About Modern Quilting

What is Modern Quilting?

Modern quilts are primarily functional and inspired by modern design.  At Boise MQG, we welcome a broad range of quilting and design aesthetics. And, we recognize that innovation is at the heart of modern quilting. With an emphasis on design and originality, curious modern quilters are pushing the boundaries of what can be created with fabric and thread. Thus, modern quilters often define for themselves what modern quilting is.

Modern quilters work in different styles and define modern quilting in different ways, and several characteristics listed here may help identify the modern aesthetic. This is not a comprehensive list of every attribute in modern quilting, nor is it a constraint to what can be in a modern quilt, but these elements are common threads among many modern quilts.

  • the use of bold colors and prints
  • high contrast and graphic areas of solid color
  • improvisational piecing
  • minimalism
  • expansive negative space
  • alternate grid work
  • "modern traditionalism" or the updating of classic quilt designs

(source: Modern Quilt Guild)

To read more about modern quilting, and see examples, visit the Modern Quilt Guild.

Modern quilting has existed in many forms for much of the 20th century. It wasn't until the 2000's that quilts with a modern aesthetic began to appear in greater numbers and quilters began to describe themselves as modern.

A defining event occurred in 1998 when Martha Stewart Living featured Denyse Schmidt, calling her quilts a “chic, modernist aesthetic." For many quilters in the early days of the movement, this was a key inspirational moment.

The growth of the movement was facilitated by four factors: the cultural shift of quality design being recognized by the general public, affordable digital cameras, the changing fabric industry and the rise of social media.

In 2009, Alissa Haight Carlton and Latifah Saafir founded the Modern Quilt Guild giving the online community a chance to form in person connections with other modern quilters. In 2010, Christy Foltz-Ahlrichs started the Boise chapter of the nationwide Modern Quilt Guild. Our guild is a small but growing group of Boise-area quilters that gather each month to learn more and talk about modern quilting.

The Modern Quilt Guild (MQG)

The Modern Quilt Guild is a nationwide member association that seeks to foster a vibrant and inclusive organization built on encouragement and mutual respect, where all feel welcome. The MQG  supports the participation of all who are interested in the growth and development of modern quilting and values the diversity arising from differences that make us who we are.

The MQG developed out of the thriving online community of modern quilters and their desire to start meeting in person. The founding guild was formed in Los Angeles in October of 2009. Through blogs and the Internet, word spread quickly of the fun they were having and soon guilds started popping up everywhere. The MQG is a nonprofit corporation with IRS 501(c)(3) status.

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