiltCon was the display of 1970s quilts, from the Volckening Collection. Bill will show the quilts and talk about how the 1970s shaped modern and contemporary quilting Friday, Feb. 27, 2015,  at an online webinar, Modern Materials: Quilts of the 1970s. Register now so you don’t miss it.

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Modern Quilting, QuiltCon Magazine, Quilting Daily Blog

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