Contemporary Handmade Quilts

The National Quilt Museum believes that the work of today’s quilters is extraordinary artwork that creates a unique and wonderful sensory experience to all who view it.  Individuals who make quilts and fiber art are exceptionally talented artists that deserve recognition and respect.  This exhibition pays homage to the artists who use the traditional technique of hand quilting to transform fabric and thread into works of art.

With You (2009) by Miyuki HamabaThe National Quilt Museum

"With You" took two and a half years to make.

"Quilting is the spice that adds excitement and pleasure to my life. I sew time into my quilts. As people turn over the album cherishing the memories, I look at my quilts and remember the time when I was making each of them. I believe quilting enriches my life."

-Miyuki Hamaba

Stella Antigua (1989) by Hanne Vibeke de Koning-StapelThe National Quilt Museum

"Most of my quilts are traditional bed quilts, because I like all my beds covered with quilts. Most are made with silks, some have both silks and cottons.

I was born in Denmark where there is a tradition for all sorts of hand made textiles, embroidery, hardanger, broderie perse, appliqué, knitting, weaving, etc. and I have done it all.

Since I started putting pieces of fabric together, patchwork and quilting has been very important to me and I enjoy every hour spent with the textiles as much as I did when I started. The excitement, friendships, the pleasure of sharing are still manifest."

-Hanne Vibeke de Koning-Stapel

Descending Visions (1992) by Dawn AmosThe National Quilt Museum

When designing a quilt, the first thing Dawn does is draw the image full size. With appliqué and reverse appliqué she creates her pictorial quilts. Dawn dyes most of the fabrics in her quilts with self-taught dyeing skills.

Toujours Nouveau (1993) by Suzanne MarshallThe National Quilt Museum

“The design source for the four large blocks was a Dover Publications book of copyright-free Art Nouveau designs. I enlarged the designs on a copy machine and then studied them carefully, to adapt them for my patterns. The quilt contains the most difficult appliqué I have ever done. The order in which the seemingly interwoven curving ribbons were to be stitched was determined as the sewing evolved. Normally I enjoy using bold, bright colors, but in this quilt I felt that delicate values would be more appropriate and in keeping with the soft flow of the design elements.”

-Suzanne Marshall

Blue Earth Filled with Water and Flowers (2000) by Keiko MiyauchiThe National Quilt Museum

While visiting the NASA Space Center in Houston, Keiko viewed an IMAX movie on the planet and space travel. She noticed that the earth appeared very blue. That blue color made a strong impression on her, and she decided to use that shade of blue as the background for her next quilt to represent the preservation of nature and the earth.

This quilt took seven months to complete, working between five to eight hours each day.

Golden Glow (1999) by Mildred SorrellsThe National Quilt Museum

“My inspiration was from an antique quilt that had feather hearts in the center and a floral design from a Dover book. There are 356 circles in the vines. This quilt was a three year project."

-Mildred Sorrells

Star Struck (2011) by Cheryl L. SeeThe National Quilt Museum

"I never liked history in school, but history on quilts and their makers fascinates me. There is always a story of why someone chose to make the quilt, the materials they used, techniques and of course whom the intended recipient of the quilt was to be. For me, my quilts are a way to be remembered by on this Earth when I am no longer here as I have no children to continue my memory.

Quilting by hand allows me more time to plan my design and problem solve. I rarely have my quilt designed completely before I start, but tend to design in sections as I work. 'Problems' spark creativity and solving them usually adds to the beauty of the quilt.

This quilt is entirely made by hand and took 3.5 years to make working 20-50 hours a week. There are 12,256 hexagons, 63 large circles, 633 small circles and 378 ovals."

-Cheryl See

Momma's Garden (1992) by Anne J. OliverThe National Quilt Museum

Anne J. Oliver was a self-taught quilter who came to quiltmaking with a good sewing background and some art training. Anne enjoyed quilt contests; she explained, “The only way I can be a quilter is to compete. It’s my reason to finish!” Anne made quilts for all her family members, and loved the opportunity to express her personality through show quilts. She taught quiltmaking classes for 15 years; she enjoyed showing frustrated quilters how to finish, stand back, look at their work, and feel good.

Anne explained that the design for "Momma’s Garden" came from a Mennonite counterpane. The quilting pattern in the outer border also resembles a pattern found in 19th century Marseilles spreads, which were woven to look quilted. Anne changed the design somewhat as it was too ornate. Preparations for tackling this project took a while, but once she began, Anne was able to complete the quilt in eight months (800 hours).

Voice of Freedom (1987) by Barbara TempleThe National Quilt Museum

From the start, Barbara Temple was interested in making original design picture quilts, and continues to enjoy the design process – the challenge of creating a picture with depth and dimension. She encourages even those who have no experience with handwork to try quilting.

Based on the Lincoln Memorial, this quilt was designed for entry in the Statue of Liberty contest. Unfortunately, it was not completed in time for that contest – it was extremely difficult for Barbara to find commercially dyed fabrics in the exact colors needed to effectively shade the figure. All the fabrics used were purchased – none were hand-dyed especially for the project. A range of browns and grays were used for the statue and yellow in different values was used in the background to give the effect of the sun shining through.

Silversword - Degener's Dream (1988) by Louise YoungThe National Quilt Museum

“The Silversword plant is endemic to the lava fields of the Hawaiian Islands, and it is listed on the international endangered species list. I have a master’s degree in botany, specializing in ecology, so nature and especially plants are very important in my life. Most of my quilts are based on images from the plant world.

The title of this quilt also honors Otto Degener, a botanist who has worked to catalog and preserve the native flora of Hawaii. In this, my first Hawaiian quilt, I tried to follow all the quiltmaking traditions from Hawaii."

-Louise Young

ElaTED (2012) by Ted StormThe National Quilt Museum

“A visit in 1988 to Quilt Expo 1 in Salzburg, Austria, changed my life,” writes Ted Storm. She met quilter Lois K. Ide from Bucyrus, Ohio there. “We exchanged some words and a piece of fabric. She invited me to come to her home. During that first stay all quilting techniques she knew from her mother as well as her own adaptations she shared and taught. She literally took me under her wing, and till now, I still consider her my 'quilting mother'.”

Ted was inspired by Delftware designs to create "ElaTED." Delftware- or Delft pottery- originated in the 16th century in several towns in Holland. The Dutch East India Company began importing blue and white porcelain from China, and this influenced the local hand-painted production. Ted’s quilt has the exuberance and grace of this early pottery.
At first glance, "ElaTED" appears to be completely symmetrical. Take a closer look, and you will see that the design is formal and balanced, but not mirror-image. Ted selected the brown plaid because it was her least favorite fabric; she just didn’t like it. Its dull color and rigid grid are the perfect foil for the colorful appliquéd bursting blooms and curves.

Gold - Wedding (2010) by Tamie HashidaThe National Quilt Museum

“This scheme is based on red in order to cheer us up. I really enjoyed quilting with memorial fabrics. This also celebrated our golden wedding anniversary."

-Tamie Hashida

Joie de Vie (Joy of Life) (1998) by Candy GoffThe National Quilt Museum

“My quilts are done entirely ‘by hand.’ This allows many hours of creative decision making as the design progresses. I enjoy the tactile feel of the fabric and quilt sandwich in my hands, as the quilt nears completion.

"Joie de Vie" is a traditional style quilt using contemporary colors and it was based on the Egyptian lotus flower block.

This work took on a life of its own as it was being finished with over 2000 yards of quilting thread. I knew it would need a happy or joyful name."

-Candy Goff

Mother's Day (2001) by Suzanne MarshallThe National Quilt Museum

This hand appliquéd, hand embroidered, hand quilted quilt took Suzanne three years to complete.

Credits: Story

The National Quilt Museum is pleased to offer this exhibit, as well as other quality quilt exhibits, as a loan.

Traveling exhibits for loans can be customized to the desired subject matter and size, depending on availability. Museums and galleries interested in these exhibits should call the The National Quilt Museum at 270-442-8856.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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