So I was engaging in one of my favorite pastimes last night, searching for new and interesting art quilters online, when I stumbled across Pauline Burbridge, an art quilter living in Scotland. Definitely worth Googling--her quilts are lovely. But what struck me more than anything else was that she makes both "studio quilts" and "functional quilts," a combination that you don't see a whole lot of. Admittedly, part of what I love about the quilting medium is that the line between 'art quilts' and 'practical quilts' is fuzzy and neither one (in my opinion) is inferior to the other--but I was nonetheless intrigued by an artist that creates both. Actually, I find it quite inspiring since I tend to do the same.
How do you all feel about this distinction between quilts intended for a wall versus those intended for a bed--or do you make that distinction at all? Do you create both, or prefer one to the other?
Interesting. My husband always says I quit making anything useful when I started quilting. Which I think is another way of saying functional.
I must admit for me the difference between art quilts on the wall or the bed is blurred. Embellishments do stay on the wall. Overall my style is very free form and I haven't done a traditional block in a long time. But hmm--take a traditional block and alter it so that it's new. Another place to play and experiment.
I guess what I'm saying is that it can all be art. And function is in the eye of the beholder.
When I make quilts for a bed I use different techniques than one made for a wall. For me, it's about the purpose. I will not put delicate embellishments or use delicate fabrics on things made for a bed since it will likely be washed.
That's not to say the items I make for the bed aren't artful, but I do think about the intent of the piece before creating.
Cheryl / Muppin
I strive to make artsy quilts at least but they MUST be useable too, they must feel the weight of a 'real quilt' , be able to wash them and dry them in a machine and fit a bed, but I always put a sleeve on them so if someone wants wall art they will do that too. Last month I made two that I framed because some people in small apartments may not have big walls or large beds either but they could come out and be used as well. I like working with something thats a comfort too.
I have to agree with most of ya'll. All quilts are ART, but not all quilts are functional (some have a function of just being pretty!) Function is based on use, technique, materials, and embellishment. if it is meant to be used, it must be 100% cotton, and the technique/embellishments must beable to survive a washing machine. I have learned the hard way about that!!! But these are just my often broken rules!
Coming from a paper background, I never wash my art quilts. The only thing that I have washed is my rag quilt aprons and that is so I get the edges frayed. I don't wash anything. I don't even wash my fabric paint quilts. I washed my soy wax fabric to get rid of the wax but my washing machine has not stopped complaining about the bits of soy wax left in her.
Belinda aka crazyartgirl
With me, it's mostly a case of size. All of my hand painted fabrics get baked to set the paint (300 degrees for 5 minutes) and so technically could be washed, although I always recommend a dye grabber of some kind in the wash the first few times. If I'm making it for a bed, it's big and less apt to have hand painted fabric. If i'm making it for a wall, smaller with lots of different techniques. I never use a pattern for either - I don't take direction well and while I no longer run with scissors (I an't run anymore), I am of the "measure once, cut it and make it work no matter what" frame of mind.
I, too, believe all quilts are art. I believe all art has a function...to stimulate thoughts and emotions. I believe all art is practical, as in fit for doing or performing some desired effect, be that physical or emotional...or both. Therefore, I believe that all quilts are functional and practical in cooperation with being art. It would seem that the only real difference between "types" is washability!
I need both types of Quilt. The functional quilt is where I started years ago. It developed into an art quilt with time, but I still wasn't able to stop making quilts for beds - somehow there is always need for another bed quilt. My art is my main interest now, trying to convert my ideas into fabric, enjoying the challenge, but still love those bed quilts.
I think that any kind of "quilt" that is created from the imagination provides an important function for both the creator and the people who view or use the piece once it is finished. The maker is one who takes the time to make decisions about it-before the first stitch is sewn or paint or dye is used-they make decisions of color, size, materials, etc. and that alone is a functional use-via the creative process expressed and released/shared by the maker-no matter what the actual end-function of the piece might be- it is indeed "functional" to both the creator and the person enjoying viewing the piece, no matter what it is...because the journey itself once taken, heals the maker in subtle ways-as they give part of herself/himself to a part of our world...and, once it is shared or presented for viewing or using-for others to enjoy..perhaps the only function was an "ooohhhh-or ahhhhhh.." or perhaps to keep them warm, that matters not so much as the act of the doing-and that is functional enough for any of us! I do both bed quilts and wall/art quilts, and every time I work on any of them, I feel better somehow, as though I am healing a small part of myself in the process...
Amen that was a good answer , you win the prize :) if there was one , "as though I am healing a small part of myself in the process" is a great way to put it , like healing the soul, KUDDOS GIRL !!!
You all raise such good points! I guess, like many of you, I find immense satisfaction in both kinds of quilts--though I agree, 'functional' is a very slippery term. I fell in love with quilts for their tactile qualities and the fact that you can physically wrap them around you. But this doesn't mean I don't enjoy quilts that are meant to be experienced on a primarily visual level--perhaps because they still evoke similar conotations, even if they're not meant to be 'used' in the same way. The quilting medium is ever-expanding and evolving, and that can only be a good thing!